In December 2012 the SUNY Trustees passed a resolution regarding the intention of ‘Seamless Transfer’ of students between SUNY institutions. This resolution led to a Memorandum to Presidents, which was disseminated in its final form on June 14, 2013.
The biggest issue with regard to this resolution and our Revised General Education Program proposal is that all General Education programs at every campus within the SUNY system must allow students to complete the 7/10/30 requirements of the SUNY-wide general education program (i.e., completion of 7 out of 10 area requirements and 30 total gen ed credit hours) within the first 2 years of undergraduate study. This is in exact opposition to our current program proposal which intentionally diffuses General Education curriculum across the 4 years of study of a typical (ideal) undergraduate degree program.
While our reasoning for the spread of General Education requirement over 4 years is based upon best educational practices and sound educational research, we must comply with the dictates of this ‘Seamless Transfer’ requirement. Please note that the resolution only requires that our program allow for the completion of the GER within 2 years; it does not require that students MUST complete the GER within 2 years.
With the above issue in mind, the chair of the gen ed revision committee has suggested the following changes to the proposed General Education program:
- Removal of the Senior Capstone Requirement. Most programs already have some type of senior capstone anyway, though certainly some (if not many) of them do not require a service-learning component within their capstone requirement. We propose that Senate take on this idea and make it a campus-wide graduation requirement, rather than a requirement within the General Education program.
- Increase Cluster Course Requirement. We take the 3 additional credits that we had allotted to the senior capstone and add them into the ‘cluster’ course requirement (i.e., 15 credits of clustered courses instead of 12 credits).
- Open Up Vision of Course Clusters. Clusters can be either:
- What we currently are suggesting- 2 classes taught back to back. (Faculty would receive incentives for this sort of ‘team taught’ cluster.)
- “Tracks” of individual classes that are connected under the theme but can be taken individually. (Faculty would not necessarily receive incentives for teaching these courses.)
By opening up our idea of the clusters, this helps tremendously with some of the issues people have been having with regard to (i) scheduling, and (ii) adjunct workload issues and ‘thematic’ expertise. This would also allow students to take either (i) 2-2 class clusters and 1 individual course, (ii) 1-2 class cluster and 3 individual courses, or (iii) 5 individual courses, in order to achieve their 15 credits in cluster coursework.
By implementing these changes in our proposal, we will have designed a program that would allow students to complete all 30 credits in their first 2 years, but encourages them to spread it out to at least 3 years.