Starting next year, Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Making of the Modern World core series will be shortened to five, instead of six, quarters for incoming freshmen and two, instead of three, for transfer students. The college announced in an e-mail on March 2 budget cuts have forced the change to the general-education requirement. Current students who have yet to finish the program only need to complete five courses in the sequence to graduate.
MMW Program Director Matthew Herbst said that budget cuts , not any problems with the curriculum, are the main reason for the change. Herbst added that the change was necessary despite dedication to MMW among ERC faculty and staff.
“We really feel deeply about the program and it’s been a big hit,” Herbst said. “It’s been the life force of ERC. It gives students a global mindedness but we had to reconsider [it] to keep the program vital.”
The program changes the requirement from MMW courses numbered 1-6 to MMW 11-15 for freshmen. The first two courses —of which MMW 1 is non-writing intensive — in the sequence will be merged to comprise MMW11, though the rest of the program is expected to remain intact. Unlike MMW2, MMW11 will not be a writing-intensive class, but students will still complete two writing intensive courses, MMW12 and MMW13.
For transfers, MMW21 and MMW22 will required. MMW21 is the same as the current course MMW4T. Transfers may petition to replace MMW22 with MMW 14 or 15, which allows them to participate in the global seminar summer classes. The updated sequence will be offered starting in Fall Quarter 2011. MMW4 will be offered for the final time in the fall while MMW 1-3 will be offered for the final time this summer.
“The budget was [the] impetus that led to this point,” Herbst said. “But we had to make sure we offered high qualify general education.”
Herbst said the changes have been development for some time. Individual colleges were notified of budget cuts last summer, so faculty has been planning for the past year.
“We knew we would have to make changes when the budget cuts were announced,” Herbst said.
All changes had to be approved by the program staff, college leadership and advisory faculty. Afterward, the College Executive and Policy Committee and Committee on Educational Policy gave its sign-off. Academic Senate then voted to approve the changes on March 1 after a presentation by Roosevelt College Provost Alan Houston.
“We had to adhere [to and] respect the protocol,” Herbst said. “It was a very difficult process of revising the program, but we preserved the vitality of MMW.”
Herbst said he’s not discouraged by the cuts.
“I’m very optimistic for the future, despite the entire UC budget issues,” Herbst said. “This program can withstand the test of time. It’s incredibly important to protect undergrad education and general education. We needed to make sure the new program preserved the previous program.”
A faculty committee chaired by anthropology emeritus professor David Jordan will design the new syllabus, specifically for MMW11. The course will be the largest departure for the program since its inception in 1988.