Administrators side with transfer faculty

After months of deliberation by faculty, Math 151 will be a general education requirement for most students hoping to earn an Associate’s Degree at MCCC.

A laboratory science also will be included as a general education requirement. In a rare occurrence, MCCC President Kojo Quartey and Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee both chose to overturn a decision by the faculty Curriculum Committee.

The committee voted 5 to 4 against accepting revised learning objectives for Math 151.  By the same vote, the committee also turned down the Science learning objectives because they included a laboratory science.

The votes took place at a Dec.17 Curriculum Committee meeting. Yackee, however, chose to intervene and overturned the decisions. That kept Math 151, with the new learning objectives, as one of two courses approved to meet the Math gen-ed requirement. The other course is Math 124, Technical Math II, which is designed for technology students.

Yackee’s decision also retained the term “laboratory” in the science gen-ed requirement. The new requirements will be published in the catalog for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Yackee’s decision was appealed to the president by committee members. Quartey announced after a Jan. 15 meeting with the committee that he supported Yackee’s decision.

The five “no” votes came from faculty representatives of “occupational programs” – Health, Technology, Business, Computer Science – and a counselor. The four votes in favor came from representatives of “transfer” programs – Math, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The occupational program representatives apparently thought the learning objectives for Math 151 were too difficult, and that students should be able to meet their science requirement with courses that do not require labs.

In a memo sent to committee members on Jan 7, Yackee stated that her decision to overrule the vote was due in part to the long period that faculty members had to get involved in the general education decision process. After six years of work, the Faculty Council last May approved six competencies that will be used in the future to determine whether students have met general education requirements for graduation. They fall under three goals: Critical Thinking, Communication, and Social and Cultural Awareness. The Critical Thinking goal has two compencies, one science related and one math related. The Commucation goal also has two, one about writing effectively and one involving technology. The Social and Cultural Awareness goal’s two competencies reflect knowledge of the Humanities and of Social Sciences.

A series of faculty task forces also wrote objectives for each of the competencies. The objectives are used to determine which courses satisfy the competencies – in other words, which courses students need to take to meet Gen-Ed requirements.

The Curriculum Committee reviews and approves the objectives for each of the competencies. That’s where the controversy over the math and lab science courses surfaced. The representatives of the occupational and transfer areas of the college couldn’t agree over details of the objectives. Math 126, a Business Math course, also has been discussed as a possible satisfier of the Math gen-ed requirement. The course was discussed at the Curriculum Committee’s Jan. 28 meeting. It was approved as a course, but turned down as a Gen-Ed satisfier.