Math, science oppose gen ed changes


Anne Buie

Rick Klima, Assistant Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, asserted his disagreement with the proposed changes to the general education program. If implemented, the program change to require only 3-4 hours of quantitative literature credits versus the 4 that are required now. Justin Perry | The Appalachian The math department and several science departments have written formal statements opposing proposed changes to general education at the university.

The potential changes were proposed June 19. Under the new system, students would no longer take “perspectives” based on their majors. And Science Inquiry would become Science Literacy, causing a one-credit-hour loss. This is the change to which the departments are responding.

“A reduction…would mean that Appalachian would fall even further behind in STEM literacy with weaker core requirements than community college systems,” the math department’s statement reads.
Cutting one credit hour cuts 25 percent of requirements, said Rick Klima, assistant chair of the math department.

And removing the word “inquiry” from the science inquiry perspective and adding “literacy” implies that science is something one can simply read about, the statement from the science departments argues.

“I personally believe that lowering requirements forever because of a resource shortage that may be temporary is a mistake,” said Tonya Coffey, associate professor of physics and astronomy. “If the budget turns around, we’ll have the resources again, but if we make a cut in the requirement, it is cut forever – or at least until Gen Ed is revised again.”

But Director of General Education Paulette Marty believes the changes will make for a “smoother” educational experience.

“Students will be able to take classes they are generally interested in,” Marty said.

The changes were discussed and agreed upon by the faculty, Provost Lori Gonzalez said.

The administration helps guide the process, but ultimately the faculty determines the changes, she said.

The proposed changes could be approved as early as December, Marty said. Faculty Senate will discuss the proposal at its October meeting.

The changes must be approved by the General Education Council, the University College Council and the Academic Policy and Procedure Committee.


Story: CHELSEY FISHER, Senior News Reporter
Photo: JUSTIN PERRY, Intern Photographer