Arizona State University
Senate Motion #2013-34
Motion Introduced by: University Academic Council, Mark Lussier, Chair
Date of First Reading: January 28, 2013
Date of Second Reading: February 18, 2013
Title of Motion: Revision of General Studies Lab Science Course Requirement
Following a request by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, a review by both the General Studies Council (GSC) and its Natural Sciences Subcommittee, and a final review by the University Academic Council, it is herein recommended that the General Studies requirement for the Natural Sciences be altered to include one lab science course and one general science course, thereby reducing the number of hours to satisfy the requirement from eight (8) to seven (7) hours.
The following paragraph would be included at the end of the description of the requirement now housed on the GSC website: “The recommendation of a second science course offers an opportunity for students to explore a general field of science. Students can fulfill this second requirement by taking another SQ laboratory science course, by taking a SG (general science) course that has a lab, or by taking an SG (general science) course that does not have to include a laboratory component. The hope is that this second science course helps students understand scientific thinking as a life-long change of perspective. Thinking scientifically is the core goal of this second course.” If approved, appropriate alterations to the criteria check sheet for the General Studies requirements will reflect this change.
The recommendation above emerges from an analysis of the General Studies natural science requirements at thirty (30) institutions (including Pac-12 and other peer universities). Of this group, one-half require a single laboratory course and only one requires a two laboratory course sequence to satisfy the natural sciences requirement. Given the goal of stimulating a life-long interest in scientific thinking, rather than direct knowledge of laboratory practices, this action would better achieve the sought outcome. As well, laboratory classes are expensive by nature, requiring specialized classrooms, expensive technologies, and additional supervisory staff, while traditional lecture and seminar based courses can achieve the same end, to inspire students to maintain contact with scientific discovery and exploration, more efficiently and less expensively.