Opposition to Participation in the Zemsky-Finney Re-engineering the Undergraduate Curriculum Proposal


RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate California State University (ASCSU) appreciate the opportunity to meet with Dr. Joni Finney, co-author of the Zemsky-Finney report “Changing the Subject: Costs, Graduation Rates, and the Importance of Reengineering the Undergraduate Curriculum”; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU state its opposition at this time to participation at the systemwide or individual campus levels in the Zemsky-Finney “Re-engineering the Undergraduate Curriculum” proposal as outlined in their programmatic statement; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU support  CSU faculty’s continuing efforts to design, review, and adjust curricula appropriately to the mission and character of the CSU, the needs of CSU students and communities, the broader context of public needs, and available resources; and be it further,

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU welcome and support appropriate research from within the CSU that helps CSU campuses make appropriate curricular changes in keeping with the needs and conditions mentioned above: and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be forwarded to the CSU Board of Trustees, campus presidents, provosts and deans of undergraduate studies, and campus senates.

RATIONALE: We are concerned that the proposed study frames the research questions in terms of impediments and barriers to graduation and fails to recognize current systemwide academic endeavors like the Give Students a Compass Project through which these efforts are already being undertaken. Although we appreciate Dr. Finney’s clarification and expanded characterization of her work as presented before the ASCSU on 5/6/2010, the written text co-authored by Finney and Zemsky outlines the framework to which we would be agreeing to participate. The Zemsky-Finney paper enumerates many issues and challenges that face higher education; however, from an academic standpoint, the proposal shared with the ASCSU fails to provide any original evidence or a literature review justifying the research or supporting the assertions upon which it is based. In addition, the methodology suggested, though lacking in rigor and detail, exhibited methodological bias by suggesting potential changes to the CSU curriculum prior to the gathering of data.  Such flaws make it impossible for the Senate to support participation at this time.

Approved – May 6-7, 2010



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