Proposal revising general education requirements at standstill

By Aaron Navarro

The Senate Committee on Educational Policy discussed the proposal separating U.S. Minority and Non-Western course requirements. The push for revising the University’s general education requirement for cultural studies is at a standstill. RB

Currently, students are required to take a class from one section but not both.

Prior to today’s meeting, the proposal was discussed at length at four separate meetings. The last vote to send it to the Senate with a recommendation from the committee failed, five in favor, six opposed.

Discussion ranged from specific wording of the proposal to broader aspects such as the financial consequences of adjusting the cultural studies requirement.

There were estimates by some committee members that it could cost $1.2-1.5 million to do this, though some argued these estimates lack clarity.

“There is clearly insufficient information on the financial consequences or unclear information on the proposal,” Shawn Gordon, graduate student and committee member, said during the meeting. “Given that there is this debate about the financial consequences means the proposal is inadequate as it is.”

The Senate also discussed a discrepancy in the current general education requirement. Eighty percent of undergraduates chose a course in Non-Western Cultures, while 20 percent took a course on U.S. Minorities.

“The market for these [U.S. Minorities] classes might just not be as popular,” Gordon said. “Which could be a counter-fact for why students are not taking these courses.”

ACES representative on the committee Madison Scanlan suggested that making a U.S. Minority class mandatory could help concerns of segregation and separation on campus.

“There’s something to be said about the integration of students of campus,” Scanlan said. “By making students take a course like this, it could take them out of their box and talk to other groups.”

According to the proposal draft, all college deans, as well as Interim Provost Edward Feser and Chancellor Barbara Wilson, have endorsed the implementation.

As time in the meeting ran out, the committee decided to discuss and vote on the bill again next week, thereby missing the March 29 noon deadline for the April 4 Academic Senate meeting.

If the proposal is ultimately sent, the soonest it would go through the Academic Senate is May 2.