[From Jim Hood]
I wanted to put my suggestion from yesterday’s meeting in writing along with some other thoughts. Please feel free to share these ideas on the Moon Room.
Since a number of faculty are concerned that we be more specific about content before approving the proposed gen ed curriculum, here are some brief thoughts about how we could do that. Like some others, I’m concerned that distributing the re-envisioned Critical Perspectives into modules across the gen ed would be complicated and difficult to manage, so my suggestions here focus on concentrating critical perspectives in particular curricular locations, essentially blending some of our current breadth with current critical perspectives.
1. Global and Diverse Perspectives (Gateway) course
Courses satisfying this requirement would focus on non-Western cultures (which seems vital as a gateway experience for our students) and have to include historical perspective (change over time, causality) as a key component. I’m suggesting this not be primarily a writing course, but that it must also include instruction in research-based writing as a component. Students can learn much by doing, and by doing historically-informed, research-based writing, they will learn a lot about the culture or history of a non-Western locale.
2. Nature: Processes and Properties of the Natural World Breadth course
In the context of teaching the processes and properties of the natural world, this course must have a substantial focus on the environmental crisis we face as a planet, identifying key environmental problems and potential solutions.
3. Society: Social Interaction and Behavior Breadth course
Courses satisfying this requirement must include as a key component analysis of how social, political, and/or cultural structures create and sustain systemic forms of oppression.
4. Humanity: Human Experiences in Artistic and Cultural Expression Breadth course
Courses satisfying this requirement should include as a key component analysis of the contributions of traditionally under-represented groups to artistic, literary, religious, and/or other forms of cultural expression.
Coalitions (currently CiPs)
I would suggest a somewhat looser structure than implied in the term “chartered communities,” at least initially (following Naadiya Hasan’s suggestion in a faculty forum). I imagine the credit hours and components being the same as currently proposed, but I like the term “Coalitions” because it suggests a more fluid structure that would allow faculty to collaborate with students in cross-disciplinary fashion around shorter- as well as longer-term issues, similar to the idea behind our current PPSE minors. I also like the word “coalition” because it has a (now obsolete, from the 17th century) meaning of “Shared growth or development; the action or fact of nurturing or sustaining one another” (OED).
Administrative management of curricular components
A number of faculty, like I, have been concerned about how to manage the proposed curriculum without adequate resources. As I don’t foresee significant resources forthcoming, I suggest a modest arrangement for managing some of the curricular components.
1. Gateway Seminar
Administered in a manner similar to current FYS/FYE.
2. Gateway Communication
Administered by the current Writing Program director in the same manner as is current.
3. Gateway Global Engagement
Administered by the Foreign Languages department
4. Breadth courses and Global and Diverse Perspectives
Appoint faculty members as the directors of each of these components, for which they would receive one course release per year. Report to VPAA/Academic Dean.
5. Coalitions (currently called CiPs)
Each coalition should be managed by a faculty member, for which they would receive one course release per year. Report to VPAA/Academic Dean.
I hope these suggestions can help move us along in terms of clarifying content locations and simplifying things a bit.