Senate members Julie Shen, Phyllis Nelson and Sharyn Fisk during the vote. (Maya Hood / The Poly Post)

Academic Senate makes changes to GE policy

In a 24-2 vote, the Academic Senate passed a resolution on March 27 to make changes to Area C in the General Education (GE) policy to ensure academic requirements are equal for all students. Instead of dividing Area C into two sub-categories, it will now be combined. 

Mahmood Ibrahim, chair of the Academic Senate’s General Education Committee, said combining areas C. 2a and C. 2b do not affect departments or the courses that are within these two areas of Area C. Area C: Arts and Humanities (C2) is now divided into C. 2a: Philosophy and Civilization and C. 2b: Literature and Modern Languages, so that students are required to take a course from each sub-area. 

He said combining the areas affects students’ exposures to other disciplines.

“It really makes the students less exposed to other disciplines,” Ibrahim said. “It makes them a little bit narrow in terms of their choices.” 

Senate members Julie Shen, Phyllis Nelson and Sharyn Fisk during the vote. (Maya Hood / The Poly Post)

The catalyst for making changes to Area C happened when the GE committee was formulating a document on GE area distribution for semester conversion. 

The GE committee said it felt that Cal Poly Pomona’s GE area was not in compliance with Executive Order 1110 — a policy that established an understanding of requirements for California State University GE classes to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will give them the ability to expand their interests.

Collapsing the two sub-categories in Area C into one category will give students the advantage of choosing a third class from either the arts or humanities. 

After the change, C2 will not have any sub-classification of GE Sub-Area C2, which will now include all disciplines of literature and modern languages as well as philosophy and civilization.  

John Lloyd, chair of the budget committee expressed his concerns throughout the debate, stating that changes to GE will be made regardless of how the Senate votes on it.

“This is an extraordinary report,” Lloyd said. “I’ve served on the Academic Senate for a number of years and I think this is the first time that I remember — basically having to pass a referral because we have no choice. I was considering voting no myself, but perhaps abstention sends a stronger message.”

Sylvia Alva, provost and vice president of academic affairs, stated that the university is part of a bigger system and is expected to be a part of single policy for general education.

Within that policy, a lot of it is up to campus discretion as to which courses are approved within the categories and what meets the learning objectives of those categories, but because the university is part of a system of 23 campuses, Alva said it is expected to adhere to a system policy. 

“I believe in good faith,” Alva said. “We came together and tried to adopt something that we were later told doesn’t adhere to the system policy.” 

The next Academic Senate meeting will take place on April 24, in Building 98 at 3 p.m.

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