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Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Faculty Senate and their curriculum committee debate over new AA degree requirements

The Fullerton College Faculty Senate will weigh in whether less is more, or vice versa, when it comes to AA degree requirements.
Courtesy of Fullerton College
The Fullerton College Faculty Senate debates over changing the requirements to obtain an AA degree. The Curriculum committee voted to approve a recommendation on Wednesday, April 17.

*A correction was made on Friday, April 26 in this story as The Hornet gained more information to properly explain Title 5.*

In wake of California allowing college districts to create their own AA degree requirements, Fullerton College is left at a crossroads. Is this a chance to create a clearer and more concise road towards graduation by ridding of excess courses? Or is it an opportunity to prepare students for their futures as scholars by adding courses with valuable, lifelong lessons? These tough decisions are what Faculty Senate will be deciding on.

On Wednesday, April 17, the Curriculum Committee voted in favor of recommending the Fullerton College Faculty Senate to approve the minimum Title 5 requirements, excluding the additional course areas proposed. According to a statement to the Faculty Senate, six out of 10 Curriculum Committee representatives voted to approve the recommended pattern, and four representatives voted against.

“For over four months, the Curriculum Committee received input from, and provided forums for, students and faculty throughout the campus community as our committee discussed a recommendation to the Faculty Senate,” curriculum committee chair John Ison said. “Our recommendation was the result of several months of discussions over several months of public-facing meetings. The Faculty Senate is responsible for approving AA general education (GE) revisions, and the Board of Trustees is responsible for approving implementation of revisions.”

Title 5 is the statewide requirement for AA course models. Beyond that, community college districts are now allowed to choose what additional areas their students will need to master in order to graduate.

“When it comes to our [Associate] degrees… as long as we meet Title 5 requirements, the college gets to define what that looks like for graduation,” said Fullerton College counselor Heather Halverson in an interview with The Hornet.

Halverson said Fullerton College’s current course model includes physical education, multicultural and lifelong learning and self-development for those who aim to obtain their AA. However, the curriculum committee recently recommended that these three areas no longer be required.

The debate itself stems from what the faculty senate feels is most beneficial for students. Many feel that the process to obtain an AA degree for transfer is already complicated enough, and adding more obstacles to that pathway will only pull back scholars working towards that accomplishment.

Others argue that these additional courses better prepare students not only on their academic pathways after transferring, but for the rest of their lives.

Those in favor of the “Title 5 only” minimum requirements want a clear, simple, and streamlined set of GE requirements that are aligned with four-year universities such as the CSUs and UCs. They argue that excessive degree requirements, units, and differences between different community college graduation requirements are all barriers that get in the way of achieving a streamlined transfer system.

“When I began researching transfer requirements to schools within the University of California and California State University systems, I quickly discovered that it’s confusing and difficult to understand what courses count for different schools, especially when attending multiple community colleges,” former transfer student and UC Davis graduate Momina Nadeem recalls in her commentary for Cal Matters.

Others advocating for adding local requirements such as physical education, multicultural, and lifelong learning and self-development, mention the need for semester-length courses that prepare students for college.

They argue that requirements in the physical education area will help with maintaining health and fitness among students. They also mention that there is a general fear of loss of employment between faculty as course enrollment declines and classes are potentially canceled if they are not required anymore.

“Year after year, despite alarming reports communicating poor global awareness among Americans, the educational system continues to disconnect college students from the world,” geography professor Aline Gregorio argued. “Under a Title 5 only general education, a student at Fullerton College could complete their general education and earn an associate’s degree without ever taking a course promoting “global awareness,” and “global awareness” is listed as an institutional learning outcome at Fullerton College.”

The committee’s choice is not set in stone, and the Faculty Senate has time to either accept or reject their recommendation. Their vote will likely come in the coming weeks based on continuing meetings with faculty.

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About the Contributor
Dylan Arreola
Dylan Arreola, Staff Reporter
Dylan Arreola is in his first semester working for The Hornet. He focuses on photography and arts. He enjoys backpacking and rock climbing in his free time.

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    Bridget KominekMay 2, 2024 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this important topic!