2021-22 Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Report
Meeting Dates: September 24, October 8, November 11, December 3, January 28, February 11, March 18, April 1, April 29
Committee Members: Bonnie Chen '23, Yu-Hui Chang, Tory Fair (Fall 2021), Ziva Hassenfeld, Jack Huguley '22, Bryan Ingoglia, Max Lerner '23, Olga Papaemmanouil (Spring 2022), Priya Patel '22, David Powelstock, Ellen Schattschneider, Marion Smiley, Brian Swingle, Aida Wong (Spring 2022), Elaine Wong (Fall 2021)
Ex Officio Members: Mark Hewitt, Dorothy Hodgson, Ann Branchini
Actions Taken During the 2021-22 Academic Year
Committee members reviewed procedures for the conduct of UCC meetings.
Ziva Hassenfeld and Marion Smiley volunteered to serve on the subcommittee to approve Independent Interdisciplinary Majors.
Sara Shostak, who chaired the CESP proposing committee, introduced four other members of the committee (Colleen Hitchcock, Lucas Malo, David Sherman, and Darren Zinner) before presenting a brief history of committee work, which began in 2018, when Dean Susan Birren charged a faculty-staff Social Justice Curricular Committee with reviewing curricular and co-curricular offerings related to social justice and community engagement at the university. This work was continued by the Community-Engaged Scholars Committee, which Dean Dorothy Hodgson charged with refining and proposing a new program. Committee members have mapped Brandeis’s curricular and co-curricular offerings, completed an archival analysis of the evolving understandings of social justice and community service/engagement at Brandeis over time, conducted site visits and researched the oversight structure and curricula of peer institutions that are well-known for their commitment to community engagement. After a program proposal was developed, outreach to the community has included a faculty forum in November of 2020, a student forum in February of 2021, and spring 2021 meetings with division councils and with a STEM faculty group focusing on DEI issues and student retention.
The reasons for establishing an academic CES program are to build connections between the curriculum and co-curriculum, to create a cohort of undergraduates committed to lifelong community engagement, to elevate community-connected teaching, learning, and research as a central commitment of the University, and to develop best practices for engagement between Brandeis and community groups in the Greater Boston area and beyond.
The program would be open to students in any major and designed to support students pursuing community engagement linked to their varied substantive interests. Students who complete the program would receive a notation on their transcript as recognition of their accomplishments. The curriculum consists of two four-credit and one two-credit core courses, one four-credit elective course, and completion of 300 hours of community and civic engagement/advocacy and/or service tracked through a software program utilized by the Department of Community Service. Core requirements include CES XXb Foundations of Community Engagement, which will introduce students to the theory, practice, and ethics of community-connected teaching, learning, and research; CES XXa Special Topics in Community Engagement, a two-credit course introducing students to a wide variety of substantive issues/community engagement topics (e.g., Aging, Children/Youth, Criminal Justice, Racial and LGBTQ Justice, Disabilities, Health Inequalities, Immigration, etc.) and the ways in which they can further develop their knowledge of these topics, both inside and outside of the classroom; and CES XXa Community Engagement Capstone: Connecting Theory and Practice, which will support students in making connections between theory and practice, reflecting on what they’ve learned from their community-engaged experiences, completing a final project that supports a community partner in a significant way, and considering how they will pursue civic engagement in their lives after Brandeis. The elective will be a Substantive Area course, linked by subject matter to the student's specific area of engagement, and approved by the student's program advisor; this course may double count with any major, minor or Brandeis Core requirement. A preliminary list of possible Substantive Area courses was included in the proposal, as were discussions of how to enroll in the program, cohort building activities, oversight, and assessment, and FAQs.
UCC members asked the following questions: Who might teach the core courses, and what might be their qualifications? Faculty with a background and expertise in community-engaged learning from any discipline might be hired to teach the core courses, but current Brandeis faculty might also teach these courses when available. Will students be able to participate in program components without formally joining the program? Yes, all students can participate in recording their service/engagement/advocacy hours, and students will be able to enroll in introductory core courses before joining the program. How many students might the program accommodate? The university hopes to enable all interested students to participate in the program. How will students be encouraged to participate? We expect Admissions to feature the program in future recruitment materials, and for it to be represented and/or brought to students’ attention at academic fairs, pre-orientation programs, VolunteerFest, Waltham Group events, and through tabling. Why is this program not a minor? Most minors require five or six courses, and this program intentionally requires fewer courses to enable more students to participate.
It is also not a “certificate” as Brandeis does not utilize that term or offer Arts and Sciences certificate programs.
The UCC was also asked by Dean Hodgson if the total number of required courses is appropriate or should be reduced. UCC members agreed that the number of courses strikes the right balance without being overly cumbersome. One member asked how “doable” are 300 service hours? 100 of these hours may be completed before joining the program and course related hours may also be counted. About 50-85 students per year already complete 300-900 service hours over the course of their Brandeis studies. Once the program begins, adjustments can always be made to requirements.
Committee members praised the goals and interdisciplinary and self-reflective aspects of the program, the thoughtfulness of the proposal, the desire to provide student stipends for service/engagement activities to address equity and inclusivity issues, and the opportunities provided to develop and count courses toward substantive area electives, before unanimously approving a motion to establish the program in academic year 2022-23.
Possible Restrictions on Final Exams Scheduled during the Final Week(s) of Classes (September 24, October 8, November 5)
The committee reviewed a memorandum from the Anthropology department which expressed concern about final exams scheduled by other departments during the last week of classes, and not during the official finals week, thereby interfering with attendance and performance in other courses, in addition to intensifying students’ workload/stress, and in effect, extending the final exam period while preventing students from fully utilizing study days and de-stressing services. These cumulative exams occur during the regularly scheduled class meeting times of these courses. Some other universities have stated restrictions on exams and assignments scheduled during the last two weeks of classes. Anthropology asks the UCC to consider precluding final exams or equivalently significant assessments from being administered during the final week or two of classes.
How could such restrictions be implemented at Brandeis, and what would the university wish to restrict? Committee members agreed that cumulative finals should not occur during the last week of classes, but did not reach firm conclusions about papers that are not cumulative (e.g., worth 20% or less of final grade?) and other exams/quizzes (e.g., a third mid-term?). Should cumulative papers and projects be due only during finals week? Is this a longstanding problem, or one exacerbated by the pandemic and remote classes? One UCC member reported hearing about early finals complaints from students for several years prior to the spring of 2020. An early final could enable a faculty member to complete their grading responsibilities before intersession travels/break/vacation.
Any UCC actions could not influence practices for the fall semester, but guidelines could be distributed for the spring 2022 semester, and Bulletin text regarding finals could be revised. The Registrar’s office was asked to share the current Bulletin “Finals” text with UCC members before the next meeting, at which time the committee continued their discussion of non-cumulative papers and other assignments worth differing percentages of a final grade. The UCC decided not to advise on final projects in studio arts or music, due to both pedagogical and safety matters, and discussed the wording of guidelines that might be distributed to faculty regarding heavily-weighted assignments scheduled for completion in the last weeks of instruction. The committee will advise that when faculty are assigning both final papers and exams, the paper should be due before the final exam. A google document with these suggested guidelines will be shared with committee members, so that all may provide suggestions for improving this text.
Once finalized the guidelines could be shared in the Teaching in Arts and Sciences newsletter, in an email to all faculty (copied to academic administrators), and perhaps discussed at a meeting with department chairs or Undergraduate Advising Heads. Faculty will be asked to discuss these suggestions at department meetings, and the suggestions could also be included in the syllabus checklist distributed with new course approval forms by the Office of the Registrar.
Mark Hewitt and Elaine Wong agreed to draft a proposed revision of the Brandeis University Bulletin text regarding finals, to also share with UCC members for their review, suggestions, and approval.
After reading the Bulletin text on finals, a UCC member asked what might happen during the final exam period if a student is in COVID quarantine or isolation. Will students be able to take make-up exams in January? Mark Hewitt was asked to consult with Morgen Bergman and to distribute to faculty information about COVID matters related to the final exam period.
At the November meeting, The UCC finalized the addition of new text for the Brandeis University Bulletin finals section, and the following announcement to faculty:
At the request of faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences, the UCC has prepared new guidelines regarding the scheduling of final exams and the assigning of heavily weighted papers during the last two weeks of classes.
The University Bulletin will now state:
Final examinations administered by the Office of the University Registrar must be given during the scheduled final examination period and may not be given prior to the scheduled time. Final exams administered by instructors, if covering more than half a semester’s material, may not be scheduled during the final two weeks of instruction.
Faculty should be aware that final exams scheduled during the last two weeks of classes may interfere with student attendance and performance in other courses, in addition to intensifying students’ workloads and stress. For the same reason, projects and other heavily weighted papers due in the final two weeks of instruction should be assigned significantly in advance.
When both a final paper and final exam are assigned, the due date for the final paper should not coincide with the final exam period, and should ideally be sequenced with an awareness of the overall student workload in the course.
These guidelines will be shared at a future department chairs meeting, and chairs will be asked to discuss these guidelines at departmental and program meetings, and to implement the guidelines in future semesters.
Study Abroad Advisors Ari Massefski and Ashley Trebissac presented the criteria for new study abroad program approval (academic credentials, duration of program/credit hours, language requirements, student services, course offerings, faculty and area institutional support) and detailed information on newly proposed programs. The UCC granted provisional approval to the following: Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford; Ghana: Globalization, Cultural Legacies, and the Afro-Chic (SIT); Senegal: Hip Hop, African Diaspora, and Decolonial Futures (SIT); National Theater School of Ireland - Gaiety School of Acting (IES); IES/Madrid; Universidad de Sagrado Corazon (SSA Puerto Rico); Kenya: Wildlife, Water, and Climate Resilience (SFS); and Intern Philly (Arcadia).
Approval of New Study Abroad Program: "Brandeis in Mérida: Public Health in the Yucatán Peninsula" (November 5)
The UCC approved the “Brandeis in Mérida: Public Health in the Yucatán Peninsula” summer study abroad program presented by Alisha Cardwell and Ari Massefski from the Study Abroad Office. This eight-week program would join two other five-week Brandeis in Copenhagen or Siena summer programs. It was planned in close collaboration with Health: Science, Society, and Policy faculty, and in partnership with the Institute for Study Abroad, a longtime Study Abroad provider which previously offered a shorter version of the program that drew strong numbers of Brandeis Black and Latinx students. This program will be financially accessible (lower cost) and the first non-European “Brandeis in…” program. A Brandeis faculty or staff member will visit Mérida in the first week to assist in developing the Brandeis cohort experience, but both classes, Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatán, which will count toward the HSSP “hands on” requirement, and Comparative Public Health Systems in Latin America, will be taught by local professors. Students will live with carefully-selected homestay families in Mérida, making this the first Brandeis-run program to incorporate this immersive aspect of study abroad. Experiential learning components such as clinic and site visits, bus and walking tours of Mérida, a visit to the Museum of the Mayan World, cooking classes and visits to local markets, and day trips to Chichén Itzá and Uxmal will provide cultural context. Although university financial aid is not available for summer study abroad programs, many students successfully apply for travel grants or outside national scholarships. This program may also be of interest to IGS students.
Katy Colahan, Assistant Director of Academic Advising, discussed procedures for Independent Interdisciplinary Major approval and reported on four IIMs approved by the UCC Subcommittee on Independent Interdisciplinary Majors: Feigele Lechtchiner ‘23 - Urban Studies; Madison DuLong ‘23 - Communication and Media; Shawna-Gay Duncan ‘23 - Communication Studies; and Lang Cheng ‘22 - Italian Studies.
Karen Desmond, Chair of the Music department, presented a proposal unanimously supported by department faculty and also supported by the division of the Creative Arts, to revise the requirements of the music major. The current high number of specified courses focusing on western classical music is out of alignment with the requirements of our peer institutions. The revised curriculum would reduce the total number of courses from 12 to 11, reduce the number of tracks from five to three (i.e., Composition and Theory, History and Culture, and Performance), decrease the number of required courses from eight to six (requiring the same six courses for all three tracks), increase the number of electives from three to four, and add a different capstone requirement for each track. The Keyboard Skills exam would be eliminated. One less year of music theory and lab would be required, though the second year of theory and lab will continue to be offered as electives. The history sequence would be revised to include greater historical and global coverage by requiring “Global Soundscapes” and new courses in “Critical Listening” and the “Junior Seminar”.
These changes streamline requirements, and increase flexibility and options for majors, minors, and non-majors who are interested in the study of music, though they might not have a background in advanced instrumental performance, and might instead have backgrounds/interests in global folk, popular or classical music traditions outside of the Euro-American classical tradition.
UCC members asked about the current number of music majors (about 20-25), about capstone options, which will include graduate courses/compositions/recitals, and also about changes to the minor, which will reduce the number of required courses from five to three and increase the number of electives from one to three. The UCC then unanimously approved the proposed changes to the Music major and minor.
The UCC reviewed the Journalism (JOUR) self-study and report from the Standing Committee on Interdepartmental Programs before unanimously continuing the program for a period of five years. The review report and the UCC praised the journalism faculty’s responsiveness to the changing media landscape, their commitment to developing the internship program and attention to issues of equity and social justice, and the dynamic and creative JOUR public events.
Report from the Standing Committee on Interdepartmental Programs: Film, Television and Interactive Media (December 3, February 11)
Committee members reviewed the self-study and review report on Film, Television and Interactive Media (FTIM). While recognizing the many accomplishments and successes of the FTIM program, including healthy enrollments and a strong public presence and events, the UCC decided to continue its discussion of the program at a future meeting, after first inviting a written response from the FTIM committee about the following matters.
The two most recent FTIM review reports have commented on the perception of the program by its majors, who often expect and want more pre-professional training opportunities. The reports have suggested that the program would benefit from better defining itself and its offerings, and that one way to do this would be to reconsider the name of the program, particularly because of the dearth of courses related to television and interactive media. UCC members asked themselves if the program should be retitled "Film Studies" and will ask FTIM committee members for their thoughts on this topic or for other suggestions to clarify the FTIM curriculum for students. Should there be two tracks in the major, one emphasizing history and theory and the other emphasizing creative and technical aspects? How might the curriculum evolve?
The UCC also asks for the program's response to staffing issues identified in the review report, including not only the teaching of the core FILM 100a course by per course hires, but also the balance of FTIM resources devoted to the staffing of film production courses, in comparison to funding devoted to equipment needs. Regarding the request for more film production courses and a higher number that might count toward requirements, discussed in the students’ statement, is the challenge in offering more production courses caused by the need for more stable and frequent staffing of these courses, or by some other concern? How many production courses should be offered each year, in what rotation, and what authorizations/appointments/hiring structure would be necessary to support these offerings? Should the positions be structured as per course hires or through a different appointment? What is the timetable and likelihood for having FILM 100a taught by a full time faculty member?
Aside from sending a written response, faculty representing the program are welcome to attend a UCC meeting in the spring to discuss these questions. UCC members expressed support for FTIM faculty engagement in discussions about how program needs might be addressed through conversations or collaborations with faculty in related fields.
Alice Kelikian, Chair of the FTIM program, attended the follow up meeting in February to address questions raised in the December UCC meeting as part of the FTIM Interdepartmental Program Review. The FTIM Executive Committee also provided a written response to the questions.
With regard to the aforementioned name change, a UCC member suggested “Film and Media Studies,” used by many of the University’s peer institutions, as a more appropriate name for the program. The UCC strongly recommends changing the name to accurately reflect the curriculum and improve students’ perception of the program. Although UCC members support the name “Film and Media Studies,” UCC members felt that the final name choice must be made in consultation with the FTIM Executive Committee and the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
The UCC asked about majors’ perceptions of the program, including the expectation of and desire for additional production and hands-on technical courses. Kelikian agreed that additional production courses taught by filmmakers would serve students’ interests and enhance program offerings. Kelikian argued that hiring professional filmmakers as per course hires to teach production courses would best expose students to the industry and allow them to develop essential technical skills.
The UCC and Kelikian discussed questions about staffing issues raised in the review report, including the teaching of the core course FILM 100a. UCC members agreed that a full-time or tenure-track position would provide stability for the 100a course and senior projects, while also allowing the program to foster relationships with other departments across the University. UCC members supported a possible joint hire with other departments, which could fill curricular gaps such as French film. The UCC recommends that the program is supported by additional instructors, specifically 1) a joint tenure-track position across related departments that would offer stability to the connections within the Brandeis community and the offerings of its core courses and 2) adjunct hires to increase the number of production courses and ensure that those courses are offered regularly.
Kelikian indicated that prominent filmmakers and media professionals have expressed interest in teaching master classes or workshops and asked whether this model could be considered for credit-bearing courses. Mark Hewitt responded that an argument could be made, as long as the workload matches the requirements for credit hours.
The UCC also discussed concerns about program leadership moving forward. Members agreed that responsibilities should be shared by members of the Executive Committee to create a more sustainable workload for the Chair. The UCC strongly recommends that a plan for transition of leadership is discussed with the Dean of Arts and Sciences, since Interdepartmental Program Chairs are expected to rotate after at most 10 years.
The UCC voted unanimously to renew the FTIM program for 5 years.
Study Abroad Director Alisha Cardwell and Study Abroad Advisor Ari Massefski presented two newly proposed programs. The UCC granted provisional approval to both: MSID International Development in Ecuador and Sant’Anna Institute Summer Program in Sorrento, Italy.
The UCC reviewed the History of Ideas (HOID) self-study and report from the Standing Committee on Interdepartmental Programs before voting unanimously to continue the program for a period of five years. The UCC praised the momentum the director has recently cultivated around the program and the faculty’s commitment to reimagining the program. The UCC supports the faculty’s goals of expanding program leadership and continuing outreach to students and faculty in other disciplines.
Peter Kalb, Co-Chair of the Fine Arts department, presented proposed changes to the Art History curriculum. The proposed changes would eliminate the “non-Western” requirement, eliminate the distribution requirement by periods (Ancient/Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern/Contemporary), reduce the number of courses from 12 to 11 for the Art History major, reduce the number of Studio courses from 2 to 1 for the Art History major, and reduce the total number of Art History courses from 10 to 9 for the double Art History/Studio Art major.
The primary goal of the proposed changes is to modernize the curriculum, since the current curriculum’s focus on periods and geography follows an outdated model of art history. Kalb also indicated that the “non-Western” requirement is no longer needed because it was a remnant of the old general education curriculum, which has been replaced by the Brandeis Core. Another goal of the proposed changes is to encourage creative exploration among majors, while still providing a solid foundation of two survey courses, as well as courses in methodology, research, and studio art.
UCC members asked whether removing the non-Western requirement might allow majors to graduate without taking a course outside of Western art. Kalb replied that non-Western courses have strong enrollments and a lot of student interest, and that removing the requirement allows flexibility for international students who wish to learn about Western culture through the Art History major. UCC members also asked about the rationale for reducing the number of courses required for the major. Kalb replied that 11 courses would still be in line with requirements at our peer institutions and that the reduced requirements would provide flexibility for double majors, who make up a large percentage of Art History majors.
UCC members agreed that the proposed changes would better serve students’ interests and voted unanimously to approve the proposal.
Proposal of Genesis Pre-college Summer Course HRNS 110a - Exception to Required Number of Weeks for Summer School and Consideration of Credit/No-Credit Status (April 1, April 29)
Dr. Lynne Rosansky, VP of the Rabb School for Continuing Studies and Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program (with input from Laura Hyman, Director of Genesis, not in attendance) proposed that the Genesis Pre-College Summer course HRNS 110a take place over 4 weeks and be considered for Credit/No Credit Status.The length of the proposed course (4 weeks) would be an exception to the rule stipulating that summer courses be 5 weeks long.
Genesis is a four-week academic and Jewish identity-building program designed for high school students interested in Jewish learning and living. Participants explore the principles and practices of Jewish leadership, culminating in a capstone project, which is presented as part of the Student Showcase at the end of the program. Classroom learning is complemented with experiential learning in workshops and field experiences that include presentations from leaders in the field.
Unlike a typical undergraduate course that meets for several predetermined hours each week, the Genesis program is an immersive, residential 4-week experience at Brandeis. Students attend classes 6 mornings a week (Sunday-Friday), as well as discussion sections and other group work sessions during the program afternoons. They are expected to spend significant time preparing for class, writing papers and designing presentations throughout the 4-week program. Lynne and Shirley believe that the intensive nature of Genesis and the extended class hours merit awarding 4 academic credits because the total time immersed in learning over the 4 weeks is equal to or more than the class and preparation hours in a typical 5-week Summer term class. Each course day would consist of: 3 hours in-class time, and 5 hours divided between discussion groups, assignments, presentation preparation and capstone project work.
The Genesis for credit is proposed as a pass/fail course in order to give students the opportunity and freedom to take learning risks that they would not take if they were focused on learning for a letter grade. For example, one of the exercises is to prepare for and lead a Shabbat service. Students will be evaluated and will do a self-reflection on their own performance and presentation. To promote the deepest exploration and learning, Shirley and Lynne believe that making the course pass/fail will encourage more students to engage more deeply. Furthermore, this may be the first-time students are participating in a college-level course, and the pass/fail mechanism allows them to grow and learn throughout the experience rather than focus solely on their grade which we know is a danger for highly competent and achievement-oriented students.
Course credit would be awarded to students who attend all sessions, participate actively in class/discussion sections and satisfactorily complete all readings, assignments, presentations and the capstone project. Credit will not be awarded to students who do not complete the course requirements.
UCC members felt that the condensed timeline of the course in combination with the content of the syllabus did not justify approving HRNS 110a as a 4-credit pre-college course. Specifically, UCC members expressed concerns that the assignments and other out-of-class activities are not sufficiently rigorous for a 4-credit undergraduate course. At the same time, the 4-week timeline could be particularly challenging for the intended audience (high school students), who are new to college-level coursework and might have trouble keeping up with the pace and absorbing the material of a 4-credit course in 4 weeks. Following previous discussion about BISC 3a and its approval as a one-time Summer 2022 pilot offering, it has been Brandeis policy that pre-college courses for credit be appropriate and open to undergraduates.
UCC members discussed a number of approaches to address the above issues including (1) revising the final assignment to make it more substantial and/or add more assignments for a 4 course credit; (2) Offer HRNS 110a as a 2 or 3-credit course, though it might be difficult to justify the amount of in-class time for fewer credits and as a results some content might need to be removed; (3) Consider adding an online component before or after the 4-week residency to make space for additional academic content and assignments and give students more time to engage with the material.
UCC members agreed not to accept the current proposal. The Committee invited the Genesis Program to submit a revised proposal that addresses the above concerns.
Later in the month, Lynne Rosansky, Shirley Idelson, and Laura Hyman returned to discuss their revised proposal for the Genesis PreCollege Program, HRNS 110a. The revised proposal requested approval to award 3 course credits for 4 weeks of coursework in the Genesis program, rather than the previously requested 4 credits for 4 weeks. The length of the final paper was also expanded to be 1500-2000 words, a substantial reflective paper that the proposers hope is more in line with the rigor of an undergraduate course.
The UCC approved the Genesis Precollege three-credit, four-week course running as a credit/no credit as a one-year pilot program for summer 2022. This approval was under the condition that if any undergraduates enroll in the course, they will submit a more substantial final paper. The final syllabus submitted specified that high school participants would submit a final paper of 2,000-2,500 words, while undergraduate would submit a final paper of 3,750 words.
The UCC is not approving this particular course structure for other future courses, nor is it setting a precedent for other three-credit courses over a 4-week span. The Committee proposed that if the specific summer program plans to seek approval in the future, its syllabus and structure need to be re-discussed at the UCC, ideally in the Fall semester, to allow time for any necessary adjustments.
Jonathan Decter, Chair of the Division of Humanities, presented a policy proposal concerning the submission of theses across divisions:
A student may submit a senior thesis for consideration as a prize in a single division, which is usually the division in which the student's major is housed. However, if the thesis advisor is also faculty for a department/program within another division, the student may submit the thesis for consideration in that division instead. The only case in which a student may submit a single thesis for consideration in more than one division is if the student is completing two (or more) majors housed in different divisions.
UCC members confirmed that this language would only affect awarding of thesis prizes, not honors nor degree requirements. The proposal was unanimously approved.
Keith Plaster and Lotus Goldberg from the Linguistics department presented proposed changes to the requirements of the Linguistics major and minor, which included: Removing LING 160b Mathematical Methods for Computational Linguistics from the set of courses that can be used toward the requirements for the Linguistics major or minor; specifying that one of the four elective courses already required for the Linguistics major must be an advanced LING course; and changing the requirements for the Linguistics minor to include one additional foundational course in linguistics and one fewer elective.
Keith and Lotus noted that LING 160b primarily serves the students in the Computational Linguistics MS program by providing them with the math background they need to complete the Computational Linguistics curriculum, and as a result does not contain enough linguistic content to count as an elective toward the Linguistics major or minor.
Currently, the Linguistics major requires students to take four elective courses, which may be courses in LING or cross-listed courses, with the sole restriction that no more than three such courses may be taken in a department other than LING. The proposal specifies that one such elective course must be an advanced elective offering in linguistics. Over the last several years, the Linguistics department has increased elective offerings to include advanced LING courses (i.e., courses that have at least one prerequisite LING course beyond LING 100a) both in response to student requests and to deepen the quality and rigor of the curriculum.
The Linguistics minor currently requires students to take foundation courses in only two of the three core subareas of linguistics (phonology, syntax, and semantics/pragmatics), and the proposal requires students completing the Linguistics minor to take a foundation course in all three subareas. To maintain the number of courses required for the minor at five, we also propose to reduce the required number of elective courses for the minor from two to one.
UCC Members asked about the level of student support for these changes and Keith and Lotus clarified that the proposal is based on student feedback. The UCC members were impressed with the proposal and voted to unanimously approve.
Kate Colahan, Assistant Director of Academic Advising, reported on ten IIMs approved by the UCC Subcommittee on Independent Interdisciplinary Majors -- Vered Ben-Gideon ’24 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, Bonnie Chen ’23 - Media, Culture, and Communication, Talia Freund ’23 - Women’s Health, Inaara Gilani ’23 - South Asian Intersectionality, Sara Goldstein ’23 - Inequality and Social Policy, Vimukthi Mawilmada ’24 - Journalism and Digital Media, Matthew (Minwoo) Park ’23 - Religious Studies, Ohemaa Pipim ’24 - Architectural Studies, Eleftheria Topaloglou ’24 - Applied Behavioral Sciences, and Teresa (Yatong) Shi ’23 - Capitalism Studies; three IIMs approved pending changes -- Hannah Blair ’24 - Development and Migration Studies, Elianna Gerut ’23 - Carceral Studies, and Evan Israel ’24 - Global Communications and Media; and one IIM requiring substantial revision – Noah Gable ’23 – Digital Technology and Culture.
The UCC commends Kate for all the work they do administrating and guiding students through this program.
The UCC expressed a desire to discuss the vision for and resources of the program next year since it seems to have outgrown its current capacity.
The UCC reviewed the Linguistics (LING) self-study and report from the Standing Committee on Interdepartmental Programs before unanimously continuing the program for a period of five years. The UCC was impressed by student interest in Linguistics and both the review report and the UCC praised the Linguistics faculty’s commitment to said students and their diligence in growing the program. Particular note was made regarding the work ethic of the faculty.