Undergraduate Curriculum Proposal To CFR Faculty,
Following the discussion at the October 15, 2001 CFR Faculty meeting conducted by the CFR Charting Directions Committee, I wish to suggest a way to move our College forward. These comments are prefaced with the observation that President McCormick is concerned about the "state" of our College and its relationship to the rest of the campus community. Maintaining the status quo is not an acceptable alternative. There is also a possibility of additional budget reductions this year. We have an opportunity to make great advances - to redefine our programs to better fit the goals of the University and to better serve our students and constituents.
The following is proposed as a way to move ahead on undergraduate curriculum reform in CFR. In addition, we must think of ways that our educational activities can enhance our research and outreach objectives so that we become more efficient at meeting all of our objectives. We must rethink our graduate program areas in light of the curriculum reforms proposed below at the undergraduate level. We must clearly define options for 4-1 or 3-2 programs where the opportunities exist.
You will note many similarities between the curriculum proposal outlined below and the curriculum discussion contained in the Futures Report. The proposal is a direct outgrowth of that Report. I once again commend the Report to the entire CFR community for review and further discussion.
Once we determine the proper direction for our undergraduate programs we will address the structure of our graduate programs, the internal organization of the College, and a possible name change for the College. By following this logical sequence we can achieve our vision of preeminence. It is possible that we should eliminate our divisional structure to better serve our objectives as well as our evolving organizational culture. As we discuss how to best organize our undergraduate curricula, we must be guided by the same performance criteria already adopted for program evaluation purposes.
CFR should organize its undergraduate curricula using the three paradigms of: science, management, and design in support of three general programmatic areas to include sustainable forestry, sustainable urban environments and sustainable forest enterprises. I believe that sustainability (including ecological, economic and social measures) should provide the over-arching framework for the College's programs. From comments received to date, the College endorses this view.
All CFR undergraduates will major in one of the two following areas: environmental science and management; or engineering. Students in these two majors will utilize the three paradigms in support of sustainable forestry, sustainable urban environments and sustainable forest enterprises in a variety of ways. Both curricula should be designed to support sustainable activities and should include program elements to this effect.
For each of the two majors, the faculty are asked to identify educational outcomes desired of students as well as specific courses to meet general education and core competencies. Both majors should be designed with as much flexibility and as many free electives as possible.
Upper division course work will consist of: a) free electives (upper division level), b) restricted electives by area of concentration and c) required core courses. In addition, areas of concentration within each of the two majors should be identified. No more than two or three areas of concentration should be defined for each major. Additional areas of specialization will be possible in graduate-level programs which should be designed to complement the undergraduate programs.
A capstone course for each major (or across both majors) should be designed as a requirement for all students and is considered part of the core requirements. This should be a team-taught experience and integrate material from throughout the curriculum.
All students graduating from one of the above majors will possess a set of contemporary technical, field, communication, and content-specific skills to enable them to function effectively in entry-level positions of employment. In addition, they will be provided with knowledge that will enable them to be effective professional leaders, scientists, and managers as they progress in their professional development. The College will regularly solicit input in the most appropriate manner from the professions that hire our graduates so that our curricula remain responsive to the external environment. In addition, the expectation is that the undergraduate programs will provide a solid foundation to enable those who so desire to enroll in graduate studies to pursue either additional professional training or degrees.
All students graduating from one of the CFR approved majors will receive a BS degree. Transcripts will indicate a student's major (i.e., engineering or environmental science and management). Carefully crafted lists of restricted electives by concentration area will facilitate additional specialization within each of the majors. They will also facilitate the retention or acquisition of accreditation for a program of study.
The CFR faculty need to perform an in-depth analysis of all undergraduate course offerings to eliminate duplication by merging similar courses, to schedule core courses more than once a year (if enrollments warrant), and to set enrollment targets for undergraduate major areas. If these targets are not met in a stated time period, faculty resources will be re-allocated (as they become available) to more viable major areas. The two majors proposed herein should foster larger class sizes and fewer small-sized classes. It should also provide ample evidence that we, as a College, are serious about making changes in our undergraduate offerings. It is proposed that required undergraduate classes that routinely enroll less than 10 students should only be offered once every two years and canceled if enrollments fall below 10 students. Adequate substitutions must be identified in such cases.
It should be obvious that this proposal will require a considerable amount of work to bring to fruition. It is not a simple reshuffling of existing majors. Instead, it is a totally new approach to how the College organizes and presents material to its undergraduates. The benefits of this proposal are obvious. Faculty will participate in the teaching of CFR courses to larger numbers of students, thus freeing time to engage in research and/or outreach opportunities and increasing the efficiency of our faculty. Students will be allowed more flexibility in designing their programs of study. Opportunities to collaborate with other campus units will expand. And, the historic tradition of our College to be on the cutting edge of innovative approaches to education will continue. Linkages to other campus programs should also be identified as the proposal is discussed and refined.
Due to a series of time constraints we must act quickly to define a course of action that will guarantee that our two new majors are in place by Autumn 2002. Thus, I am asking the College Planning Committee and the Elected Faculty Council to participate in moving this proposal forward. The CPC will organize a series of meetings devoted to the proposal outlined above. Working together, both groups will facilitate this discussion and bring their combined curricular recommendations to the faculty for discussion and a vote.
The recommendations are due for faculty discussion and approval no later than November 16, 2001. All of the details of the new curricula need not be defined by this date, but we must clearly articulate how the programs support our vision of sustainability. We must also show how we will address the other elements including the structure of our graduate programs, the internal organization of the College, and a possible name change for the College. I realize that this timetable is extremely tight and ambitious. However, we are in unusual circumstances and feel that we must move quickly and decisively to demonstrate our willingness and ability to respond to internal and external pressures to change.