Gen Ed Distribution of Hours Proposal

Dear Colleagues,

During Academic Assembly, a proposal was shared regarding the distribution of General Education hours.  The proposal is as follows:

  1. Each gen ed division keeps the six hours already agreed upon, for a total of 30 hours.
  2. Three of the remaining hours will be either SPC 1608 or SPC 1017, as those courses are essential to the reinforcement and assessment of oral and interpersonal communication.
  3. The remaining three hours will be the newly created New Student Experience course, which will be designed in such a way that it contributes to the gen ed outcomes that are not sufficiently covered by our current map. Because the course will be a requirement of all new students, the Valencia Gen Ed Communications and Planning Team is concerned about burdening students with additional graduation requirements; adding this course to gen ed reduces that problem.

The CCC will take all the feedback on this proposal and vote on the distribution of hours at the September 11 meeting on West Campus, 6-202 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.



Karen Borglum


9 Responses to “Gen Ed Distribution of Hours Proposal”

  1. Irina Struganova

    I am concerned about the third part of the proposal: making New Student Experience course a required gened course. I agree that this will be beneficial for majority of our students, however, we have a number of students who do not need this course at all. I have in mind grown adults who know what they want, know how to study, and how to learn. They are coming now to work on their degrees because they could not do it before due to family issues and other factors. I usually have 3-5 of such students in my classes every year. They would like to earn AA at Valencia, and then transfer to UCF or other schools for BS or BA. I think we should suggest an alternative course, or a number of courses which these students can take to complete their gened requirements.

  2. Deidre Holmes DuBois

    Hi Karen, Thanks for blogging (!) and for this space for faculty to comment on the Gen Ed proposal.

  3. Karen Marie Borglum

    The following comments were collected from the Humanities faculty afternoon, break-out discussion during Academic Assembly. Faculty names were not listed on the comments, and the comments were not edited in any way.

    1. With the addition of “exempt” students and the resulting decrease in students in developmental courses, we will have an increased number of under-prepared students in college-level courses. The SLS as a core course is a good idea. Make Philosophy Gordon Rule. Yes, LinC HUM 1020 to SLS or HUM 1020 to SPC. Students must take the new SLS in the first semester.
    2. I feel that the Student Success requirement without a stipulation that it must be taken in the first year, does not make sense. This seems self defeating and unfair to the students who achieve a 4.0 and is then told he/she cannot graduate until he/she takes a course that will show them how to achieve what they already have. This needs some thoughts.
    3. Humanities needs to be HUM courses, not a hodgepodge from other departments. LinCing high enrolled courses like Intro to Student Success or Interpersonal Communications or Speech. Need to take the Student Success course within the first 15 hours. This is vital.
    4. Dr. Borglum emphasized “equitable distribution of courses-6 hours to each area.” Why then are other departments pushing courses into Humanities. I teach Pythagoras in Intro to Humanities, can I put that in the math group? Half of the Humanities core are not actually in the Humanities department. We might all need to sacrifice something, but it seems an undue burden of loss is being foisted on the Humanities area.
    5. Too many of the courses in the designated “core” section in Humanities are NOT really Humanities courses or interdisciplinary. We need to reconsider and clearly define this. We should link HUM 1020 to Student Success more clearly, or Interpersonal Communications. New Student Experience should be required in first 15 hours, not suggested. Passing it should also be required earlier given the changes to dev ed. Intro to World Religion needs to be included among the core courses. Institutional hour classes should also be Gordon Rule classes.
    6. Please do not allow non-interdisciplinary courses to be titled under Humanities. The point of humanities is to tie in art, literature, music, philosophy, etc. all together. A course like music history is very one sided and does not cover any other of the HUM subjects. Such a course belongs under Fine Arts not Humanities. A student taking this instead of a traditional course like Greek/Roman will be missing an integral part of their education. Such students will go on to a 4 year college with no knowledge of art, philosophy, religion, theater, etc.
    7. Delete non-humanities classes for the additional six hours. Allow completion of Gordon Rule (6 hours) in Humanities by making some of the core courses Gordon Rule classes. Do not restrict choices in the 2nd category of non-core classes.
    8. Second category to fulfill Humanities requirement should be HUM prefix courses only. Reason- the Interdisciplinary nature and approach of HUM courses is essential for students to experience. HUM – Interdisciplinary which provides students an authentic approach to cultural and historical understanding as well as to thinking holistically.

  4. Troy Gifford

    The redistribution as proposed could have a big impact on some A.A. pre-majors and this needs to be considered. For example, the A.A. Music pre-major has already made sacrifices in course requirements because of the 60 hour limit. Further reduction of classes related to the major could result in a pre-major that is so watered down that it becomes of little value to the graduating student. They will not be able to take the courses they are expected to complete before their junior year by four year schools and that they need to take for success at the next level of education.

  5. Jonathan Territo

    Thank you for all the diligent work the committee has done trying to overcome this massive challenge. However, I am concerned about the impact this change will have on our existing music pre-majors. The current pre-major requirements are stretched to the max. The addition of a 3 credit course will likely eliminate the pre-major offering. Thank you for soliciting and hearing our voices.

  6. Alan Gerber

    I will echo what Dr. Gifford and Mr. Territo said: our Music AA pre-major is at a bare-bones place as it stands, curriculum-wise. If we just want to be competitive with other music schools, let alone the best of them, we need to have some flexibility so as to not loose more courses specific to the major. Suggestions are to allow our counselors to do course substitution(s) for the New Student course or other humanities course, or to embed the learning outcomes of the missing Gen Ed course into one of our other courses.

  7. Karen Marie Borglum

    The following information were the results of the survey on the distribution of hours within Gen Ed. Of those who took the survey 169 respondents attended Academic Assembly, and 47 indicated they did not.

    Answer Response %
    Full-time faculty 161 74%
    Administrator 31 14%
    Student Affairs Staff 25 12%
    Total 217 100%

    I support the proposal 180 83%
    I do not support the proposal 37 17%
    Total 217 100%

  8. Karen Marie Borglum

    The following are the comments from the survey. They have not been edited in anyway. A full report is available from the Office of Curriculum and Articulation.

    Karen, thanks for all your hard work and logistical support.

    I think that this proposal makes perfect sense for our students. I am especially glad to see the SLS course as a gen ed requirement now that Dev Ed has been impacted by the state. I am also thrilled to see that the course will address online readiness!!

    This proposal is the right way to move forward.

    I do not feel that all students need or can benefit from taking SPC 1608, SPC 1017, or the new student experience class and should not be required to take these classes. For some students they are just wasting money and time because they are forced to take these classes. I feel that these classes go against the idea that we are supposed to help reduce student costs and help them complete college in a timely manner.

    Good work, team!

    This is the most fair and most logical use of those remaining six hours.

    I don’t think this course as defined adding anything of academic value that can not be achieved through other existing General Education courses. As a new course, I agree, as a mandatory course, I am opposed due to the diversity of our student population, it is hard for me to support a one size fits all New Student Experience course. I think that it will be a waste of time for some students, especially at 3 credits. I would support the course if there would be different sections based on field of study so that we could get into some content to help students prepare for core coursework.

    I do not believe that college-ready students should be required to spend the time and money to take a modified student success class.

    Nice work!!

    I believe that both the SPC cources and the NSE course are vital and have been wise choices for the use of our college requirements. Both of these courses will contribute to the viability of our students in the workforce.

    I think the New Student Experience course would best be offered as a specific version for each of the meta-majors.

    “I completely support first part of the proposals. I think that second and third part of the proposals will work fine for a majority of our students. However, we have a number of students who do not need “”student experience”” course at all. I have in mind grown adults who know what they want and who know how to get through college. They are coming back because they have not completed their degrees due to family issues and other factors. I am afraid they will be offended by “”new student experience”” course, and I do not think that a course that is designed for new freshmen will be beneficial for these students. We need to suggest another choice for them. The same, though to a less extend, is applicable to speech. Students need an alternative. ”

    “I would switch my vote to “”yes”” if two things happened.1. There is a clearly stated exemption policy. For example, I see little value in making a transfer student with 25 hours of college class work and a 3.5 GPA take this class. It needs to be restricted to genuine FTIC students. I think we also need to think carefully about how to handle students who come in with DE credit. 2. If the new success course is to be really valuable it MUST be taken soon in a student’s career. The language we heard on Thursday was a bit vague on this. I understand that there may need to be an ramp-up/implementation phase but this needs to be clearly stated/planned.” I do have some reservations, especially about the New Student Experience course replacing a humanities course because the course has not been designed as of yet.

    The most glaring problem with this proposal is that it violates the principle that Karen Borglum enunciated at academic assembly: equitability. It seems on the surface that each of the five areas has the same 6 hours, but Humanities has to share its area with things like Intro to Theater–and why was it crammed in there? Because it satisfies several pre-majors we were told. But does that not blatantly contradict the point, the spirit, the very definition of “General Education” and “Core”? General education is supposed to mean classes that all “generally educated” people should be exposed to–Intro to Theater is specific to Majors in the dramatic arts–so why is it crammed into the first tier of supposedly humanities requirements? Are we just trying to save them the gosh-darned hassle of taking so many classes? Why? This is college for crying out loud–diminishing the depth of education by allowing students to bypass basic educational classes does nothing to enhance learning, and is a glaring and hypocritical contradiction to the very principles enunciated by those in charge of this redesign. Theater majors can use their elective hours or structure their meta-majors to allow them to take theater if they need it. It is THEIR interest so they will likely take it anyway. Despite all the fine sounding language, anyone who has been around here long enough can see this for what it is: a crass attempt to push enrollment in their own department at the expense not only of other departments, but of the overall quality of college education. I do not comprehend how such self-serving destructive maneuvering is being tolerated. Secondly, we are also being asked to vote in favor of locking down 3 hours for whatever Student Success turns in to. Forgive me for speaking bluntly, but I have spoken with many students over the years who consider Student Success the most ridiculous waste of time and money during their entire Valencia experience. That course is regularly mocked by those who have taken it, and I have no confidence, and no basis for any confidence, that somehow a meaningful course will evolve out of it. And who will be the faculty for this new course? What department does it belong to? Who is the beneficiary of the massive enrollment that this structure will guarantee for this nebulous concept of a course being created at everyone else’s expense? All of this looks like the creation of a new boondoggle to replace the old one–I don’t see how any of this is progress.

    “I am not in support of the New Student Experience Course requirement. 1) I believe that the outcome of “”interpersonal communication”” may be achieved through other venues such as LOs typically attributed to speech, English, and/or Humanities.2) I also am concerned that the diversity of our student population is such that it would be unfair to require ALL students to take the new course.3) Due to the change in the developmental course requirement, I believe our students should be given choices of “”success classes”” that include academic content related to the career field choice, possibly built around the premajors curriculum. We are soon going to be missing important aspects of the developmental program in our AA degree program that increase our students’ chances for success. Examples of course titles could be Student Success for Mathematics, Student Success for English, and so on. These courses could be 1-3 hour credit courses taught by faculty in each respective field. If a student was uncertain of their field of study, they would be guided to enroll in the New Student Experience course.”

    I don’t think the new SLS course needs to be three hours. Most colleges have a one hour Freshman Experience.

    “1. All gen ed outcomes should be covered in courses as that is how they were initially designed, not to be cast out to a step-child course.If the outcomes cannot be covered perhaps we should re assess their validity.2. I do not know what the english/communications people’s 6 hours include, but assume comp I and comp II are required, as they are currently. I would support a speech class as part of the core hours 3. I do no support the New Student Experience course (SLS in disguise). I have taught the SLS course and unless this course includes what is normally in the college’s orientation, a hard core committment to use of technology and the library resource, and is required the 1st term at valencia – it is a waste of time. 4. Students now only get 60 hours at “”regular price”” – after which they pay more. 5 A better option for the last 3 hours of the core would be a technical writing or research methods course in my opinion.”

    Excellent plan for student learning.

    I believe we are heading in the right direction. It is important to give each student choices and it is important to make the studnet the focus of all that is happening at the college.

    My only issue is with #3, the mandatory New Student Experience course. I believe these three hours could be better assigned to include humanities or the social sciences.

    My only concern is we are going to make the New Student Experience course a requirement for every student and the course is not completed or piloted. I have faith that it will be a great course because there are amazing faculty/staff working on this course, but it is not a great practice to require a course of all students when it has not even fully completed or even been piloted.

    The New Student Experience course does not seem like a worthwhile course for all Valencia students. A student success-type course might be beneficial to SOME students, but not all, so why make it a requirement for everyone? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for students to take an extra course (an elective) in the “major” that they are considering rather than a course that teaches them how to study, take-notes, etc? It just doesn’t seem to be viable, and I can imagine students thinking that it’s a waste of time (as I have heard students say about current SLS courses). These topics: study skills, note-taking, etc. are much better addressed in skill shops rather than a credit course. While yes, we need to always keep student interests at the forefront, what type of culture are we truly projecting to students? Are we truly a college or just an advanced high school?

    I don’t agree with this as I think a mandatory 3 credit New Student Experience course is not at all useful to students. Students are going to resent being forced to take a course that is not transferable and has no real academic merit. I really can’t believe Valencia wants to go this route. Anything taught in this course can be covered in an afternoon orientation. It is going to be a waste of financial aid money and student time.

    I support the 6 hour equitable distribution but feel that students should have more than SPC 1608 and student success as their choices for the remaining 6 hours. You do not need to take a course in speech to learn how to communicate orally or interpersonally. This course is more for extroverted students and does not take into account introverts and how anxiety-provoking such a course may be for some students. Moreover, not all students need the New Student Experience course and should not be forced to take it if they pass certain assessments that indicate they are college-ready.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

    I am comfortable with numbers 1 and 2. I am less comfortable with number 3. If this proposal passes, we need to work to ensure that the New Student Experience course is worthwhile for our students versus another option.

    I am not sure that an entire day needed to be dedicated to this.

    This is going to make parents of higher quality students see Valencia as a mediocre college where their child’s time will be wasted on courses they do not need with the perception that we are all about a watered down version of what college should be (rigorous from day one).

    “It’s not accurate to say that “”each division keeps…six hours.”” Only two of the humanities courses in the statewide core are taught within the humanities division. I’m also skeptical about the New Student Experience course, as I question its usefulness for honors and advanced students. And how will the huge number of required sections be staffed?”

    I support this as long as there is the option to embed the New Student Experience outcomes into the A.S. programs and also the A.A. Pre-Major courses. There could be perhaps a different brand of the New Student Experience course to suit the pre-majors.

    I support the proposal, but concerned about AS degrees and how this mandatory course will fit into the degree requirements of AS degrees.

    I support this proposal as long as the New Student Experience course content can be embedded within the existing Intro to (Discipline) courses offered in our Division.

    I believe that this is a very important course that can help our students be successful—-if done in the right manner and taught by the right people! it will be very beneficial if faculty outside the discipline of Student Success will be engaged in the discussion of furthering the Learning Outcomes to further design the course, syllabi, and teaching strategies so that this new course can truly make a difference in the lives of new students. I am specially concerned about the large number of international students coming from Asian and Middle Eastern countries who have limited exposure and understanding to the culture, and education stystem in the US. How can we help them truly make the Personal Connection (LO- 5)? I believe that this is the time to tap on our resources and identify those faculty and invite them to the table, as once this course becomes part of our Gen Ed program most of our focus may turn to other needs (scheduling, hiring, expanding, other). This is a good time to send a quick survey to find out if there would be any faculty who would like to offer their expertise to any or all of the Six Student Learning Outcomes. I vote in favor of this course as I see New Student Experience is our new hope, not just another course that is filing a blank in Gen Ed program!

    Thank you for your work on this!

    I believe that U.S. Government should be taught to each student who seeks an AA degree. While the assessment of oral and interpersonal communication is important, nothing really matters if students never learn about their civic duty and/or participate in civic engagement. Everything revolves around government.

    The New Student Experience course should not be part of the Gen. Ed. core as not every student needs to take it.

    Nationally and at Valencia, studies have consistently shown that a First Year Experience course contributes to increased success and persistence rates. Our Student Success course, taught by tenured and full-time faculty, provides both a strong introduction to Valencia and an introduction to integrative learning. Modified to more fully connect with the gen ed outcomes, Valencia’s redesigned Student Success course will continue to lead the way in terms of course content and effectiveness.

    It is crucial that the New Student Experience course include Information Literacy concepts along with Critical Thinking/Reading skills due to the reduction in Developmental Education courses (and supportive instruction for students who struggle with literacy).

    While I understand comments that it is difficult to approve the inclusion of the New Student Experience course in General Education when the design process is not complete, I think we have general agreement that such a course should be part of the Valencia experience for students and it makes sense from a practical standpoint (excess-hours) that it be included. We need to trust that our colleagues will produce a quality course that meets the needs of our students.

    The New Student Experience course should NOT be a REQUIREMENT for all students.

    “SPC 1017 should be required since it addresses so many more competencies related to student performance in courses and in their personal and work lives. It also would fully address the Interpersonal competency we have in regard to the SACS accreditation.

    “NSE Course feedback:
    Pathway – career planning includes personality, interests, skills and values. Can we incorporate personality into the mix? I suppose strengths is an OK substitute for skills. Personal Connection – just because someone has strong communication/interpersonal ability does not necessarily mean they will make a personal connection with someone within our community. They may not find a “”person”” who will support them and miss them if they are gone from our community.”

    While the idea of putting the New student Experience is good it is unclear what happens to students ready to graduate in the application year. Can this be application only to classes enrolling in 2014 onwards ? Also , New student experience course should really be a part within the first 9-15 hours for each student.
    I believe it is needed. If only we could direct the students in the way the Bridges program does. From the little I know of it, it teaches the students a lot of valuable skills they need to survive in life.

    Student Success adds the hands-on element not fully expressed or allotted for in other classes. Furthermore, it speaks directly to the ideas of Purpose, Preparation, Pathway and Personal Connection – all of which are essential to the overall population at a 2-year college.

    What six credits would be dropped to make room for SPC 1608 or SPEC 1017 and the New Student Experience?
    “While I understand the timing was not under our control, there are too many questions about this proposal and therefore, can not be supported. ”

    I haven’t heard the topic debated fully yet, but I start from a position of favoring SPC 1017 over SPC 1608.


    Will the Gordon Rule still be with the Humanities department or with it expand into other division (more so than current choices)

  9. Sarah Melanson

    I agree with many of the comments above. I think NSE will be a great course for many of our students. However, like many others, I don’t agree that ALL students should be required to take a course that only SOME students need/want. The course should be OPTIONAL. Failing that, there should be plenty of EXEMPTIONS. Not all our students need remediation/direction/purpose/study skills etc. etc. My son was a dual-enrolled 4.0 honors student at Valencia, and if he’d had to take a student success type course, I would have had a full scale rebellion on my hands. Exemptions should include dual enrolled students, honors students, students with a score of X on test Y, students entering with a GPA of Z, and students in specific majors (such as music) that can’t spare 3 credits for a student success type course. These majors could easily infuse the NSE LOs into existing courses (they probably do already). I am very concerned about the issues raised by the music faculty, where students will have to substitute a course they don’t need for one they do need. This defies common sense; we can do better. In EAP we also infuse SLS/NSE LOs into our curriculum; in fact, I’ve had many former students come back and tell me that after they left EAP, they took student success and learned ‘nothing new’. I could make a good case for exempting most EAP students from the course. Don’t get me wrong: I think the course is a good idea, and will be invaluable for many of our students. However, I do not believe that this course should be required for ALL students for all of the reasons others have stated above. One size does NOT fit all. We have to respect the diversity of the population that we serve.


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