SBC Frequently Asked Questions

  • Our department offers a 300-level course that is perfect for a ‘demonstrate versatility’ requirement of USA, GLO, TECH, etc. Could the upper-division course satisfy this requirement?
    • Generally, advanced courses (demonstrated by course level and difficulty of subject matter and assignments) will fulfill the ‘pursue deeper understanding’ requirement.
    • Theoretically, however, a course can require advanced knowledge in one area but introductory knowledge in another.  Such a course could be a candidate for multiple certification.  See guidelines for “double and triple certification”
    • In some cases, departments might consider revising existing upper division courses that currently satisfy upper division DEC requirements (eg., DEC I, J, K) into 100 or 200 level courses, if the subject matter is predominantly introductory with regard to the new SBC categories.

  • Our 300-level course has no prerequisites, and is general in nature.  Why can’t it satisfy a ‘demonstrate versatility’ category?
    • If the course is general in nature and has no prerequisites, the department should consider revising the course as an introductory level course, so that it may meet one of the ‘demonstrate versatility’ requirements.
    • Theoretically, however, a course can require advanced knowledge in one area but introductory knowledge in another.  Such a course could be a candidate for multiple certification.  See guidelines for “double and triple certification”

  • Our current DEC I and J courses were originally mapped to GLO, and now we see that they have been certified as SBS+ or HFA+.  What gives?
    • The original computer mapping did map DEC I and J courses to GLO; however, as the certification review process transpired, we noticed the majority of DEC I and J courses are upper-level, have prerequisites, and are typically more appropriate for a ‘pursue deeper understanding’ category.

  • Our department would like to double-certify our courses as GLO/SBS+ or USA/SBS+. Is this possible?
    • Theoretically, Yes, as long as (a) the learning outcomes of each certification are distinct and (b) each set of learning outcomes are satisfied according to the standards of each distinct category.  It would be unlikely that a course would be double certified as USA/SBS+ if the SBS+ objectives are predominantly focused on US history.  An important clue for the certification committee will be what prerequisites the course requires.  For example, a course proposed as USA/SBS+ with a prerequisite of “understanding of introductory US History” would likely not pass muster.  However, a course that introduces US history but has advanced discussions in another Social Science topic might be a good candidate for USA/SBS+ certification, as long as the sets are distinct.
    • STAS courses are meant to satisfy ONLY the STAS requirement, and may not carry multiple certifications.   By design, STAS courses are interdisciplinary, so double certification of STAS courses would imply that they are ALL double certified in some fashion.  STAS courses, however, can be double certified to satisfy “Prepare for Life Long Learning.”

  • Our department offers a course that satisfies most of the learning outcomes for a category, but it is not apparent from the syllabus.
    • Certification and assessment hinge on the inclusion of specified learning objectives on the syllabus as well as evidence in the course outline and reading materials that the department will deliver the stated learning objectives.
    • During the assessment process, courses will be reviewed to determine whether they are meeting the appropriate outcomes of the assigned category.
    • Course objectives must appear on the course syllabus as defined here

  • Prepare for Life Long Learning
    • Departments must provide an enrollment mechanism (i.e., a scheduled course) for each category that will enable the course to appear on the student transcript. 
    • In some cases, the mechanism for students to satisfy the “prepare for live long learning” requirements could be a zero credit course or a regular full-credit course.  If students enroll in a zero credit course, the department can propose A-F, ABC/U or S/U grading for the zero credit course.

    • Zero credit
      • Example 1 – WRTD as a revision to a paper generated in a selection of courses.  For example, the Music department may require to develop a paper produced from a selection of courses in the department.  In a semester following the selected course, the student would enroll in MUS xxx.  The department must propose said course to the SBC Certification committee.
      • Example 2 – SPK where only a subset of students in a larger lecture have signed up for SPK.  For example, if the PSY department allows 20 students in PSY 103 to complete a public speaking project, the department may propose a zero credit PSY 4xx for this purpose.

    • If these requirements are attached to full-credit courses, students receive one grade for their effort for all aspects of the course, including the SBC content. 

  • Must papers for the WRTD (writing in the discipline) courses be in English?
    • The learning objective for WRTD is to "Collect the most pertinent research, draw appropriate disciplinary inferences, organize effectively for one’s intended audience."  In most cases, the resulting project will be in English, but in some cases, the "intended audience" might accept another human language.  For example, papers for major of foreign languages could make a convincing argument that the intended audience would expect the language of the discipline.

  • The New Stony Brook Curriculum appears to require more courses than the DEC.  How is this better for the students?
    • Well, actually, it doesn't require more than the DEC!  Note that the DEC is not perfect, and has hidden requirements (such as the Foreign Language requirement and the Upper Division Writing Requirement) that are not always noticed by students or faculty.  Various faculty committees over the past few years have worked very hard to design the SB Curriculum so that it is clear, flexible and accessible for all students.  For example, many of the SBC requirements are designed to overlap with the major, which should minimize the number of "general education" requirements that students have to take beyond their major.   However, if you still have specific concerns, please send them our way.
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