University at Albany
THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
This General Education Program applies to all students admitted to the University with basis of admission "FRESHMAN" in fall 2000 and thereafter and with basis of admission "TRANSFER" in fall 2002 and thereafter. Lists of courses that meet each requirement will be provided to students in the fall.
All other students should refer to the section of the Undergraduate Bulletin entitled "The 1992-2000 General Education Program."
The General Education Program at the University at Albany proposes a
set of knowledge areas, perspectives, and competencies considered by the
University to be central to the intellectual development of every undergraduate.
The Program is divided into three areas-Disciplinary Perspectives, Cultural
and Historical Perspectives, and Communication and Reasoning Competencies.
|The General Education Program as a whole has the following
characteristics. Different categories within the Program emphasize different
General education offers explicit understandings of the procedures and practices of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.
General education provides multiple perspectives on the subject matter, reflecting the intellectual and cultural diversity within and beyond the University.
General education emphasizes active learning in an engaged environment that enables students to become producers as well as consumers of knowledge.
General education promotes critical thinking about the assumptions, goals, and methods of various fields of academic study and the interpretive, analytic, and evaluative competencies central to intellectual development.
The General Education Program at the University at Albany consists of a minimum of 30 credits of coursework in the following areas: disciplinary perspectives, cultural and historical perspectives, and communication and reasoning competencies.
The General Education Program is summarized in the following table:
Requirements of the Program
While the majority of General Education courses are at the 100 and 200 level, particularly in the category of Disciplinary Perspectives, the General Education Program at the University at Albany is conceived as extending throughout the four years of undergraduate study. Indeed, certain requirements, such as those in U.S. History, Global and Cross-Cultural Studies, and Oral Discourse, may be more appropriately completed during the junior and senior year. Students are encouraged, however, to complete the requirements in the category of Disciplinary Perspectives during their first two years. In addition, the Information Literacy and the lower-level writing requirement are expected to be completed within the freshman or sophomore year.
Students may not use the same course to fulfill both the Arts and the Humanities categories. Otherwise, if a course fulfills more than one category, students may use the course to fulfill all of those categories. Although such "double counting" may reduce the number of credits needed to fulfill General Education, to graduate from the University each student must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of thirty (30) graduation credits in courses designated as General Education requirements. If a course fulfilling a General Education category also meets a major or minor requirement, there is no prohibition against counting the course toward General Education and the major or minor.
|The humanities and arts, natural sciences, and social sciences
are commonly considered to be the core of a liberal arts education. Courses
in the category of Disciplinary Perspectives are designed to familiarize
students with the objectives, assumptions, subject matters, methods, and
boundaries of knowledge organized in terms of academic disciplines. Requirements
in this category seek to introduce students to a broad range of disciplinary
and interdisciplinary perspectives and areas of knowledge.
Equally central to a liberal arts education is an understanding of history-the recognition that the world we inhabit today had its origins in and has been shaped by the events of the past, and that to understand our current situation we must try as best we can to understand the past. Of similar importance is an understanding of the origins, development and significance of human cultures, and the recognition of cultural distinctiveness and multiplicity. Courses in the category of Cultural and Historical Perspectives are designed to increase students' understanding of the history of this nation (U.S.), of its cultural diversity (U.S. Diversity and Pluralism), of histories and cultures that have played a major role in the development of the U.S. (Europe), and of cultures and histories beyond those of the U.S. and Europe (Regions beyond Europe).
In addition, these courses seek to introduce students to the complex intersections of the local and global, and to the different perspectives that emerge from a focus on the national, the regional, the global, and the cross-cultural. 21st century students will inhabit an environment increasingly characterized by global dynamics in which decisions made in the United States will affect the lives of people elsewhere and decisions made elsewhere will affect the lives of people in the United States. Moreover, they will inhabit an environment increasingly shaped by forces that transcend national borders and that are reconfiguring the globe's regions and cultures in the service of various economic and political interests. Courses approved for Global and Cross-Cultural Studies provide students with an opportunity to examine the global forces that give rise to and shape nations, cultures and regions, and to explore the larger perspectives that emerge from cross-cultural comparisons. The Foreign Language requirement is also designed to enhance students' global awareness and to expand their knowledge of different cultures.
The U.S. Diversity and Pluralism requirement reflects the University at Albany's long-standing commitment to respect for difference, to civic dialogue as a means of negotiating conflicts in cultural and political values arising from human diversity, to understanding the relation of cultural pluralism to political democracy, and to the development of socially responsible citizens. Courses in this category are designed to introduce students to the diversity of cultures that make up the United States, as well as to the historical, political, and economic forces that have led these cultures to develop differently and to be accorded different significance. Approved courses frequently focus on key issues of current concern (e.g., the gay rights movement), setting these issues in the context of how a democratic society defines majorities and minorities and understands the rights and responsibilities of each.
The General Education Program is designed to provide students with a set of competencies essential both for academic success and for becoming effective citizens of the 21st century, including the requirement in Mathematics and Statistics, the Information Literacy requirement, and the Written and Oral Discourse requirements.
Definition of Each General Education Category
DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES CATEGORIES
THE ARTS: Approved courses provide instruction in or about a medium of creative expression. Courses may focus on the physical practice and techniques of the medium, on its critical and theoretical interpretation, on its historical development, or on a combination of these approaches. Courses explicate the methods used to study and critique the medium as a vital element of personal or cultural expression and exchange.
Approved courses generally fall into one of four categories (for majors and/or non-majors):
Courses about the development and interpretation of a medium:
Note: The requirement calls for three credits. In the case of categories
3 and 4 (skills and performance), where approved courses may bear only
one or two credits, the requirement may be fulfilled through two or three
courses with a minimum total of three credits.
NATURAL SCIENCES: Approved courses
show how understandings of natural phenomena are obtained using the scientific
method, including data collection, hypothesis development, employment
of mathematical analysis, and critical evaluation of evidence. Courses
provide an overview of major principles and concepts underpinning a discipline's
current base of knowledge and discuss major topics at the current frontiers
of disciplinary knowledge. Courses show how answers to fundamental questions
in science can change the world in which we live and often explore how
social issues can influence scientific research. Opportunities for scientific
inquiry within laboratory and/or field settings may be provided.
SOCIAL SCIENCES: Approved courses
provide theory and instruction on the role of institutions, groups and
individuals in society. The focus of these courses is on the interaction
of social, economic, political, geographic, linguistic, religious, and/or
cultural factors, with emphasis on the ways humans understand the complex
nature of their existence. Courses include discussion of skills and practices
used by the social sciences: data collection, hypothesis development,
employment of mathematical analysis, and critical evaluation of evidence.
Opportunities to experience social science methods in the field may be
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES CATEGORIES
ORAL DISCOURSE: Approved courses provide opportunities for students to develop the oral communication skills they need to participate more effectively in public and academic debates and discussions. Courses offer opportunities to participate in a variety of communication contexts and to reflect on the principles and theory relevant to specific oral communication activities. Approved courses include instruction on presentation, as well as feedback and evaluation of oral performance.
Approved courses generally have a minimum of two exercises in which oral performance is required and graded. An oral performance exercise can be accomplished in any of the following activities, either live or in a crafted recording:
Students will be made aware of the criteria that will be used for evaluation of these performances, such as contact/ relationship with the audience, vocal punctuation and expressiveness, oral language style suited to the exercise, appropriate volume and pace of speech, poise and comfort, vocal fluency, eye contact. The final grade in oral intensive courses will include the grade for oral performance as a key component.
MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS: Approved courses introduce students to or extend their knowledge of pre-calculus, calculus, discrete mathematics, probability, statistics and/or data analysis. Courses may be offered in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and in other departments that have expertise in quantitative reasoning and data analysis and that offer appropriate courses, particularly in statistics or discrete structures.
A student who has achieved a score of 85 or above on the Regents Examination in "Mathematics Course III" or on a recognized standardized examination indicating readiness to enter pre-calculus will be considered to have fulfilled this requirement.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE:Basic proficiency in the understanding and use of an ancient or modern human language other than English as demonstrated by:
the satisfactory completion of the second college semester (i.e., level Elementary II) of foreign language study or its equivalent; or
passing a Regents "Checkpoint B" Examination or a Regents-approved equivalent with a score of 85 or above; or
demonstration of competency in a language other than English, including languages not currently offered for formal instruction at this university; or
satisfactory completion of at least one college semester in a study abroad program in a country where English is not the primary language of instruction.
Transition and Implementation
A. Students admitted to the University whose basis of admission is "FRESHMAN":
The requirements will apply to all students whose basis of admission is "freshman" who matriculate at the University in Fall 2000 or thereafter.
B. Students admitted to the University whose basis of admission is "TRANSFER":
The requirements do not apply to students whose basis of admission is "transfer" who matriculated at an accredited college or university prior to Fall 2000; these students instead are required to meet the "Continuing" (1992) General Education requirements for transfer students.
The requirements will apply to all other students whose basis of admission is "transfer" and who matriculate at the University in Fall 2002 or thereafter.
For at least the next few years, the Office of Undergraduate Studies will provide through the print and web versions of the Undergraduate Bulletin and through other media as deemed necessary, a full description for both the 1992-2000 and the 2000+ general education requirements. Students who feel their placement within either system of general education requirements is inappropriate to their circumstances or may cause undue hardship may appeal to the General Education Committee through the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
In accordance with the Trustees' policies, if a student from a SUNY state-operated campus or SUNY community college has fulfilled, as determined by the policies of the other SUNY campus, one or more of the Trustees-mandated general educational categories, the University at Albany will also consider the student to have fulfilled that category or those categories. This is true even if 1) Albany requires more credits or courses for the given category; 2) the requirement is fulfilled by a course whose Albany equivalent does not fulfill the same requirement; 3) the student received a non-transferable but minimally passing grade in the course; 4) due to limits on total transferable credits, the student is unable to include that course among those transferred to Albany; 5) the student was waived from the requirement based on high school achievement or other standards different from those employed by Albany; or 6) the student was covered by a blanket waiver of the requirement by the SUNY Provost because the other SUNY campus was not yet able to implement the given requirement.
The same principle of reciprocity should apply to students who transfer from non-SUNY schools. If a course approved for transfer from a non-SUNY school is deemed to be equivalent to a University at Albany course that meets a general education requirement, the student shall be considered to have fulfilled the Albany general education category represented by that course. This is true even if 1) Albany requires more credits or courses for the given category; 2) the student receives a non-transferable but minimally passing grade in the course; or 3) due to limits on total transferable credits, the student is unable to include that course among those transferred to Albany.
The foregoing conditions only apply to prematriculation credits.
The only exception to the policies outlined above are the University's Global and Cross-Cultural Studies requirement, the U.S. Diversity and Pluralism requirement, and the upper division Writing Intensive requirement. These requirements shall be considered "local" campus requirements, independent of the SUNY Trustees' system of General Education, and shall be required of all students whose basis of admission is "transfer" who matriculate at the University in fall 2002 or thereafter. Students may continue to present credit for courses the University deems equivalent to these requirements, but for the transfer course to fulfill the upper division writing requirement it must be completed with a grade of C or better or a grade of S.
Students who feel they have not been appropriately accorded equivalence for any given course or courses are encouraged to consult with their academic adviser; if the academic adviser determines that the student has not been awarded appropriate equivalency, the student or the adviser may then appeal the decision through established procedures. Students who believe their transfer work or academic circumstances may justify a waiver or substitution for part of the general education requirements may appeal to the General Education Committee through the Office of Undergraduate Studies (LC 30). As the requirements are implemented, the units considering transfer equivalencies should, if there is demonstrable ambiguity, decide in favor of the transfer student.
C. Transfer Credit D Grades:
Except for the University's writing requirements, for which a grade of C or higher or S is required, either pre- or postmatriculation transfer work graded D+, D or D- in a course that applies to one or more of the University's General Education requirements may be applied toward fulfilling the requirements, even if the student receives no graduation credit for the course.
Administration of the Program
The Dean of Undergraduate Studies is responsible for the administration of the program, including interpretation of legislation, assessing the number of seats required and communicating that information to Deans, evaluation of courses, faculty development and program assessment. The Dean shall also have the explicit authority to grant waivers and make appropriate substitutions for individual students, and to decertify courses that do not meet the program's standards. The Dean shall have sufficient material and human resources to meet these responsibilities.
The General Education Committee, appointed by the Dean, will advise the Dean on these matters. The General Education Committee shall have between 12 and 15 members, with broad representation across the University, and shall be chaired by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies with specific responsibility for the General Education Program.
Course proposals originate in departments or programs, pass through college and school curriculum committees where appropriate, and are reviewed by the General Education Committee. It is the responsibility of the Dean and of the General Education Committee to insure that course proposals meet the values and criteria of the General Education Program. New course proposals must also be approved by the Undergraduate Academic Council of the University Senate; revisions to existing courses designed to qualify them for the general education program will be reviewed only by the General Education Committee.
The General Education Committee will review approved courses on a regular cycle of three years. At the end of the review process, the committee will continue the course for another three-year cycle, suggest revisions necessary for its continuance, or designate the course to be discontinued as a general education course, effective at the end of the spring term of the next academic year. Any decision to discontinue a course must provide sufficient opportunity for appeal and revision.