Faculty       Chairs/Directors    
Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs
 

SPECIAL FACULTY MEETING

November 17, 2000
GANNETT AUDITOIUM

MINUTES

Professor Brueggemann, speaking for CEPP, presented the final proposal for new all-college requirements to the faculty. The main changes compared to the preliminary draft are as follows: LS2 was restored to its existing form. All students are required to complete either a non-western or a cultural diversity course. All students would also be required to take one foreign language course or demonstrate introductory level competency. Those students who test beyond introductory level competency would be required to take an additional ICE course, either in foreign languages, non-western or cultural diversity.

Professor Brueggemann went on to say that there are ongoing disagreements about various aspects of the curriculum and hopes that such issues can be thoroughly aired and discussed. On December 1 the final vote on CEPP’s proposal for new all-college requirements will be taken. Professor Brueggemann asked that any amendments to the proposal be sent to CEPP before December 1 for consideration.

Professor Lary Opitz moved that the discussion of the proposal be considered informally. The motion was seconded, and the motion carried with all voting in favor.

After a lengthy discussion among members of the faculty, Professor Brueggemann made the following motion:

MOTION:

CEPP moves that the faculty adopt the core curriculum as described below. (Because this motion is coming from a committee, a second to the motion is not necessary.)

CEPP proposes that the faculty revise the core curriculum, through reducing and rationalizing the all-college requirements. We believe that the existing curriculum serves us well in its focus on liberal arts educational values, but imposes constraints that may narrow students’ educational opportunities.

Organizing Principles

Early in their discussions the members of CEPP agreed that organizing principles were necessary to guide the committee’s thinking. The following statements summarize the principles that provide the basis for CEPP’s recommendations to the faculty:

• All-college requirements should insure that students develop foundational skills and understandings in knowledge areas that are central to a liberal arts education. In defining these central areas, the members of CEPP have taken into account the views of Skidmore faculty (gathered in meetings and conversations throughout the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 academic years), Skidmore educational tradition as articulated in the college’s mission and vision statements, and current national trends as outlined in the American Association of College and University’s white papers: "Contemporary Understandings of Liberal Education" (1998); " Education: The Changing Agenda" (1999); "Mapping Interdisciplinary Studies" (1999); and “Survey on Diversity Requirements” (2000).

• The language and intent of our revisions should focus on student learning and maintain a balance between the complementary goals of achieving (1) student understanding of central disciplinary content and (2) student competence in essential skills (e.g., critical reading, fluent writing, and quantitative understanding).

• A revised core curriculum should be efficient in its use of faculty resources and student time, and its structure should be readily comprehensible to both students and faculty.

• A revised core curriculum should enable students to take responsibility for their own educational goals by allowing them to select within a broad set of courses that are consistent with all-college goals. The role of academic advising will be critical in guiding students as they learn to take responsibility for their own education.

• The all-college requirements should provide an educational foundation, but should not be designed to achieve all of the goals of a Skidmore education. Work in both the major and elective courses should supplement the core curriculum, providing students with critical opportunities to pursue a liberal arts education.

Requirements

1. Expository Writing (1 course):
Through the successful completion of one designated writing course, students learn how to develop a thesis and organize an essay around it with appropriate transitions between paragraphs and between sentences. They learn how to reduce grammatical and spelling errors through proofreading. Students develop an understanding of the need for evidence that supports assertions and to write with the reader in mind. This requirement must be fulfilled by the end of the sophomore year. Those students who need to take EN103, "Writing Seminar I," as preparation for meeting this requirement, must do so by the end of their first year.

2. Quantitative Reasoning (1 course):
In QR1 students demonstrate proficiency in basic quantitative skills (e.g., arithmetic, percentage and percent change, practical geometry, linear equations and linear growth, compound interest and exponential growth, data presentation and description, basic probability and statistics, and intelligent use of a computational technology). Students must fulfill the QR1 prerequisite in one of the following four ways: (1) scoring 630 or better on the MSAT I exam; (2) scoring 570 or better on any mathematics SAT II exam; (3) passing the College's quantitative reasoning examination before the end of the first year; or (4) successfully completing MA100 before the end of the sophomore year.

Students build upon and apply quantitative reasoning skills in the context of specific academic disciplines by successfully completing a designated QR2 course. All students must fulfill the QR2 requirement before the end of the junior year.

3. Interdisciplinary Study (2 courses):
The Liberal Studies program provides an integrative educational experience for all students. It includes two requirements:

Liberal Studies 1-Human Experience: In this single, team-taught course all first-year students learn the ways in which different academic disciplines raise questions and seek answers concerning human experience, and develop the ability to define central ideas in readings and lectures presented in a variety of forms.

Liberal Studies 2: Students engage in interdisciplinary study that extends and focuses the inquiries begun in LS1. Students are required to successfully complete one LS2 course before the end of their sophomore year.

Professor Brueggemann thanked the faculty for their thoughtful comments, patience, and constructive tone. .

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

Claire Demarest
Executive Secretary
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and
Dean of the Faculty

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