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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Proposed changes to The SCANDINAVIAN STUDIES degree Program in the College of Liberal Arts SECTIOn in the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016

 

Dean Randy Diehl in the College of Liberal Arts has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the following changes to the College of Liberal Arts section in the Undergraduate Catalog, 2014-2016. The faculty of the college and the dean approved the changes on February 22 and March 18, 2013, respectively. The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of exclusive application and of primary interest only to a single college or school.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on November 6, 2013, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. The authority to grant final approval on this legislation resides with UT System.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by November 19, 2013.

Dean P. Neikirk

Dean P. Neikirk, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council


Posted on the Faculty Council website on November 12, 2013.



Proposed changes to The SCANDINAVIAN STUDIES degree Program in the College of Liberal Arts SECTIOn in the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016

NAME OF CHANGE:
  Degree Program Change

IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IS YES, THE COLLEGE MUST CONSULT NEAL ARMSTRONG WHO WILL DETERMINE WHETHER SACS-COC APPROVAL IS NEEDED.:

• Is this a new degree program? No
• Does the program offer courses that will be taught off campus? No
• Will courses in this program be delivered electronically? No

EXPLAIN CHANGE TO DEGREE PROGRAM:

Currently, the Department of Germanic Studies has two undergraduate major tracks: a German major (for students interested in the study of German literature, culture, and film, as well as in teaching German, with courses given in German under the prefix GER) and a major in Scandinavian Studies (with courses under the prefix SCA given mostly in English, both lower- and upper-division). The former is in solid health after a curricular revision conducted from 2008 on; the latter is based on courses with solid enrollments, but as a major it has not drawn students in sufficient number.

In addition, the Department of Germanic Studies offers courses under the prefix GRC (Germanic Civilization); these are given in English and sometimes fill the writing flag requirements. These courses generally have good enrollments. Finally, the department offers language courses in German, three Scandinavian languages (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish), Dutch, Yiddish, and the older Germanic languages.

The proposed new major in German, Scandinavian, and Dutch Studies (GSD) will pull together courses in the languages and cultures of Northern and Central Europe, offering undergraduates the opportunity to combine the study of one or more Germanic languages in the context of the history and culture of the area as a whole. The focus of the new major will replace and modernize the old philological emphasis of departments such as Germanic Studies (or Slavic or Romance Languages and Literatures).

Specifically, the GSD major will benefit students and the department in the following ways:

  1. It creates a more broad-based and flexible interdisciplinary major in the humanities based on existing course offerings (with revisions, as explained below, that will up the quality of the courses). GRC courses are now not part of any major, despite their popularity. Yet they are content-heavy courses appealing to many students around the campus. SCA courses are part of the existing Scandinavian major, but there is a large gap between the large audience for the courses and the number who are able to major in it. The proposed GSD Major will replace the Scandinavian major while still serving its population and expanding its reach to encourage a focus on Northern Europe rather than Scandinavia alone. This expansion corresponds to trends in Europe, which is seeing the emergence of Baltic Studies, and to today's Scandinavian studies scholarship, which is also dealing with regional issues in new ways, supplementing or supplanting older nationalist paradigms.
  2. It integrates updated and revised versions of present courses given under the GRC and SCA rubrics under a single rubric (GSD), which replaces the very dated rubrics "Germanic Civilization" and "Scandinavian Civilization" using the more modern terminology of "studies" and includes space for Dutch culture courses (which presently do not have their own numbers and are offered under GRC). In making this integration, a confusing series of SCA and GRC numbers that date back forty years or more will be replaced by a set of course numbers that render more transparent the relations among them. At the same time, course titles and contents will be decisively modernized, with the particular expectations for each course clarified.
  3. The changes of rubrics in (2) will facilitate advising and advertising for the new majors. The structure of the major allows for flexibility without making the entire major "with advisor's approval," or cafeteria style (as many German studies majors across the country are doing).
  4. This realignment pulls the department's undergraduate offerings into a clear national profile, as offering 1) a comprehensive German major (with classes in German) that prepares students for teaching and graduate work in the humanities and other careers requiring significant advanced language training and 2) a studies major that focuses on content areas related with Northern Europe that consolidates what are now relatively scattered offering into a major with clear skills development in reading, research, and writing.

The subcommittee charged with developing the successor to the present Scandinavian Major believes that these two tracks will serve different audiences, offering a content alternative for those students who are only interested in a limited amount of upper-division language study. Most particularly, it will allow for area studies focuses like film studies and medieval studies, which are well-represented in our GRC/SCA offerings, but have no official presence in the formal undergraduate curriculum. In addition, it will strengthen the experience available to existent Scandinavian Studies majors by extending its reach to a regional focus, and by incorporating a more explicit research/writing developmental sequence leading up to a systematic portfolio that documents skills that are core requirements of the humanities (thinking historically, thinking textually, thinking culturally and cross-culturally, performing research across time and across eras, and relating moments in cultural history to the present).

The proposed GSD Studies major will complement existing majors within the College of Liberal Arts, while offering students a humanities-centered major option that currently does not exist. Its most obvious competitors are International Studies (IS) and European Studies (EUS).

The degree plan in European Studies has a strong social sciences bias (with the same kinds of language requirement proposed here), allowing only a maximum of three courses in the humanities and arts (one in an area distribution, two as electives). Its core course focuses principally on the latter twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and on current events themes, even when it discusses films or (usually, popular) music.

The BA in International Studies is almost completely social-science oriented, with distribution requirements requiring core courses in Government, Economics, Geography, History, and an elective including Media and Sociology. Its upper-division core course is international relations (or an alternative stressing global studies). One of four tracks for the twelve hours of upper-division electives is "culture, media, and the arts," but in practice, IS majors have fifteen hours of lower-division social sciences and one upper-division course on international relations as prerequisites, which will preselect cognitive styles away from topics that figure prominently in our GRC/SCA courses like media representations, film, literature, and historical cultures.

Overall, in addition, these two majors seem to be radically focused on the present and on the types of analysis, research, and writing done in the social sciences (including a heavy metrics presence in IS), rather than the textual analysis and research represented in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences (associated with media/genre studies, semiotics, textual and linguistics analysis, and specialized histories of cultural artifacts framed within general histories of nations and regions).

One other significant difference is that the GSD major will not require study abroad, although courses taken in study-abroad programs may be used for the major with permission of the advisor.

Overall, we judge that EUS and IS majors do not prepare students for future studies in the humanities and arts or for careers requiring knowledge of the histories and cultures of specific regions within Europe (e.g. cultural diplomacy, international training positions focused on acculturation, journalism, arts).


SCOPE OF THE PROPOSED CHANGE(S):

Does this proposal impact other colleges/schools? If yes, then how?
  No
If yes, impacted schools must be contacted and their response(s) included:
  N/A

Will students in other degree programs be impacted (are the proposed changes to courses commonly taken by students in other colleges)?

  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

Will students from your college take courses in other colleges?
  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

Does this proposal involve changes to the core curriculum or other basic education requirements (42-hour core, signature courses, flags)?
  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

Will this proposal change the number of required hours for degree completion?
  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

COLLEGE/SCHOOL APPROVAL PROCESS:

Department:
Yes
Date: November 6, 2013
College:
Yes
Date: February 22, 2013
Dean:
Yes
Date: March 18, 2013

To view the edited version of the catalog changes click the PDF link at the beginning of this document.