Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Attachment D
Faculty Senate Minutes
18 March 1997


General Education Review Committee
Motions for the Senate's Consideration

Motion #1. Replace item #4, phase 2 with the following:

"If the faculty fails to approve a revised general education curriculum by Fall, 1999, which resolves the issue of whether or not some or all label requirements should be kept, label requirements will be eliminated as of Fall 1999."

Rationale: The GERC offers this as a compromise between the present task force recommendation to unconditionally eliminate lables by Fall, 1999 and our earlier proposal to simply strike this item. Our committee has confidence that we can obtain genuine curricular reform by the date indicated, which is the task force's date for the implementation of Phase 2. This wording sets no limits on what this revised curriculum should look like, except that it must be approved by the faculty. The task forcegets what it wanted, which we understand to be a real assurance that present momentum for change will not be lost, and real change will occur by their target date.

Motion #2. That we strike item #3, phase 1, abolishing the C/Q requirement.

Rationale: The tase force has failed to establish that this will benefit students. If the only students having difficulty satisfying this are art majors, perhaps someone needs to examine why this is true before we change the rules for everyone. In addition, if the administration is concerned that one source of economic problems is the fact that students don't sufficiently value 100 level courses, abolishing the C/Q requirement would seem to be a step backwards, as these are the labels most commonly attached to 100 level courses. If we believe that critical and quantitative reasoning improvement is an important gen ed goal, we should not eliminate without a suitable substitute the one requirement that supports this objective.

Motion #3. That we strike the original wording of item #5, phase 1, leaving intact the words added by the McLeod/Dorman addition.

Rationale: The goal of achieving greater economic efficiency is very important, but we must make sure we do not end up sacrificing educational quality in the process. If we wish to make taking a few significantly larger courses more attractive to students, we need to ask how this can be done with the least risk. Already, students are able to take eight 100-level courses, so non-science majors already able to take eight 100-level courses, so non-science majors already have plenty of room to take say, between one and three larger classes in the social sciences and humanitites under the present curriculum. (Science majors rarely take eight 100-level now, between having several upper level required related courses to count in the G blocks and having to satisfy the "w" requirements.) Do we really want our students, particularly our freshmen, to take more than two or three larger classes?

If we succeed in raising the student/faculty ratio, we will already be automatically moving Millersville down a little in the ratings systems, such as those used by U.S. News and World Reports. However, student/faculty ratio is only one factor used, so if other facotrs stay the same, little harm may be done. However, other factors used include retention rates, graduation rates, and academic reputation, all of which could also be affected if raising class sizes leads to alienation and academic difficulties. In addition to our principled commitment to preserving educational quality, we must be careful that being more efficient in one area doesn't end up costing us students, and hence more money. Letting departments work out their own ways to achieve greater economic efficiency is less likely to have this effect. In addition, we should find ways to advise departments on how they can increase "productivity' while doing as little damage as possible to educational quality using such means as (a) applications of new technologies, (b) removal of "w" labels from some 200+ level classes that departments feel lend themselves to being taught in larger sections without loss of quality, (3) creation of new courses which are amenable to larger class sizes, (4) removal of obstacles to larger classes involving available facilities, compensation issues, etc., and (5) scheduling of and obtaining funding for relevant faculty development activities.


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