Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Reasons Why the Pathways Struggle is Not Over

1) Our students need us to stand up for educational excellence. Despite the claims of serving students by easing transfer (the benefits of which have been grossly overstated), Pathways undermines educational standards. Eliminating science labs, speech, and  foreign language requirements disadvantages our students. Restricting the ability of individual colleges to experiment and specialize outside the narrow Pathways framework undermines innovation and the development of new best practices.

2) Brooklyn College’s Faculty Council is currently undertaking a broad review of general education and we are in a position to challenge the Pathways framework by demonstrating strong faculty support for a general education program that is rigorous and effectively meets our students’ needs.

3) Whatever the ultimate outcome of the general education process it is essential that the faculty make clear that the process used to implement Pathways was a violation of faculty governance and an usurpation by the administration of the faculty’s traditional role in developing curriculum and that this is not acceptable.

4) One of the key reasons to continue to assert the illegitimacy of Pathways is that CUNY Central has many other initiatives on its drawing broad that it would like to implement with little meaningful faculty input. Continued resistance to Pathways indicates that centralized top-down administrative practices are not supported by the faculty and often lead to bad decisions.

5) The Chancellor has already signaled important changes to the Pathways framework in response to faculty objections. These changes have shown that the inflexible top down premise of Pathways is not sustainable and that continued pressure can carve out even more space for campus specific approaches to general education such as the process underway at Brooklyn College.

6) A new Chancellor will be taking office in the Fall. It is imperative that he hear that the faculty are not ready to accept the Pathways framework as it is; that there remain significant problems with both the process and content and that further changes are needed. To cede that territory now will basically give him the impression that he is free to move forward with Pathways and similar initiatives.

7) There are changes coming to the Board of Trustees. New Trustees and a new Board Chairman are likely in the next year or two. It is important that the Governor and Mayor be aware of our objections to the Board’s illegitimate and reckless intervention into the curriculum and that we need new Board leadership that respects the faculty

8) The PSC continues to pursue a grievance against CUNY’s unilateral implementation of Pathways. An arbitrator recently ruled against CUNY’s effort to avoid negotiating with the PSC over these issues and further victories are possible, but only if faculty continue to assert their fundamental objections to the Pathways process.

9) Further legal action from the University Faculty Senate and PSC is possible and being actively discussed.

10) The City Council Committee on Higher Education has taken an interest in pathways and held a day-long hearing on the subject last month. There is significant potential for the City Council to put additional pressure on CUNY to make important changes to the Pathways framework and process. 

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