12 February 1985
By Douglas F. Schauss – Associate News Editor
The Educational Policies Committee (EPC) has proposed a new draft of LC’s general education requirments which was taken to last week’s faculty meeting and is now up for discussion in a number of forums.
“We (EPC) are trying to provide a foundation that is essential for a Liberal Arts and Sciences education,” said Dr. Thomas W. Seaman, chairman of the EPC.
According to Seaman, the new draft gives added strengths to the new requirements. It eliminates the Thematic Option, eliminates the current practice of opt out, restores foreign language study, gives emphasis to the sciences and restores the fine arts as a requirement.
This draft has provoked educational debate and discussion among many departments.
One change gives new emphasis to the science “partially correcting an imbalance between the sciences and the humanities,” said Seaman.
This issue has spurred dialogue between the science division and the psychology department on whether or not psychology should satisfy the science requirement. Presently it does.
The draft raised the requirement to twelve hours from eight, with selections being taken from two fields: Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology.
Dr. Thomas A. Looney, Associate Professor of Psychology, said psychology does accomplish teach a certain body of knowledge and type of methodology.
“The present system allows students to by-pass the natural sciences in favor of psychology,” said Dr. Gwynn W. Ramsey, Chairman of the department of biology.
Ramsey said the science division has been for a number of years “concerned” about the decrease in students in the natural sciences.
In three years physics and chemistry have each lost one full time staff member and Biology department members are teaching in peripheral areas in order to retain employment, according to a science division hand out.
Ramsey said that psychology is, “specialized and narrow in scope,” and the natural sciences educate students in broad fields of science.
“I think the quality from twelve hours of coursework will be self-evident, the national numbers for science are on the increase,” said Ramsey.
“Courses will be altered to accommodate the new four hour addition, (but) I dont think that existing lab courses can be crammed into one semester,” said Dr. Neal Sumerlin, professor of chemistry.
“We don’t have the manpower to offer additional courses and to water them down would be meaningless,” said Sumerlin.
Dr. Julius A. Sigler, Associate Dean of the College, said that most students taking the extra four hours will probably be signing up for the first half of a two semester course.
Dr. Sumerlin expressed interest in a sixteen hour requirement saying, “I’d like to see the bachelor of science major be required to have two labs; sixteen hours.”