March 27, 2006

Undergraduate Academic Council
Meeting Date:
Monday, March 27, 2006, 9:30-10:45 AM.
J. Philippe Abraham, Jeanette Altarriba, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Chris Faugere, Sue
Faerman, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Carolyn Malloch, Lisa Trubitt, Daniel Truchan, Guest:
Sue Phillips
Minutes from the March 20, 2006 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those
minutes, with required updates, were approved.
Sub-Committee Reports:
- Only the Gen Ed Subcommittee provided a report for today’s meeting.
- Barbara Wilkinson of CETL attended the most recent Gen Ed Subcommittee meeting.
She discussed focus groups and students’ educational experience here at the University,
substitutions and exemption datum, and how information for transfers is gathered.
Does the Council want the Gen Ed Committee to generate a proposal to change the gen ed
program? The Committee may present suggestions only since the Council has the
responsibility to propose changes to the Senate. It was noted that the Council needs to
determine some type of conclusion if action is required.
The Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies will meet to discuss summer and fall internship
Changing the entire gen ed program comes across as too large a job. Perhaps the Council
should consider changes in stages (i.e., Phase 1 cross listed classes, phage 2 language, etc.) By
engaging in phases, we could also assess results along the way.
If one of the problems with student satisfaction is completing a degree on time, perhaps the
number of gen ed requirements could be reduced. The language changes previously discussed
has potential for adjustments, but language departments should be canvassed for input.
It was noted that the Senate needs to decide whether to continue with Global/Cross-Cultural
and U.S. Diversity and Pluralism in its present form or to modify the requirements. Eliminating
a second social science and natural science could be suggested. Should we temporarily change
the requirement of one upper level writing course and one lower level to one upper level plus
one at any level until the University can provide an adequate and appropriate supply of lower
level offerings? There are several ways to redefine foreign language requirements. Europe and
Regions Beyond Europe do not need to be only historical—the “Europe” requirement
represents SUNY’s “Western Civ” and may include intro theater, philosophy, mythology,
British lit, etc., and such courses have been approved on other SUNY campuses. All of the
above could be proposed to the Senate.
UAC Minutes, 3/27/06
Page 2 of 2
Eliminating a second social science and science would assist students. This would also be a
good faith effort that we are trying to do something to help students with the problems they
have strongly raised. There is also the equity issue that transfers, half our senior class, are only
required to take one of each.
A member commented that not enough research has been completed with departments before
moving ahead with gen ed requirements proposal. All changes would need SUNY approval.
Would some problems be alleviated by manipulating when courses are offered? Changing
when departments can offer courses would result in departments having less choices of when
to offer classes along with being more limited.
Before presenting to the Senate, the Council should examine why it is sound to make changes.
The Senate would require data to justify any gen ed requirement adjustments.
Spanish is a bottleneck for languages and somewhat for Italian. Other foreign languages are
underused due to students’ primarily studying Spanish in high school. It was noted that Greg
Stevens should attend an upcoming Council meeting since he is very knowledgeable about the
impact of the foreign gen ed requirements.
Students should be given the option of taking the first semester of language when having
previously done poorly in that language or having forgotten the learned language itself. If not
mandated to complete a second semester of language but completing a culture course, students
would have the advantage of learning more of a country’s culture. Also, it would meet Europe
and Regions Beyond Europe requirements.
It was mentioned as an example that both Russian 101 and Russian 380 (cinema) might form a
pair that would meet language, Europe and Global. Such pairs could be programmed into the
system to give students credit for completed gen ed requirements. It will provide students with
a language culture and historical perspective of a particular country.
The Chair will invite Greg Stevens as a guest to the UAC meeting of Monday, April 3rd.
The Council agreed that regarding Gen Ed changes, the following will be examined:
(1) broadening “history” fields of gen eds, and (2) alternative to language requirements.
Minutes Taken:
Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.