Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Message Archive

Thursday, June 14, 2012

 

 This email is being sent to all members of the full-time faculty of Baruch College.

For an archive of announcements sent from the Provost’s Office beginning June 2011, see http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/provost/archive.htm

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Now that the semester is over, the provost’s office would like to follow up our message of February 22, 2012 regarding the Pathways Initiative with a snapshot of the current state of that initiative at Baruch. We want to do so particularly since there has been very little substantive discussion of the various states of the college’s proposal campus- or school-wide, despite an enormous amount of work by the chairs of the Weissman departments and several other members of the faculty. There has, of course, been lively discussion of the process by which we find ourselves with Pathways, but the work of members of our faculty to forge a Pathways core that maintains as many of the features as possible of our current core has been little recognized or discussed. In light of the resolution passed by the CUNY Board of Trustees one year ago that established Pathways as the general education framework for all CUNY undergraduates beginning in fall 2013, it seems very important that we discuss how to continue to provide our students with the best possible educational opportunities under the Pathways umbrella.

 

The attached document contains two distinct iterations of the current state of the college’s Pathways proposal. Both allow comparisons between the college’s current core curriculum (Tiers I, II, and III) and the proposed Pathways curriculum. Overview 1 aims to provide a quick look at the differences between the two. Overview 2 provides more information about each course in the current core, including its title and its place (if any) in the Pathways proposal.

 

The Pathways proposal that appears on the attached is based on the one that the college was required to submit to the CUNY Central Office on April 2, 2012. As indicated above, it was the result of intensive efforts by members of our faculty, including extended discussion at several meetings of curriculum committees. One significant change postdates the April 2 proposal: the Psychology department voted on April 5, 2012 to remove PSY 1001 from the Scientific World category of the Pathways flexible core.

 

Again, the guiding principle in formulating the attached proposal was to provide the best possible general education for our students. As we wrote in our April 2 submission:

 

“The existing shape of general education at Baruch College evolved through a close collaboration between the faculties of the various schools, in particular what are now the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Zicklin School of Business. That curriculum is designed to give undergraduates a broadly based introduction to the foundational disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematical and natural sciences. More particularly, it is designed to give business students, who make up more than seventy percent of the College’s undergraduates, an extensive liberal arts education that encompasses both introductory and advanced courses. The Tier III minor—a requirement of three upper-division courses, including a capstone, in a single department or interdisciplinary program within the liberal arts and sciences—is the hallmark of the College’s vision of the breadth of knowledge that students need and deserve, whether they are pursuing a liberal arts or business or pre-professional degree.”

 

“Our approach to the Pathways Common Core has been guided by this same vision of undergraduates’ needs and aspirations. We have sought an academically rigorous design, emphasizing the major disciplines of knowledge and ensuring a program of study that balances the humanities and social sciences and preserves as much as possible the laboratory experience in the study of science and scientific method. The College Option will preserve the aims of the current Tier III minor for the business students who begin their studies at the College; for liberal arts students, the College Option will include foreign language study; there remains a widely held concern that the 12-9-6 rule will deprive many transfer students of this signature experience within our curriculum.”

 

The submission on April 2 made clear that our proposal had not yet passed through the college’s governance process. That remains the case. In the interest of discussions next fall, we hope that you will review the attached with care.

 

All best wishes,

 

John Brenkman

Interim Provost and Senior Vice President

 

Dennis Slavin

Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President