As shown in the message copied below, on March 24 I asked the Acting Provost for the authority to initiate a formal review of the College's undergraduate and graduate curricula as specified in Section 26-41 of the UW Handbook.
The Acting Provost consulted with the Faculty Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting on March 31 and was advised to proceed.
On April 1, I received formal notification from the Acting Provost that we may proceed with this formal review. The Secretary of the Faculty has been asked to appoint a Program Identification Committee. I have also requested that an undergraduate and graduate student be appointed to this Committee.
I will keep you advised as we move forward. In the meantime I ask that you review Section 26-41. Thanks and best wishes.
B. Bruce Bare
Dean and Rachel A. Woods Professor
March 24, 2003
I request authority to initiate a formal review of the College's undergraduate and graduate curricula as specified in Section 26-41 of the UW Handbook.
Please note that the transformation of our College's undergraduate and graduate curricula is not motivated by either a budget reduction or a reallocation of resources as described in Section 26-41. Hence, there is some question in our minds as to whether our transformation has exactly met the conditions necessary to trigger a review per Section 26-41.
Our College has been engaged in a broad-based strategic planning process since 1995. Over this time period, we have generated a rich history of internal reports and discussion documents. Many of these reports have dealt with the structure and content of our curricula and have been widely discussed by our faculty. Several of these reports are germane to our current curricula transformation and RCEP request.
In April 1997, the Function and Structure Analysis Committee (FASAC) recommended that the College consolidate its undergraduate and graduate programs into two clearly defined program areas: 1) Resource Management and Stewardship and 2) Engineering. The focus of the FASAC recommendation was on program consolidation and integration, and each option was characterized by a core of common coursework with specialization at the upper division level. Sets of core competencies were developed for the undergraduate and graduate programs and suggested focus areas of specialization were identified.
In January 2000, following a May 1999 Curriculum Retreat, the Futures Committee examined the undergraduate curricula of the College and suggested that the Paper Science and Engineering program be retained as a separate program; the Forest Engineering (since renamed Forest and Ecological Engineering) program become either a graduate-only program or build enrollment by focusing on ecological engineering with the College of Engineering; and the remaining five undergraduate programs be consolidated and integrated into a single interdisciplinary natural resources curriculum. It was also recommended that a 3-2 master's degree option be explored.
In November 2001, the College faculty voted to consolidate its undergraduate curricula into two programs: 1) Paper Science and Engineering and 2) Environmental Science, Design, and Management. A faculty committee was appointed and produced a Curriculum Transformation report in May 2002 which recommended that five programs share a common set of core classes focusing on the concept of sustainability while imparting a common base of knowledge to all students. Allowing for some specialization in the upper division, all students shared a common capstone experience. The curricula model allowed for disciplinary identity while promoting interdisciplinarity and consolidation. This proposal was adopted by faculty vote in June 2002.
In October 2002, with state budget deficits looming, the College was asked to rethink its proposed undergraduate curriculum transformation to seek greater efficiency and focus through consolidation and integration. It was pointed out that the College undergraduate enrollment was not growing; that about 75 undergraduates graduated per year from seven programs; and that our state budget was shrinking. The College was also asked to examine the restructuring of its graduate programs to gain greater efficiency and integration as well. Nine graduate program areas in the College produce about 75 graduate students per year.
In November 2002 a Curriculum Work Group was established to:
1) provide high quality and high impact programs of study for graduate and undergraduate students;
2) address educational goals for courses offered at both graduate and undergraduate levels;
3) develop links and collaborative courses with other campus programs; recommend ways to consolidate and reduce the number of course offerings required to achieve learning outcomes;
4) ensure that the common core and general education courses clearly and completely cover the ecological, economic and social building blocks of sustainability;
5) ensure that service courses are established as a regular part of our educational identity and that instructional resources are committed as part of the annual instructional plan;
6) explore and recommend the feasibility of 4-1 curricular structures to integrate graduate and undergraduate programs;
7) identify all required and optional courses for the curriculum and outline the essential learning outcomes associated with each course.
The results of the Curriculum Work Group form the basis of our request for this RCEP. The faculty discussed and adopted the Work Group's recommendations at all-college faculty meetings held on December 17, 2002; February 11, 2003; and March 18, 2003. Both undergraduate and graduate programs have been affected by these votes. In brief the College would like to transform its curriculum as follows:
The faculty propose to organize its programs into two curricula:
The latter program consists of UW General Education requirements consisting of 65-67 credits; a core of 20 College credits focusing on the concept of resource sustainability to be taken by all students in the program; 35 credits of restricted electives from the College in an area of specialization of interest to the student; and 65 credits of free electives.
The Paper Science and Engineering program is a slightly revised version of the program currently offered with an additional six credits of electives.
The consolidation and integration of the College's undergraduate programs is something we have strived to do for several years. The renewed focus on interdisciplinarity and natural resource sustainability is clearly supportive of our vision for the future of the College.
Neither the existing Forest Management nor Forest Ecological and Engineering undergraduate programs will remain accredited by their respective accrediting bodies. However, as discussed below, the new professional Master of Forestry graduate degree will accommodate students seeking in depth education in these areas. In a similar vein, the new professional Master of Environmental Horticulture will provide students an in depth professional education in urban horticulture. Both master's programs will be structured using a 4-1 model to promote integration between the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Natural resource management is complex, contentious, and of great interest to most citizens of our State. Institutions and individuals responsible for these resources need a new kind of professional for the demanding challenges they face. The multiple dimensions involved in resource stewardship require a shift away from traditional, single-discipline approaches to one that integrates knowledge from the ecological, economic, and social sciences. Natural resource scientists and managers need more flexible and more complex skill sets. They need to work effectively on teams and they need to use the knowledge and skills of interdisciplinary analysis and creative problem solving.
The curriculum is anchored by an innovative junior-level core sequence that emphasizes real-world problems integrating knowledge areas of the physical, biological, and social sciences. It uses the remarkable array of biological-social interactions in landscapes of the Pacific Northwest as a world-class learning environment for problem-based, interdisciplinary inquiry. The new curriculum structure promotes access, efficiency, and flexibility through a large array of free and restricted elective courses. and students can easily transfer into our program and choose specialized areas of concentrations such as forestry, urban horticulture, and wildlife.
Our transformed program will enhance collaboration with other disciplines across the UW campuses and continues vital partnerships in the private and public sectors. With natural resources at the heart of many pressing technological and social issues, we are excited by this opportunity to contribute to a successful future for the University of Washington and to enhance knowledge and service for our constituents.
The faculty propose to reorganize its programs as follows:
1) initiate two professional master's degrees in Forestry and Environmental Horticulture;
2) adopt a new structure for the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees such that one consolidated program is offered under each degree title;
3) adopt a common coursework structure for the each learned degree so all students share a common set of core knowledge.
Disciplinary areas will be maintained to allow students to develop the requisite specialization required. However, these tracks will not be retained as separate graduate programs as is presently the case.
I also want you to know that during the transition from our old to our new curricula, we are fully committed to working with individual students in our College to help them accomplish their academic and professional goals.
We would appreciate any comments you care to share with us as our proposal moves through the review. Thank you and best wishes.