Task Force on General Education
Notes on the Meeting of November 3, 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

Al Wyner (Dean of Undergraduate Studies), Britt Johnson, Joyce Carasa, and Regina Fletcher from the College of Letters and Science addressed the Task Force. Dean Wyner expressed his thanks for the invitation. The first important thing to consider is that students need to be able to understand the program. Many students have problems interpreting the current GE program and this can cause cynicism so this needs to be taken into account. Another issue is that whatever the program, the group should have the implementation in mind as it is being adopted. Finally, there is a transfer population of about 1,200-1,300 students that have satisfied the IGETC, but there is a significant number that still need GE courses. These students need to be taken into account as well. Joyce Carasa suggested that if the GE program changes significantly, it would be best to get rid of the A-G lettering and switch to something else like roman numerals. Using the letters will easily cause confusion among the students. Another issue is courses that are listed as fulfilling more than one area; students do not seem to understand that they can only use the course toward one GE Area.

The issue of year-round enrollment was also raised. At this time, Dean Wyner still believes the situation to be a mystery. Summer will definitely decrease time to degree for students and is a good way for them to take GE courses they would not be able to otherwise.

The Chair raised the fact that at Berkeley, GE requirements can only be fulfilled by courses on their campus and nowhere else. AP courses are not acceptable. Dean Wyner pointed out that if AP courses could not fulfill GE requirements, we would be moving away from the goal of decreasing time to degree.

There will be two GE Seminars for Freshmen in Fall 2000 and Winter 2001. There is funding for five of these courses but at t cost since it will take funding to pay for replacing faculty teaching the seminars. Al Wyner will teach one costing his department no money, and English has donated an instructor. There will be funding for at least two more of these seminars.

Two faculty have secured outside funding to begin the Gateway Courses Pilot Program. These two courses will be interdisciplinary and will have room for 200 students each. Jim Proctor in Geography will teach one while Bruce Robertson and Mark Meadow from Art History will teach the other. If these courses are approved in principle, attempts could be made to create Writing links.

Carl Gutierrez-Jones presented to the group the revised Ethnicity Requirement. This description has a more comparative frame. There is, however, concern about the appropriate wording. The Task Force expressed interest in emphasizing the comparative option of the requirement. The Chair suggested that the Ethnicity Requirement Committee convene at some point to recall the courses currently on the list. A suggestion was made to raise the requirement to two courses but the group felt that this would not be accepted by the Faculty Legislature.

Tom Carlson raised the issue of improvement in teaching. Class sizes need to be reduced and standards need to be raised. The GE classes that students take should be the most difficult because they are introductory; they should be the most intensive and most challenging courses that students take. Richard Blair stated that freshmen may not be able to handle such intensive courses.

The group raised a concern about the budgetary implications of a new GE program. Richard Watts said that in looking at what the GE program should like, it is more important to consider the program itself and have the budget be secondary. A definition of the program needs to be created and then the sources of funding can be discussed. Pressure can be exerted to see if the funds are there and changes can be made very rapidly if need be.

The Chair will contact the members via e-mail prior to the next meeting regarding their opinions for a concrete vision of a new GE program.

prepared for web by H. Marcuse, 10/26/03
back to: top, UCSB homepage, GE project homepage / Task Force section