LER proposal passes

Amanda Garrett

Faculty Senate approved reconfiguring Kent State’s LERs by a razor-thin margin at its meeting yesterday.

The 15 to 13 vote will streamline LERs to make it simpler for students to transfer to other public universities in Ohio.

Changes in the LERs include:

  • requiring a course in mathematics or formal logic for all students
  • requiring a one-credit-hour lab class for all students
  • requiring that social science courses must come from at least two different areas
  • adding an additional category for student choice

The proposal will help Kent State’s LER requirements more closely match the state transfer module. The transfer module is a subset of LER courses that can transfer to any of Ohio’s four-year public universities, Associate Provost Gayle Ormiston said.

Proposals like the LER reconfiguration are a troubling trend in higher education, Sen. John Stoker said after the vote.

“This proposal is another step toward the homogenization of higher education,” he said. “When I transferred from one university to another, each course I had taken was looked at in detail. Even my freshman English course was questioned.”

The proposal passed with an amendment by Sen. Thomas Norton-Smith to reinstate the Principles of Thinking class as an LER. Foreign languages and Introduction to Computer Science will be removed as LERs under the reconfiguration.

The decision to remove the LER status of some classes was difficult, said Sen. Fred Smith, who is co-chair of the University Requirements and Curriculum Committee.

“This is not something we took lightly,” he said. “We were wringing our hands and not too happy at times about having to eliminate some classes.”

The proposal will make it easier for students to transfer in and out of Kent State, Ormiston said.

In a presentation to the Senate, Ormiston said the reason for the LER reconfiguration was House Bill 95. The bill does not require that LERs be similar to the transfer module, but it says that all students should complete the transfer module by the time of graduation. Kent State is trying to comply with “the spirit of the law” by reconfiguring the LERs, Ormiston said.

Several senators, including Frank Smith, questioned why the reconfiguration was necessary if it isn’t required by the state.

“I hear a lot about ‘spirit of the law’ and ‘implied goal,’ but nowhere do I hear about a ‘must,'” he said. “If we don’t have to change the LERs, I don’t know why we’re doing it. As it is, we come pretty darn close to satisfying the transfer module.”

In other business, the Senate approved the establishment of a Master of Architecture and a Master of Urban Design dual-degree program. The rationale for the dual degree is to give architecture students the option of specializing in urban design, said Maurizio Sabini, an architecture and environmental design professor.

The Senate returned to the Educational Policies Council an articulation agreement between Kent State’s Ashtabula campus and Precision Manufacturing Institute.

The council will look at whether Precision Manufacturing Institute has proper regional accreditation.

Contact academic affairs reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].