Group IV offerings to change



When they enroll next September, members of the Class of 2009 will be able to fulfill their new science and quantitative reasoning distributional requirements with a broad array of courses highlighted in lists presented to members of the Yale faculty Thursday afternoon.

At the faculty meeting yesterday, about 50 Yale faculty members approved preliminary course lists for the new science and quantitative reasoning requirements that were outlined in the 2003 academic review. Although there are more than 400 courses included in the combined lists, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey stressed that the offerings are incomplete and not yet finalized.

“It’s an ongoing process,” Salovey said after the meeting.

For the science requirement, faculty reviewed the preliminary list of 252 courses that included Architecture 161, “Introduction to Structures,” and Psychology 338, “Neuropsychology of Aging,” along with more traditional physics, astronomy and chemistry courses — a list that Astronomy Department chairman Charles Bailyn said represents a broad scope of course offerings.

“It’s a different set of courses, and one I think fulfills the Group IV requirement much better,” said Bailyn, who presented the list at the meeting.

While the courses of only certain departments, such as chemistry and physics, were previously designated to fulfill the Group IV requirement, the courses that will fulfill the new science requirement were selected from a variety of departments based on their content, Bailyn said, stressing the scientific relevance of the chosen classes.

“We tried to think, would you have to think scientifically to do well in this course?” Bailyn said. “I hope students will benefit because they will be taking science courses that actually are science courses.”

About three dozen introductory science courses are included in the list. Over the next few years, Bailyn said he hopes to add at least a dozen new or “heavily revised” courses for non-science majors who are trying to fill the science requirement.

Courses such as Chemistry 330, “Physical Chemistry with Biological Science Applications,” and Astronomy 430, “Galaxies,” that have historically been classified as science courses are included among the 224 courses in the quantitative reasoning category. Some economics and psychology classes are also on the list.

Quantitative reasoning is a “collective term” that encompasses a variety of courses involving “formal symbolic logic” and “geometric reasoning,” Computer Science Department chairman Paul Hudak said. When creating the quantitative reasoning course list, Hudak said the science council conferred with nearly every department at Yale to “make sure we didn’t miss anything.”

The new listing of courses will benefit students by ensuring that when they graduate from Yale, they will have exercised their quantitative reasoning skills at least once during their undergraduate careers, Hudak said. So far, the list includes 29 courses with no college-level prerequisites, and up to 10 more courses at this level may be added before next fall, he said.

“I can’t imagine this wouldn’t create a more well-rounded Yale student,” Hudak said. “We hope this will be a positive thing.”

Although there are no new courses included on the list, several courses, such as Computer Science 101, are in the process of being developed and approved by the Course of Study Committee, Hudak said. The list will be submitted to all academic departments to allow for the possibility of revision, he said.

“Part of the reason we wanted to get the list out now was so departments can review the list, and have time to appeal to add more courses, or change courses,” Hudak said.

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