The California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Academic Senate voted to move forward with an option that would allow graduate writing assessment requirement (GWAR) courses to be in or out of the general education (GE) curriculum. But, there are still many votes to come in the senate before CSUMB has a new GE plan in place, which has to happen before the end of March.
“This is a cause for celebration,” said Professor Deb Burke, University College senator, after the vote, referencing that the group that has been divided over past few months, had come together for overwhelming support of one GWAR option. This relaxed the tension in the room for a moment as others joined in the laughter and clapped.
By selecting the GWAR option Senators can now consider six, rather than 12 GE curriculum models that were put forth by the GE committee.
Other issues discussed in the Feb. 26 meeting included restructuring the steering committee that was formed in the fall to handle issues related to EO 1100, the CSU Executive order that has forced all of the GE changes on campus. When the committee formed, it just so happened to have faculty only for the so-called higher unit majors, which has led some to question the committee’s work.
The proposed change was to add a representative from University College and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS). The reason given was because these are the colleges that house service learning and the language programs, which are areas of contention in the GE restructuring.
A representative from the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, as well as an ex-officio student rep were added through amendments, and the Senate approved the additions.
The opportunity for students to weigh-in was discussed again. Senate President Michael Scott said that the Google form that was supposed to go out to students awhile back, had not yet gone out, but he hopes it will this week. The form is to get feedback from students about the GE options. There are two forums this week for students; one was Feb. 28 and the other is March 2.
The bulk of the meeting was spent discussing whether seven additional models that were submitted by faculty at large will be included in the fi nal vote, and how the votes will take place. Scott announced the final vote on the GE models will now be held March 26, not March 12. The March 12 meeting is now when there will be a vote on which models to include in the final vote.
The Senate seems to have several options on the voting method. No decisions were made on that issue.
There was once again disagreement about which models should be put forward for consideration.
Professor Rob Weisskirch said all the models (the six from GE and the seven from faculty at large) should be put up for consideration. “Allow models in the middle to move forward, not just those that are polarizing,” he said.
Professor Kent Adams noted that the orientation of GE committee heavily tilts towards CAHSS, which, as was pointed out earlier in the meeting, houses the language programs, and is therefore very much invested in maintaining them. He wants all additional models to be considered in order to add multiple perspectives since no GE committee recommendation included a no language option, an option that was supported in a straw poll held earlier this semester.
Not everyone agreed with this. A very emotional statement was made by Professor Frauke Loewensen a lecturer in the School of World Languages and Cultures (WLC).
“Which models have been vetted and recommended?” she asked. “The [WLC] faculty, my courses, my department have been under attack since the start.”
She discussed the human impact of cutting the language requirement. She stated lecturers will lose jobs and they will have an increased workload by teaching another course to receive entitlement which is based on unit numbers, not courses. The other aspect of the GE changes are that all GE courses will now be three units and not four units, as many of them are now.
The next Senate meeting is Monday, March 12 at 12:10 p.m. in the Library room 1180. It is open to the public. This is when Senators will decide how to vote March 26, and which GE models will be on that final ballot.