General education requirements could change

Mitchell Wilson and Aaron Moran

Sacramento State students could earn degrees with fewer units under a plan to streamline general education requirements.

A possible change would result in the reduction of three units from the General Education requirements.

“Our overall goal is to simplify and clarify our GE structure and to that end, reduce units,” said Sheree Meyer, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies.

The California State University system mandates a minimum of 48 units of GE but Sac State requires 51 units. Those 51 units of GE are in addition to graduation requirement such as taking a writing intensive class and a class on race and ethnicity.

“GE is one-third to one-half of a baccalaureate degree, so we’re looking at what we can do to facilitate time to graduation,” Meyer said.

Meyer said GE and graduation requirements are added over the years by different committees in a somewhat piecemeal manner and the goal of the current review process is to reassess each one for its efficacy in providing a broad base of knowledge.

As an example, Meyer cited the Arts and Humanities requirement: The CSU system requires six units while Sac State requires four classes, including three units of world history and an unspecified additional course for a total of 12 units.

“This semester, the General Education/Graduation Requirements Policy Committee will be consulting with other faculty and stakeholders to see if they can come up with a proposal that can reduce GE and graduation requirements to 48 units,” Meyer said.

Freshman criminal justice major Daniel Castillo said he felt GE classes should be geared toward preparing students for their major.

“It should provide background for what you’re going into,” Castillo said.

Junior computer engineering major Aaron Blancaflor said he does not mind taking GE classes, but wants them to be taught in a productive manner.

“I think most of it is necessary. I feel like stuff you learn in college should be able to be used anywhere,” Blancaflor said.

Taking a history class is not something Blancaflor is looking forward to, as he said he already learned enough of in high school.

While taking English 20,Blancaflor was still able to focus on computer engineering.

“We actually researched about our major,” Blancaflor said. “It kind of opened our eyes that writing is everywhere.”

Not all students are bothered by GE requirements, as they are opportunities to learn about subjects they are not focusing on.

“I don’t mind the GE requirements, I just wish there were more choices,” said senior chemistry major Chelcy Mashburn. “Government is kind of boring, but it’s something you kind of have to know. I liked my anthropology class. It was really interesting to learn about other cultures.”

Junior gerontology major Joana Sousa is enjoying taking GE classes and is not concerned about graduating as quickly as possible. Sousa said she wants to get educated in everything possible.

“I’m not in a hurry to finish up, I want to be in school and learn for a long time,” Sousa said.

Reza Peigahi, chair of the Sac State Faculty Senate GE/ GR Policy Committee, said his committee welcomes student opinion.

Although the changes to Sac State’s GE requirements are still being discussed in committee with no formal hearings scheduled, Peigahi said there would be open forums on the issue in the future.

“It’s not just window dressing – we definitely want student input. It’s crucial that we get the students’ voices,” Peigahi said.

Mitchell Wilson and Aaron Moran can be reached at [email protected].