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||Motion to Change the Core Curriculum Course Lists for the 2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog (D 5872-5878).
Dean Paul B. Woodruff (Undergraduate Studies) explained that approval of the core curriculum course lists would routinely occur before publication of each undergraduate catalog from now on. He said that core course requirements in the past were included early in the Undergraduate Catalog, but the degree programs, which appeared later in the catalog, did not cite the core course information. He said that degree programs from the colleges and schools that had brought their requirements in line with curricular reforms for the 2008-2010 catalog would now be citing the core course lists. After the Faculty Council approves the lists, Dean Woodruff said the legislation would be forwarded to the Coordinating Board for review and approval, which he expected would occur without any problems.
Dean Woodruff said he Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee (UGSAC) reviewed the list through its subcommittee structure that is based on different academic areas. Because of time constraints imposed by the tight catalog production schedule and the resulting need to minimize controversial issues that could bog down the process, the subcommittees generally attempted to make only small changes consistent with the integrity of the requirements that the list represents.
Dean Woodruff said that there had been an effort to make minimal changes even in areas where committee members thought future modifications were needed. Courses had not been eliminated if there was some support from the colleges, but Professor Woodruff said he expects a much more thorough review with substantial revisions prior to the publication of the next catalog.
Dean Woodruff reminded Council members that this proposed legislation had been discussed at the January meeting, and the underlying curricular reform measures had been approved two years ago. He then briefly reviewed each of the core curricular modifications included in D 5872-5878. Following the brief review of the major changes in proposed legislation, Professor Palaima asked if there would be a need to provide additional courses that could count toward the humanities requirement and whether faculty members from other departments might offer classes that would fulfill this requirement. Dean Woodruff thanked Professor Palaima for asking the question because the Coordinating Board had asked the same question. He said that the Commission of 125 had expressed concern about the core curriculum at UT Austin looking like an a la carte menu. Dean Woodruff said the one aspect of the University’s core that was not a la carte was English 316K, which meets the humanities requirement and serves as a common educational experience for all undergraduate students. Although the course is well taught and meets the need for a common core requirement, Dean Woodruff said he expects faculty members will question whether additional humanities courses might be allowed to meet this requirement. He said that he hoped additional humanities courses would be required in degree programs even though they will not be counted toward the 42-hour core.
Dean Woodruff pointed out that there is an 18-hour science requirement for liberal arts majors at UT Austin, which is an unusually strong science requirement in comparison to that required in many other universities. He said he would like to see a humanities requirement of similar strength here at UT, perhaps a Western civilization requirement that is standardized across the campus. He explained that standardization is important because of Coordinating Board registration, which established the core under state law, is designed to make it possible for students to change majors within an institution and to transfer between Texas universities without losing core credit hours that have already been completed. Dean Woodruff said he hoped each degree program would treat the core humanities requirement as a minimum and include additional hours beyond the three hours of English and the three hours of visual and performing arts. After saying there were a number of important issues that needed to be discussed at a later time, Dean Woodruff said it was essential that the current legislation be approved so the list of core courses can get into the 2008-2010 catalog. He said he had an understanding with the registrar that if the lists of approved core courses in visual and performing arts turned out to be insufficient to meet student needs, the lists could be expanded before the next cycle of approval occurs through UGSAC and the Faculty Council. Dean Woodruff said this would be necessary to be fair to our students and allow them to graduate on time.
Chair Burger called for the vote to approve the motion to change the core curriculum course lists for the 2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog, and the motion passed by voice vote.