GE Work Group

Marcuseís notes about 2nd Meeting,
January 31, 2003

page prepared for web on Feb. 3, 2003 by H. Marcuse [additions 2/5]
to GE Work Group main page; Senate GE document page


  1. Announcements, introductions.
    Marcuse announced the creation of the web sites and outlined his plan to keep the work group's deliberations as open to the public as possible. There were no objections to his plan to have press releases or paid advertisements in the Nexus and 93106 or some other faculty news source.
    GSA rep. Jennifer Heinen was able to attend this meeting, and undergrad. rep. Michelle [Ö] arrived later on as well.
  2. Approval of minutes: correction to number of incoming freshmen; modification of sentence about new description for area D. Approved as amended.
  3. Amendments to today's agenda.
    Discussion of voting rights of members and decision-making procedure.
    Summary: There was discussion about only Senate members being enfranchised for decisions affecting Senate business. However, this group is not solely a Senate body. The Undergraduate Council, which has final authority to present the GE proposal to the Faculty Legislature, will make the final decisions. Thus we decided that for decisions within this body, every official member and invited consultant present will have one vote. The affiliation of voters on both sides of non-unanimous votes will be recorded, so that the UgC can take the weight of opinion of only Senate members into consideration, if it so chooses.
  4. Plan future meetings and determine whom to invite to them.
    Questions:
    Can we keep this tight a schedule?
    Probably not, but letís try and weíll see.
    Will we need follow-up meetings?
    Probably. Weíll plan as needed.
    Proposal modified as follows:
    abandon the dates, we cannot rush the process too much.
    1. Feb. 7: meeting with invitees esp. from BS depts to discuss total number of units.
      Should discuss
      1) implications of leaving the Area C requirement at 3 vs. reducing it to 2 (esp. resources available for staffing GE courses);
      2) uniformity of GE for BA and BS,
      3) idea of writing requirement in science GE courses
      As to the discussion of the total number of units, it would be necessary to have the BA, BFA and BM granting departments present as well. Suggestion: hold back-to-back meetings with dean+chairs+advisors from different divisions. They would NOT sit in on each otherís meetings.
      Since deans do not have authority to make curricular decisions and assign courses, faculty representatives (chairs or designees) should be invited as well, to report on considerations potentially unique to their departments.
      Who to invite? The dean(s), who should be asked to bring several department chairs and/or undergraduate advisors from their departments along. The work group could invite all chairs from the division as well, but attendance would probably be better if the dean also invited some. It was noted that there are 46 departments in L&S, so that we should book a larger room, perhaps in the UCEN.
      Marcuse will contact the deans to assess their interest, availability, and willingness to participate in such a discussion.
      Departments that expressed special concern for these issues have been: Chemistry, EEMB (info x3511) and Geology. Suggested invitees: Dean Martin Moskovits (x5024, mmoskovits@ltsc); Paula Bruice, Chemistry (past chair of Senate GE committee, pybruice@bioorganic), Stan Parsons (chair, Chemistry; parsons@chem)
    2. Feb. 14: discuss solutions for writing requirement
      Susan, Harold and Claudine will meet on Feb. 10 to prepare paper on options
    3. Feb. 20 (Thursday, 3:30pm, if no Leg. mtg.): open forum on ethnicity & W. Civ. req.
      After much discussion it was decided to split this into two public meetings, one on ethnicity, and one on Western and non-Western requirements.
      Marcuse noted that the two were linked by critics at one of the sparsely attended GE taskforce open forums on this issue in 2001-02.
      Ethnicity requirement forum. [see also Oct. 24, 2003 QGE discussion document]
      The wording of the chancellorís Oct. 22, 1998 memo was discussed: "I, Chancellor Yang, encourage that a proposal be submitted by faculty and students to create an additional 4 units to the GE requirements which pertain to ethnic, gender and queer studies at UCSB."
      It was noted that "queer" might now be replaced by "sexuality." The campus group representing this constituency has recently been renamed "lesbian, bisexual and gay."
      It was noted that the GE taskforce duly studied this proposal and rejected it. How widely did it consult before making that decision?
      Another problem was identified by the past GE committee. It had to reject excellent, innovative courses that examined the nature of "ethnicity" in internationally comparative contexts because they did not focus on groups in the US context.
      Other critics wondered why other ethnic groups were not included (for example Irish, Jews, etc.).
      It was noted that the vast majority of students would probably not endorse an increase in the total number of GE requirements, even if they accepted the need for such education.
      Along the lines of whether majorities should decide such issues, at least one faculty member felt strongly that faculty should determine the curriculum, not students, because faculty have more experience in this area.
      On the other hand, at least for some issues that have emerged more recently, many students may have more experience and expertise than most faculty members.
      Some options:
      1) leave at one course, keep present wording.
      2) leave at one course, open wording to include international comparisons (taskforce proposal).
      3) increase to two courses, one as at present, the other also allowing comparisons.
      4) increase to two courses, both with wider definitions.
      5) in addition to the above, require that all core course in relevant areas incorporate consideration of these issues in some way (also part of taskforce proposal).
      Suggestion to focus the public discussion: find out the range of positions on the most viable options and have 1-2 people present 3-5 minutes on each one.
      Marcuse will e-mail this work group, spelling out some options, and asking for feedback and names of people who could be invited to present.
    4. Added: separate forum on Western and non-Western civ. requirements.
      It was noted that this was the minority position in the first taskforce report, but was included in the second because of feedback from a sparsely attended public forum.
      Suggestion: split the area E requirement of 2 courses down the middle. One would be Western, the other non-Western.
      Objection: "Western" is neither a geographically nor culturally appropriate term, and it would not be good to reify it in our requirements. It is really an issue of hegemony.
    5. Feb. 21: Ethnicity and W. Civ.
      This work group meeting following up on the forums might need additional time. Perhaps an informational meeting with the presenters, prior to the public forum, would be advisable, so that they can consider other constraints in their remarks.
    6. Feb. 28: Implementation and management options
      The executive committee rep. noted that the exec. com., in its previous skepticism towards the position of faculty director of GE, was operating under the misconception that this would not be a faculty member. He thinks that the committee may now support this position.
      Claudia Chapman should be invited to the discussion, as should Eric Smith (Political Science and one of the Legislatureís Rules and Jurisdiction experts). Smith submitted critical feedback to the taskforce.
      Two issues should be separated: the transition from old to new, and the ongoing oversight and management of the new GE curriculum.
    7. Mar. 7: Final draft of proposal for UgC
  1. Determine a "cookbook" list of criteria for GE core (and special req.) courses.
    This item was postponed until the next meeting, which will also be devoted to continuing the planning process.


official minutes

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