The Academic Senate (AS) reviewed a proposal last Thursday that would alter Cal State Long Beach’s general education program, but much of the review circled around natural science requirements and the naming of GE categories.
The proposal was set to alter GE natural science requirements, humanities and arts requirements, capstone courses, and increase the number of units that can be “double-counted” from 10 to 13.
Under the proposal, the natural science laboratory requirements (B1) would be limited to only one physical (B1b) or biological (B1a) science lab instead of a mandate for one of each (B1a and B1b).
Richard Behl, a geology professor, proposed an amendment in opposition.
“I don’t think that is about saying we are having difficultly moving students through a class and we haven’t got it worked out yet or the right resources and therefore we should change our curriculum,” Behl said.
Sustainability of the GE science program and access to science labs were points raised by other senators in opposition to Behl’s amendment.
“I’m also worried about access because I evaluate the transcripts of transfer students who are missing a one-unit lab, and they can’t get it,” said Nancy Quam-Wickham, chair of the history department. “They might have been here a year and it holds up their graduation.”
But some senators were overtly concerned with the titles of the categories and subcategories of GE classes.
Keith Freesemann, associate professor of kinesiology, made an amendment to change the name of the B1 category from natural sciences to scientific inquiry and mathematics/quantitative reasoning.
Freesemann said the reason for the proposed language change was to align it with the current executive order from the Chancellor’s Office and with tools community college students and advisers use such as assist.org.
Sharon Olson, director of education abroad, agreed, saying the change in language would eliminate confusion for transfer or even new students.
“There is no other category of GE that actually names the college as the label for the category,” she said. “All of the others have more generalized conceptual disciplines within them.”
Olson argued that there were 10 other courses outside the college of natural sciences and mathematics that students could take to fulfill the B1 GE requirement.
After three language amendments, the senate voted upon changing natural sciences to science technology and mathematics/quantitative reasoning.
Additional language changes were made to category D from social and behavioral sciences and history to social sciences and citizenship. Also, changes to the title of a category were made after one professor declared she never knew what “self integration” was.
“I teach a category E class and I’ve never really understood what it meant,” Quam-Wickham said.
Category E is now called lifelong learning and self-development. The change in GE category names would not have any effect on the classes.
AS will discuss GE policy on its third reading Oct. 20.