Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

Report to the Academic Senate, April 14th, 2005



A Pilot Program for Synthesis Courses, April 2005




To establish an experimental program to implement synthesis courses as suggested in the Gen Ed Task Force report, evaluate their effectiveness for general education at Queens College, and, based on this evaluation, report to the Academic Senate on their possible inclusion in the General Education Requirements at the College.



The Pilot Program:


A “synthesis course,” as summarized from the Gen Ed Task Force Report, is “[An] upper division level, general education course that crosses various areas of knowledge [and] will enable students to draw on a broad range of knowledge and skills acquired throughout their undergraduate training. These courses will present opportunities for students to integrate general education in a broad, cross-disciplinary way and to demonstrate their mastery of the core critical abilities.”


In this pilot program, faculty from one or more departments will work with the UCC and the administration to develop a synthesis course which intentionally crosses two or more of the area requirements in the General Education Task Force Report. Faculty are encouraged to work with the library and other technological and pedagogical support resources in the process of developing their courses. For faculty members developing such a course, a course release or other reduction in workload is encouraged. In addition, if the course is to be team-taught in different departments, the administration should consider an equitable FTE allocation.


To qualify for the pilot program, the course being developed should be acceptable for either credit towards the major in the case of a single-department course, or fulfill one (or perhaps two) LASAR areas.


A syllabus for the pilot course should be prepared by the faculty member(s) and submitted to the UCC for approval early enough for the synthesis course to be included in the next semester’s class schedule, thus allowing for adequate publicity and early inclusion in the schedule of classes. A special section of the schedule of classes could also publicize these courses.


The UCC will establish a committee to evaluate the effectiveness of pilot courses with respect to the goals of synthesis courses as stated in the Gen Ed Task Force report.