MINUTES SPECIAL ACADEMIC BOARD MEETING ON THE CORE CURRICULUM
FEBRUARY 9, 1999

BGEN R. C. POOLE, COL J. A. FOLLEY, COL H. W. ASKINS, JR., LTC A. W. LECLERCQ, COL R. E. BALDWIN, LTC J. S. LEONARD, COL M. A. BEBENSEE, LTC K. J. JONES for COL W. J. MACPHERSON, COL J. R. BLANTON, MAJ G. K. TESCH for COL R. A. MALONEY, CAPT M. L. BOYKIN, COL W. B. MOORE, JR., COL C. E. CLEAVER, COL S. OZMENT, COL M. H. EZELL, JR., LTC P. J. REMBIESA, COL A. J. FINCH and COL G. B. STALEY

The meeting was called to order at 1530 by BGEN Poole.

The discussion of the Core Curriculum Committee’s report resumed.

The first issue taken up was the core requirement in HISTORY. COL Moore reported that the History Department faculty has met and agreed to follow the Committee’s recommendation that students be given the option of taking two semesters of Western Civilization or two semesters of World Civilization. In response to a question from COL Staley about whether students could take one semester of each, COL Moore explained that the department had rejected this idea, believing it important for students to get some continuity in the history they studied. LTC Leonard asked how much overlap there is between the two sequences. COL Moore replied that most college texts in World Civilization devote approximately half to the history of the non-western world. LTC Leonard expressed the opinion that it would be preferable if even more emphasis were placed on non-western history in the World Civilization classes.

The second issue was the SOCIAL SCIENCE requirement. CAPT Boykin opened the discussion by asserting that the social science requirement should be six hours with three of those in American Government. MAJ Tesch agreed, saying that a requiring a course in American Government is consistent with the school’s mission. COL Bebensee questioned the school’s narrow definition of the social science core requirement. CAPT Boykin explained that the philosophy was that the approved courses would be social science methods courses, but he said he did not necessarily agree that the requirement should continue to be limited to methods courses.

The SCIENCE requirement was the third issue discussed. COL Blanton spoke in favor of two years of science and suggested students would be better served if they completed three years of science. LTC Rembiesa objected to the implication in the Core Curriculum Committee Minority Report that all sciences comprise one discipline whereas in actuality the three sciences we offer in the core curriculum are very distinct disciplines and each deserves study. COL Bebensee pointed out the Core Curriculum Committee’s vote on continuing the two year science requirement was very close, five in favor and four opposed. He expressed doubt that students need twice as much science as any other subject. The two years of required English did not seem comparable to him as one year is devoted to composition and the other to literature, two very different subjects. Noting that a two year science requirement is quite unusual for people in professional majors, COL Bebensee argued in favor of more international studies rather than more science. LTC Rembiesa disagreed, saying that all students, including business majors, need science education to function in the modern world.

COL Ezell maintained that The Citadel does not in fact have a core curriculum. Some years ago, the faculty was asked to reduce the freshman course load to fifteen hours and to come up with a cohesive core of about thirty hours of course work. This would have given students the chance to take a wider range of courses before selecting a major.

COL Folley expressed concern that Citadel students are having trouble competing for pilot and training slots because their grade point ratios are not high enough but acknowledged that if the College wants to have a national reputation for academic excellence, the academic program must be demanding.

LTC LeClercq suggested that we think of the science requirement in terms of our institutional goals. We need more science in the curriculum if we want to be a technological and scientific school, but is that what we are trying to be.

LTC Leonard recommended that the Board accept the major recommendations of the Core Curriculum Committee and then study some radical options for the future such as offering a one-semester combined course in areas such as science, literature, and history. COL Finch indicated that the Committee considered many of the options that have been raised and also the possibility of having a different core curriculum for different majors. However, since the Committee had only two years in which to complete its work, it found pursuit of such radical options very difficult.

COL Staley reminded the Board that recent national studies call for students to have more science.

CAPT Boykin contended that if students had an adequate high school background, several of the core classes that are now required would be unnecessary: the first semester of mathematics and English, the first year of modern language, etc. We would have much more flexibility in our core curriculum then.

The discussion on the MODERN LANGUAGE requirement focused on whether all departments should require language courses. COL Staley pointed out that at present, the requirement is that students complete a 202 level course. The department would be delighted to see more students entering at a level beyond 101. He spoke in favor of all students studying a foreign language for the cultural component of the courses as much as for the skills component. LTC Leonard asked why education majors are not expected to take a language. COL Ezell responded that the accrediting agencies in education imposed so many course requirements that something had to be sacrificed. MAJ Tesch cautioned against adding modern language to a major if it would take students five years to complete the program. COL Finch said that the Committee reviewed education and engineering majors at other institutions and found that language is not generally required.

CAPT Boykin suggested that we should have cross curricular requirements in areas such as language and mathematics to give students the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned. He said the Political Science Department is doing some of this by assigning readings on political issues in German, Spanish, and French.

The final issue was that of a provision for more FREE ELECTIVES in all majors.

LTC Leonard pointed out that if free electives are eliminated by accreditation requirements, we are paying a significant academic price to have programs accredited.

COL Baldwin stated that biology majors are encouraged to take humanities electives; the reverse doesn’t happen. Many departments urge their students to take all their electives in their major which defeats the purpose of a well-rounded education. LTC Leonard agreed that the College should examine this closely as it continues to consider adding breadth and flexibility to the curriculum.

COL Cleaver said students should not be permitted to use 100-level courses as electives. According to BGEN Poole, the Academic Board could establish a requirement that electives have to be at the 200 level of beyond.

CAPT Boykin spoke against double majors and minors saying they build in redundancy in certain programs and consume electives. BGEN Poole agreed. COL Askins said that at the least there should be a grade point ratio requirement before a student could pursue a double major or a minor.

BGEN Poole reminded the Board that at the next (and last) special meeting to be devoted to the core curriculum, the Board will vote on the Committee’s proposals and on any amendments presented by Board members. He reminded everyone that amendments must be circulated in advance in writing.

The meeting was adjourned at 1700 hours.

Submitted by

Suzanne Ozment
Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Dean of Women