Weinberg adds 380 classes toward distro requirements

As Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences students begin the Spring Quarter registration process, they can choose from more 200- and 300- level courses now available to count towards distribution requirements.

The Weinberg general studies committee voted Feb. 9 to expand the list of 200- and 300- level courses in each of the six compulsory areas: natural sciences, formal studies, social and behavioral sciences, historical studies, values, and literature and fine arts. More than 380 new courses will now satisfy the requirement.

“Many of our students come in with AP credits and want to fulfill their distribution requirements with higher classes,” said Ronald Braeutigam, Weinberg associate dean for undergraduate studies.

Braeutigam said the general studies committee’s move results from months of research and discussion among Weinberg faculty members.

“Some departments have offered virtually all 300-level classes for distribution requirements, while some added only a few,” he said.

The process of expanding the number of courses to satisfy distribution requirements has been planned for several years, said Joan Linsenmeier, a Weinberg college adviser and psychology lecturer.

“In the past, students had legitimately done what was in the spirit of the requirements but not by the exact guidelines,” Linsenmeier said. “If courses were not on the list but if students wanted to count them, they had to go through a petition process.”

Linsenmeier said the General Studies Committee asked departments to determine which 200- and 300-level courses could serve as appropriate options for distributions.

The Weinberg Student Advisory Board was instrumental in this process, said John J. Hughes III, a former Daily forum editor.

In May 2003, the board presented a recommendation to the Weinberg Board of Visitors and the Dean’s Office that proposed changes to the former distribution requirements, Hughes said.

“Student opinion polls found that 86 percent of students either agreed or strongly agreed (upper-level courses) should count as distros and also stated that the distribution system was not as flexible as it should be,” Hughes said.

Hughes said another reason for allowing upper-level courses to fulfill Weinberg requirements is to avoid forcing students to take introductory classes in areas they could place out of.

“In the past students would use AP credits to get rid of distribution requirements; now students will use them to place up into higher- level classes,” Hughes said.

–Jason B. Gumer