Spring update on 2013-14 curriculum changes

To: UCSC Community

From: Herbert Lee, vice provost for academic affairs

It has been a busy year in academic planning, and I write to update the campus on changes to the graduate and undergraduate curriculum as well as plans for promoting major learning outcomes.

It is a pleasure to announce the approval of a new 3+3 Program with UC Hastings College of the Law, an accelerated program between the campus and Hastings whereby students complete the B.A. and J.D. degrees in a combined six years rather than the normal seven years. Undergraduates may participate in the program regardless of their declared major, with the bachelor degree awarded after completion of the first year of study at Hastings. Advising on campus is coordinated through the Legal Studies Program.

Last year’s momentum in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies has led to the establishment of an undergraduate B.A. program, with students able to declare in fall 2014. The program pulls from courses in Anthropology, Education, Feminist Studies, Film and Digital Media, History, History of Art and Visual Culture, Latin American and Latino Studies, Literature, Psychology, and Sociology. A designated emphasis for graduate students has been submitted to the Graduate Council.

A new minor in Sustainability Studies has been approved. Administered out of College Eight, this interdisciplinary minor takes advantage of the campus’ vast suite of sustainability-related classes and faculty expertise, including the Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS) upper-division service-learning program and the Sustainability Engineering and Ecological Design (SEED) faculty group. Students may declare starting fall 2014.

Admissions to the Applied Economics and Finance M.S. program has been re-opened, and there will be an incoming cohort of over 30 students in fall 2014.

The Language Program has now become the Language and Applied Linguistics Department. The faculty continue to support instruction in several languages and pursue scholarly areas of second language acquisition and other areas of applied linguistics.

The campus has disestablished the American Studies Department and discontinued the department’s academic programs. No faculty were left in the department this year as the faculty had already found productive homes in other departments. Curricula for the American Studies B.A. and designated emphasis had been sustained through a well-designed teach out plan to ensure catalog rights to students declared in these programs. The remaining declared students have now completed the required courses and have access to electives or the capstone seminar course to complete their degrees.

Our faculty engaged in a campus-wide effort to define student-based learning outcomes for all undergraduate and graduate majors.  Program learning outcomes can help students understand the value of the major, the overall expectations of the faculty, and how to measure their own progress toward understanding the key content of the degree.  This effort is also part of preparations for our Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) re-accreditation. Program learning outcomes have been posted on department web sites and student handbooks for easy communication to all students.  Assessment of student learning of these outcomes has started this spring.