New GE coming in fall ‘08

Posted Oct. 19, 2007

The general education requirements for fall 2008 are changing – but don’t freak out.

The University General Education Committee has gone to great lengths to develop a plan that will keep the integrity of the University of La Verne’s core values alive, all the while meeting the requirements set by the University accrediting agency.

Zandra Wagoner, assistant dean of undergraduate programs, explained that over the next couple of years advisers will be counseling students on two different general education plans that will meet the needs of the student’s graduation schedule.

Just to clarify, the incoming freshman will be under the new requirements and all of the returning students will have the choice to remain on the current GE requirement schedule or change to the new requirement plan.

Compared with other universities, ULV has a very large general education requirement. Additionally, when representatives for the accreditation agency came to ULV to view the curriculum, they were displeased to see that the main campus students and the satellite campus students had different requirements for graduation. To address these two problems, a panel of faculty members began working together to improve on the course requirements that were already in place.

Concerned that the University’s values were in jeopardy, the panel decided to completely rewrite the general education requirements instead of just adjusting a few courses.

The new requirements are split into three main categories: “Breadth Requirements,” “University Values” and “Interdisciplinary Requirements.”

The Breadth Requirement looks similar to the one that is currently in place, but the social sciences requirement has been dropped from the mandatory three courses to two, and the humanities section now includes history, art history and foreign language.

“Foreign language requirements are still up for discussion because of the inconsistency of regulations for an on- and off-campus student,” Wagoner said.

The University values and Interdisciplinary Requirement is what will be different about the new program.

Current students are used to the current core classes, which are supposed to ensure that ULV students graduate with the fundamental ideals that will lead them to be well-rounded citizens.

Because of the difficulty-finding staff to teach these courses, complaints from the students and financial concerns, the core classes, as we know them will be gone.

The new schedule calls for some of the breadth courses to be labeled as to what values will be addressed in the curriculum.

From there the students will participate in two values orientated courses, two community and diversity courses, two lifelong learning courses and one community service course.

Once students review the new requirements and see the new format, the new G.E.’s proponents believe the program will be fairly user-friendly.

“The quality and spirit of the old G.E. has remained in the new G.E.,” Wagoner said.

To assist the current students, especially current freshman and sophomore students, the Academic Advising office is working on a new online program to view their previously taken courses.

University Registrar Marilyn Davies said the Academic Advising office has hired two consultants to assist in the development of the new program, which will allow all students to view their course requirements online as apposed to only his or her adviser having these records on hand.

The new online program’s scheduled launch is spring 2008 so that the new and current students will have a better understanding of where they stand academically to make well informed decisions when it comes to scheduling classes for the fall.

While the pending changes have caused concern among students and faculty, Davies said faculty will be well informed of all changes and will be able to assist the students in making the right decisions when it comes to which classes will meet their specific requirements.

“We will be holding workshops (and attending) department meetings,” Davies said.

She stressed that there will be plenty of people in the Academic Advising office who will be able to answer any questions.

It should be noted that while a faculty committee developed the new GE, which was ultimately ratified by the Faculty Assembly, the 2006-2007 ASULV council was able to provide feedback to the faculty committee based on the students’ perspective.

Gitty Amini, associate professor of political science and ASULV faculty adviser, was able to present the students’ ideas to the faculty committee before the final voting took place.

Amini said the faculty was grateful for the feedback and said that it helped them make their decision.

“Everyone will leave the University with those competencies that will benefit the students,” Davies said. “ULV students will be competitive and every student will have that opportunity.”

Cerina De Souza can be reached at cdesouza@ulv.edu.

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