October 14, 1998
The following describes how the ad hoc Curriculum Review Committee envisions the process of implementing the proposed university-wide curricular changes now under consideration. This should be regarded as a recommendation, but not a mandate, to the Committee on General Education (CGE), the President, and the Provost, who will have the responsibility for these matters.
The ad hoc committee expects that a period of three to five years will be required to implement all of the aspects of the proposed curriculum. Although many existing courses may meet the Required Capacities and Ways of Knowing requirements, others will have to be created. Indeed, we hope that some faculty will, where appropriate, take this opportunity to design courses specifically for general education. Such new courses are obviously especially crucial to the full implementation of the freshman seminar requirement. Until we build a full repertoire of course offerings in this area, the freshman seminar will have to remain optional. Precise timing matters of implementation will be determined by the Committee on General Education after careful examination of courses proposed by departments, schools, and individual faculty. Until the new curriculum is fully implemented, we anticipate that the current distribution requirements will remain an option for students. In any case, no student will be required to follow a set of requirements that was not in effect when he/she first matriculated.
The charge to the CGE goes beyond overseeing specifics of the curriculum. This committee will, we hope, encourage and facilitate opportunities for improving undergraduate education by sponsoring special programs, workshops, and speakers, as well as by working with the faculty, department chairs, and deans help professors meet their individual curricular goals. The CGE will administer a substantial budget allocated to support complex, resource-intensive, or exemplary course efforts proposed by the faculty and related to the undergraduate general education curriculum. The CGE will maintain a website for communication with the faculty and will report to the faculty as a whole at least once a year.
The ad hoc Curriculum Review Committee recommends that the new Director be appointed and the new Committee on General Education be constituted as soon as possible. It suggests that the committee be composed of nine faculty members serving staggered terms, with the initial terms being specified as one-, two-, or three-years. The director should serve a longer term of five years. This committee should be representative of the faculty as a whole: four should be from division A, four from division B, and no more than two members from a single department should serve at the same time. The director could be chosen jointly by the president and faculty council and the committee could be appointed by the president from a list of candidates prepared by the Faculty Council. It is also recommended that the president appoint an undergraduate to the CGE annually. It is conceivable that a CGE could be in place by the Spring semester.