Pathway moratorium fails

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A motion to implement a CUNY Pathways moratorium failed in a heated debate at an Academic Senate meeting on Nov. 8, as several senators and administrators sought to delay it’s implementation past Fall 2013.

The meeting dealt with the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee’s report on adding classes to the short list offered by the Pathways program, which was approved by CUNY’s Board of Trustees in April 2012.

Pathways was created to establish a system of general education requirements and new transfer guidelines. The hope is to “reinforce CUNY’s educational excellence while easing student transfers between CUNY colleges,” according to the CUNY website.

This entails a 30-credit general education common core, which would be identical in all CUNY colleges. Many educators and school administrators oppose the new regulations being implemented by CUNY central.

“Pathways is going to happen. What we have to focus on now is how to make the best program to work with Pathways and [how to] make it the best situation for incoming students of the future,” student senator Alejandra Villanueva said.

CUNYs 23 colleges were offered the choice to re-evaluate their own curriculums to meet the standards outlined by Pathways or to have CUNY central outline their curriculums for them. QC’s academic senate chose to approve their own curriculums but many senate members have complained that the June 2013 deadline is not ample time.

In protest, several senators and administrators filed a subsidiary motion to postpone the UCC’s efforts to add courses offered under the Pathways program.

“The Pathways process bypasses laws and I represent all the department chairs when I say that the quality of education under Pathways will be diminished and diluted,” chair of the urban studies department, Leonard S. Rodberg said.

His concerns were echoed by Kevin Ferguson, an English professor who worried about cutting the introductory English course from four, to three hours per week.

Pathways would also exclude labs from core science classes and eliminate the foreign language requirement.

The motion was filed due to an overly aggressive time frame, which leaves little time for the senate to create the necessary classes and curricula to meet the requirements of Pathways.

“[By filing the motion it shows] we do not approve anything that shows that we approve [the] Pathways program,” Professor Ron Rothenberg of the math department said. “The Union [Professional Staff Congress] strongly rejects Pathways and there are lawsuits upstanding against it.”

Queens College President James Muyskens was also in attendance and spoke out strongly against the motion to postpone the UCC’s Pathways curriculum expansion project.

“We can work through this if we work together,” he said.

Muyskens said that Pathways is similar to a country-wide initiative called, “Ease of Transfer” and that this program would be instituted one way or another. The best option, he said, is to embrace Pathways and try and work with it to make the best out of the situation.

With nine of the senate’s 60 members abstaining, the motion was denied much to the lobbyists’ angst.

“If we defy Pathways and stop planning, we lose the right to make our own classes. The 20 other campuses that are defying it are being administratively developed, as far as our courses are concerned,” deputy chair of the academic senate, Michael Bento said.

“So, they are getting generic curricula, whereas we are developing our own courses. So this means our courses get to retain that QC identity that our courses have now, but what we need in order to do that successfully is more time…a lot more time,” Bento said.

The next academic senate meeting — scheduled to take place Dec. 6 — will propose delaying Pathways’ implementation to fall 2014.

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