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CSULB Academic Senate discusses a campuswide plan to develop a new GE program

Changes to general education requirements may be on the horizon within the next academic year following a revision order from the California State University system.

Members of the Academic Senate gathered Thursday to discuss executive order 1100 administered by CSU Chancellor Timothy White to reevaluate general education policies. Dispersed in August, the order intends to “clarify requirements, ensure equitable opportunities for student success and streamline graduation requirements.”

The most dramatic change will affect upper division categories. Currently, there are five categories and the new order will only allow three of those, B, C and D, according to Norbert Schürer, chair of the academic senate.

The senate also questioned whether certain campus specific requirements should be reconsidered. Provost Brian Jersky offered additional background during the meeting, pointing out that the university currently has over 700 different general education courses.

“In general, students find that our GE universe doesn’t have coherence,” Jersky said. “Students are often not sure what the point of it is.”

It remains unclear if the executive order will result in a reduction of courses required or if the categories deemed unnecessary by Chancellor White will simply be reallocated to Cal State Long Beach’s campus specific requirements or capstones. These changes will also vary from campus to campus as specifics have yet to be deliberated on by senate members, the General Education Governing Committee and California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Schürer announced that a survey would be issued in mid-March to all students and faculty to find out what changes the campus community would like to see.

“The idea is to get as many people involved in this process as possible,” Schürer said.

Whether or not the Long Beach campus should reduce the number of general education courses is of one of the bigger questions to be answered within the survey.

Academic senate members from multiple departments spoke during the meeting, voicing their opinions on what would better ensure a successful educational journey for their students. “We want a well-rounded citizen, but we also want a very competent nurse who saves lives,” said Loucine Huckabay, director of the school of nursing. “We don’t want general education to take majority of the [students] units.”

Burkhard Englert, chair of the department of computer engineering and computer science was also one of those who weighed in.

“[The system] is too static,” Englert said. “It pushes every student into this one-size-fits-all model and that’s why I think students are not satisfied. It’s not really effective.”

During the course of the meeting, Schürer explained that following the survey, a number of forums will take place on campus in order to maximize the amount of feedback received. Once the responses have been assessed, a policy will be drafted and later reviewed by the senate.

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