May 1, 2002

 

 

Raymond Knapp, Chair

Undergraduate Council

 

Dear Ray,

 

On behalf of the College Faculty Executive Committee and the General Education Governance Committee, I am transmitting to the Undergraduate Council the listings of General Education courses, formally reviewed and certified by the three Foundation Workgroups, to satisfy the newly established GE requirements. As the final step in an intensive process of faculty review of courses proposed and submitted by departments and interdepartmental programs, we request that the Undergraduate Council approve the slates presented at your May 3, 2002 meeting, in order to implement the College of Letters and Science General Education reform for the entering freshman class of 2002-2003.

 

History of GE Faculty Review

 

On February 12, 2002, the Legislative Assembly ratified the legislation voted upon by the faculty (12/5/01) to establish the College's new 10-course (48 unit) GE curriculum, with three new Foundation areas: Arts and Humanities, Society and Culture, and Scientific Inquiry. In order to insure implementation by Fall 2002, our three Committees (GE, FEC, and UgC) jointly appointed the Foundation Workgroups and sent requests (1/17/02) to departments and interdepartmental programs requesting submission of all GE courses, old and new, for (re)certification (see attached). The GE Governance Committee and L&S Faculty Executive Committee (1/16/02) delegated authority for approving these courses (content, unit value, GE area designation, and GE credit) to the Foundation Workgroups.

 

We applaud the efforts by all the hardworking, amazingly diligent, and resilient faculty who participated in the Workgroups, chaired so effectively by Professors Jean-Claude Carron, Otto Santa Ana, and Raymond Ingersoll. As you know, the Workgroups included seven FEC members (a quorum), representatives from the Undergraduate Council and GE Governance, faculty representing the broad spectrum of disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields, and students (graduate and undergraduate) appointed by the Undergraduate Students Association Council and the Graduate Student Association. In addition, throughout the review process, Professors Robert Frank (UgC Vice Chair), Ted Gamelin, and Christopher Stevens (the latter two as cochairs of the UgC Curriculum Committee) have actively participated in Foundation group discussions. Furthermore, the chairs of GE, UgC, and FEC have been present to preserve from earlier deliberations the institutional memory, to keep focus on the intended conceptual remodeling of GE, and to interpret and resolve (as needed) matters of policy and procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

Foundation Workgroup Narratives and GE-Approved Course Listings

 

Appended here are three narrative reports that detail the processes of deliberation undertaken by each Foundation Workgroup, and how through the process of subgroup discussions (three readers usually) as well as full reviews of complicated actions, each group was asked

 

         to determine how the course fulfilled its specified GE principles;

         to judge syllabi in relation to course descriptions and departmental representations of its GE goals and lower-division curriculum commitments;

         to consider the students' need to know what is expected (grading, assignments, laboratories, examinations) and what the course is about, as articulated in sample syllabi;

         to determine applicability to a "sub-category" or multiple cross-cutting categories;

         to assess whether the course included best practices in education; and

         to recommend approval of the requested unit revaluation, as justified in the proposal.

 

All courses on the currently submitted lists either received approval unanimously, were revetted by the full committee (if there were questions), or have been forwarded after appropriate reconsultation and departmental responses to clarifying queries. Approval from the Foundation groups signifies that they accept the courses as fulfilling the appropriate GE designated subgroup, the content requirements, and the principles of GE as applicable; that the unit value is warranted; and that each course will give students an intellectual experience that is richly foundational. All of these courses are certified as meeting GE standards according to criteria elaborated by the Foundation group as detailed in their reports.

 

FEC Actions and Approvals for GE Fulfillment

 

The GE Clusters (instituted in 1997) now provide a year-long interdisciplinary experience for many incoming freshmen, and those courses scheduled for 2002-2003 (appended listing with subgroup categories) were reviewed by the Foundation Workgroup Chairs and the Chairs of FEC and UgC. Having already been approved through rigorous review of all involved committees, the operative question for these Clusters was what "sub-categories" in the new GE would they now fulfill. Cluster courses will be credited to three sub-categories, usually cutting across two foundations; will fulfill the requirement that 1 out of 10 courses must be a "seminar"; and will fulfill the College's Writing II. As recommended by the Writing II Committee, the GE Cluster fulfillment of Writing II was approved unanimously by the Faculty Executive Committee at its April 24, 2002, meeting. In addition, the Faculty Executive Committee took up the recommendation, forwarded last year by the ad hoc Scientific Inquiry group, that "scores from the College Board Advance Placement Exams (AP) may not be used to satisfy the 10-course GE foundation area requirement in the College of Letters and Science." After consultation with potentially affected departments and discussion with the Workgroups, that motion, applicable across all Foundation areas and GE courses, was unanimously passed by the FEC at its meeting of April 24, 2002.

 

Issues for Further Consideration

 

Reflective of the productive dialogues and debates within each Foundation group, we report on three major issues requiring further study by relevant Senate Committees or constituted subcommittees.

 

1. Intermediate Language Courses

 

The Foundation group in Arts and Humanities voted to "bracket" all submissions involving intermediate languages (level 4, 5 and 6). Not only were submissions variable across the language departments, but questions were raised about whether a Level 4 course fulfilled the GE principles, a single course in a sequence could be reunited, a language course constituted skills or foundations of knowledge, a language-acquisition course engaged (as proposed) social analysis, cultural and literary, or linguistic analysis, or whether it inherently fostered cultural diversity. Additional considerations derive from the issue of heritage speakers, prerequisite requirements, the varying difficulty of languages and script systems, and the degree to which these courses are designed to foster other curricular objectives within the majors or for the Education Abroad curriculum. The Workgroup noted that in all cases the language departments (French, German, Italian, EALC) submitted otherwise strong GE courses, often ones designed specifically to introduce students to art/cinema, literature, history, and culture through interdisciplinary study. Even though courses are not approved as GE for freshman admits, the "hold" does not affect students currently fulfilling GE under the old system, nor is it anticipated to affect most students until their sophomore year, or to affect the fulfillment of GE in other Schools (Engineering). This issue will be revisited through consultation with affected departments and with the workgroup, with a final recommendation from the FEC.

 

2. Quantitative Reasoning and Foundation Courses in Scientific Inquiry

 

A range of courses in mathematics and statistics submitted in the foundation area of Scientific Inquiry also fulfill the "basic skills" College-wide requirement for Quantitative Reasoning. Workgroup members considered whether or not these courses fulfill the goals for foundations of "science" in the life and physical fields, or whether they provide functional tools, albeit good problem-solving skills, that are expected of entering students. The Workgroup recommended that revising (toughening, in essence) the requirements for Quantitative Reasoning (through SAT scores, AP, course-fulfillment) needed to be addressed first, and the discussion of GE status for selected courses and the issue of double-dipping revisited subsequently. Since Quantitative Reasoning falls within the College Regulations and would require a ballot initiative, the FEC proposes to appoint a committee, with representatives from the Scientific Inquiry Foundation Workgroup, to review and recommend changes in the Quantitative Reasoning and to respond to the questions raised about GE accreditation of math and statistics courses in that context. As with intermediate languages, the "bracketing" does not affect the GE accreditation of mathematics courses for students fulfilling requirements under the "old" GE, and none of the statistics courses (some cross-listed) had previously been GE.

 

3. Cultural Diversity

 

As reported in the narratives from the Workgroups in Arts and Humanities and Society and Culture, "diversity" as a criterion or one principle of GE courses was considered in the assessment and review of courses. However, the dialogues and responses in these workgroups did not fully address the broader issues of diversity across the GE curriculum, the depth and specificity within courses, the definitions of what constitutes diversity, and how extensively students have access to courses that reflect, foster, or engage multicultural perspectives. The Undergraduate Council is charged by the Legislative Resolutions from May 1993 with an annual report on "measures adopted" to engage all undergraduates in studying "multicultural interactions" and developing the "ability to analyze complex, multicultural issues from differing perspectives," including "the development of new courses, and the revision of existing courses." The on-going College process of GE review for cultural diversity needs to be coordinated in light of this broader mandate, which applies as well to other Schools and to Department/IDP curricula. A jointly appointed committee, including members from the Workgroups, FEC, and UgC may provide one such mechanism.

 

Other issues, such as controlling for double-dipping with respect to GE-approved Writing II courses that fulfill both Writing II requirements (basic skills) and a GE Foundation area; the availability of sufficient seminars to meet the need for "an approved GE seminar or second Writing II course" (1 out of the 10); the "allowance" of upper-division courses for an essentially lower-division foundational/ preparatory curriculum; and the problem of cross-listed submissions in which there was no consultation with another (sponsoring) department--these will be referred back to Departments/Programs when appropriate or brought up for discussion with the FEC, as matters of interpretation and implementation.

 

GE Goals and Future Reviews

 

One of the remaining goals specified by the FEC and the UgC as an important step forward in GE governance, is to institute a process of periodic programmatic review, designed to evaluate how successfully departments have sustained their GE offerings and course quality, how effectively those courses continue to meet GE principles, and how students have evaluated their GE experience. In that light, there are two review functions that will be inaugurated.

 

1. Within the College of Letters and Science, GE fulfillment will be tracked with particular attention to patterns of student curricular choices, timely fulfillment of GE, enrollment pressures on potentially impacted classes, access to courses, optimum numbers of seminar and second Writing II offerings, orientation and on-going College counseling, and regular review of the guidelines for how to fulfill GE (sometimes called "rules of the game"). The FEC will receive annual reports and will, upcoming this May, review the materials prepared for the Catalog and for freshman orientation.

 

2. Together with the FEC and GE Governance Committee, the Undergraduate Council will establish review guidelines for periodic review and recertification of courses within each of the Foundation areas. Review of GE proposed courses, brought forward by Departments in the interim, will remain as at present under the purview and delegated authorities of the College FEC and the UgC.

 

Conclusion

 

GE foundations of knowledge ask all departments to bring depth and breadth to the lower-division curriculum, to dedicate a higher proportion of ladder faculty to these "core" or "fundamental" courses, and to use innovations to engage students intellectually in the excited pursuit of research, critical thinking, and richer analytic models. Overarching in this pursuit of a reinvigorated GE is the desire to create a curriculum governed not by a smorgasbord but by articulated principles for courses that genuinely provide students with foundations of knowledge, methodologies of inquiry, and diverse perspectives on how human beings think and feel, solve problems, and express ideas. Although General Education remains always and inevitably a work-in-progress, we feel confident that most departments, numerous faculty, and the Academic Senate committees have taken a long-needed hard look at a curriculum unrevised in nearly thirty years. We believe that many of these goals have been achieved, but only the actual teaching of GE in the next years will determine whether we have succeeded in creating a seachange of student culture and how we can still "do" general education better. We anticipate change, and we know that departments will continue to refine and redefine their own commitments to lower-division undergraduate instruction.

 

No reform of this magnitude, undertaken under the necessity of short timelines, would be successful without the support from the College of Letters and Science academic administration. Vice Provost Judi Smith has coordinated the College efforts, along with Lucy Blackmar, Director of Undergraduate Educational Initiatives. Each Workgroup has drawn on the expertise of Academic Instructional Coordinators Jeffrey Decker (Arts and Humanities), Gregory Kendrick (Society and Culture), and Sally Gibbons (Scientific Inquiry), and all of us owe a debt of gratitude to Angie Hamner, Administrative Specialist, who has been in the thick of it. As we proceed to the next stage, which includes follow-up with departments and incorporation of the new guidelines for fulfilling GE into the Orientation Program (and literature) for incoming freshman, these good folks will pick up where the faculty labor has left off. As envisioned above, the continuing processes of approval will revert to the GE Governance Committee, FEC, and UgC, while the ongoing efforts to address the outstanding issues will call back into "service" many of the now GE-savvy Foundation faculty. Were David Rodes not more deliciously occupied in London, he would be here to garner well-deserved congratulations for having chaired the GE Governance Committee and guided the College in its efforts to make General Education a hallmark of UCLA's undergraduate experience. Present in spirit and having granted his "signature authority," he requested that I submit this summary report and the slate of GE courses as a joint request and with the strongest possible recommendation for approval by the Undergraduate Council.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Karen E. Rowe, Chair

Faculty Executive Committee

College of Letters and Science

 

 

 

David Rodes, Chair

GE Governance Committee

 

 

Cc: Brian C. Copenhaver, Provost

Judith L. Smith, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Tony Chan, Dean, Physical Sciences

Fred Eiserling, Dean, Life Sciences

Scott Waugh, Dean, Social Sciences

Pauline Yu, Dean, Humanities

Lucy Blackmar, Director, Undergraduate Educational Initiatives

Linda Mohr, Coordinator, Undergraduate Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are other items, ones that I didn't necessarily include, but feel are part of a "full" submittal, and that (in the second case) raise the issue about the Writing II courses for Writing and for GE. Obviously, at the CC, what I would do would be to highlight, but the record would be here as "historical". I'm a tad off my usual facility with language, for some reason, and I recall memos I've written in the process of the GE review that seem to me more vitally engaged and reflective of some of the issues. But, alas, we need something judicious, and I hope this hits the right note.

 

 

One other clutch of courses, specifically three to be taught for Fall 2002, from the Professional School Seminar Program, were vetted by Otto Santa Ana, Karen Rowe, and Ray Knapp, to be presented for UgC approval. Collegium of University Fellows (CUTF) courses, although reviewed by the faculty committee under Nick Entrikin and on which Ray Knapp sits, will be presented later this Spring to the GE, FEC and UgC for approval, according to the usual process.

 

 

3. Writing II and GE Fulfillment

 

None of the College-wide requirements governing foreign languages, quantitative reasoning, or Writing I and Writing II changed, and students are still responsible for fulfilling 26 total units. Within the ten-course (minimum of 48 units) GE Foundation curriculum, students must take one "approved lower division seminar or second Writing II course in an appropriate foundational area." This "one out of ten" requirement insured one goal of the new GE which was to expose students to "best practices in education" that emphasize small-group learning models as well as intensified writing experiences. The Arts and Humanities Workgroup has approved GE Writing II courses that will permit fulfillment of this "second" course, but there have been questions raised (administratively) about the ways of distinguishing the requirements on the DPR, the backlog demand on Writing II, and how to accommodate increased enrollments. However, Arts and Humanities faculty felt strongly that "double-dipping," which might allow a single Writing II course (ones taught primarily as writing across the disciplines) to "count" for both "basic skills" and GE in "cultural and literary analysis," would displace an array of richly conceptualized foundation courses that Departments regularly offer as ways of introducing students to disciplinary methods in the study of literatures and languages. Both by regulation and the intent of the General Education principles, students are expected, therefore, to complete their Writing II requirement, thereby strengthening their basic skills, and to fulfill, independently and via another selected course, a "seminar or second Writing II" GE requirement in an appropriate foundation sub-category. The College is preparing Orientation materials to be brought forward at the May meeting, in which student pathways to fulfillment of Writing II and the GE requirements will be mapped out clearly.