College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Revise BA Requirements

Posted: May 5, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

In response to a request last year by the Office of the Provost to examine the possibility of reducing the number of general education requirements for students pursuing a BA degree, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Council developed a proposal that has been overwhelmingly approved by its faculty.

The changes eliminate the additional 3-credit CAS literature requirement and 3 credits from the CAS social science requirement. Students will no longer be required to take a two-semester laboratory science sequence, and will now be able to fulfill the natural science requirement by completing two approved courses, which must include some laboratory experience.

The foreign language requirement mandates that students complete 0-9 credits instead of passing a 202-level foreign language course, with the option for native speakers of foreign languages to test out of the requirement. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages will offer an intensive 6-credit introductory course and a 3-credit intermediate-level course in some foreign languages, allowing students to complete the requirement in one academic year instead of the two generally required of students new to a foreign language.

The provisions will take effect for students who matriculate in the 2007-08 academic year.

“The revision both simplifies and reduces the total hours of general education requirements, which will benefit all students,” says CAS Council Chair Rex Wade. “It will make it much easier for transfer students especially–they can more readily fit what they have taken elsewhere into the George Mason requirements, in the sciences in particular,” he adds.

“It will allow all students more electives, and also will make it easier to take minors or second majors. Overall, I think, it makes a more coherent package of requirements.”

The division of CAS into the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the College of Science will not affect the new requirements, and both new colleges will require students to meet them.

Approving the revisions is “a major achievement,” says Wade. “Revising these requirements is one of the most difficult things to do in any university because so many people have strong opinions about what makes a good package of general education requirements. I think the CAS faculties deserve commendation for their willingness to take this on, make compromises, and see it through to a successful completion.”

The proposal was developed by a special subcommittee headed by Steve Zaccaro, associate professor of psychology.

After submitting its first proposal last September, the CAS Council further revised it at a series of meetings during the fall semester and into the spring semester before the final vote.

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