Minutes of the Meeting of the Undergraduate Council
April 4, 2011
Diane Bello, Kathy Bratby, Cynthia Dietz, Donna DiDonato, Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Rick Gatteau, Jeff Ge, Kane Gillespie, Norm Goodman, Adam Kent, Deborah Machalow, Joe Mitchell, Anne Moyer, Scott Sutherland, E.K. Tan
Minutes of previous meeting
The Minutes of the March 29, 2011 meeting were approved.
Continuation of discussion of credit limits for undergraduates
Given the time constraints on considering the proposed changes to the DEC, the continuation of this discussion was deferred to the next meeting of the Council.
Proposed changes to the DEC for Arts and Sciences students
Kane Gillespie submitted a proposal to amend the DEC requirements for Arts and Sciences students for consideration by the Council. This proposal has already been approved by the Curriculum Committee of the Arts and Sciences Senate but was not approved by the Executive Committee of the University Senate.
The proposed changes are intended to deal with the reduction of available seats for students due to the budget cuts. The supporting arguments for this proposal include improved student flexibility and choice, greater seat availability for courses in DEC categories EFG and IJK, smaller DEC courses and/or fewer DEC sections, redeployment of faculty to other parts of the curriculum, and improved graduation rates. It was also pointed out that many courses in the upper-level DEC categories have prerequisites that make it difficult for students to take them, and the reduction in the number of required DEC courses would allow more students to study abroad.
The arguments against changing the DEC as proposed included the fact that it is a substantial change in the academic curriculum without adequate time for serious consideration by the faculty, that there currently is a committee charged with revising the DEC that will issue its report before the end of this semester, that the proposed changes are being driven by budgetary considerations that have negative academic consequences by reducing the breadth of knowledge that is at the heart of general education, that it will likely result in less exposure to science and to the pluralistic nature of American society than is wise in the contemporary world.
After considerable discussion, it was agreed that there was no consensus in the Council about this proposed revision of the DEC.