[FUN_Mail] Questions about breadth of study requirements

Gizerian, Samantha via FUN_Mail fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Thu May 7 12:12:54 EDT 2015

Hi Ron,

At WSU our breadth requirement system is called UCORE.  Under UCORE, students are required to take a "BSCI" designated course and a "PSCI" designated course, which translates to one Biological Science and one Physical Science.  One of these two must have a lab component, or the student is required to take a third course (from either list) with a lab. 

BSCI courses include offerings from Animal Science, Biology, Entomology, Enviro Sci., Food Science, Horticulture, Molecular Biosciences, Plant Pathology, and Soil Sciences.  There are also 2 Anthropology classes and a Psychology class with BSCI designations, but each of those are more like biology courses (behavioral ecology and biological basis of behavior).  PSCI Classes include Astronomy, Chemistry, Enviro. Sci, Geology, and Physics.

Social Science courses, including Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology have their own UCORE designation, "SSCI".

Tons of information about the UCORE system can be found here: http://ugr.wsu.edu/   


Samantha S Gizerian, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies
Dept. of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience 
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7620
sgizerian at vetmed.wsu.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: FUN_Mail [mailto:fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org] On Behalf Of Ronald J Bayline via FUN_Mail
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2015 7:38 AM
To: fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Subject: [FUN_Mail] Questions about breadth of study requirements

My college (Washington & Jefferson) is undergoing a significant curricular revision at the moment.  One of the issues we are tackling is a redefinition of our breadth of study categories.  The goal of this change is to make the breadth of study less tied to specific programs (ie, natural science, social science, humanities, arts) and more tied to conceptual frameworks (e.g. artistic, behavioral, historical, literary, logical, scientific).  Right now, we are wrestling with what counts in different categories, mostly the "scientific" category.  Our approved language states the following:

"These courses teach students to investigate the natural world and the means by which scientific principles are assembled, using the tools of observation, experimentation, theoretical inquiry, modeling, and data collection and analysis."

Students will be required to complete one course in each of the 6 breadth areas, and then 3 additional breadth courses for a total of 9 breadth of study courses.  The primary questions that we are addressing are the following:

1:  Should this requirement contain a lab- or field-based component?  How much time would be required for students to spend in labs for this requirement --our current curriculum requires students to complete two "natural sciences and mathematics" courses, one with a lab.  The new requirement will mean that many students will only complete one "scientific" course

2:  What areas should be included in the "scientific" category?  Do we include traditional "social science" areas of psychology, sociology, economics, etc, since they use the scientific method?
--we do have the "behavioral" category as well which may cover many traditional social science areas

My question to my colleagues is this:

How do you treat breadth of study in your institutions?  Do you require laboratory courses for your breadth of study?  Do you make distinctions between natural sciences and social sciences?  If so, how do you make the distinction?

Thank you for your input.

Ron Bayline

Ronald J. Bayline
Associate Professor and Chair, Biology Department Highmark Professor in the Life Sciences Washington and Jefferson College
60 South Lincoln Street
Washington, PA 15301
ph: (724) 250-3406
fx:  (724) 228-3802
email:  rjbayline at washjeff.edu<mailto:rjbayline at washjeff.edu>

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