Proposal for a University-wide General Education Program, 1997

(adopted by the Faculty Senate March 3, 1997)

A University-Wide Structure

There will be a university-wide structure for General Education, common across all colleges.

The Mathematics of the Structure

The structure will involve 10 courses of non-skills-based (i.e. not mathematics, composition, or second language) coursework -- 6 courses in a first tier to include 2 courses in Traditions & Cultures, 2 courses in Natural Science, and 2 courses in Individuals & Societies; and 4 courses in a second tier distributed across the following four segments -- Arts, Humanities, Natural Science, and Individuals & Societies.

Students will be required to take one course in each of the four segments of the second tier. However, coursework in the major may satisfy one segment of the second tier. (For example, majors in MCB could complete a course in second tier Arts, a course in second tier Humanities and a course in second tier Individuals & Societies; the remaining segment in Natural Science could be completed by coursework required as part of an MCB major.) Each major will identify which segment could be completed within its coursework.

Because of the unit load required for their majors, Tier 2 for students in the College of Engineering and Mines and the School of Health-Related Professions will comprise three segments (rather than four) -- Natural Science, Individuals & Societies and Arts & Humanities. Other majors with a comparable unit load may petition the University-Wide General Education Committee for a similar arrangement. [See Addendum for guidelines governing such exceptions.]

One course focusing on a non-western culture or on race, gender, class or ethnicity is also required, but may be fulfilled by appropriate first or second tier courses or by designated courses elsewhere in a student's program.

Students entering the University as freshmen will be expected to complete the first tier by the end of the midpoint of their degree (e.g. for a four-year 120 unit degree program by the end of the second year of full-time work or the completion of 60 units) and the second tier by the conclusion of their undergraduate degree.

The Content

The selection of courses in each of these segments will be common across all colleges.

The initial course choices will be selected by the University-wide General Education Committee from those currently approved in the Arts and Sciences General Education program, from the core courses already approved and from those which might be submitted to the Committee in the future, building on the first tier guidelines developed by the faculty and the second tier guidelines developed by the Committee.

The long-term goal will be to develop a selective set of courses that offer broad, rigorous treatments of fundamental knowledge and methods of inquiry. Should this goal ultimately preclude the inclusion of introductory chemistry and physics courses, majors in the College of Engineering and Mines will be allowed to satisfy their first tier Natural Science with their required chemistry and physics coursework; other technically-based majors may petition, with their dean's approval, a similar arrangement. [The College of Science and The School of Health-Related Professions have already indicated their desire to petition.]


The structure will also involve a third component. This component is intended to build a foundation in certain skills that can be further developed in first and second tier courses, as well as in major courses. It will include a course in mathematics (the character of which will vary with the major), courses in composition, fourth-semester skill level in a second language for all students in B.A. degree programs, and second-semester skill level in a second language for all students in non-B.A. degree programs.

Each segment of this component may be satisfied, at least in part, by demonstration of proficiency, as well as by coursework.