Gordon Rule Discussion

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, during fall of 2013, Valencia College faculty revised the General Education requirements for their respective disciplines in response to state-mandated changes that go into effect August of 2015.  The Social Sciences faculty responded by recommending courses that would satisfy the Social Science institutional hours component of the revised General Education requirements.  A copy of the entire General education revisions for the College can be found on the Curriculum Committee website.

The next step in the process is a College Curriculum Committee (CCC) review of General Education requirements and their impact on student advisement, transfer, and excess hours coming to this November. This means that our recommended choices for institutional hours and Gordon Rule-designated classes will be reviewed and considered in context to the decisions made by other disciplines and how our changes might impact students and other areas of the College. As a reminder, the final approving body for General Education changes is the College Curriculum Committee with feedback and data from stakeholders of the College.  Accordingly, as we have made our recommendations to the CCC, we do not vote in this matter.  However, we have been asked to offer our thoughts, opinions, and recommendations to the CCC as they consider and vote on our work.

In preparation for this review process, we have established this blog for faculty and public comment.  We welcome you to review, comment, and offer your thoughts and opinions on the proposed Social Science recommendations for Institutional hours.  At the end of the designated review period, the Social Sciences Deans will collect and summarize the recommendations, thoughts and ideas posted on the blog in a report to the CCC and distributed via email to the College-wide Social Science voting faculty.  Please remember that these blog posts are public and will become part of the CCC record.

We encourage you to participate in this process and to express your opinion to the College Curriculum Committee prior to their vote on November 12, 2014. The blog will be open until September 18, but any additional thoughts, sent after this date, can be shared with Karen Borglum, John Niss, Glenn Ricci, or Krissy Brissett.  Should you have any questions about this blog or the review process, please contact your dean.

 

Sincerely,

 

Molly McIntire

Thomas Takayama

Lee Thomas

 


22 Responses to “Gordon Rule Discussion”

  1. Chris Borglum

    Allowing courses which aren’t Gordon Rule in the institutional hours of Social Science Gen Ed could cause problems for those students who aren’t aware that they’ll have to take another Gordon Rule course down the road, risking excess hours, which could cause them problems with their financial aid and possibly cost them a surcharge for going over 120 hours. Most of our students will probably NOT be aware of this, so it’s probably better for them to simply make sure all Gen Ed courses in social science are Gordon Rule courses.

    Reply
  2. Lee Thomas

    As AA Dean Representative on the College Curriculum Committee, I’d like to some feedback on the following questions that might be posed during the November 12 CCC meeting:
    1 – After reviewing the current menu of Social Science institutional hours (aka the 2nd bucket), does our current menu of courses best serve students in terms of–a) transfer, b) minimizing excess credits, c) accuracy of student advisement?
    2 – Out of the 12 courses currently in our Social Sciences institutional hours menu, four are designated Gordon Rule. How might this impact students?
    3 – How might removing the core courses (aka 1st bucket) from the institutional hours (aka 2nd bucket, impact student –a) transfer, b) minimizing excess credits, c) accuracy of student advisement?
    4- How would it impact students if all Social Sciences institutional hours courses were designated Gordon Rule/writing?
    5 – What might be some questions that I should be prepared to answer in CCC in order to best support students, faculty, staff, and ultimately learning?
    6 – If ECO2023 and AMH2010 were designated Gordon Rule by the faculty, how might that impact students? What are the pros and cons?

    Thank you for any thoughts and feedback!

    Reply
  3. Carl E Creasman Jr

    The entire conversation is frustrating, to be frank. I’ll stop there about my frustration. So, I’ll just add this, and suppose whoever reads this does so knowing it is couched in my frustration—as I have said repeatedly in this now very long discussion, the College should have TWO GOALS in mind when making this decision. We have one goal that consistently is brought up; making sure students are considered. I agree that we have that clear responsibility. However, the other goal that must be considered, and yet never seems to be, is that faculty are considered. I remain concerned about enrollment in Political Science, History and Sociology. I believe enrollment for Psychology and Economics will remain strong due to multiple connections in some pre-majors and other required connections such as Economics within Business degrees. However, if a decision were made to force Economics or Psychology courses to become Gordon Rule, I can see no scenario in which enrollment in the other three disciplines would not go down. Though I have pressed for it, no one is willing to tell me what the plan is when enrollment in one of those areas drops below the load required for current tenured faculty. Are we firing people? Are we laying them off? Are we forcing them to go teach something else, and probably doing it at the last minute as it becomes apparent we don’t have enough sections?

    Moreover, it is very frustrating to seem to see/hear scenarios where faculty in some disciplines would be mandated to change their courses in some way beyond what they and their peers wish.

    As I have also said, maybe there is no answer because we are walking in a fog, making hard and apparently fast decisions about something for which we simply cannot have any data….and we won’t really know till probably 2017. So, okay, we are in the dark, but along with the care for students, I just wish others would demonstrate that they care about this other main goal. That it is never spoken about openly, or when broached is seemingly dismissed with a “oh, that’ll never be a problem,” is troubling….and frustrating.

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  4. Carl E Creasman Jr

    OK, still playing along. Beyond what I already wrote, here are some comments to the specific questions:

    1. After reviewing the current menu of social science institutional hours (see page 5 in the linked document for social science core and institutional hours), does our current menu of courses best serve students in terms of — a) transfer, b) minimizing excess credits and c) accuracy of student advisement? a)I have no idea as what some other institution would do with our hours, especially out of state schools, however within the state, all of our courses are from the State’s system, so should be accepted; b) that is an issue for the student so yes I think what we have is fine; c)I would not want to guess how our advisers would or would not do other than to say that I know we hire wonderful people and I am sure they would do great with whatever the system is.

    2. Out of the 12 courses currently in our social sciences institutional hours menu, four are designated Gordon Rule. How might this impact students? It would not impact students negatively at all. If they wanted to get their Gordon Rule credit from within Social Science, then they would take one of those 4 courses. Seems very simple to me and since Dr. Shugart has said, in regard to “path,” that less choices is better, seems like a well-designed solution.

    3. How might removing the core courses from the institutional hours, impact students in terms of — a) transfer, b) minimizing excess credits and c) accuracy of student advisement? This might be a good idea in that having the 6 in both groups could be confusing. But to your letters, a) no idea for the same reason as above, b)again this is the responsibility of the student, and c) our advisers will do great

    4. How would it impact students if all social sciences institutional hours courses were designated Gordon Rule/writing? Students would be impacted to the extent that they would have to have taken ENC 1101 before taking any of those courses; I don’t think there would be a severe impact. However, this fails to ask the more pertinent question connected to my first lament posted earlier—how would it impact professors in what they deem best for students? Obviously, our peers in classes that are not Gordon Rule could have, at any point in the past 3-4 decades, decided to add a major writing component to their courses. Those professors, not just our current professors but other peers from our previous decades, have decided that the best presentation of the course material in their classes is to NOT make the course Gordon Rule. It would seem to me, that if the professors actually do control the curriculum, that we would trust their judgment on this.

    5. What questions should we be prepared to answer in the CCC in order to best support students, faculty, staff and ultimately learning? Nothing to add here

    6. If ECO2023 and AMH2010 were designated Gordon Rule by the faculty, how might that impact students? What are the pros and cons? I can’t speak for the Economics course, but for AMH 2010, the conundrum as I see it is this…if we changed AMH 2010 to Gordon Rule, that would impact Dual Enrollment students in that they cannot take Gordon Rule classes till such time as they passed our ENC 1101 course. Some Dual Enrollment students do not take that English class from us (some do, obviously), so the concern is that it would impact enrollment of those students. At the same time, if the decision is made by the Curriculum Committee to create a rule that “all Social Science Institutional Hours must be Gordon Rule,” then if AMH 2010 wasn’t shifted to GR, then it would no longer be considered a General Education course. In that case, students would also not take AMH 2010 because it would seemingly do them little good towards their degree (except for a few select bachelor’s that do require both courses of the AMH series). Thirdly, if we did make AMH 2010 GR, then the subsequent course (AMH 2020) would not be GR. That’s not a huge deal, to me, but it might feel weird to students. Lastly, if we changed AMH 2010 to be GR, then it would seemingly not fit in any consideration of the “First Fifteen” that we are discussing connected to the First Year Experience. Of course, AMH 2020 could be included there, so maybe that wouldn’t matter, but in discussions with the Historians, putting 2010 into the First Fifteen was something we thought may be a good idea. I don’t have a good solution here; I see pros and cons both ways, and in our last conversation, the Historians were split on what to do with AMH 2010. I just know that having to make a decision about this is problematic. What we are agreed on is that it is very sad to us that the early history of our country would possibly be excluded from the General Education program at a college of this same country. I know that some of that is due to decisions made above us at the state level, and at least we got AMH 2020 into the State’s required options, but still, just expressing that it is frustrating.

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  5. Sean P. Jennings

    I agree with Carl’s sentiment of frustration, though perhaps about different irritating stimuli. I understand the creation of the excellent New Student Experience course has had the unintentional consequence of making it very hard for people (students and policy makers alike) to map the curriculum. I think there is an easier solution than the “all Social Science institutional hours must be Gordon Rule”. I recall before we had the horrible series of ‘conversations’ about buckets 1 & 2, the entire faculty at large voted to keep Speech (SPC1608/SPC1017) a mandatory course and mandated students to take 9 credit hours of communication. Considering students should write a speech out before they give it, I think SPC1608 & SPC1017 should be Gordon Rule. Since students have to take one of these classes, it makes a lot of sense according to Karen and Chris Borglum’s logic that students would be confused if they are left to figure it out how to meet Gordon Rule requirement for themselves. I think Chris and Karen would argue that they would like the Gordon Rule classes to be ‘dispersed equally’ across the divisions, but of course we all know for 30+ years 9 hours were completed in Humanities, so shifting the 9 hours of Gordon Rule over to Communications should not be a problem. As far as ‘equal distribution’, I would mention I do not believe Science has any Gordon Rule classes, so that pretty much negates the generally accepted definition of “equal”.

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  6. John Niss

    Our typical Associate of Arts student currently accumulates 20 excess hours. The state allows students 10% above the degree total without applying the excess hours penalty to tuition. So if we work from the standard 60 hours in an AA degree, by the time a student leaves Valencia for UCF they typically will have 6 hours of extra coursework to pay for (the allowed 10% overage) and 14 hours to pay for that include the excess hours penalty. A quick glance at the UCF tuition schedule shows that the median additional expense just for the excess hours here at Valencia is $5,716.58 to complete a baccalaureate degree. That is a significant barrier to degree completion.

    Rather than joining the chorus bemoaning the high cost of college, why don’t we take this opportunity as an institution to make a change that will start to decrease students’ costs?

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  7. Bob Gessner

    As Sean said, we do not have any Gordon Rule classes in our science classes. I am wondering, as I read the comments above, whether MEP 2.0 tracks a student’s Gordon Rule classes and if not, that could be programmed into the system so student would know how many GR classes they have taken and how many they need for graduation. In the catalog, the course descriptions say which courses are GR, and students need to be responsible to know the GR requirements for graduation. Through the NSE class, students going into MEP 2.0 would be further helped if the program helped them track these hours. It doesn’t seem necessary to make all social science institutional hour courses GR, just to avoid student confusion, when students through the NSE course are supposed to be learning about PLAN.

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  8. AJ Quackenbush

    I would agree with many of the posts that we need to consider students in any decision that is made regarding Gordon Rule. However, as an institution students, faculty, and administrators are ALL part of the process and should be taken into consideration when making these decisions.

    We do need to think about students having excess hours, their financial aid, and their ability to transfer. That said we also have to consider the learning process in our classes. For example some classes may not be best suited for Gordon Rule and additional requirements could actually hinder student learning. For this reason alone I feel that making all Social Sciences courses Gordon Rule is a terrible idea.

    Also, we need to take into consideration how these changes could effect student enrollment and our current workforce. We should not make a decision that severely cuts enrollment in a particular discipline solely for the benefit of reducing excess hours. We have many excellent faculty at our institution. They are the backbone of the college and the primary reason why we are considered one of the top community colleges in the nation. Any decision that is made MUST consider future enrollment in the various disciplines and seek to maintain our current exceptional faculty workforce.

    Many, many students at Valencia do not know their career path before their first class or even their first year. Students are going to change majors several times during college and take classes that end up not counting towards graduation. We cannot make these important curriculum decisions with the sole goal of reducing excess hours. Thus making this a major focus of our decision seems misguided.

    In my opinion the question that needs to be asked to the FACULTY is “will your General Education course be better if it were made Gordon Rule?” Those that say “YES” should be considered in the discussion. Next we should ask, “how will making those courses Gordon Rule effect student enrollment and our current faculty teaching loads.” This approach will ensure the best learning environment in our courses and will maintain our best faculty in those classrooms. In the end this is what is best for student learning.

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  9. Deidre Holmes DuBois

    So if today’s student leaves Valencia with 20 excess hours, why haven’t we had discussions about that before now? Apparently at least some of the work we are doing as far as advising students is not effective and/or students have their own reasons for going above 60 hours. I am not sure that the new Gen Ed program will make things worse, especially given that it hasn’t even been put into place yet. I would like to respect the work that faculty did to establish the institutional buckets and gather data about the new Gen Ed before we make changes.

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  10. John Creighton

    I had the misfortune of teaching at Kaiser University for two years before coming to Valencia, The speech class I taught was a Gordon Rule class. Being required to teach the Golden Rule in a speech class was like trying to teach a duck to swim on land.

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  11. Mayra Holzer

    I understand and appreciate the concerns for our students on the issue of excess hours. However, as many of our colleagues have expressed, I feel that curriculum changes should be based on the learning outcomes we want our students to achieve (based on the expectations and norms of the discipline). For example, the catalog description for Fundamentals of Speech (SPC1608) specifically states that the focus is on “preparation and delivery techniques for extemporaneous speaking.” “Extemporaneous” speaking is very different from “manuscript” speaking, as these two methods develop different skills. I welcome faculty discussion to further explore the viability of Gordon Rule (GR) requirements in our speech courses, as long as they significantly contribute to the demonstration of the course learning outcomes.

    Now, understanding that the issue of excess hours is a real problem for students, I support Bob Gessner’s suggestion to program tracking of GR hours into our system. I think this is a sensible and pragmatic solution. Furthermore, as others have pointed out, the NSE course provides students a wonderful opportunity to engage in critical thinking about their educational choices. This is a general education outcome we all strive to teach.

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  12. Cheryl Robinson

    We are all here for our students and to help our students be successful. A large part of that success is streamlining the degree requirements and the processes for earning a degree. With House Bill 7135, we were given the opportunity to revisit our General Education program and come up with a program that will support our Gen Ed principles. HB 7135 did not address Gordon Rule, yet those requirements remain in effect. It is up to each institution how to distribute the Gordon Rule requirements.

    In the past, as you all know, we included the Gordon Rule writing requirements in Communications and Humanities. The Communications courses were very clear: ENC 1101 and ENC 1102. The Humanities courses were not clear. As much as we tried to make it easy for students to decipher, the instructions were to choose 1 from Area A and 2 from Area B, one of which has to have an HUM prefix. It may seem like this should be easy to figure out, but it isn’t. We would often have students taking Humanities courses that did not meet the Gordon Rule requirement. Students would miss it. They would have 9 credits of Humanities, but since they weren’t the right credits from the right buckets with the right prefixes they would not satisfy Gen Ed and would need to take another course to satisfy their Gen Ed Requirements.

    HB 7135 gave us the opportunity to help rectify this confusion. Choose 1 from the Core course list and 1 from the Institutional course list is an easy concept. Then you throw in Gordon Rule. In our redesign, Humanities is relatively simple related to Gordon Rule. Social Science is not. The way the Institutional courses have been approved leaves a large window open for students to miss the Gordon Rule requirement since only 4 of the 12 courses are Gordon Rule. This will result in students satisfying Gen Ed but not satisfying Gordon Rule. They will have to take another Gordon Rule class to satisfy their degree requirements. A quick glance of the available electives in the AA Pre-Majors, partnered with the data that our students graduate with excess hours, makes it clear to me that we need to do what we can to make it easier for students to satisfy both Gen Ed and Gordon Rule simultaneously and seamlessly.

    Removing the duplication of the Core courses from Social Science offerings will help and I strongly support this plan. It does leave a likelihood that students will miss the Gordon Rule requirement. These students will apply for graduation thinking they have everything they need (60 hours and Gen Ed met) only to be told they are missing a requirement. This is not good. Business students must take both Economics courses. They will not satisfy Gordon Rule even though Gen Ed is met. They will not see it as an “opportunity” to take an additional course as most do not have room in their 60 hour program for an additional course due to the 7 required common prerequisites for a bachelor’s degree. Business is our largest major at UCF based on our transfer numbers. If they plan everything perfectly, they may have one elective class available – but that is only if they have satisfied foreign language in high school or via credit by exam.

    We have amazing advising systems at the college, but those systems are on demand. After the required New Student Orientation, students are not required to meet with an advisor; we simply do not have the staff to require every student to meet with an advisor at multiple touch points in their degree. When students do meet with advisors, I believe few will recommend a course from the Social Science Institutional hours list that is not Gordon Rule. I think the only time this will happen is when students must take that course for their intended major. MEP 2.0 will show Gordon Rule and it a separate section in the degree audit. Students still miss it.

    In looking at the big picture of student progression and degree completion in a timely manner with limited excess hours, I believe removing the Core course duplication in the Institutional hours is critical. Making all the Institutional course options Gordon Rule would be best, but this is a good first step in streamlining our degree requirements.

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  13. Since the SPC 1608/SPC 1017 courses have at their core the process of creating extemporaneous speeches, turning them into Gordon Rule courses would not meet the outcomes. The very process of getting students to deliver a well-organized speech that is graded is enough anxiety for most students. Adding the element of producing a graded manuscript for the speech would be a huge step that may hinder even more students from being successful. This is especially true since many of our students have not had ENC 1101 when they are in our course.
    In addition, it is VERY difficult to find, train, and retain SPC adjuncts at this time. Adding the element of critiquing writing for Gordon Rule would increase the difficulty of recruitment for faculty.

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  14. Karen Borglum

    Colleagues,

    I have wrestled with whether I should post to the blog given that I sponsor the blog on the CCC website, but I thought that since the request for the blog came from the Social Science Deans, I should be clear about my position on the Gordon Rule issue.
    In the interest of transparency, I should state right out that I have an agenda. That agenda is making sure that students have a clear pathway to complete their degree program; it is part of my job. Last year, I was asked by some faculty to provide data about excess hours, elective credit hours in A.A. Pre-Majors, and the statute regarding the excess hour surcharge; I worked with Institutional Research to find and present that data. With that data available, I am a little surprised that there still appears to be some disagreement about the best pathway for students. I encourage anyone who hasn’t had a chance to do so to look at the data, which can be found on the CCC home page in links below the link to this blog.

    Please understand that I am not arguing for making all Social Science courses Gordon Rule; I think this is up to the faculty as part of their academic freedom. What I am advocating is to only list Gordon Rule courses under the institutional hours of Social Science and directing students to select one of the courses listed under institutional hours in Social Science as part of their degree completion. I think this change is crucial for clarity in student decision making. The current situation creates greater likelihood for student confusion, which can lead to financial issues with incurred costs to students, and extend time to degree completion.

    I hope this helps explain why I think we need to remove the core courses from the institutional hours of Social Science general education. Please note that I do not have voting privileges in CCC decisions, except to break a tie, but I wanted to make my thinking on this issue clear.

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  15. Joyce Romano

    It will not surprise anyone that my recommendation is to make the requirement choices as simple as possible for students to understand. The university pre-requisite and federal financial aid requirements have added such complexity and high stakes impact on students’ course choices when they are at Valencia, that we should do whatever we can to reduce that complexity and high stakes while still maintaining our own commitment to student learning and the quality of the Valencia degree.
    So that’s the tough balance, right??
    It seems the least we can do is to remove the duplication of courses between listed in the 1st and 2nd buckets.
    If we can’t come to an agreement that ALL of the 2nd bucket courses should be Gordon Rule, could we reach a compromise by adding a few as Gordon Rule? We could then see how that goes for a year or two and evaluate the impact for both students and faculty?

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  16. Carl E Creasman Jr

    Karen, I hear you about the reluctance to type. I have thought too, long about whether to comment, and only did really because I was directly asked. Several peers aren’t going to respond, as they have told me and maybe both your and Cheryl’s replies touch on why. Neither of you addressed my concern for faculty. So, to copy you, Karen, I will say that I too have an agenda and it is to protect my faculty peers. There are, as I have already said, two clear points where I feel this way—-protect their right to craft their course as they see fit, and to protect them in their ability to make load.

    We are trying to solve a problem created by poor decisions in our legislature, particularly their onerous rule to penalize a student who happens to want to use College for a purpose for which it is well suited—to search for a path, for purpose. We are trying to build a plan to provide a solution for a problem that should never exist. We can’t change that (well, we can push the legislature to change their ridiculous penalizing rule), but worse, the solution we are considering does not solve this problem. You asked for us to look at the data. I certainly have. Our students, like many other students in college, have several extra hours. They aren’t over by 1 single missed class, or at least that is not what I see in the data.

    But look, after taking my daughters on college visits this summer, I am more understanding of the steep financial risks involved in having to take an extra semester. We should not do anything to trip them up….and I do not think we have done so. If we never told them about Gordon Rule until the last days of their term, and then said it was in some random hidden courses and they, the student, just had to guess….well that would be an example of us designing poorly.

    But okay, as I wrote earlier, let’s take out the six courses if you think that helps students. I don’t think it does help, and in fact, I think it perhaps penalizes a student. Maybe a student will WANT to take the intro Psych course along with the intro Sociology course, or they’ll want to add Modern US History to their Economics course for a better understanding of the history of business. But okay…make the change….you still have not addressed my concern for faculty and our needs.

    As I have previously said, there is no way that we can know exactly how the changes coming in Fall 2015 are going to be experienced, and I don’t think we’ll know for at least 4 semesters. Maybe by 2017 we can say how many sections each discipline is going to have repeatedly. Perhaps a pattern will have emerged, but till then, there is nothing anyone can say that can convince me that they can see the future and promise me that every professor we currently have will make their load!

    So, even while walking in the dark, guessing about best ideas, I have tried to ensure that we build a plan that protects each discipline while at the same time being aware of student needs. And that fact, that we have “each discipline,” seems to be lost in the conversation. Cheryl, the reason why it is not easy for Social Science (especially as compared to Humanities) is that we are the one division where disparate disciplines must eat from the same trough. Our peers in Science have a slightly similar situation, but there they are much less often put into a situation where they are competing for students. This change to Gen Ed has, more than any other time since I have been here starting in 2002, put us in competition with each other.

    So, the solution that protects each of us has to take into consideration the total situation. I believe that my peers in Economics and Psychology are going to be fine with their load due to the current connections both disciplines have with meta-majors and pre-majors. Sociology, History and Political Science however do not have as many connections. And, nationally, there is plenty of data to suggest that History and Political Science are among the least desired courses of students. Now, that fact does not somehow mean the College needs to try and fix that. I chose History. I don’t regret it and I realize I have to work uphill with students. But, having some of our courses as Gordon Rule does provide a way to see some students come our way and probably ensure there are enough sections of courses.

    However, a solution that has multiple Gordon Rule paths for students, whether that is by forcing Economics and Psychology to also be Gordon Rule, or forcing Speech to do so, or making Science somehow a writing Gordon Rule class will, in the end, surely lead to less sections. Look, if one group of my peers wants to change their course to be Gordon Rule, then I will happily support them. I’ve said that openly before the entire Social Science faculty. That will impact enrollment in my classes, but I’ll just have to deal with it. And I certainly will not put any blame on my peers; if they think that is best for their course, then fine. But, if they are forced to change simply because someone thinks students are in peril, and that change still impacts enrollment, that is frustrating.

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  17. Rafael Dávila

    Social Sciences at my previous state college were all Gordon Rule classes. From my experience, students preferred having options and the ability to choose from several Social Science Gordon Rule courses to satisfy GR graduation requirements. They gravitated toward courses they were interested in and I suspect got better grades, graduated faster, minimized excess hours, maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress and did not lose the financial aid which they needed to continue enrollment. The Social Sciences courses had ENC1101 as a prerequisite or co-requisite.

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  18. Steve Tullo

    Welcome to the frustration Carl! In all my years of providing academic advice I have never found it to be so methodical and complex as it is today. So many other factors to consider these days than ever before. I wish it was as simple as leaving these decisions up to the instructors as to whether or not they want to make their courses Gordon Rule. The questions I am having to ask students now a days is: How do you plan on paying for these courses? Are the courses you are taking relative to your degree choice (in other words “compliant to receive federal aid”) because if they aren’t then they aren’t going to be paid for by the federal government. As academic advisers we also need to make sure the student does not to go over on hours because they will pay heavy penalties after they reach the 132 credit mark at the university. I am sure you are aware of all that was just mentioned. I guess what I am trying to convey is this; unfortunately students are now heavily regulated in their choices both federally (Fin Aid) and at the State level (Core Curriculum). Also by heavy penalties they will incur at the University level if they exceed hours to complete their degrees there. We are slowly losing our autonomy here, and that’s just the way it is. Having said all of that; I think making it as easy as possible for our students to choose mandatory requirements without compromising the above is crucial. More Gordon Rule selections in the Social Sciences I think would help promote that at this stage of the decision making process until we are able to gather more information down the road.

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  19. Remy Ansiello

    The fact that there is duplication of courses within the 1st and 2nd brackets of the proposed Social Science offerings will lead to confusion and frustration with the students. Just the possibility of students being in a scenario where they can pick Social Science courses without meeting their Gordon Rule requirement seems unfair toward the student. I understand the concern some faculty members may have about the variety of courses to be offered to guarantee a diverse selection, but we also need to be concerned that we are not setting up unexpected barriers towards the student successfully completing state-mandated requirements. I echo Dr. Romano’s comments above.

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  20. Chris Klinger

    As I am sure no one is surprised that the counselors and advisers are leaning toward making the choices for the students as clear as possible and as simple as we can to hopefully assist students in making good choices and avoid all the negative financial barriers that the federal and state politicians have put on education. With that said, I have not totally abandoned my educational standards, I am just suggesting that we may have to look at the lesser of two evils in this particular area and strengthen our efforts in supporting liberal arts education and and career exploration in other areas of the student’s education.

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  21. Linda Herlocker

    I hear and appreciate the level of frustration on this topic. I also appreciate the candid disclosure of agendas. That having been said, I have to say that I think our only agenda should be what is in the best interest of students in terms of, as Lee detailed for us so well, transferability, minimizing excess credits, and student learning. My thoughts, then, are filtered through that lens.

    As Carl reminded us, Dr. Shugart has said that to keep the path clear and direct for students, less choices are better. To that end, removing Core courses from the Institutional hours list makes sense. Having the same courses appear in two places is confusing. But more significantly, the fact that only a third of the listed institutional hours social sciences courses are GR is not only confusing; it is hugely problematic in that we have created an easy opportunity for students to make the wrong choice. And while I appreciate Carl’s support for the fine work of our advisors, I would underscore that most of our students do not seek in-person advisement every semester, nor would our staffing levels support it if they did. Instead, we hope to provide tools that inform students’ choices, coupled with systems that minimize the potential for student mistakes. The way MEP 2.0 tracks GR does inform the student’s choice, but I don’t think that is good enough. I believe we can do better by limiting the institutional hour options to only Gordon Rule courses, thereby pre-selecting the “right” options for the students and eliminating their chance for error. Whether this means recasting current courses at GR, or limiting which courses are included in the list, should indeed be a faculty decision.

    As to the impact on transfer, let’s not forget that under the current Bucket 1/Bucket 2 proposal, some students – specifically those in the business transfer path who came to us without having their foreign language completed – are already forced to take an extra class since neither Microeconomics nor Macroeconomics are GR. So we already have a problem that no amount of degree planning, no matter how perfect, can solve. This is a chance to fix it.

    In a discussion with the West Campus Advising/Counseling staff, one of my staff members provided the following input. Because this seems to summarize the most salient points of our group discussion, I provide her comments here verbatim. “I think that in the best interest of the students, to make the Gordon Rule choice as clear and understandable as possible is the best possible solution. I don’t want to forget about the faculty, but due to the consequences incurred by the student for making unintentional mistakes in choosing courses, I have to keep my eye on the student’s experience. I don’t necessarily think that the solution has to be to make all of the courses that are currently in bucket 2, Gordon Rule. But to ensure that Bucket two of social science courses are all Gordon Rule, seems to be the clearest way to squeeze that requirement into their general education requirements. I don’t know if it’s an option to switch any of the Social Science options from bucket one to bucket two but this might be a good talking point if there are social science professors willing to make their course GR. There is talk on the blog of making spc1608 and 1017 GR and I disagree with this. The focus of Speech is to speak not to write. Students need to know how to converse and interact with each other in the flesh, this is crucial to their development.”

    I appreciate the opportunity to engage in dialog with my colleagues on such an important point. Thanks.

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  22. Jillian Szentmiklosi

    Many of us were involved in conversations that identified direction and navigation as important factors in facilitating student success. We have the opportunity to adjust our general education program so that it is clear and easy to follow for students. While of course I agree GR needs to align with course content, delivery, and outcomes, additional GR choices within the social science area would reduce the possibility of students selecting courses that meet general education credit requirements, but not the GR requirement. I also agree with those who have recommended that we should not duplicate core courses within institutional hours.

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