ITEM 120-2019-R0903 attachment
Proposal for an Undergraduate Major in Liberal Studies at
Montana State University – Bozeman
Montana State University – Bozeman is one of the very few institutions in this region that does not offer a general education degree designed specifically to meet the needs of students, including non-traditional majors and lifelong learners, wanting to pursue a broad and flexible educational program, which is not as prescriptive as traditional curricula. Additionally, some of the most exciting and innovative advances in human knowledge are occurring at the intersections of traditional academic disciplines, which demands a flexible curricular structure that can allow motivated students to explore these emerging areas. A Liberal Studies program would be in keeping both with the university’s mission and with the terms of the Morrill Act of 1862, which made land-grant colleges responsible for “the liberal and practical education of the people in the several pursuits and professions of life.” The proposed Liberal Studies Degree would be built around the current strengths of MSU – Bozeman’s instructional programs by providing an overall scaffolding, including newly-developed integrative seminars, to ensure academic rigor while at the same time permitting sufficient latitude to allow students to pursue individual interests. All students would be required to choose one of two program options, either the Quaternity (option I), which would offer the more traditional broad-based liberal arts education, or a cross-disciplinary cluster of thematically related courses (option II), such as the Environmental Studies and the Global and Multicultural Studies options included within this proposal. It is anticipated that interested faculty would develop additional cross-disciplinary clusters in the future.
Objectives and Needs
Goals and objectives
At its broadest level, the proposed program is designed to equip students with the essential academic and life skills necessary for success in the workplace and for responsible citizenship, including:
· critical thinking
· creative thinking
· critical reading
· effective written communication
· effective oral communication
· quantitative and spatial analysis
· effective use of technology
· scientific reasoning
· ethical reasoning
· valuing the diversity of human experience
Intellectual Basis for the Curriculum
Liberal education programs stress interdisciplinarity, connectivity, and integration. These aims—sometimes referred to collectively as educating the “whole” or “free” (liber) person—look backward to more traditional pedagogical models that encourage students to gain knowledge and experience in all domains of learning rather than focus only on those skills germane to a specific career.
Course of Study
Students must complete a minimum of 45 credits in the program after declaring themselves to be Liberal Studies majors. Students who have successfully completed the first two years of any MSU-Bozeman curriculum with a minimum of 60 credits (all degree requirements and completion of the university core) will be able to construct a program of study in the Quaternity option, in consultation with advisors and the Liberal Studies Program Committee, that requires no more than 60 additional credits.
II. Degree Requirements
Orientation Seminar (LS101*) 3 credits
Integrative Studies Requirement (includes Core Curriculum) 39 credits
Program option I or II 50-59 credits
Integrative Seminars (LS 201*, 301*, 302*) 3 credits
Capstone Course (LS 401C*) 4 credits
Electives 15-18 credits
TOTAL 120 CREDITS
[Asterisks indicate new courses to be developed in support of this curriculum.]
III. Elements of the Curriculum
Orientation Seminar (LS 101)
All students who enter the program are required to complete the 3-credit Orientation Seminar. Members of the Faculty Program Committee will normally teach the Seminar. The goals of the Orientation Seminar are to provide students with the following:
· An understanding of the purpose of liberal education
· An understanding of the goals of the Liberal Studies curriculum, and of the ways in which its elements are connected and integrated
· A better understanding of the process of academic inquiry, and of the factual knowledge and theoretical foundations of the disciplines encompassed by the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences
· Improved critical thinking and communication skills
· An interdisciplinary learning community in which they can explore their academic interests
· The ability to reflect on and to talk about their academic experiences in a meaningful way
Integrative Studies requirement
Students are required to take 4 courses (12 credits) in addition to the university’s Core curriculum, one course each in fine arts, humanities, natural science and social sciences. Whenever possible, the courses should be chosen in consultation with the Liberal Studies Program Director or appointed advisor. The total Integrative Studies requirement, therefore, would be as few as 39 credits (although the number might be somewhat larger for those who select 4-credit core courses).
All students will be required to choose one of two program options, either the Quaternity (option I), which offers a broad-based liberal arts education, or a cross-disciplinary cluster of thematically related courses (option II), which currently comprises the Environmental Studies and the Global and Multicultural Studies curricula described below. We hope and expect that faculty will want to develop additional cross-disciplinary curricula in the future.
Option I: The Quaternity
Course requirements (56 credits)
Foreign language competence 8 credits
4 Fine Arts Courses 12 credits
4 Humanities Courses 12 credits
4 Natural Science or Mathematics Courses 12 credits
4 Social Science Courses 12 credits
The Quaternity is a student-centered program that aims at exploring four different but interconnected concepts of knowledge. Students in the Quaternity will be expected to approach and to interrogate all of their courses – in the fine arts, humanities, natural science or mathematics, and social sciences – through the epistemological lens of thinking, sensation, feeling and intuition, and to demonstrate that they have done so through writing assignments, a portfolio, and a retrospective paper in the Capstone course.
Program of Study. All students who select the Quaternity option are required, in consultation with an advisor (normally a member of the Faculty Program Committee), to complete detailed Programs of Study proposals, which identify the courses they intend to take to fulfill the requirements of the program. The proposals are submitted to the Faculty Program Committee for approval.
Portfolio. Students are required to a maintain a portfolio of their most important work as they progress through the Liberal Studies program. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to include ongoing reflections on their evolving understanding of what it means “to know.” The portfolio will form the basis of a final retrospective paper that students will write in conjunction with the Capstone course.
400-level courses. At least 9 credits in this option must be completed at the 400-level, in addition to LS 401C.
Option II: Cross-disciplinary clusters of thematically related courses
This option is designed to allow students to explore thematically related issues across disciplinary and departmental boundaries. Two preliminary cross-disciplinary clusters of thematically related courses – Environmental Studies (II.a) and Global and Multicultural Studies (II.b) – are part of this intitial proposal. Additional clusters, which will be developed by faculty teams, will require separate BOR approval. Each cluster includes extensive menus of courses so that students can create individualized programs of study that reflect their academic interests and career goals.
II.a Environmental Studies
Course requirements (59 credits)
Foundation courses: BIOL 101N, Biology of Organisms; ESCI 112N, 17 credits
Physical Geography; GEOG 201SG, Human Geography; PHIL 340,
Environmental Ethics; STAT 216M, Elementary Statistics
Natural Science Courses 21 credits
Public Policy Courses 21 credits
Natural Science courses (21 credits). Students select from:
BCHM 122N, Organic & Biochemical Principles, BIOL 101N, Biology of Organisms, BIOL 103N, Environmental Issues and Society, BIOL 303, Principles of Ecology, BIOL 405, Advanced Animal Ecology, BIOL 406, Rocky Mountain Ecosystems, BIOL 407, Alpine Ecology, BIOL 421, Yellowstone Wildlife Ecology, CE 442, Environmental Science, CHEM 121N, Introductory General Chemistry, CHEM 131N/141N, General Chemistry I, CHEM 132N/142N, General Chemistry II, CHEM 215N, Elements of Organic Chemistry, ESCI 112N, Physical Geography, ESCI 307, Principles of Geomorphology, ESCI 432, Surface Water Resources, ESCI 455, Physiography of the United States, F&WL 301, Principles of Fish and Wildlife Management, GEOG 105SG, World Regional Geography, GEOG 210, Weather and Climate, GEOG 302, Biogeography, GEOG 430, Mountain Geography, GEOL 102NG, Environmental Geology, LRES 201N, Soil Resources, LRES 352, Watershed Management, LRES 420, Bio and Microclimatology, LRES 461, Restoration Ecology, PS 102N, Plant Science, Resources and the Environment.
Public Policy courses (21 credits). Students select from:
ECON 101S, Economic Way of Thinking, ECON 317SG, Economic Development, ECON 332S, Economics of Natural Resources, ENG 314H, Literature of Place, GEOG 234, Geographical Planning, GEOG 323, Western Water Policy and Planning, HIST 466, United States Environmental History, HUM 205, Nature and Culture, MGMT 473, Management of Western Resources, POLS 206S, The Government of the United States, POLS 350, Natural Resource Policy, POLS 351, Public Policy Analysis, POLS 352, Comparative Public Policy, POLS 354, Environmental Politics, SOC 308, Population Problems, SOC 328S, Environmental Sociology.
400-level courses. At least nine (9) credits of Natural Science or Public Policy courses must be completed at the 400-level, in addition to LS 401C.
II.b Global and Multicultural Studies
Course requirements (50 credits)
Competence, at an intermediate level, in a foreign language 11 credits
appropriate to the student’s field of Area Studies
Global and Multicultural Courses 27 credits
Area Studies Courses 12 credits
Global and Multicultural courses (27 credits). Students select from:
ANTH 101SG, Introduction to Anthropology, ANTH 204SG, Culture and Society, ANTH 317, Cultural Expressions of Appearance, ANTH 326SG, Language and Culture, ARCH 322F, Architectural History: World Architecture I, ARCH 323, Architectural History: World Architecture II, ART 405FG, Arts of Africa, ART 407FG, Islamic Art and Architecture, ECON 314SG, International Economics, ECON 317SG, Economic Development, ENGL 308, Multicultural Literature, ENGL 311HG, World Literature, GEOG 105SG, World Regional Geography, HHD 205FG, Dance as a Cultural Expression, HIST 104HG, World History in the 20th Century, JS 340, Comparative Justice, JS 415, Terrorism, MGMT 245SG, Cultural Dimensions of International Business, MGMT 464, International Management, MKTG 242SG, Introduction to Global Markets, MTA 218FG, International Film and Television, PHIL 105HG, Problems of Good and Evil, PHIL 362, Philosophy of Race, PHIL 368, Language and the World, POLS 241SG, Introduction to International Relations, POLS 340, International Relations Theory, POLS 402SG, International Law, POLS 403, International Organization, POLS 441SG, International Human Rights, SOC 325, Sociology of Race and Gender.
Area Studies courses(12 credits). Students would complete twelve (12) credits in one of the following areas:
Asia: ANTH 433SG, Contemporary Pacific Societies, HIST 109HG, Modern Asia, HIST 115HG, History of Japan, HIST 371, Early Modern Japan, HIST 375, Modern South Asia, HIST 465, Ecology and Nature in Japan, HIST 467, Women in Asia, MLJ 301, Premodern Japanese Civilization, MLJ 315H, Introduction to Japanese Literature, MLJ 320, Classical Japanese Literature, MLJ 321, Modern Japanese Literature, MLJ 360, The Tale of Genji, MLJ 361, Text and Cinema, PHIL 220HG, Philosophies of Asia, RELS 202HG, Asian Religions.
Europe: ART 309, Baroque Art, ART 318, 19th Century Art, HIST 105H, Origins of Western Civilization, HIST 107H, Western Civilization, 1600-present, HIST 316, History of Russia to 1917, HIST 361, Civilization of France, HIST 362, Modern Germany, HIST 460, European Intellectual History, MLF 306H, From Reflection to Revolution, MLG 303H, Modern German Culture and Society, MLG 360H, Faust in German Tradition, MLS 360H, Don Quixote and the Western Tradition.
Latin America: HIST 110HG, Latin American History, HIST 305, Mexico, HIST 410, Latin American History, HIST 413, Race in Latin America, HIST 425, Gender, Sexuality and Social Change in Latin American History, MLS 302, Latin American Culture and Civilization, MLS 321, Contemporary Latin American Literature.
Native American Studies: ANTH 310, Native North America, NAS 100SG, Introduction to Native American Studies, NAS 201SG, American Indians in Montana, NAS 220, American Indian Art, NAS 242SG, American Indians in Contemporary Society, NAS 305, Gender Issues in Native American Studies, NAS 315, Native American Indians and the Cinema, NAS 320HG, American Indian Religions, NAS 325, Native Peoples of the Americas, NAS 330, American Indian Policy and Law, NAS 340HG, American Indian Literature.
Women’s Studies: ART 421, Women Artists, ENGL 330H Women & Literature, HIST 403, Women in the U.S. and Canadian West, HIST 408, Women in America, HIST 409, Japanese Women’s History, HIST 419, Family, Gender and Law in Ancient Greece and Rome, HIST 425, Gender and Sexuality in Latin America, HIST 467, Women in Asia, HUM 201H, Introduction to Feminist Theory and Methodology, HUM 204H, Gender and Sexuality, HUM 301, Seminar in Women’s Studies, NAS 305, Gender Issues in Native American Studies, POLS 353, Women and Politics, PSY 392, Psychology of Women, RELS 321, Gender and Religion.
400-level courses. At least nine (9) credits of Global and Multicultural or Area Studies courses must be completed at the 400-level, in addition to LS 401C.
Liberal Studies Seminars (LS 201, 301, 302)
All students in the program are required to take a 1-credit Liberal Studies Seminar in their sophomore year and in each semester of their junior year. The seminars are designed to build on the goals of the Orientation Seminar (LS 101). Because students in the program take courses in a variety of different departments and colleges, there is a risk that they might feel displaced or isolated. The purpose of the Liberal Studies Seminars, broadly conceived, is to provide students with a sense of academic community. Through discussion, papers and other writing assignments, students are expected to:
· Share what they’ve learned with other students
· Demonstrate that they have a coherent course of study
· Demonstrate a progressively more sophisticated understanding of the goals of a liberal education
· Demonstrate a progressively more sophisticated ability to reflect on and to talk about their academic experiences in a meaningful way
Capstone course (LS 401C)
All students in the program take a common 4-credit capstone course in their final year. Members of the Faculty Program Committee will normally teach the capstone course. Students are expected to write a final retrospective paper based on the portfolio of work collected throughout their programs. All students would work together in small groups to design solutions to contemporary public policy issues (e.g., overpopulation). Each small-group project results in a scholarly product (typically a paper and presentation) that will serve as a tangible and measurable indication of the extent to which students have mastered the critical thinking, reading, writing, and oral communication skills that are the principal learning objectives of the program.
Need for the Program
This program has been specifically designed to meet the needs of multiple student constituencies:
- Students who currently go to other institutions because MSU-Bozeman does not offer a general education degree
- Students who are interested in pursuing a high-quality general education as preparation for professional education in law, medicine, etc.
- Students who are eager to become involved in new or emerging cross-disciplinary fields of knowledge, but are not interested in or suited for the kind of independent, student-designed program of study provided by the Directed Interdisciplinary Studies degree program
- Students who decide, sometimes as late as their junior year, that they do not want to continue in their declared major and, because they are reluctant to start over in another major, drop out of the university altogether
- Lifelong learners who want to take a broad range of courses leading to a generalist degree
Recommendations for MSU-Bozeman to pursue the development of such a degree came from a number of campus constituencies, most notably from the General Studies advisors who were acting in direct response to student demand voiced during academic advising. In 1997-98, a coalition of MSU administrators, headed up by the late Pamela Hill, Vice Provost for Outreach and Executive Director for Summer Session, developed a proposal for a university studies degree program. For a variety of reasons, including concerns about the possible fiscal implications of the program, the proposal was eventually shelved.
In the summer of 2001, partly as an outgrowth of MSU’s continuing efforts to reform and improve the university’s general education curriculum, the College of Letters and Science launched a new initiative to explore the possibility of developing a Liberal Studies program. Department heads in the College of Letters and Science and other campus leaders were consulted. Two key points emerged from these preliminary discussions. First, it was widely agreed that a Liberal Studies degree would serve the interests of students who wish to pursue a broader course of study than is offered by any of our current degree programs and therefore had the potential to provide significant benefits to the university in terms of student recruitment and retention. At the same time, many of those who were consulted were careful to insist that such a program would have to be academically rigorous and that it should not divert instructional resources from existing degree programs.
Student interest in the program, as indicated by student inquiries of General Studies advisors, supports the claim that there is a need to respond to student demand for this program. Further, it is the opinion of Ronda Russell, Director of Admissions and New Student Services, Chuck Nelson, Registrar, and Mary Noll, Director of General Studies, that a significant number of undergraduates, including some of MSU’s highest achieving students, leave the institution because it does not currently offer a broad-based, interdisciplinary degree.
Adequacy, Accreditation, and Assessment Issues
Because this program will draw almost entirely on existing courses, the marginal demand on university resources will be small. The quality of the program will, to a large extent, be the responsibility of the Faculty Program Committee, which initially will be comprised primarily of those faculty responsible for developing this proposal. The original members of the task force were Marcy Barge, Professor of Mathematics; David Cherry, Professor of History; Abigail Dachs, Research Analyst, Office of the Provost; Diane Donnelly, Academic Advisor and Freshman Seminar Coordinator, General Studies Program; Pamela Hill, Vice Provost for Outreach and Executive Director for Summer Session; Ralph Johnson, Professor of Architecture; Michael Sexson, Professor of English; Richard Smith, Professor of Physics; and Franke Wilmer, Professor of Political Science. Jeff Adams, Associate Professor of Physics and Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Russ Walker, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science, joined the task force in September 2002. This group represents some of MSU-Bozeman’s most respected and influential faculty, and they are committed to ensuring that this program is delivered at a very high standard.
The primary responsibility for assessment of this program will lie with the Faculty Program Committee. Because of the reflective nature of the Liberal Studies Seminars, the members of the Program Committee teaching those seminars will be provided a unique opportunity to monitor the development of students within the program. Formative data will be gathered during each of the seminars both through reflective writing and questionnaires. The data will be summarized and reported to the Program Committee during regular meetings. The data will be used both to guide programmatic changes (i.e., changes in the curriculum that will affect all future students) and adjustments to individual programs of study to better match student needs. The capstone course offers significant opportunity for summative assessment. Students in the Quaternity will be required to maintain a portfolio throughout their program (coordinated through the seminars) and produce, as part of the capstone experience, a reflective paper in which they trace their intellectual and emotional development through the program with specific reference to how their courses contributed to this development. Students in cross-disciplinary clusters will produce reflective papers that focus on exploring the connections between their disciplinary courses. These papers will be reviewed by the Program Committee as a source of data to better understand students’ experiences in the program with goal of program improvement. The Program Committee will also evaluate each small-group project produced in the capstone. A final questionnaire and exit interviews will round out the data gathering.
Judging from the success of similar programs at other institutions, the proposed Liberal Studies degree is likely eventually to pay for itself through higher rates of student recruitment and retention. However, the program will be carefully reviewed after five years to determine whether or not it is, or shows significant signs of becoming, cost effective.
Impact on Faculty, Facilities, Costs, Students, and Other Departments and Campuses
Additional Faculty Requirements
There are no new faculty requirements. Because the Liberal Studies degree program will draw on faculty from across the campus, it will be housed in the Office of the Provost. The reassignment of faculty to provide for the teaching of the seminars and capstone course will be coordinated by the Provost’s Office. Initially, administrative support for this program will be provided by the Provost’s Office. Should the program grow to sufficient proportion, a 0.25 FTE Program Director position will be funded by the Provost’s Office to administer day-to-day operations.
Because the proposed program will draw almost entirely on existing courses, the costs of establishing and operating it will be relatively small. The only new courses are the 3-credit Orientation Seminar (LS 101), the three 1-credit Liberal Studies Seminars (LS 201, 301, 302), and the 4-credit Capstone course (LS 401C). The ongoing costs of offering these courses is estimated at $15,000. Initially, it is anticipated that administrative support will be provided through Office of Academic Affairs—specifically the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. If the program grows to the anticipated level, a 0.25 FTE faculty program director and 0.5 FTE classified support person will be needed to maintain the program. The annual cost of this is estimated at $27,000. The total annual cost would then be $42,000.
The modest cost of initiating this program will be supported by the Provost’s Office. As the program grows, resources will be sought from the University Planning and Budget Analysis Committee (UPBAC) through MSU-Bozeman’s normal budgeting process.
Impact on Enrollment
It is the conviction of those that proposed and developed this program that there is real student need for this degree and that the introduction of a Liberal Studies degree will lead to increased student recruitment and retention. However, with the total anticipated enrollment anticipated to grow to no more than 100 students, any impact on recruitment and retention is likely to be minor when compared with overall growth trends and therefore does not represent an identifiable additional strain on resources.
Relationship to Other Programs
The proposed Liberal Studies degree offers MSU-Bozeman students a unique opportunity that cannot be met within our current department-based degree structures. Only the Directed Interdisciplinary Studies (DIS) program within the Honors program comes close, and it is not designed to handle the number nor the breadth of students for whom this program has been designed. Although it is likely that some students who opt to pursue a Liberal Studies degree will be drawn from other MSU-Bozeman degree programs, the target audience also comprises incoming freshman who might otherwise elect to attend a different institution and students within existing majors at risk of leaving MSU-Bozeman to pursue this type of degree elsewhere.
Relationship to Other Institutions
Montana State University – Bozeman is one of the very few institutions in this region that does not offer a general education degree. The University of Idaho, Idaho State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Utah, Utah State University, Washington State University, and Northern Arizona University all offer degrees in liberal studies, university studies, or general studies. The University of Montana offers a humanities-based Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies. MSU – Billings and UM – Western both offer degree programs in liberal studies. The Liberal Studies degree program at the University of Montana, which has been in place for more than a decade, had 140 majors in 2001-02 (22 first-year students, 26 sophomores, 36 juniors, 56 seniors).
Process Leading to Submission of Proposal
In 1997-98, a coalition of MSU administrators, headed up by the late Pamela Hill, Vice Provost for Outreach and Executive Director for Summer Session, developed a proposal for a university studies degree program. At the time, it was believed that such a program was needed to serve the interests of those MSU students, including non-traditional majors and lifelong learners, who wanted to pursue a broad and flexible educational program. For a variety of reasons, including concerns about the possible fiscal implications of the program, the proposal was eventually shelved.
In the summer of 2001, partly as an outgrowth of MSU’s continuing efforts to reform and improve the university’s general education curriculum, the College of Letters and Science launched a new initiative to explore the possibility of developing an Liberal Studies degree program. Department heads in the College of Letters and Science and other campus leaders were consulted. Two key points emerged from these preliminary discussions. First, it was widely agreed that an Liberal Studies degree would serve the interests of students who wish to pursue a broader course of study than is offered by any of our current degree programs and therefore had the potential to provide significant benefits to the university in terms of student recruitment and retention. At the same time, many of those who were consulted were careful to insist that such a program would have to be academically rigorous and that it should not divert instructional resources from existing degree programs.
With the support of the College of Letters and Science and the Office of the Provost, a Liberal Studies degree task force was constituted in October 2001, and charged, in an informal way, with investigating the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a Liberal Studies degree and with developing a set of recommendations. The original members of the task force were Marcy Barge, Professor of Mathematics; David Cherry, Associate Professor of History; Abigail Dachs, Research Analyst, Office of the Provost; Diane Donnelly, Academic Advisor and Freshman Seminar Coordinator, General Studies Program; Pamela Hill, Vice Provost for Outreach and Executive Director for Summer Session; Ralph Johnson, Professor of Architecture; Michael Sexson, Professor of English; Richard Smith, Professor of Physics; and Franke Wilmer, Professor of Political Science. Jeff Adams, Associate Professor of Physics and Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Russ Walker, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science, joined the task force in September 2002. To guide the work of the task force, especially in its early stages, Abigail Dachs prepared a comprehensive report on general education degree programs at some of MSU’s peer institutions and at other universities that have well-established and successful programs.
In addition to meetings and consultations with key campus constituencies, the task force held two open forums to which all students and faculty were invited, the first in November 2001, the second in October 2002. The suggestions and concerns expressed at the public forums and at other meetings with campus leaders played a key role in shaping the recommendations of the task force, including the proposed program of study.
 The University of Idaho, Idaho State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Utah, Utah State University, Washington State University, and Northern Arizona University all offer degrees in liberal studies, university studies or general studies. The University of Montana offers a humanities-based Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies. MSU – Billings and UM – Western both offer degree programs in liberal studies.