Monday, January 26, 2009

New curriculum plan

A proposed new curriculum plan no longer includes Science and Technology in Society (the program I run) but it includes something called Global Challenges:
Credit for the core 13 hours of math, science, humanities and social sciences can be met with two types of courses:
1) Introductory or foundational courses that are taught within a major and which count towards the major and Gen Ed; and
2) New “Global Challenges” (GC) courses which are current, interdisciplinary,
relevant, and exploratory.
GC courses are not owned by specific departments – faculty from different disciplines can contribute to the teaching.
Courses will be fresh, somewhat like the ‘freshman seminar’ model at other universities.
To avoid adding more administration, this program can be managed by Undergraduate Studies.
GC science courses will be similar to current STS classes but more expansive
in scope. GC courses in the other areas will have a similar expansive
perspective on current issues and cross-disciplinary links.
An important philosophical change we are considering is to do away with the
term “general education” altogether and replace it with some new terminology
like “Preparation for Global Challenges”. Doing so would help eliminate
current student perceptions that GE is fractionated and unrelated to their disciplinary studies.
We conceive of the new GC courses as falling into at least ten mega-themes:
• Environment • Political Structures • Health & Wellness • Energy • Value Systems • Technology & Society • Cultural Narratives • Peace & Conflict • World Commerce • Math in Context
Within these mega-themes several specific courses would be offered each term that are interdisciplinary in scope and focused on modern problems.
Numerous existing courses can likely be repurposed to meet the requirements for
GC, and GC courses can vary over time as faculty expertise, availability and interests dictate. To meet the demand for GC courses and still reduce the number of teaching faculty, relatively large section sizes may be required. Since many of the disciplinary courses that currently also serve as GE credit will no longer have to be taught in multiple sections, the total number of courses taught will be reduced.
I see opportunities there, but my first reaction is that I am tired, I don't want to start fresh.


Joann said...

I'm so, so sorry.

Anonymous said...

WIth all you have to contend with, I can imagine just how tired you must be....I keep you guys in my prayers....JK