Faculty senate updated on GEC revision process

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Wednesday’s faculty senate meeting featured updates from members of the university’s curriculum committee, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, and a presentation to state legislator Dan Branch.

Political science professor Harold Stanley told those present on the status of the review on the university’s curriculum, by giving them a timeline and then informing them of what was to come.

He said the charge was given to the committee, in April 2008, to review, devise and propose changes to the university’s General Education Curriculum. 

Soon after “we had weekly meetings, in addition to meeting with other groups during the course of the 2008-09 year to find out what suggestions they had,” Stanley said.

The discussion evoked lots of responses from those in the audience, as there were concerns on the meanings of the GEC components and pillars. Stanley said the committee posted a structure of the draft of the GEC to the SMU community in April 2009.

“They are pretty broad terms and it will be up to the faculty committees to determine what will fit into the pillars,” he said. “The idea is that 85 percent of the GEC should find a home in the new proposed GEC.”

The revision should be posted during the first week of March, and then there will be a Faculty Senate public forum on March 17 and an e-mail vote by members on the new curriculum set for March 18 and 19. 

“This is a stumbling box that the university faced before because the foreign language requirement had not been defined,” Stanley said.

He said as things are defined, things will become clearer.

Later a framed resolution of the legislation Texas representative Dan Branch helped pass was presented to him. The legislation allowed  private universities to be included in the Advance Research Program and thus allowing them to gain access to state funding. 

Engineering professor Greg Evans said previously only public universities could access ARP funds.  He said as a result SMU could see its state funding increase.
Turner then addressed the room for various points: the university’s quest to become a tier 1 school, the century campaign and university recruiting.

He said there was a lot of discussion around the city about tier 1 status because “Dallas is the only major city without a tier 1 research university.”

 “The number one goal [of SMU] is to be the best institution we can be whether in humanities, law or other programs, as we build up our research base.”

Turner said some schools were set up with research in mind, but SMU wasn’t.

“Rice was laid out to be a research institution, but we weren’t,” Turner said. “If $100 million is the magical number for sponsored research we will be there, it will just take time.”

“Next year we will be celebrating our centennial. It will almost be as if we are starting a new campaign,” he said.

Applications to the university were up, according to Turner. Other area schools have been adding more students and SMU will follow suit. 


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