The University of Connecticut Senate Curricula and Course Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the course alignment and the competencies of general education as it moves to restructure and improve the general education requirements.
“The purpose of general education is to ensure that all University of Connecticut undergraduate students become articulate and acquire intellectual breadth and versatility, critical judgment, moral sensitivity, awareness of their era and society, consciousness of the diversity of human culture and experience and a working understanding ofthe processes by which they can continue to acquire and use knowledge. It is vital to the accomplishment of the University’s mission that a balance between professional and general education be established and maintained in which each is complementary to and compatible with the other,” according to the Report of the General Education Assessments Task Force.
Different sub-committees are evaluating different departments and how the courses are meeting the criteria of general education set by the university, Chair of General Education Oversight Committee, Eric T. Schultz said
As the university considers different changes in the curriculum, different sub-committees evaluate the different courses in the universities.
“We have an awful load of general education courses. What we do now, in a six year cycle, we have every subject area in a rotation to be evaluated,” Schultz said.
Courses that have been taught for a long time by the same staff have changed. Schultz said some of this changes, especially in the 1000 level may not have a syllabus, or are team taught. The instructors may forget they are even teaching a general education class.
The re-alignment process reviews those classes and makes sure to adjust them as needed.
A selection process determines which course is evaluated. The sub-committee and the department of that course discuss the courses they believe are subject to alignment.
Content areas and Q-courses are currently aligned, but some W-courses are in question, Schultz said.
Some of the W courses that have been identified as problematic are Greek and Roman Drama 3242, Classical and Ancient Mediterranean Studies 3242, Cognitive Science, Senior Thesis, Landscape Architecture 3230 and STATS 3494, which need changes in their wording, syllabi and requirements in order to be in compliance.
The committee in charge of STATS 3230 W has said there’s no clear evidence of writing pedagogy, Schultz said.
The next step is to contact the head of department to make the necessary changes.
There has never been a time where a department has rejected to cooperate, but in the case that they do, the case would be taken to the provost and the course would eventually be decertified from General Education, Schultz said.
The alignment process comes in a time where the university is considering restructuring and adding new requirements.
“A persistent problem with the system of general education requirements at UConn is the perception that is it simply a box-checking exercise, or a chore for students and faculty alike that everyone wants to ‘get out of the way,’ according to the 2016 Gen Ed Task Force.
The General Education requirements will undergo significant changes in the future with talks of adding an environmental literacy requirement.
Environmental literacy and history were suggested 15 years ago to be part of required courses in General Education. Both were rejected, according to the minutes of the University Senate meeting on December 5, 2016.
Senator Clausen offered background on the environmental literacy and it would be sent to Senate Curricula and Course Committee.
“Senator von Hammerstein: supports environmental literacy, but also advises that any addition to Gen Ed requirements impacts the entire system of requirement and therefore needs to be carefully considered by GEOC (General Education oversight Committee),” the minutes said.
The notion was passed with two abstention and is working its way through the Senate Curricula and Course Committee.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.