UCSB Task Force on General Education
Notes on Meeting of January 14, 2000


unofficial staff notes describing the deliberations of UCSB's 2000-2001 task force on General Education
NOTE: these are NOT minutes, and have never even been seen by most of those present.
The publication of these notes is intended solely to help understand the problems the task force attempted to address, and how its solutions developed.
back to: UCSB homepage, GE project homepage / Task Force section

Announcements by MZ:

By May, the Task Force should have created a design for the new GE Program. This would then be presented to the Faculty Legislature for an approval vote in principle. Details would not need to be provided at this time.

Introductions

TCís E-mail:
TC wanted to raise two issues: 1) the majority of students are not prepared to do college level work. They lack the reading and writing skills as well as the knowledge to be able to perform what is required of them. 2) Individualism, careerism, and consumerism seem to dominate and shape students' attitudes too much. We seem to cater too much to this aspect of students.

-GE classes are seen as chores rather than challenges. There are too many large and poorly taught classes. Student behavior in large classes is rude and shocking. They lack an appreciation for their role in the educational community. The classes seem to perpetuate apathy. Introductory courses are thought about in the wrong way. In the lower division courses is where students need the most attention. "Courses deliberately designed for non-majors" seems to imply that these are easier than major courses. GE should be the most intensive and most demanding courses taken by students. They need to realize that their majors arenít the only things that matter. We shouldnít allow students to believe that the major is the only thing that requires effort. This follows the Health Club Modelóif I have already paid for it, itís up to me whether I go or not and it doesnít affect anyone else. Standards are lowered of the educational community when students become individualistic.

Discussion:

ASO asked why do we have a GE program at all then? It does not seem obvious that we can solve these "problems" through the GE program.

HM stated that students are not intellectually mature enough to choose GEís without a program.

UM said that GE is necessary. Students interested in the humanities know nothing about the sciences and vice versa. They need to know what it means to the entire society.

AK saw value of GE in cultural terms. It is part of a mechanism that provides intellectual flexibility more available in this culture than anywhere else. But GE canít both be broad and deep. You have to sacrifice intensity to gain an element of flexibility. It seems that careerism is a communication problem outside the realm of GE.

TC felt that students donít quite know whatís out there.

AW pointed out that in Letters and Science, 40% of a studentís units are in their major, 30% are GE, and 25-30% are electives. Students take many courses outside their major. They may even take more outside than inside of their major. We have to remember to take into account the facultyís perception of their duties and involvement.

MZ told the group that a workplan would need to be created. Currently, there are three possible options for GE: 1) Renovate current program, 2) renovate current program and add a core sequence, and 3) something involving minors.

For each Area we need to know what is appropriate and what impact changes would have on departments.

As for core courses, since this campus has no contemporary history about this issue, sample courses could be obtained from other campuses. We could review student evaluations of these courses as well.

SUBCOMMITTEES:

Area A: Reading and Composition; Related consideration of the six-course GE Writing Requirement: TC

Area B: Foreign Language: UM

Area C: Science, Mathematics, and Technology; Related consideration of the Quantitative Relationships Requirement: AK, ASO, WY

Area D: Social Sciences

Area E: Civilization and Thought; Related consideration of the Non-Western Culture Requirement: RB, HM

Area F: Arts

Area G: Literature: UM

Ethnicity Requirement; Related consideration of gender/sexuality requirement: CGJ

Improvement of teaching and learning; consideration of alternates to large lecture classes, improvement within large lecture classes: TC

Overall budgetary and quality of life implications: what kinds of changes in departmental operations would result from certain kinds of GE changes. SF, JM, MZ


prepared for web by H. Marcuse, 10/26/03
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