The General Education program will no longer include clusters and tiers, the divisions that separate each General Education area, starting in fall 2012.
The Faculty Senate decided to allow students to take any two classes within the five areas of General Education, according to Phyllis Peres, vice provost of Undergraduate Studies and faculty senator.
Previously, students had to choose between two clusters within one area and were then restricted to that particular track.
The Faculty Senate will establish a committee to decide whether these General Education changes will apply to current students or only incoming freshman in the fall of 2012.
Under the changes, students will be allowed to take two introductory courses within the five areas, rather than taking a 100-level course and then a 200-level course to complete their General Education requirements.
“Instead of having to take an introductory course and then a sequential advanced course, you’re able to take two introductory courses, so you have more flexibility in terms of what classes you can take,” said former Student Government President Andy MacCracken, a member of the General Education taskforce to revise the program. MacCracken said Provost Scott Bass must approve of these changes before they can go into effect in fall of 2012.
The Faculty Senate will establish a committee to decide how to implement the new changes, according to Peres.
She said the Faculty Senate “overwhelmingly approved” eliminating clusters and tiers. During the last review of the academic regulations 10 years ago, the Faculty Senate voted to implement clusters and tiers.
Peres said each department will review the General Education program to make it more integrated and less “like a cafeteria menu.”
“We want to ensure students receive a deliberate curriculum and be careful it’s not a hodge-podge,” Peres said.
One of these changes will include sophomore seminars, as well as linked courses that will fulfill different General Education area requirements.
“If a student is really interested in Medieval studies, they can take a Renaissance history course and a Medieval Ages course in which the faculty would collaborate, and the courses would count for two separate General Education areas,” Peres said.
SG Director of Academic Affairs Eric Goldstein said the majority of the Faculty Senate agreed on the inefficiency of “clusters” in the General Education program.
“Most agreed that the clusters were designed so the second level course followed nicely with the foundation courses, but many students and professors found it to be an artificial barrier instead,” Goldstein said.