GE Work Group:
1st meeting, Jan. 24, 2003

The document below is a text version of the powerpoint presentation co-chair Harold Marcuse used to guide the meeting. The text has some comments [in brakets] and corrections added after the meeting, based on feedback during the meeting.
Finally, appended at the end are Marcuse's notes on the discussion.
Official minutes, approved 1/31/03.
Page prepared for the web by H. Marcuse, Jan. 25, 2003, amended Feb. 3, 2003.

Agenda for first meeting

Members and attendees

[*=members not in attendance at this meeting]
expertise/delegate from
Harold Marcuse History Undergrad. Council-CUAPP
Claudine Michel Black Studies Undergrad. Council vice chair
Debra Blake Senate office staff support person  
Jules Love   AS/undergraduate rep.  
Richard Hecht* Religious Studies L&S executive committee  
Jennifer Heinen* Education graduate students  
Marshal Higa   Associated Students  
Chrystine Lawson Global Studies AS pres./undergraduates  
David Kohl Biology UgC-student affairs  
Susan Mcleod Writing Program Undergraduate Council  
Dan Montello Geography L&S executive committee  
Harry Nelson* Physics Academic Senate vice-chair  
Denise Segura Sociology Undergrad. Council chair  
Al Wyner Political Science Dean of Undergrad. Studies  
Xiaojian Zhao Asian-American Undergraduate Council  
Muriel Zimmerman Writing GE Task Force chair  

Work Group Charge

Memo from the Undergraduate Council, Jan. 31, 2003 [entire memo as .pdf]]:
The Workgroup Ö will draft a specific General Education program.
To that end, the workgroup will hold a series of discussions on the original task force findings with faculty and students for the purpose of securing comments on each area within general education to incorporate a larger campus vision within the final proposal.
[draft version prior to meeting, amended as below:]

" ... the workgroup will discuss, consulting with faculty and students as necessary, the major issues that need to be resolved in order to implement as many of the taskforce recommendations as possible. We hope that the work group will be able to incorporate the task force report's larger campus vision of GE within the final proposal that it submits to the Undergraduate Council."

regarding implementation, the charge memo concludes:

"During Spring 2003, the final proposal will be sent to the executive committees of each college for review, after which it will be submitted for approval to the full Undergraduate Council which is charged with formulating educational policy on undergraduate education. The Council will consider the comments, finalize the proposal, and submit it to the Faculty Legislature for final action." [emphasis added]

Note: a mail ballot will be conducted only if 25 Senate members request one

GE Vision/Mission/Rationale [back to top]

"The General Education Program is multidisciplinary. It requires study in science and mathematics, history of Western civilization, social science, arts, and literatures {... study of the humanities and fine arts, the natural and social sciences, and the cultural traditions and diversity of the modern world}. It also {...} requires at least one course in a non-Western culture and at least one course that focuses on the history and cultural, intellectual, and social experience of designated U.S. ethnic groups.

"The General Education Program also provides opportunities to acquire university-level skills in writing, critical thinking, quantitative analysis, and foreign languages, in courses specifically devoted to these topics and also in courses in which practice and instruction in these topics are embedded in the study of other subjects."

[At the meeting we noted that the first paragraph's claim to be common to "all UCSB students" is erroneous; this description is published at the beginning of the Letters & Sciences section of the UCSB general catalog.
College of Creative Studies has no explicit GE in the CCS degree requirements;
The College of Engineering has a modified Col.Eng. GE program, with the following prologue:
"The aims of the General Education Program in the College of Engineering are to provide a body of knowledge of general intellectual value that will give the student a broad cultural base and meet the objectives of the engineering profession. An appreciation and understanding of the humanities and social sciences are important in making engineers aware of their social responsibilities and enabling them to consider related factors in the decision-making process."]

Current GE: comprised of General + Special [back to top]

General Subject Area Requirements

AREA A - English Reading & Composition (2)
AREA B - Foreign Language (AP/3yrs; 3rd q., exam)
AREA C - Science, Mathematics, & Technology (3)
AREA D - Social Science (3)
AREA E - Civilization and Thought (2 West +1=3)
AREA F - Arts (2)
AREA G - Literature (2)

special requirements

(A)     2 English communication
(B)     foreign language
(C-1) 1 quantitative
(C-2) 2 physical and biological sciences (+ 1 unit lab[=1/4course]) [3 quarter courses]
(D)     3 social and behavioral sciences [four quarter courses]
(E)     3 arts and humanities [four quarter courses]

[thus difference to current UCSB is roughly: one more in area D; 3 fewer in total of areas E, F, G]

Current GE vs. Task Force: area A [back to top]

Current GE vs. Task Force: C

Current GE vs. Task Force: D

Current GE vs. Task Force: E

Current GE vs. Task Force: F

Current GE vs. Task Force: G

Problems with current (7) [back to top]

  1. Number of approved courses on list: too many, selection opaque, unmanageable
    [rephrasing suggested at meeting: has not been managed]
  2. Suitability of courses on list: should target non-majors and be accessible to all
  3. Existing category descriptions not adequate; no explicit place for interdisciplinary courses or comparative courses
  4. GE program does NOT apply to all students (BA, BS, BM, BFA, colleges)
  5. Some departments cannot offer sufficient courses to non-majors
  6. Chancellorís charge: investigate possibility of expanding the ethnicity requirement
  7. Preparation in writing not adequate;
    inadequate definition of special requirement writing courses [1800 words in no more than 3 assignments]

Solutions suggested by task force

[Note: appended below is Marcuse's summary of the modifications decided upon at the meeting.] [back to top]

Proposal for Work Group Agenda [back to top]

  1. Meeting with invited "experts" (sci. chairs, college deans, advisors) to discuss total number of units; how/what to reduce.
  2. Meeting on issue of faculty director
  3. Meeting on disciplinary descriptions [only if necessary]
  4. Public forum w/ invitees presenting on W. Civ. and ethnicity req.
  5. Follow-up work group meeting on #4
  6. [inadvertently omitted: meeting to discuss writing requirement]
  7. Final meeting to finalize draft for UgC

Today's work agenda

Marcuse's summary of results of discussion: [back to top]

The "six topics" were modified as follows:

  1. First meeting will focus on determining a "cookbook" list of criteria.
    Some criteria can be found at the top of p. 8 of the May 2002 second task force final report.
    Invitees and coordinators for future meetings will also be determined.
  2. Meeting on total number of units (with representatives of BS-granting departments and Engineering) will be necessary.
  3. The issue of creating a position of "faculty director of GE" will be postponed until the other issues have been resolved. That discussion will be folded into a broader discussion of issues of implementation and management at the end of the work group's overall agenda.
  4. A separate meeting on the disciplinary descriptions will probably not be necessary. Dan Montello will suggest an augmentation for the wording of the social sciences description, noting that they include mathematics.
  5. The forum and follow-up meeting on the Western Civ. and ethnicity issues should take place.
    Suggestion: publish position papers in advance; start the forum with brief presentations of positions.
  6. A separate meeting to discuss the writing requirement will be necessary.

Other points discussed (in no particular order)

  1. How to implement the new program.
    Each incoming freshman class has the requirements in place when it enters as a kind of contract, and thus has a right to complete that GE program. Thus the current program must persist in some form until the last person who comes in under the current program has graduated or left.
    Should there be a "transition phase" of several years when students could choose between programs?
    From an administrative standpoint it would be better to announce the new system, take one year to implement it, and then declare the new system binding for all incoming students from then on.
    Regardless of what this GE reform looks like, the senate could decree a "sunset provision," according to which ALL courses currently on the GE list must be resubmitted and reapproved, or they would be removed by a specified date.
    Of course it would be expedient to review the resubmitted courses under the reformed program.
  2. Faculty director of GE.
    This position is not part of the reformed curriculum per se, but a separate issue. Thus it does not have to be part of what the Faculty Legislature votes on regarding this reform. We should find out the proper procedures under shared governance for creating such a position, and keep this administrative matter separate from the form and content issues of GE.
  3. Use of the term "Western" ("non-Western") in our GE curriculum.
    Although in common usage (dozens of textbooks and courses attest to that), the term is ambiguous and erroneous. What is meant is Europe and the United States, perhaps Canada, but not central or South America. What about the experiences of millions of immigrants into this region: Is that part of Western Civilization? We should endeavor not to reify such a problematic term in our curriculum.
  4. Novel approaches to the writing requirement.
    UCOP is considering the establishment of a UC-wide standard. This is only in the beginning stages and not immenent, and should not affect our deliberations.
    We discussed the possibility of an "exit exam," and the alternative of a junior year "diagnostic exam."
  5. Mission of GE.
    UCSB has by now "come of age" as a premier research institution. It is now time that we take a leading role with a "signature" GE program that embodies the unique features of our school.

[back to top]
page created by H. Marcuse, Jan. 25, 2003, slight corrections, to charge and size of freshman class, on Feb. 3, 2003
return to GE Work Group Main Page; UCSB Senate main page.