|From:||Dr. Francis J. Bremer
Chair, History Department
|Date:||3 March 2003|
The below has initiated from discussions within the School of Humanities and Social Science and represents the opinions of all departments therein.
All courses that are proposed to have G1 credit must be reviewed and reported on by the Humanities Sub-Committee of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. All courses that are proposed to have G2 credit must be reviewed and reported on by the Curriculum Committee of the School of Mathematics and Science. All courses that are proposed to have G3 credit must be reviewed and reported on by the Social Sciences Sub-Committee of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee.
The distribution requirements of the university program of General Education were established to separate professional education from general education and to expose students not only to content dealt with in different academic areas of knowledge but also to the different methodologies used by artists, humanists, mathematicians, scientists, and social scientists. To guarantee that these objectives are accomplished proposals should be reviewed by individuals who have professional training in the three areas of knowledge.
Reasons for Proposing this at the current time:
Last year the Senate voted for a course in the ITEC department (OSEH 120) to count as a G3 course without that proposal having been reviewed by the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee or any of the departments identified as social sciences. Though the Governance Manual (GM '67, p 77) states that proposals "which reflect interrelationships among two or more disciplines" require consultation between the proposing department and the departments of all other relevant disciplines, it was determined that no written policy specifically required consideration of proposed G3 courses by the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. That decision threatens to become a precedent that would seriously erode the General Education curriculum.
Of course it is possible for courses to meet Gen Ed objectives regardless of the originating departments. But there needs to be a procedure that guarantees that the proposed course will meet those Gen Ed objectives. The humanities, arts, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences all feature unique ways of understanding the world and the human condition and the purpose of the G1, G2, and G3 requirements (and the further distribution requirements within each block) is to expose our students to these different methodologies and perspectives. It is imperative that we guarantee that courses approved for these blocks not only cover material that we usually associate with particular disciplinary groupings, but that they approach that material in a way that reflects the unique disciplinary methodologies associated with the G1, G2 or G3 block. The way to insure this is to have the proposals evaluated by the faculty with professional training in that field of knowledge. Just as we rely on departmental faculty to determine whether a proposed course meets the knowledge and methodological standards to be taught in that department, so we should allow the humanists to determine if a proposed course adequately meets the criteria for a G1 course, the mathematicians and scientists to speak to whether a course meets the criteria for a G2 course, and the social scientists to judge if a course meets the criteria for G3.
This is not a matter of selfishly defending turf, it is a matter of allowing those with the appropriate credentials to advise us in making decisions. It is why we don't ask artists to evaluate candidates for jobs in the Biology Department, nor mathematicians to judge candidates for the History faculty. We must maintain proper procedures to provide students with the exposure to broad areas of knowledge that General Education is all about.
I have used the phrase "maintain proper procedures" because from the inauguration of the current Gen Ed system until last year, all G1 courses were evaluated by the Humanities Curriculum Committee, all G2 courses were evaluated by the Science and Mathematics Curriculum Committee, and all G3 courses were evaluated by the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. This was an unwritten rule, presumably because it was so obvious no one believed it needed to be spelled out. Now, some individuals seeking to have professional courses designated for Gen Ed credit have used the absence of an explicit written statement to claim the right to bypass the school curriculum committees. To rectify this it is necessary to adopt a policy that all proposed G1 courses be approved by the Humanities sub-committee of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee, all proposed G2 courses be approved by the Mathematics and Science Curriculum Committee, and all proposed G3 courses be approved by the Social Sciences sub-committee of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. Such a policy will guarantee not only that courses such as EDFN 211 and EDFN 241 will have to be reviewed by the Social Sciences Curriculum Sub-Committee - where they might very well be recommended as such -- in order to carry G3 credit. It will also mean that if the History Department introduces a course on the History of Science it would not be able to be designated a G2 course without the consent of the Mathematics and Science Curriculum Committee. It will mean that if the Economics Department wishes to classify its Statistics course as carrying G2 credit that too could not be done without the consideration of the Mathematics and Science Curriculum Committee. It will mean that if the History Department wishes to categorize a course on the Renaissance as a G1 course that would not be possible without the consideration of the Humanities Curriculum Sub-Committee.
This is necessary to guarantee the integrity of the Gen Ed system. Despite debating points that have been made by some, it never has been and never will be a system for merely feathering departmental nests. Because of my familiarity with my own school, let me illustrate this by reference to the G3 clock. Over the years Psychology courses considered appropriate for G3 were approved for that designation by the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. Many courses in the Social Sciences departments were not proposed for nor granted G3 credit despite the fact that doing so would benefit the enrollments in the departments concerned - Applied History courses are not G3 despite having much historical content; Hi 105: Introduction to the Craft of History is not a G3 course; most Social Work courses are not G3 though students are exposed to many of the elements of Sociology; only two Business courses count for G3 despite the fact that most of the department's curriculum has meaning for the social science of Economics. And the reason behind these decisions has been that the courses excluded were considered to be primarily professional in their orientation. There is a fundamental line that has always existed between professional education and general education and the effect of these recent developments is to blur that line in
This is not to say that the UCPRC and the Senate do not have to also consider the practical considerations attendant on such proposals. When it is suggested that the hundreds of Secondary Ed majors be able to count what has traditionally been referred to as the "Sophomore Block" of their "Professional Core" as G3 General Ed this does have implications for the enrollment and resources of Social Sciences departments whose staffing and class schedules have been designed in large measure to serve the General Ed needs of all students. This does need to be a consideration if and when such a proposal reaches the UCPRC and the Senate after going through a proper approval process that involves input from the appropriate school/disciplinary curriculum committees. The purpose of this appeal is to direct your attention to the need to officially reassert the procedures established by traditional practice and now under attack.