Three units eliminated from Area D for General Education

Ashley Hurtado

Sacramento State’s General Education Office announced on Feb. 20 the campus has reduced GE requirements for fall 2014 from 51 to 48 by eliminating one course from Area D: Individual and Society.

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Sheree Meyer said in the revised GE pattern, students will have more flexibility in the curriculum and the subdivisions within the section were also changed.

“The recommendation from the GE (and Graduation Requirements) policy committee had a number of components,” Meyer said. “One was to reduce the total number of units from 15 to 12 and the other part was to remove the subareas from D, (which includes) D1,  D1A, D2 (and) D3.”

Students following the new catalog can select three courses from three different disciplines within the Individual and Society area, without having to struggle with fulfilling the requirements of the sometimes confusing subareas. 

Heidi Van Beek, Academic Advising interim associate director, said this change will not have a drastic effect on students, because all courses present in the previous curriculum will be available in the fall.  

 “The change isn’t affecting students course options,” Van Beek said. “It’s just reducing their overall unit load in GE by three units and everyone will still be graduating with a great deal of breath.”

The university also supported these recommendations in effort to be consistent with sister-schools and the Executive Order, which sets the standards for GE for California State Universities. The order decides the number of courses and units required in each GE area, but each university has the ability to require the fulfillment of additional courses and areas by its students. 

The Executive Order requires 12 units, which means the university has the ability to reduce the number of units in Area D from 15 to 12. 

The change in GE requirements will allow native and transfer students to follow the same area D expectations.

“There is not a positive effect for transfer students because they were already at the 12 units,” Van Beek said. “The only students that were required in the past to do the 15 were those Sac State students who started here as first-time freshman.”

The inequity between student requirement expectations was one of the reason the proposal for a reduction of units in area D was brought to the Faculty Senate.  

The change in curriculum has already led to positive changes in students lives.  

“We have students who would have not been able to graduate who are now ready to graduate,” Meyer said.   

Meyer believes flexibility in GE requirements facilitates the experimentation  and exploration that higher education, specially these required courses, should provide. 

“I think GE’s are the kind of requirements that makes a person a better human being,” Meyer said. 

Senior psychology major Yevgeniy Gavryush, a transfer student from American River Community College, believes the reduction of units will benefit some students. 

Students who have found their career path after 12 units should be enough, but for those who have not figured it out there career path 15 units could be helpful, Gavryush said. 

Van Beek said in a way, it does not make a difference whether students take another class in Area D, because all students in order to graduate need to take 120 units. 

“Students when they identify what their major is and they see how their major is enhanced by general education courses, there is no limit to what would be limiting to a student,” Van Beek said. “I don’t think their losing anything out of their education.”

At American River,  Gavryush took five, three-unit courses that fulfilled Area D and all except for one benefited his academic and personal life.