Dear CFR Faculty, Staff and Students,
After the presentations and discussion on February 1 and 15 of the Undergraduate Curriculum Transformation Committee's recommendations, it seems clear that an introductory course (e.g., ESC 110, Introduction to Environmental Science), or other similar courses, will be very important to the success of the new Environmental Science, Management and Design (ESMD) curriculum. As mentioned during the meetings, there are several reasons for this:
First, an introductory course(s) serves as an important service teaching opportunity for the College. Second, an introductory course(s) should set the rigorous tone of the major itself. Finally, and critical to the success of any program, an introductory course(s) must serve as a recruiting tool to attract new students into the curriculum. I believe that once students become familiar with the College's programs, faculty, staff and students, they will like what they see by declaring a major in CFR.
To encourage more discussion and faculty involvement in the emerging curriculum, I am charging the Ad Hoc Large Class Committee (LCC) with the following tasks:
Task 1: Attract students into CFR through an introductory course (such as ESC 110).
The LCC should make recommendations to structure the introductory course(s) as the best possible recruiting tool for CFR. All students should be made aware of the faculty, courses and programs within CFR. The LCC should develop plans for standardizing the content and structure of the introductory course(s), and stabilizing the scheduling of the course(s) by identifying enough faculty willing and able to teach the course(s) such that sabbaticals and other commitments do not compromise the ability to offer consistently. This will probably involve a commitment of a certain number of TAs and a prioritization of TA use such that other courses traditionally assigned a TA may have to do without. Since this will be a recruiting course(s) for undergraduates, I also want the LCC to recommend a minimum level (or percentage of commitment) of college instructional resources to be devoted to the support of this course(s).
Task 2: Increase enrollment in the introductory course(s).
The LCC should devise a plan to maximize enrollment in this course(s), while maintaining rigor and quality in the course(s) and staying within the financial constraints of the College.
Task 3: Generate external funding for teaching the introductory course(s).
Teaching resources are limited in CFR. The LCC should identify strategies to partially fund the teaching of this course(s) using external sources. There should be a short-term plan, for implementation by the proposed start of the ESMD curriculum in autumn 2002, and a long-term plan for 2+ years.
Bob Edmonds and Rob Harrison, as co-chairs of the LCC, should bring the committee together to work on recommendations to achieve these goals and respond to these questions. A report, with recommendations to the Dean, is due by March 15. This report will be shared with all faculty, staff and students. Thank you and best wishes.
B. Bruce Bare