Draft DB, HM, slightly revised 2/14/03

Academic Senate

Santa Barbara Division

General Education Workgroup

Minutes of the Meeting of January 31, 2003

Members Present: J. Heinen (GSA Rep.), M. Higa (Student Rep.), D. Kohl (Undergraduate Council; Chair, Student Affairs Committee), C. Lawson (AS President), H. Marcuse (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Undergraduate Council; Chair, Committee on Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policy), C. Michel (Co-Chair, GE Workgroup; Vice Chair, Undergraduate Council), D. Montello (L&S Executive Committee Rep.), A. Wyner (Dean, Undergraduate Studies, L&S), X. Zhao (Undergraduate Council)

Members unable to attend: R. Hecht (L&S Executive Committee Rep.)

Others Present: D. Blake (Analyst, Undergraduate Council), M. Zimmerman (GE Workgroup Consultant; Undergraduate Council; Chair, GE Task Force)

The minutes of the 1/23/03 meeting of the GE Workgroup were approved with one correction.

Co-Chair Harold Marcuse informed the group of the two websites being used to post Workgroup-related documents. No opposition was expressed regarding his proposal that all GE Workgroup information be openly posted for review by all interested parties. He indicated that he will monitor the UCSB GE Comment Book included on the GE Workgroup Main Page.

It was suggested that the Workgroup not try to rush its efforts to create a GE Proposal, since the GE Program encompasses so many important issues. It was reiterated that the Workgroup has been charged by the Senate to refine an already existing proposal – not to start all over in creating a new one –and that the Undergraduate Council is the body charged with bringing a final proposal to the Faculty Legislature.

There was discussion about voting rights of the various participants in the workgroup. It was stated that the optimal approach would be to work on a consensus basis with a willingness toward compromise, so as to allow the group to bring a stronger and more complete proposal to the Undergraduate Council. However, in the event that this is not possible, it was agreed that each participant would have one vote, and that if a vote is reported to the Undergraduate Council, it will include the affiliations of the various voters.

The Undergraduate Council can then respond to this voting information in whatever manner it considers appropriate.

The next item of business was to determine the individuals who need to be consulted regarding each of the major issues the Workgroup has identified.

Following discussion of some of the issues related to the number of science courses that should be included in the GE requirements, it was agreed that Mr. Marcuse will contact Dean Moscovits to invite him as well as the chairs and undergraduate advisors of the MLPS departments to meet with the Workgroup. Mr. Marcuse will draft a list of issues to be discussed at this meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for February 14.

It was observed that, while significant controversy has arisen in response to the proposed reduction of units in MLPS, there has been little concern expressed by members of the Social Science and Humanities and Fine Arts Divisions. In proposing reductions, the Task Force was attempting to address the need for a total cleanup, including prescribing a number of requirements that was commensurate to the perceived number of appropriate and consistently available science courses. It was noted that this rationale my have put the cart before the horse, in that it would seem better to determine the desirable number of GE science units for students to earn, and then go about making the number of courses available commensurate to the number of courses required. There was strong sentiment among some members of the group that it would be best to change the GE Task Force proposal to include at least the 3-course requirement that we have now in this area.

It was also pointed out that the Task Force was of a mind that it was beneficial to leave room in the GE Program for students to take electives. It was felt that this could be accomplished by requiring a smaller number of courses in the core, but with the condition that these courses be of very high quality.

Another concern addressed by the GE Task Force related to total number of GE units was the disparity in requirements for the various types of bachelor’s degrees. An effort was made to modify the course load to make it easier for students in very impacted majors to complete their degrees in a timely manner. It was noted that BS students have no problem in completing the currently required 3 courses in their division, making the question rather whether 2 science courses is considered to be an adequate number for non-science majors.

In our consultations with deans and department representatives the issue of whether the workgroup should attempt to create a joint GE Program for all undergraduate students is of equal importance as the total number of units in each division. It is expected that this will be controversial, partly because BS, BFA and BM students are now only required to complete 8 courses as compared to 13 for BA students. Given that UCSB is a research institution, some felt this inequity to be inappropriate and in need of revision. However, since the number of BM and BFA students is very small (40 total?), it is really the BS students we are concerned about.

It was once again suggested that all currently approved GE courses be removed from the record, and that the appropriate reviewing agency be given very clear criteria with which to review and potentially approve new GE courses. Departments would then be requested to submit proposals for courses fitting those criteria.

The Workgroup co-chairs have plans to meet with Writing Program Director Susan McLeod to discuss issues related to the writing requirement and the feasibility of a writing component being incorporated into the core courses. It was acknowledged that the unionization of the TA’s is a component of this issue. It was stated that it is a misconception to think that the issue of writing as a component of the GE Program is not a controversial issue. The present requirement is considered by some to be hypocritical and impossible to oversee. There is general lack of clarity in regard to the "nature of writing" that is expected. It was agreed that this topic should be addressed in consultation with deans and department representatives from the Social Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts.

With regard to planning for the open forum for discussion of the Western Civilization and Ethnicity requirements, it was suggested that specific questions be drawn up for prior discussion within the Workgroup and again during the initial portion of the forum, to be followed by opening up the floor for more general discussion. Mr. Marcuse will email Workgroup members to request names of potential panel participants and will work on a set of questions.

The groups discussed whether it was better to separate the issues of Ethnicity and Western Civilization, with some questioning whether it was feasible to accomplish our goals in regard to both topics in one session. Various opinions were expressed regarding the symmetry argument raised during the open forum held by the GE Task Force. While the two issues are paired in the minds of some, there are also reasons for separating them. Some felt that the Ethnicity issue is pretty clear cut, and that we should simply stick with the old description for the ethnicity requirement. Some felt that some solutions may be found at the intersection of the two dialogues, while others felt that tying the two issues could detract from our ability to carry on a productive discussion. Therefore, two forums should be held.

It was suggested that modification of the descriptions of these two areas might solve the problem of determining the number of courses to be required. It was noted that the language in the descriptions is more problematic to many than the actual content of the area. It was suggested that Area E be reconceptualized.

Mr. Marcuse agreed to email a list of issues to the Workgroup members with a request that members provide names of people to be consulted on the various issues.

With regard to implementation, it was suggested that we may have enough expertise within the group to deal with this topic. It was also suggested that Eric Smith might be consulted. There was apparently some undue concern among members of the L&S Executive Committee as a result of a misunderstanding that the proposed GE administrator would not be a faculty member. Language taken at face value was said to have raised a lot of concern, as the description of the position inferred a potential loss of control regarding how to teach. It was suggested that a group of faculty might be better than one person.

The next GE Workgroup meeting is scheduled for February 7, 2003.

Attest: Harold Marcuse and Claudine Michel