November 28, 2007

TO:                  UW-L Faculty Senate

FROM:            Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

RE:                   General Education Committee’s Recommendations on BS/BA Requirements

Pursuant to its charge from the Faculty Executive Committee for 2007-08[1], the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee herein submits it report in response to that charge.

On September 26, 2007, the UCC sent to all department chairs, program directors and college deans a request (see attachment) for input on the recommendation of the General Education Committee concerning a uniform set of requirements for BS and BA degrees granted by UW-L.[2] The UCC received fifteen e-mail responses, as follows: nine from individual members of the faculty, four from departments, and one from the SAH College Committee. A summary of the positions communicated to the UCC is presented in Table One.

TABLE ONE: Summary of Responses to UCC Request for Input

 

Individual

Department

College

Support

1

1

1

Qualified Support

1

--

--

Opposition

7

4

--

            While the response is far from overwhelming – and certainly not statistically representative of the Faculty generally – within the narrative comments, three distinct criticisms emerged:

            (1) On the Merits

Opposing views expressed concern over the apparent drive for uniformity and questioned whether this was appropriate as a policy. One department questioned whether there was a problem that the proposal was supposed to be addressing. Another department argued that the science education needs vary sufficiently from discipline to discipline to preclude a uniform requirement for all students. One individual felt the recommendation was too tied to the traditional (i.e., “archaic”) views of BA vs. BS. Others that there was too much variation in the science/language needs among students majoring in different disciplines. The most often-raised issue was why such uniformity, as in: would this proposed requirement induce CBA to offer BA degrees in order to meet the needs of their students?

Supportive responses were qualified by other possible provisions, such as: a policy setting the same science requirement for all students, both BS and BA; requiring the same number of units for science in the BS as for language in the BA; abolishing individual college core requirements; letting the colleges determine how the proposed requirement would be met; or, augmenting the proposed requirement with additional courses in other areas. The only unqualified supporter also commented that the proposal would have no impact on his students.

(2) Issues of Resources

Most opposing views included these kinds of concerns. What impact would such a requirement have on laboratory space availability? What are the long-term staffing implications? Would such a requirement – in the light of general education pedagogical goals – duplicate existing requirements for quantitative analysis courses in CBA or CLS?

(3) Issues of Jurisdiction

Those responses which raised this concern all felt and/or advocated that such decisions be left with the colleges or be devolved onto departments and programs. They stressed the differing needs of diverse disciplines as justifying diverse – if not discipline-specific – science requirements. Many of these comments specifically challenged the authority of the General Education Committee to make such a proposal in the first place, with a few responses implying a power-grab on the part of the GEC.

THE UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM COMMITTEE ACTION:

Last year, on September 26, 2006, the UCC originally adopted the following motion –

M/S/P (1 abstention)  that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee does not support the proposal as written. The committee recommends that the issues be addressed at the departmental and college levels.  

At it’s meeting of November 27, 2007, the UCC adopted this report and passed the following motion –

M/S/P (unanimous)  that, following its review of the responses summarized above, there appears to be insufficient concern with the current procedures for establishing baccalaureate degree requirements to warrant changing Faculty Senate Articles of Organization or By-Laws to revise those procedures.

Attest:

 

Stephen McDougal, 2007-08 UCC Chair
ATTACHMENT –

From: Mcdougal Stephen L

 

Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:08 AM

 

To: Arimond George R; Balfany Gregory J; Brokaw Stephen C; Bryan Jeffrey C; Caravella Tracy J; Cherne M Beth; Chu Gregory H; Davies Jon S; Denton Peggy L; Dirocco Patrick J; Dixon Robert J; Duquette R Daniel; Eide Barbara J; Fearon Stewart R; Gilmore Gary D; Heath Amy; Heiden Delores E; Hoffman Michael A; Hoskins Deborah J; Johnson Emily J; Knox Ronda L; Kraemer Eric R; Krajewski Sandra S; Kuffel Thomas S; Lee Charles R; Lenards Nishele D; Majak Jonathan A; Monte Aaron P; Periyasamy Kasilingam; Porcari John P; Rabbitt Rhonda M; Reithel Curtis G; Riley Bruce V; Rindt Jodie F; Rusterholz Barbara L; Sandheinrich Mark B; Senger Steven O; Sewell Diane L; Sherony Keith R; Simpson Steven V; Steffen Jeffrey P; Sudhakaran Gubbi R; Sullivan Richard A; Terpstra Jennifer A; Thorman Michele A; Tyvoll Michelle R; Udermann Brian E; Vogt Kimberly A; Volk Thomas J; Waters David J; Weege Melissa R; Wehrs William E; Wen Kuang Wei; Winfrey Michael R; Wolf Robert C; Wright Glenn A

 

Cc: Ahmed Rafique; Berlin Cynthia J; Chavalas Mark W; Cooper Mitchell E; Groshek Matthew M; Kahl Erik J; Mcdougal Stephen L; Rolfhus Kristofer R; Sloan Donald E; Zheng Mao

 

Subject: Pending Recommendations of the General Education Committee on University-wide BA and BS requirements

 

TO – All UW-L Department Chairs and Program Directors

 

Greetings and Good Wishes!

 

THE ISSUE

The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has been charged by the Faculty Executive Committee to –

“Gather more input from departments and colleges about the recommendations from [the General Education Committee] for B.S. and B.A. requirements and make recommendations about the proposal.”

This e-mail is UCC’s efforts to begin the process of gathering input from departments and programs on the Gen Ed proposal.

SOME HISTORY:

In AY 2005-06, the General Education Committee recommended the following –

“…that all UWL students who complete a bachelor of science degree must complete two Core (i.e., Gen Ed) science courses from two different disciplines, one of which must be a lab science course…[and]…all UWL students completing a bachelor of arts degree complete a language through a 202 level.” (UCC Minutes of 9-12-06)

In AY 2006-07, UCC was charged by the Faculty Executive Committee to –

“Respond to the recommendation from the General Education Committee about university wide requirements for the B.S. and B.A. degrees.”

On September 26, 2006, the UCC passed the following motion, with one abstention –

“…the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee does not support the proposal as written. The committee recommends that the issues be addressed at the department and college levels.” (UCC Minutes of 9-26-06, emphasis in the original)

UCC is now soliciting any and all commentary about the Gen Ed BS/BA recommendation – its intrinsic value within the UW-L curriculum, as well as its impact (good or bad) on your particular majors/minors.

Please consider this matter and discuss it with your colleagues. UCC has been given a deadline of November 15, 2007 by the FEC to summarize the input from you and others, and to report the same to the Faculty Senate. We would appreciate receiving your responses before October 20, 2007. That will allow the UCC to review and summarize all comments in time to meet the FEC’s deadline.

 

Please sent your comments to the UCC Chair, Steve McDougal (mcdougal.step@uwlax.edu, or ext. 56643). If you have any questions about of request, please contact Steve.

 


 

[1] “Gather more input from departments and colleges about the recommendation from GEC for B.S. and B.A. requirements and make recommendations about the proposal.   Please consult with the GEC as you make recommendation.  Please plan to submit a report on this charge to faculty senate for the November 15, 2007 faculty senate meeting.” (2007-08 Charge Letter for UCC)

[2] “GEC recommends that all UWL students who complete a bachelor of science degree must complete two Core (Gen Ed) science courses from two different disciplines, one of which must be a lab science course.

GEC recommends that all UWL students completing a bachelor of arts degree complete a language through a 202 level.” (UCC Minutes of Sept. 12, 2006)