August 1, 2014

New Gen-Ed Courses Approved Amid Controversy

This story was written by Ben Passikoff and reported by Navita Nauth, Aya Abdelmoamen, Taja Whitted, Manolo Morales, Ahmed Jaradat and Neka Williams.

College Council members vote on the new gen-ed courses Oct. 18.

John Jay’s College Council approved the the first new courses on Oct. 18 under the new gen-ed curriculum  known as Pathways. This is the last step for the new courses; they will be available in Fall 2013.
“We have been through a remarkable journey, coming to grips that our gen-ed needed to be revised,” said President Jeremy Travis, commending the committee for the long journey that started about six years ago.

Courses like Introduction to Africana Studies, Introductory German I/II and Origins: From the Big Bang to Life on Earth are all new additions to the gen-ed offerings.

Courses like Female Felons in Premodern Europe and Politics of Global Inequality are revamps of old courses.

During the meeting many issues were raised whether new general courses and new minors should be passed. Not every professor was as copacetic with Pathways, however.

English Professor Adam Berlin expressed his opposition of the new gen-ed requirements at the meeting. “I believe Pathways is a roadblock that will keep faculty from doing their best job,” said Prof. Berlin. “This is a dilemma, a  dilemma that should have never been foisted on us or our students.”

Berlin spoke in opposition of the new Pathways curriculum because he felt that it would lower the standards of teaching for students. He was also the first person to speak, so the meeting started off with a cautious view of the new curriculum.

“We know our students best,” Berlin said. “We understand their strengths and their shortcomings.”
Dean of Undergraduate Studies Anne Lopes says the new gen-ed courses meet the rigorous standards of Middle States. She pointed out to the dissenters that Pathways is the foundation not the limit for our gen-eds. “We took the Pathways gen-ed and fashioned it into our own gen-ed,” Lopes said.