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CSU rethinking general education

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CSU rethinking general education

Violeta Trujillo, Reporter

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The California State University Academic Senate is evaluating a framework that could amend the general education requirements across all 23 CSU campuses, requiring students to take 42 general education units versus the current 48 required general education units.

John Tarjan, who is the chair of the Management and Marketing Department at CSU Bakersfield, serves on the Academic Senate, where he was informed about the proposal.

Tarjan explained that there is nothing official about the general education amendment.

“If we were going to redo general education, what might we want it to look like?” said Tarjan. “It is only a proposed framework.”

Tarjan said there are two main motives to amend the requirements.

“It is an attempt to have students feel something that is more relevant to them and have more of a focus on skills, a more general education that is more focused and better for students,” said Tarjan.

Tarjan said college students can feel that certain general education courses are useless to them, especially those outside their majors.

Jennifer Mullich, a junior at CSUB who is majoring in history, agrees with this idea.

“My theatre class, it was an absolute waste of time, when I could have taken another history class,” said Mullich.

The second motive for the proposed framework is to help students graduate faster, according to Tarjan.

“The Board of Trustees is very focused on students getting degrees. 48 units or more of general education, might take away students from graduating,” said Tarjan.

In 2016, the systemwide four-year graduation rate for full-time freshmen across the CSU was 22.6%, according to the California State University Graduation Rates Consortium for Student Retention and Data Exchange.

In 2016, the six-year graduation rate for full-time freshmen in the CSU was 59.2%, according to CRSDE.

“I am not convinced, but if you give campuses enough funds, so they can have more instructors for students, that might help,” said Tarjan. “I think it is a matter of not having enough funds.”

The proposed framework could possibly cut out general education requirements in the social science and history section, removing U.S. history, while science and math courses remain required for students, according to Tarjan.

“For example if I am a U.S. history professor, I am likely to believe that it is an important course to understand the context of our democracy and be an informed citizen,” said Tarjan. “Now it looks like U.S. history courses are going to be reduced and I think they are very concerned.”

“Even though you are not going into a political sphere of work, it is important to have an understanding of the nature of politics so you’re not ignorant to political events that affect everyone,” said Mullich.

Josue Zavala, a speech pathology major and senior at CSUB, said “General education is useful to students who want to explore a variety of subjects when they are not sure what major to choose.”

Tarjan mentioned that cutting down the unit requirements to 42 might not cover all the learning outcomes for CSU students, which other campuses are agreeing with, according to Tarjan.

He mentioned that he is not too worried about the proposed framework at this time.

“The probability is very low,” said Tarjan. “Right now the commonality between faculty is ‘we don’t like it.’”

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CSU rethinking general education