Task Force Proposes Changes to Undergraduate Study Requirements

By Bonnie Zhao 09/21/21 11:03 PM

Two recommendations, including the introduction of themes in the distribution courses and the removal of the prerequisites from the distribution offerings, were proposed to change the requirements of the undergraduate program by the working group of the faculty of general education, according to Douglas Schuler, associate professor of business and public policy. Schuler presented these recommendations of the Task Force to the Senate of the Student Association on September 20, after presenting them. at the meeting of the Faculty Senate on September 1.

Of the six total recommendations included in the proposal on general undergraduate education, these two were discussed in depth during the Senate meeting on September 20 SA.

Schuler said the goal is to introduce and interweave themes in the distribution offerings, requiring students to take a course on each theme. According to Schuler, the current number of themes is undecided, but the expected number is four.

Schuler said the themes should reflect the issues, values, and skills students need to be exposed to. Although relatively stable, the themes would be reviewed and updated about every five years, according to Schuler.

The second recommendation is to eliminate classes that have prerequisite distribution courses. Schuler said that about a third of Distribution Two and Distribution Class Three have prerequisites, which violates Rice’s assertion that distribution courses should be accessible to non-majors and not presume to be particular expertise of the student.

At the South African Senate meeting, student leaders expressed some concerns about the proposed changes, including whether the changes would restrict students’ freedom in choosing courses.

Schuler said South African senators will soon be sending feedback forms to their respective colleges on the matter. The full report of the task force can be viewed on its website.

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