Council reviews gen. ed. program

By Tom Omiatek

The Council on Instruction questioned Thursday the validity of its decision last fall concerning the relationship between general education requirements and major requirements in all departments.

The council is considering changing the requirements to allow undergraduate students to take courses from any emphasis in the department and have them count for general education credit toward their major in the same department, Barrett said.

“It’s the old question of whether or not courses in a department but in a different major … can be used for gen. ed. requirements,” Barrett said.

Discussion on the wisdom of changing the system began because of a request by Art Professor Dorathea Beard. Beard asked that her students majoring in studio art be allowed to take art history for general education credit. Barrett said this was requested because of the educational value of this class for any art major.

Undergraduate students can get credit for both their general education and major requirements by taking courses outside the department, Barrett said.

At a council meeting Oct. 2, 1986, members voted ‘no’ on a proposal which would give general education credit to students in one emphasis if they took a course designated as a major requirement for another emphasis, Associate Provost Lida Barrett said. As a result, courses in a department which counted toward a major could not count for general education credit.

Also at the October meeting, however, members of the department of foreign language and literature asked the council to allow certain classes in the department to count as general education credit for students in different emphases. The council passed this recommendation for three foreign language classes which will be put into effect in the fall.

The 1987-88 Undergraduate Catalogue will state any majors in the department of foreign language and literature can take Classical Mythology 271 and Italian Renaissance 272 for general education credit and, with the exception of Russian majors, Russian Culture and Literature 261, said Kay Vanmol, catalogue editor and graduate school curriculum coordinator.

The foreign language department was the only department granted the exception because it was the only department which gave specific examples, Barrett said.

Barrett said, “What we’re looking at in general is the more basic issue of the relationship of general education requirements to major requirements. We are asking ourselves ‘are we happy with the gen. ed. system that exists?'”

Council members said it appeared the university was training students rather than educating them.

Barrett said, “The reason gen. ed. fell apart was because it was so structured that people couldn’t take (courses) in other areas.” She said the council must decide “what is a viable educational experience for our students.”

Associate Professor of Sociology Herbert Rubin said the educational system structured today does not encourage students to think among themselves. He said students could be restricted by the emphasis on credit hours.