10 December 2009
GenEd Reform and the English Curriculum
GenEd reform gives us the opportunity to reconsider a portion of our undergraduate curriculum.
Currently (almost all of) our 200-level literature and film classes satisfy various university
general education (USP) requirements. Several of our 300-level literature classes also satisfy
USP. In addition, all of our 200-level literature and film classes satisfy the Graduation Writing
Requirement (though we agreed last year to begin a transition away from the GWR for several of
Here is a list of our relevant courses, the university-level requirements that they satisfy, and the
transitions we agreed to about them last year.
Pre- transition to 2008 GWR
major? USP? GenEd? GWR? decision
ENG 230 Introduction to Literature Yes Yes recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 231 Literature and Genre Yes Yes recommended Yes keep as GWR
ENG 232 Literature and Place Yes Yes recommended Yes keep as GWR
ENG 233 Literature and Identities Yes Yes recommended Yes keep as GWR
ENG 234 Intro to Women's Literature Yes Yes recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 261 Western Lit I No Yes recommended Yes keep as GWR
ENG 262 Western Lit II No Yes recommended Yes keep as GWR
ENG 264 Major Black Writers Yes Yes recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 270 Old Testament as Lit No Yes recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 271 New Testament as Lit No Yes recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 281 Introduction to Film Yes No recommended Yes remove GWR
ENG 331 British Survey I No Yes info needed No
ENG 332 British Survey II No Yes info needed No
ENG 334 American Survey I No Yes info needed No
ENG 335 American Survey II No Yes info needed No
As a first step in formulating the department response to GenEd reform, the Undergraduate
Committee recommends the following. We request authorization to have an introductory
discussion with the dean on these matters, to find out what is / not possible. We will then report
back to the full faculty. No decision will be made without full faculty discussion and approval.
1. Transition our 200-level USP courses and ENG 281 to GenEd. All of these courses could
be revised to satisfy the GenEd Humanities Inquiry requirement. As we currently
understand it, the provost intends the GenEd Citizenship requirement to be satisfied with
2. Revise our 200-level curriculum for GenEd. The Undergraduate Committee or a subset
of that committee would develop this curriculum in Spring 2010. We discussed the
possibility of designing a common core of material directly related to humanities inquiry;
this core could support specific inquiry in each our 200-level areas: introduction to
literature, to women’s literature, to African-American literature, to biblical literature, to
film, and so on.
3. Reorganize the structure of oversight / mentoring in our 200-level series. Currently,
syllabi for our 200-level classes are vetted by the Teacher Training Committee and
10 December 2009
approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. TAs / PTIs who teach these classes
are not observed specifically for their work in literature and film, but as part of the
process mandated by the Graduate School. We recommend naming several faculty
“course directors,” who would have much greater involvement in and control over our
200-level classes (development of syllabi, observation / mentoring of TAs, and so on).
The Undergraduate Committee will develop a more specific plan for course directors
(how many TAs / faculty course director? what portion of DOE? etc.?) in Spring 2010.
4. Complete the GWR transition by Fall 2011, when GenEd comes on line. So far, we have
reduced the number of 200-level lit and film classes by 3 and, to compensate, increased
the number of 205s (Intermediate Writing) by 5. Accelerate this transition next year so
that the GWR would be fully removed from 230, 234, 264, 270, 271, and 281 beginning
Fall 2011. (Recall that we discussed the pros and cons of this transition last year; see the
minutes of the 5 December 2008 faculty meeting here).
5. Gather more information on the process of GenEd selection and review in order to inform
a decision about whether or not to transition our 300-level surveys to GenEd (perhaps to
satisfy the Citizenship requirement). Currently we do not know if a class must satisfy
GenEd in perpetuity if we nominate it for GenEd now, or if all sections of a class offered
in an individual term must satisfy GenEd if we nominate one section; nor do we
understand the degree of authority the GenEd curricular committees will exert over
syllabi or the amount of autonomy that will be lost by professors once classes are
identified as GenEd.