The Faculty Senate’s plan to restructure the undergraduate curriculum in a vote on General Education, was postponed again at its April 22 meeting. Amid departmental divisiveness it was proposed that voting on General Education be done by mail.
General Education has been at the forefront of the Faculty Senate’s discussions for more than three years as administration has become concerned that students are being rushed into their majors too quickly. The proposed program would have students focus more heavily upon writing, world culture and a variety of other basic areas of study.
The debate over which courses to include and which ones to cut has been ongoing, but with a vote on General Education due before commencement, tempers flared as soon as the first amendment was proposed.
Edward Flanagan, from the Esther Boyer College of Music, was the first to request a change. She asked that the number of required international studies courses, math courses and science courses be reduced from two classes to one. “Let the colleges make the decisions where their students need further General Education,” Flanagan said.
This attitude was reflected by many. A member of the Art Department expressed concern about the number of courses required by General Education, as it would cut into the time professors spend one-on-one with their students.
Since 1986, when the university’s General Education requirements were last evaluated, the number of required courses in most Temple colleges has increased, reducing the number of credit hours available for general education.
Temple President David Adamany has even said that unless the required number of courses in General Education was reduced, he would not recommend the proposal to the Board of Trustees.
The motion passed 63-30, and the international studies, science and math courses were cut from the proposal.
Following the vote, an amendment was proposed to reinstate the science course that was previously cut. The fairness of this proceeding was then called into question as cutting the number of science classes was not previously discussed yet was bundled into the amendment that just passed. This defeated amendement left many faculty members frustrated.
“Everyone wants to pit their interests against everyone else. … Rather than vote their heart, people will be pressured into voting in block the party line for their school,” said
architecture Professor Keith Erickson.
Erickson followed this by requesting a mail-in vote. According to the Faculty Senate Constitution, once a mail in vote is asked for, it will be offered without debate.
The ballots will be sent out within the week and will be completed sometime before commencement.
The mail-in vote could drastically alter the outcome of the vote as less than 10 percent of Temple’s full-time faculty attended the meeting. Ballots will be sent out to all members.
If the Senate votes yes on the General Education proposal, President Adamany will bring it before the Board of Trustees with his recommendation. If it passes the board, the General Education proposal will become effective July 1, 2006.
If the Senate votes no, the current undergraduate curriculum will remain in place.
Charles McCann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.