Faculty senate approves new classes

The faculty senate voted last week to add nine new classes to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Changes to the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate program and the bachelor of music education program have also been approved. Proposed changes to the undergraduate degree programs in environmental sciences have been sidelined pending review.

Among the new course offerings are junior level classes in anthropology and foreign languages including Greek, Danish and Turkish. Three sections of general chemistry workshop, to be taken in conjunction with general chemistry lectures, were also approved.

Those working toward a certificate TESL will see an end to the general cultural studies and literature requirements, to be replaced with specific courses from the linguistics department. Students earning a TESL will be required to take Linguistics 475, Curriculum Design and Materials Development and Linguistics 471, Understanding the International Experience.

Currently, Portland State offers a bachelor of music with an emphasis in music education. The name will be changed to bachelor of music education. According to the proposal by Regina Lawrence, chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee, only one other Oregon university offers a bachelor of music education degree. Lawrence believes the change will “attract students and serve the greater Portland area with a stronger program than currently exists, as well as align our program with other programs nationwide.”

This new bachelor of music education program will make it easier for students to transition into the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). Students had previously been required to take electives in music education as pre-requisites for the GTEP program. With the new degree, students will be required to take 45 credits of music education along with the required University Studies coursework, eliminating the need for general education electives and the previous degree requirements.

Perhaps the biggest proposed curriculum changes came from the Environmental Sciences department. The faculty senate approved a slight modification of the current program, effectively renaming the bachelor’s degree in environmental studies to BA/BS in environmental science.

A second notable change would have created a separate degree program in environmental studies. Similar to the environmental science degree that currently exists, according to the proposal submitted by the Curriculum Committee, the new degree would provide a “heavier emphasis on courses in policy and management and fewer lower-division prerequisite courses from the natural sciences.”

According to John Rueter, head of environmental sciences, the new program will be “a collaboration between Environmental Programs, Center for Science Education and Geography. It will open up an exciting new niche for interdepartmental degrees at PSU by combining science and policy.”

Rueter describes the programs in environmental science as “in a state of flux.” The new program is still being discussed and is awaiting review and approval by the faculty senate. Once approved, the proposal would then be reviewed by the Oregon University System. Rueter hopes to have the program approved and available to students by fall of 2006, but said that if a substantial amount of revision to the program is needed, it may take a little longer.

Approved courses should appear in the PSU Bulletin for the 2006-07 academic year.