Tag Archives: faculty senate

Faculty Senate Requests Financial Numbers From Athletic Department

By Justin Muszynski

The Faculty Senate passed a motion Monday that will require the athletic department to submit their annual state auditor’s report to the Faculty Senate, University Planning and Budget Committee and the SGA. They will also be forced to publish it on the University’s website.

Athletic Director Paul Schlickmann explained to the committee that he believes his department had already complied with this shortly after it was brought up at a Planning and Budget Committee meeting.

“As far as I can tell it’s been accomplished,” said Schlickmann. “Quite honestly it’s nothing new to what we do and what we are mandated to do on an annual basis relative to our finances. There are three reports that we have to complete on an annual basis that are public documents.”

Candace Barrington, President of the Senate, presented a report by Stephen Adair who serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents. In his report he stated that the recent tuition increase will only be 3.3 percent for CCSU students despite the state average being 3.8.

The senate also passed changes that were proposed last semester that provide a provision to fill a vacancy if a senate officer leaves for a semester.

Another issue was brought up in relation to the athletic department motion. Guy Crundwell, a member of UPBC, voiced some of the reason behind the resolution the committee came up with. According to Crundwell, preliminary data shows that the athletic spending at CCSU is outweighing academic spending.

The committee also passed a motion asking for Crundwell, Schlickmann and another UPBC member to give a report at the Senate’s next meeting on whether or not athletic spending is overshadowing academic spending and if funding for athletic scholarships is coming out of CCSU’s general funds.

Edward Sarisley, Professor of Manufacturing and Construction Management, supported the motion for the athletic department to disclose their finances but also called for “total transparency throughout the university.”

“We need to as a group not wear blinders and see where our allocations are going and balance them,” said Sarisley. “We need to have total transparency from the athletic department, furthermore we need to address that some things cost more than others.”

Also at the meeting, Student Government Association President Eric Bergenn presented a report asking for help filling all of the Faculty Senate committees with students. Also in his report he said he was working on a survey directed towards students in regards to the General Education reform that is ongoing this semester. Bergenn and Faculty Senate ad hoc committee chair Robert Wolff are looking to get as much input as possible.

“I always knew that we would get help from the committee [who are] on committees but really it was just a friendly reminder that it’s something we’re working on right now,” said Bergenn after the meeting. “We appreciate the feedback we’ve been getting. We’ve been working real hard on getting these people there, but there’s a kind of a limit to what we can do right now.”

The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place on Feb. 13 in Vance Academic Center, room 105 at 3:05 pm.

SGA And Faculty Senate Relationship A Priority For Bergenn

By Kassondra Granata

Student Government Association President Eric Bergenn said he hopes that senators will take on bigger roles this year after four senators stepped down last semester.

While he is hoping for more involvement from others, Bergenn has made the decision to step down from the finance committee. He will appoint a senator in his place.

“It says nothing in the bylaws that a president is required to be a part of a committee, whereas for a senator, it is required,” said Bergenn.

Bergenn said he plans on spending most of his time this semester at Faculty Senate. He is hoping that the two groups will eventually be able to work together, something he’s struggled with thus far after his initial efforts last semester.

Originally, Bergenn had proposed the idea to have eleven student voting members on the Faculty Senate back in October in order to make sure that the student voice is heard on important issues at CCSU.

He presented a printed report to the senate, noting the sections of each constitution that structured his proposal.

At that time, Faculty Senate President Candice Barrington put Bergenn’s recommendation straight to the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, but it still has not been addressed.

“It has been a clear and present goal of mine for the two groups to work more hand-in-hand together,” said Bergenn. “I think that a lot of the decisions that are made through Faculty Senate would really benefit when they get student input. In the last few years, it has been lacking.”

Bergenn said that the only way to persuade Faculty Senate of his goal is to have a presence there.

“That’s where I think I will be spending most of my time,” said Bergenn. “And because of those changes, we are going to need senators to take on a bigger role. Hopefully with that there will be a residual effect that if you are working harder at something you will follow through more because your time is concentrated there.”

President Bergenn is still unsure about what direction it will go, but he is hoping to figure that out at the first meeting.

“I think that it is beneficial that I take on this role,” said Bergenn. “I would like to set a precedent to have the President at their meetings and hopefully work that into our bylaws in the future.”

The weekend before classes started, SGA senators went to Camp Woodstock in Woodstock, Conn. for their annual retreat from Friday to Sunday.

Bernard Franklin, a well-known and influential speaker, spoke to the senate and expressed his feedback on how their senate is run. Franklin was the first elected African American student government president at Kansas State University. Currently, he is a role model to others nationwide and brings knowledge and experience to his lectures.

Senator Ryan Sheehan says he was very satisfied with their weekend retreat and the lecture from Franklin.

“It was really great, what he said is going to help us get more on track and more goal orientated,” said Sheehan.”A lot of times we get stuck in a rut arguing on allocations to clubs where we can be doing better things.”

Franklin talked to SGA about restructuring their constitution and how to avoid just being a bank for clubs. He also said that looking at their constitution, it was similar to what he would see in a high school student government.

“He guessed how our meetings were fairly accurately,” said Sheehan. “He is a student government guy, he was one of the best speakers we have ever had. The whole retreat was better handled than any year previous. Franklin was leading us off in a direction that will help the SGA in years to come.”

On Saturday the senate worked separately in their committees, each discussing their goals and working on their structure for the next semester. President Bergenn supplied the committees with make-shift calendars so they could be more organized.

This year’s retreat was the fourth retreat that Bergenn has attended, the second one that he has put on as president. Bergenn said he was very content on how it went.

“I think that this was very productive in terms of getting everyone on the same page,” said Bergenn. “I think that the group got to a perspective at not looking at arguing over smaller things, but more looking into the bigger picture. We really had the opportunity to get together and talk [to one another] and get to know each other. I think we are at a better point now than we have ever been since I have been on senate.”

Committees Struggle To Fill Student Seats

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

Student participation has always been an issue on campus, but with recent talks of adding student voting members to the faculty senate on campus, one has to wonder ‘why the push?’ when student seats on committees on campus aren’t even filled.

There are 14 faculty committees on campus that have student seats. Those committees range from the library committee to the curriculum committee, as does their importance. As of this week, nine of the 14 committees have students on them and of the nine, eight are to capacity for the number of seats allotted. Some committees have the SGA elect students to the seats while others don’t.

The diversity committee on campus has no limit on student members, after 30 days of being on the roster a student would get voting privileges.

Some of those seats are SGA students. SGA Vice President Liz Braun is on the Student Affairs Committee.

President Bergenn, with his recent unanimously passed resolution that there is a lack of a student voice on campus, understands that filling those seats on committees throughout campus has always been a problem.

“The fact that we have more than half of the available seats full is, in recent history, unprecedented,” said Bergenn. He said that SGA and CCSU has been quite successful filling the seats this semester, but added that there hasn’t been much to compare it to from the past. Bergenn said that he has had faculty members come up to him recently and tell him that this is the first time that they have seen students in certain committees.

Faculty Senate Secretary Burlin Barr said that student involvement should really focus in the committees.  “The real thinking on different issues goes on in the committees, and their reports are then funneled through the senate–which approve them or send them back for revision,” said Barr. He thinks that it is most important for students to be on those committees since they are “entitled to and already have access to.”

“By the time issues come before the senate, the work and thinking that goes into them has almost always been completed,” said Barr.  “Students should add their voice before that point, and the committee system allows for that.”

An example of that would have been at the Nov. 14th Faculty Senate meeting where Bergenn asked for student consultation on the Academic Standards motion on grade appeal changes.

“[The] motion would really have been a moot point if the two student positions on the Academic Standards committee had been filled,” said Barr. He knows that students can gain a lot of skills that they can use in the real world. “Students have access to decision-making through the committees, and they generally do not exercise their voices there,” said Barr.

“If there were a pattern of disregard for issues important to students; if there was tangible malfeasance and unfairness that the faculty decision-making bodies were directing toward the students, then the SGA proposal would be far more grounded,” Barr said. He defended his point by adding that the Academic Standards Committee had students’ best interests in mind from the changes they had made.

SGA Senator Ryan Baldassario feels that there is a dedicated core of students at CCSU that would participate but they may not know how or where to go. Baldassario knows that it may not be the case that students are currently reading SGA’s minutes and following the senate committees. If students didn’t get into SGA being on a faculty committee may be a way for them to get involved, said Baldassario.

Senator Christopher Marcelli, when Bergenn sent out what committees had student seats still available, said that half of the faculty committees meet on the same day as the SGA senate meeting. “It’s no one’s fault,” said Marcelli, who added that that fact even makes it hard for SGA senators to get to certain faculty committee meetings.

“If we can’t do it, someone else should,” said Baldassario on students sitting on faculty committees. He would have no problem with any student filling up those seats because it’s all about the students.

This year, more than others, Bergenn has been pushing harder for students to get involved. With the SGA newsletter, which he sends to every CCSU student, Bergenn tells students which faculty committees have seats available to students if they are interested in getting involved.

“I’ve only gotten two, maybe three responses from that,” said Bergenn. Not the showing that Bergenn is looking for with an undergraduate student body of just over 10,000 students. He has thought about sending it from his personal email, but Bergenn is worried that student see the email as spam and immediately delete it. He doesn’t want to spam them, he wants to inform them.

“There’s a laundry list of reasons why people may not be doing it,” said Bergenn on the lack of student involvement. That list includes students having jobs, scheduling conflicts, among other things, Bergenn said.

Senator Shelby Dattilo doesn’t necessarily agree with Bergenn. “Their main focus is and should be their classes, work, and relationships,” Dattilo said. “If they want to make a change they will join these committees. The truth is most people don’t want to make changes, they just want to complain about how nobody else is.”

With a goal of filling every seat, Bergenn is already mostly halfway there. He has asked his senators to ask around and try to help find people who would be interested in sitting on those committees.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to get involved,” Bergenn said. That is why he has gone to so many Faculty Senate meetings, to work together to get the seats filled.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of people that could be doing more,” said Bergenn on getting the seats filled.

General Education Proposals Raise Concerns

By Rachael Bentley

The Thursday before Connecticut got hit with an unusual October snowstorm, a different storm was already brewing in room 231 in Copernicus during a campus-wide meeting for the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee for General Education.  The whole point of this meeting was to discuss the initial ideas for the revision of general education.

There are four proposed plans thus far. Plan A changes nothing and keeps the current general education curriculum as is. Plan B has minimal changes to current program.

Plan C makes significant changes, including the removal of FYE classes and implementing a first-year critical inquiry seminar, and the need to complete a 112 language course or take a placement test to demonstrate that the student is already at a proficient level.

Plan D would give the current program a complete over-haul and would require students to complete a language 125 course (or place out with testing), would require a first year critical inquiry seminar, a senior year experience seminar and a course abroad experience, as well as greatly changing what would be required in math, science and other courses across the curriculum.

There were many parts of these revisions that I thought were major improvements, but some I did not agree with.

I do not believe that at a university should require all of their students to take a gym or health class. Are we not all adults and in control of our own bodies and minds? If we don’t know by now that we should maintain a healthy lifestyle, practice safe sex and drink responsibly then that is an issue that should be addressed by giving students the option of taking a class like PE 144, not force it upon them.

However, I thought the idea of implementing a critical thinking requirement for every student could in fact benefit everyone and allow for students to have more of a choice in what they are learning.

One of the main issues that is evident about the current curriculum is that many students see classes as a box to check off at the end of each semester, and I personally feel like this every time I do my own degree evaluation.

It would be in the students’ best interest if the committee designed a curriculum that would allow students to take classes that focus more on their major and helped prepare them more for the professional world.

My greatest concern focuses on what was said during this open forum. I was surprised and disturbed by the amount of faculty that spoke against requiring students to do more rigorous and challenging classes, such as taking more languages or requiring a critical thinking class.

Whether they meant to or not, I got the general vibe that they did not believe that CCSU students could live up to these requirements.  And to be honest, I’m sure that a lot of students would turn their noses up at the idea of having to take a semester or two of a language.

Looking at the bigger picture, making these changes to the current program would in fact make CCSU a better school. How would future employers of CCSU graduates feel if they knew they could speak more than one language or use critical thinking skills?

Companies that hire CCSU graduates experience first hand what a CCSU student can bring to the table, and pushing students to work harder for their degree will reflect in their work ethic later on.

These changes may not affect us directly, but the credibility of what college or university you graduated from can follow you your whole career. Higher education is supposed to be a time in your life where you are pushed academically, and is supposed to be a challenging experience. Perhaps it is time that CCSU started pushing their students a little harder, and expected more from them.

Faculty Senate Debates General Education Plans With Committee

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

The Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee for General Education has four plans that would reform general education from its current state. The “goal program” is the most radical of the four and would take away the first-year experience classes for freshmen and English 110.

Those are just a few examples of what “Plan D” on the draft proposal changes. It gets rid of all of the major categories for general education that we know today and changes or eliminates them.

Students would be able to pick classes from categories like “human cultures,” “ethical and civil engagement,” “physical and natural worlds,” “mathematics and statistics” and “writing across the curriculum.”  These are much different categories from the current “arts & humanities,” “social sciences,” “behavioral sciences,” “communication skills” and “mathematics.”

The committee is made up by Thomas Burkholder, Robert Wolff, Mary Anne Nunn, Olga Petkova, Paul Resetarits, Thomas Burkholder and Rachel Siporin of CCSU. They saw from the online polling of faculty on campus that it’s time for a look at general education on campus, said Wolff. Wolff mentioned that the general education system in place hasn’t been changed for more than 13 years. Burkholder added that the committee only has 44 credits to work with, at least one-third of the credits in an undergraduate degree, due to a state mandate.

Two weeks ago an open meeting was held and faculty were able to ask the committee questions about their draft proposals in an open discussion.

Under the “goal program” mathematics and statistics would still be a six-credit minimum, with a 12-credit maximum, but would require students to take at least one calculus class.

Stephen Cohen, English Department Chair, asked the committee if they were prioritizing mathematics in the “goal program” by placing the “six credit minimum” on mathematics and statistics while only requiring a “three credit minimum” for all of the other categories in the plan. Burkholder quickly said that from the polling, faculty want students to have “good quantitative skills.”

That question sparked a debate about the category in the “goal program” requiring students to take at least one calculus class. Faculty in the room didn’t take that addition lightly, but Burkholder was quick to respond.

“The traditional calculus class has multiple pieces to it,” said Burkholder. He maintained that understanding those types of concepts is very important and that students need to have the ability to interpret graphical information. His thinking is to have more of an understanding than students just understanding algebra concepts.

The proposed “first-year critical inquiry seminar” was explained as a course to substitute English 110 and to allow students to choose a course that they would be interested in. It would be a writing course for freshman and incoming transfer students, but would have to be tailored by the faculty member teaching the course. Transfer students would have a separate section since they aren’t first-year students. The committee said that the course would be taught by faculty from many areas of study so that students would actually be able to pick a course that they would like. The goal is to allow students to get a well-rounded education, but keep them interested in the subjects that are being taught.

Another open meeting is scheduled on Nov. 17 for the General Education Committee. Any further discussion, comments or questions can be addressed at the committee’s blog at www.you.ccsu.edu/gened or email committee member Robert Wolff directly at wolffr@mail.ccsu.edu. In order to comment you have to register for the site.

SGA President Proposes Student Seats On Faculty Senate

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

Eleven student voting members on the Faculty Senate seems like something that wouldn’t work, but that’s exactly what was suggested to the members of CCSU’s faculty.

SGA President Eric Bergenn proposed the idea at the Faculty Senate in Vance Academic room 105 this past Monday. Bergenn is trying to come up with more ways in which the Senate of the SGA and their faculty counterparts can work together and better represent their respective constituencies.

“There are a few ways in which the students can be represented at various committees of the Faculty Senate,” says Bergenn. He doesn’t believe that those seats have been used correctly “ to make sure students voices are heard on important issues that affect there experience” at CCSU. He doesn’t fault either group, but offers the idea of a student constituency on the Faculty Senate to make “a better working relationship between both organizations.”

Taking the time to go through both the Faculty Senate constitution and SGA constitution, Bergenn said that both have authority over student behavior and conduct. In his printed report to the Senate, he copy and pasted the sections of each constitution that highlight student conduct and behavior. He believes that since the Senate has power over student behavior wouldn’t it be wise to allow students to be represented with voting members on the legislative body.

After reading his report Bergenn wasn’t asked any questions, but was thanked for bringing his voice forward to the Senate. Faculty Senate President Candace Barrington, immediately put Bergenn’s idea to the Committee on Constitution and By-Laws. Barrington wants them to go over the idea and see what their recommendation is for moving forward.

“I think it went really well,” said Bergenn. He felt the faculty was receptive and they were all very respectful of everything he brought up. Bergenn was surprised at how shocked they looked that he was there at Faculty Senate. Realizing it’s against the status quo, Bergenn knows it’s “quite a shock.” He wasn’t trying to startle them.

Bergenn knows that 11 voting members for students is a lot because part-time faculty representation only has four senators. He is more than willing to talk that number down and welcomes a discussion of his idea.

“Sometimes change is best done incrementally, but, at the same time, if you look at it from a purely pragmatic sense…I think it’s worth looking at it from the prespective of what is the best situation, not what’s closer to the best situation,” said Bergenn. The SGA may not pass things from their Senate that affect the Faculty Senate’s constituencies, but many of the things the Faculty Senate decides on affect SGA’s constituencies, said Bergenn.

It would be good for them as well, said Bergenn. Saying that you might have the student’s viewpoint and actually having their perspective there are two different things and Bergenn thinks that having a student there could affect future decisions.

“I’m not doing this to be a revolutionary,” said Bergenn. “I’m not doing it to create any dissidence. I’m actually doing this to bring the two groups together.”

Gen Ed Ad Hoc Committee Compares Program to Other Schools

By Justin Muszynski

In the midst of a possible general education reform, the Central Connecticut State University Faculty Senate General Education Ad Hoc Committee is now looking at the curriculum of other universities to get an idea of which systems work most efficiently.

Their goal is to see what’s out there and what works best, but to keep the curriculum unique to the campus and students of CCSU.

“We’ve looked at a lot of different models but we have to remember that we’re not other schools,” says Thomas Burkholder, associate professor of chemistry.  “General education has to be a product of the faculty and the students you have in order to make it unique to us.”

The committee is still in the information-gathering phase, but Burkholder said a draft of any proposed changes to the system should be completed by the fall semester. They hope that those approved by the spring 2012 semester will take effect in the new course catalog beginning in the fall of 2013.

As far as the committee’s opinion on what changes should happen to the current general education system, Burkholder said they are trying to remain neutral for the purpose of gathering as much unbiased input as possible from faculty and staff. They are planning on sending out a survey to faculty within the next few weeks that would ask them to rank certain aspects of the current system and to express what they like and what they don’t like. As far as student input, they have several ideas on how to get them involved.

While they are pleased with the turn out of the open meetings they hosted in Founder’s Hall, they say it could have been better. One idea they have would be to host small focus groups that would consist of students and faculty collectively expressing their views and concerns.

They are also in the process of expanding their website in order to allow more places for feedback and opinions about the committee’s ideas. Another thing they are considering is to use Facebook as a tool to gather student input.

Burkholder also warns that any suggestions made should keep in mind the budget deficit that the state is currently facing.

“Any suggestions we come up with should be revenue neutral,” Burkholder said. “Having said that, we can still reorder priorities.”

Burkholder also said the state of Connecticut regulates the minimum amount of credits that have to be a part of general education for a university, and that number is 43. Any new system would have to stay consistent with those state regulations.

Any proposed changes would also have to be approved by the curriculum committee, the Faculty Senate and CCSU President Jack Miller before taking effect. Burkholder said that the committee believes the university would most likely stick with the current general education system they use now should their proposal not make it through the approval process.

A recent survey distributed to 230 faculty members about CCSU’s general education program found that of the 230 members surveyed, 61.3 percent either agree or strongly agree that the program should be redesigned.

The current system was put in place in 1998 and requires a minimum of 44 to 46 credits in general education studies, not including the foreign language department, and has four study areas and four skill areas.

Resolution Passed by Faculty Senate Won’t Impose Internship Limits

By Justin Muszynski

The Faculty Senate passed a resolution presented by the psychology department Monday at a Faculty Senate meeting that would demand the administration at CCSU do several things, one of which would be to stop imposing limits on internships and independent study load credits that would shape academic programs.

“We need internships and independent studies to make our program distinctive from community colleges,” said Rebecca Wood, assistant professor of psychology. “We need to showcase our talent.”

Psychology professor Carol Austad said that the psychology department is aware that there is a financial crisis going on and that each internship credit hour has to be paid for by the university and says they will work to stretch the number of credits as much as possible.

“We are willing to work with the administration in any shape or form to try and save credit hours,” said Austad.

The psychology department insists that this resolution will benefit all programs at CCSU and will allow them to keep their academic independence.

“This is not about the psychology department versus the administration, this is about academic freedom for all of us,” said Wood. “If we’re going to be told how to structure our curriculum in this way, what’s next?”

The senate debated for a predetermined 15 minutes, at the end of which motioned to debate for another 15 minutes only to motion for an additional three minutes after that before passing a resolution.

Wood says the psychology department has been asked to abide by a course-based teaching model for internships rather than the traditional faculty-student mentorship model.

“A one size fits all course model for internships is simply not appropriate across all disciplines,” said Wood.

The senate also approved several minor changes to the curriculum that included a new program, robotics and megatronics, which will replace electromechanical technology.

A new certificate program was also passed which allows students to receive a certificate in “Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.”

The Faculty Senate will meet again in Vance room 105 at 3:15 p.m. on April 11.

General Education Redesign Talk Heats Up Despite Empty Open Forum

By Matt Clyburn

CCSU professors Thomas Burkholder (left) and Robert Wolff at the open forum. Photo: Matt Clyburn

A public hearing was held Wednesday in Founders Hall by the Faculty Senate General Education Ad Hoc Committee to field comments and suggestions from students and teachers on a possible redesign of the program.

Robert Wolff, associate professor of history and assistant to the dean for the School of Arts and Sciences, opened the hearing by announcing a “clean slate” in the committee’s approach to redesigning the program.

“One of our goals today is to have enough questions and comments to write another survey…and go back to faculty and students for more feedback,” Wolff said.

A recent survey distributed to 230 faculty members about CCSU’s general education program found that of the 230 members surveyed, 61.3 percent either agree or strongly agree that the program should be redesigned. Wolff told The Recorder that the hearings and surveys are one step in a long process. Any changes to the program would have to be approved in several committees and the Faculty Senate as a whole with the ultimate approval coming from President Jack Miller.

“As part of the process, we’re holding open meetings, we anticipate more survey work and we look forward to as much input and participation as we can possibly obtain,” Wolff said. “With that in mind, we really would just like to hear what the campus community…thinks about general education and what they would like to see.”

“We are limited in our deliberations by a few things, one of which is that the state of Connecticut mandates that one-third of the credits in any academic degree be dedicated to this thing called general education,” said Wolff. “We have been asked to try to develop a plan that is resource neutral, meaning that it does not imagine that we expand the size of the faculty. We assume that at some level all of the work that we do in creating a gen ed program will have to be validated for our accreditors through some form of student assessment yet to be determined.”

Ray Perreault, professor of manufacturing and construction managements, suggested that a current events course be added as well as “one three-credit course where five weeks would be dedicated to each of the professional schools.”

Perreault added that such a course could help to relieve the requirements of one or more general education courses already in place. Perreault also pointed out that when the program was first restructured in 1991 students were required to take 62 general education credit hours rather than the 44 to 46 required now.

“I think that writing across the curriculum is so important that I would vote for some sort of writing requirement outside of the English department. Students might take a writing-intensive course in a discipline outside of English,” said Dr. Kristine Larsen, physics and earth science department professor and former director of the CCSU honors program. “The other skill that our students need is information literacy, they have to be able to judge who are reliable sources, who are not reliable sources and that can also be built into numerous courses around campus.”

Guy Crundwell, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, said that “Ultimately, [students’] gen eds make no serious impact on their academic life…it’s just icing for the cake.”

“I find it odd that for gen eds we create these checklists telling them which icings are good for you, which icings aren’t. You know, students may have certain flavors that they want to try themselves,” Crundwell said. “I’ve always had the most liberal and open sense of general education – that it’s general, it’s their choice because it’s their dime and it will round them the way they want to be rounded and not constrict them if they want to change majors.”

Faculty members discussed a proposed idea where individual schools would determine general education requirements rather than the university. Supporters argued that it would help similar majors maintain similar courses of study and prevent those students from taking classes unrelated to their majors, while detractors argued that giving individual schools such power would prevent students from getting a well-rounded education.

“Is general education designed to give students some basic fundamental skills or is general education designed to give faculty members something to do?” asked Dr. Jacob Kovel, chairperson of the manufacturing and construction management department. “There are certain skills that every student should have when they graduate. Beyond that, what is the philosophy of general education supposed to be?”

Dave Blitz, professor of philosophy, who participated in the general education design of the 1990’s, said that “Resources are not infinitely expendable and indeed we can expect in the next few years that they are going to be contracting.”

“It was a tragedy [in 1991] that we had more and more of these good ideas and objectives without taking into account priorities, resources and constraints, and I would like to see that done this time around with general education reform,” Blitz said.

Jason Jones, president of the CCSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, believes that the proposed higher education system restructuring at the state level could negatively influence plans for general education changes if those concepts are not taken into account.

“One of the things we have heard is that they want to have the [proposed] Board of Regents identify the general education standards for the CSU schools,” said Jones. “I think that the [higher education proposal] could possibly trump our hopes for reorganizing general education. It’s possible that there would be no meaningful campus control over curriculum.”

The current system was put in place in 1998 and requires a minimum of 44 to 46 credits in general education studies, not including the foreign language department, and has four study areas and four skill areas.

General Education Redesign Could Be in Future Plans

By Justin Muszynski

Jason Jones, CSU AAUP president, says that the CSUS reorganization could trump hopes for general education redesign in the future. Photo: Kenny Barto.

A recent survey conducted by the Faculty Senate general education ad-hoc committee shows that a majority of CCSU faculty believe the general education program should be reformed.

The survey results that were presented during the body’s meeting last week found that of the 230 surveyed, more than 60 percent either agreed or strongly agreed that a redesign is necessary.

Robert Wolff, chair of the ad hoc committee, says the committee has been given the responsibility of making recommendations for any changes to the general education program by the spring of 2012.

That may sound like a long time, but Wolff assures that “it is a long process.” Much of this process will involve several surveys directed toward students and faculty. Any changes would have to go through several committees, the Faculty Senate as a whole and ultimately be approved by CCSU President Jack Miller.

Wolff, who is also an associate professor of history, feels that the consensus among faculty is that the current system has become too complex. One major issue to be examined is that of students relocating to CCSU that are unable to transfer all of the credits they’ve accumulated at other institutions of higher learning.

“We have to be mindful that students transfer from one [Connecticut state university] to the other, they come from the community colleges…we can’t design something that makes it impossible to transfer,” said Wolff.

The current system requires a minimum of 44 to 46 credits in general education studies, not including the foreign language department, and has four study areas and four skill areas.

The general education program that is currently in effect at CCSU was put in place in 1998 and “was under discussion for a few years before that,” Wolff says.

“Any program we put in place would probably not affect any student who’s here now,” Wolff added.

In other words, current students don’t have to worry about the curriculum being changed in the middle of their education as they will be ‘grandfathered’ in and would most likely follow their original course of study.

Wolff says that the newly created Board of Regents would more than likely have no affect on any changes the university chooses to make to their curriculum.

Wolff said this is a good chance to step back and look at the curriculum closer and decide what it should mean to be a CCSU graduate.

The discussion about general education reform comes at a time when higher education reorganization at the state level and shrinking budget could affect future plans.

Jason Jones, president of the CSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, believes that the higher education system restructuring could negatively influence plans for general education changes.

“One of the things we have heard is that they want to have the [proposed] Board of Regents identify the general education standards for the CSU schools,” Jones said.  “Then the different institutions would be allowed to pick what classes fulfill those gen ed requirements that are determined by this bureaucracy that the governor would be appointing.”

“I think that the reorganization could possibly trump our hopes for reorganizing general education,” Jones added.  “It’s possible that there would be no meaningful campus control over curriculum.”

The Faculty Senate general education ad hoc committee will meet Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. to discuss the next step in this process.