The Arizona Desert Lamp

White Paper: University College

Posted in UA Transformation Plan by Evan Lisull on 19 October 2008

1. Now that you’ve been thoroughly educated by both Connor and Justyn on the abuses of the English language, revel in this convoluted phrasing:

One way to assure that this successful and proven program continues is to provide University College with the kind of stability and leadership that a full time dean does.

Notice how absurdly passive this is; in comparison, “Mistakes were made” is assertive. But yes, the UC would like to have a full time dean.

2. Include UC courses on general college preparation in the Gen Ed listing. Design courses with the Library on “library research and information literacy.” Increase revenue from summer/winter classes. The Library course can also be used to “generate additional gen ed credits without increasing the workload of English faculty and GATS, or requiring additional space.”

Going back to the general university policy proposal, if admissions standards are increased, then there’s really no need for these sorts of classes; ultimately, there might not even be a need for a University College. Michigan has nothing of the sort, nor does Berkeley. Students who are more driven in high school, while still likely to change their minds, will avoid wallowing in a sort of academic limbo of “Undecided” or “General Studies.”

In almost complete contrast to this idea, the paper contains the following assertion:

With the SIGNIFICANT increasing enrollment trends, University College plays a central
and important role in the orientation process.

The caps are as printed, which only adds to the falseness of this claim. The overwhelming trend, as depicted by the UA Fact Book:

As far as the “information literacy” course goes (new insult: “an information illiterate from Tempe declared. . .”), the claim that the course will help to mitigate Gen Ed crunch seems facetious. It’s just a shifting of resources. You can be sure that as soon as more students sign up for this course, UC will come crying to the Budget Office, demanding more funds to reach the growing demand.

3. “Grow the Interdisciplinary Studies major and thematic minors.” See, but this contradicts in a way the message of helping students to find their major. Which is it — guiding (primarily first-year) students towards a major, or providing an IDS degree? This restructuring offers a great chance to make the UC decide what it really is all about, rather than existing uncomfortable in an academic no-man’s-land between advising, IDS, and the technology of the ILC.

One would assume that the UC is primarily designed to help first-year students, due to its connections with the ILC: “The Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center (ILC) serves as a home to first-year students at the University of Arizona (source).” I would almost like to see University College restricted to underclassmen only, allowing the UC to focus its efforts and to encourage students to “find their niche,” or whatever the hip academese term for the process is nowadays.

Yet the real kicker of the paper comes in the “Budget” section:

Still under review to look for efficiencies and consider cost-saving measures.

File this under the Department of Missing the Point.


3 Responses

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  1. […] A smart suggestion. In fact, UA could probably cut University College completely. […]

  2. […] Lamp has never been a big fan of the UC, so I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. The best move for next year […]

  3. […] all, not only was he behind the abominable “advisers fee,” but also has been one of the University College’s biggest defenders. Yet for all of his Brucean tendencies when it comes to […]

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