ACADEMIC BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 16, 1998

BGEN R. C. POOLE, LTC A. W. LeCLERCQ, COL H. W. ASKINS, JR., LTC J. S. LEONARD, COL R. E. BALDWIN, COL I. S. METTS, JR., COL M. A. BEBENSEE, COL M. B. BARRETT for COL W. B. MOORE, JR., COL J. R. BLANTON, COL S. OZMENT, CAPT M. L. BOYKIN, LTC S. J. ADELMAN for LTC P. J. REMBIESA, COL C. E. CLEAVER, COL G. B. STALEY, COL M. H. EZELL, JR., COL G. L. WILSON, COL D. J. FALLON, MAJ P. A. MAILLOUX, COL A. J. FINCH

BGEN Poole called to order at 1500 hours the special meeting of the Board for consideration of the Core Curriculum Committee’s report.

COL Baldwin opened discussion by asking why the College is considering a revised core when we have not assessed the core curriculum we have. He suggested that the motive for initiating a review of the core was a plan to eliminate the second laboratory science requirement.

COL Finch, who chaired the Core Curriculum Committee, pointed out that the Strategic Plan called for a review of the core.

LTC LeClercq asked why we require two lab sciences. CAPT Boykin responded that it was not part of the original proposal the last time the core was reviewed. However, Professor Huron of the Physics Department had persuaded the Academic Board of the need for a second lab science given the technological nature of the age. The service academies require a second lab science as well. LTC Leonard pointed out that since most Citadel graduates do not enter the military it does not seem justifiable to model our science requirement after that of the academies.

COL Blanton noted the poor preparation in science of entering students. COL Finch acknowledged that the Committee’s deliberations about the core were guided by assumptions about the inadequate preparation of incoming students.

COL Barrett questioned the extent to which we can say we have a core curriculum since there are several majors that do not require study of a modern language. LTC Leonard contended that the language requirement is more important than a second lab science.

COL Barrett suggested a "radical" proposal allowing no discipline more than 1 year of the core. Students who are inadequately prepared would be expected to make up deficiencies on their own. In other words, all students would be required to complete a modern language requirement at the 201 and 202 levels. If they were not prepared to begin with 201 when they arrived, they would have to take 101 and/or 102 "on their on" to get ready for the more advanced courses.

LTC Adelman stated this core tries to cover what high schools failed to cover. In essence, the College is not in command of the process. We inherit problems and weaknesses that we must address.

BGEN Poole noted that the State is in the process of increasing the requirements for high school students who plan to attend college.

COL Blanton and CAPT Boykin both spoke to the need for a strong core to broaden the student’s educational experience. COL Askins stated that students leave The Citadel with a broad-based education that allows them to change career directions later if they wish.

CAPT Boykin stated the need for American Government to be included in the core.

COL Finch told the Board that each department head was interviewed by the Committee. The department heads were generally in favor of a strong core and of the core as it is.

LTC Leonard spoke in favor of more choice. Students would be more interested in the courses they took if they had more electives and more flexibility.

MAJ Mailloux, a member of the Core Curriculum Committee and author of the Committee’s Minority Report, explained that the Committee studied the curriculum at other schools and found that the better schools had smaller core curriculum requirements and more flexibility. The schools that admitted less well prepared students had larger, less flexible cores. The Committee was concerned also that any hours that were taken from the core would simply be absorbed by the major and would, therefore, not result in more electives or in more choice.

COL Barrett pointed out the need for fine arts and philosophy offerings.

LTC LeClercq expressed doubt that students are as poorly prepared as others are saying. Her concern was that bright students will not want to come to The Citadel because they will not want to repeat what they have already taken.

According to COL Metts, prospective students and their parents are actually attracted to the notion of a strong core curriculum.

MAJ Mailloux said that the Committee’s efforts to introduce more flexibility met with resistance from the department heads. The Committee was convinced the core should offer students a common background, that the purpose of the core is to introduce students to methodology more than to content. Some members of the Committee found the second lab science unnecessary, not because science is not worthwhile but because this is the one place in the core where there is a redundancy in introducing methodology.

CAPT Boykin pointed to the need for international studies and economics while COL Bebensee asked about computer literacy. In response to the latter, COL Finch said the Committee discussed it but decided students come in quite knowledgeable already. COL Cleaver reminded the Board that the current core requires every department to introduce students to computers through that discipline. BGEN Poole informed that Board that with the new computer competency requirement, every student will now have two years to demonstrate computer literacy by passing an exam written by ITS or by passing an approved computer science course.

Discussion next focused on the issue of the "forgivable F." COL Metts said this would lower standards and would be a step backwards. In the past, the College has used a quality points system which required students to have a "C" average on courses they passed but took no account of how many courses or how many times they failed. He also indicated that a "forgivable F" system would be extremely difficult to monitor.

COL Bebensee asked about the appropriateness of allowing the policy just for the freshman year since the intent of the Committee is to make some allowance for the effects of the fourth class system on a student’s academic performance. COL Ozment stated that students already rationalize that low GPRs are understandable during the freshman year; this policy would intensify this belief.

LTC Leonard asked how important using a true grade point ratio is to maintaining our academic reputation. COL Metts noted that all grades will still appear on official transcripts even though the GPR might not reflect all "F’s" earned.

MAJ Mailloux asked whether "U’s" might be assigned in core classes to get rid of "F’s" on the transcript, but COL Metts pointed out that the "U" can mean a "D" or "F."

MAJ Mailloux indicated that the Committee’s motive was to encourage students to take their core classes at The Citadel rather than elsewhere.

BGEN Poole suggested that the Board continue its discussion of the "forgivable F" and also be prepared to talk about the Committee’s recommendation for English, math, and history requirements at the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 1645.

Submitted by

Suzanne Ozment
Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Dean of Women