Three Colleges Annouce General Education Reductions

Three colleges announced changes to general education requirements last week in an apparent effort to boost four-year graduation rates.

Sixth, Revelle and Eleanor Roosevelt Colleges all sent emails to students on Wednesday, Oct. 22 announcing the changes. All three colleges’ general education requirements have lowered the total amount of courses students need to complete college-specific requirements.

Students in Sixth College will no longer need to fulfill course requirements in “Ethical Context” and “Social Context” areas. Additionally, all courses taken for major credit can now also count to fulfill any other applicable general education requirements.

Furthermore, Sixth College students will no longer have limits on how many Advanced Placement credits can satisfy general education requirements. Sixth College Dean of Academic Advising Christine Fraser said that this rule, which previously limited one AP course to replace only one course per focus area, is already standard at other colleges.

“This change will help bring Sixth into conformity with the other colleges,” Fraser said.

Fraser also said that Sixth College students now have a total of 16 college-specific requirements — down from a previous 18.

ERC students will now have to complete only one fine arts requirement course, down from two. The change will also discard a previous requirement that at least one fine arts requirement be a “non-western” course.

“Now you will have the flexibility of any four unit fine art class, regardless of topic,” Interim Roosevelt College Provost Richard Madsen wrote in an email to ERC students on Wednesday. “If you have already completed the original two course requirement, the units can either be used as elective credit toward graduation, or if appropriate, the lower division course for the Regional Specialization requirement.”

Revelle students will see changes to their degree audits, as well, after their college’s advising office announced it was completely eliminating the three-course area focus requirement. Additionally, the language proficiency requirement for transfer students who have completed the inter-segmental general education transfer requirement at an approved state community college has been removed from the curriculum.

Revelle Provost Paul K. L. Yu told the UCSD Guardian that general education changes were determined during a review of the curriculum by the Revelle College Executive Committee.

“In connection with that review, the committee considered proposals to streamline requirements in an effort to improve the time-to-degree for Revelle College students, without diminishing the quality of a UCSD education,” Yu wrote in an Oct. 24 email to the Guardian.

Sarah Spear-Barrett, dean of academic advising at ERC and chair of the intercollege Council of Deans of Academic Advising said that the changes for all three colleges’ curricula were discussed independently at the college level, before being approved in an Oct. 14 meeting.

A 2012–13 report on graduation rates showed that in 2008, the four-year graduation rate at UCSD was only 56 percent — though 81 percent of students finished their degrees by the end of their sixth year.

“We’re really excited about the changes,” Sixth College Provost Daniel J. Donoghue told the Guardian. “We’ve implemented these changes to help streamline students’ time to graduation.”

UPDATE: This story has been modified to accurately reflect the Revelle College GE changes for transfer students.