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Home » Clarion » 2013 » June 2013 » PSC Members Speak: Why I Voted No Confidence in Pathways

PSC Members Speak: Why I Voted No Confidence in Pathways


06-jim tolan__DSC0164.jpgJim Tolan
Associate Professor, English Composition Coordinator

None of the curricular changes that have been made are based on any kind of pedagogical grounding. I would be less offended if they would just acknowledge it’s about money and numbers.

Matthew Goldstein came to our college and sold Pathways as a way to improve transfer for our students. As someone who teaches at a community college and has seen students who were vulnerable to having their credits denied, I thought this was a good idea.

So I agreed to serve on one of the Pathways committees.

Later, when I realized this had nothing to do with transfer and was about watering curriculum down, I felt dirty. But it was already too late to disassociate myself from this when they claimed Pathways was driven by faculty input.

We would never drive curricular changes that would give our students fewer of the skills they need to succeed. I felt duped.

The referendum offered a chance to make clear how faculty working on curriculum really feel.

Jackie Jones thumbnail.jpgJackie Jones
Associate Professor, Computer & Information Science
Brooklyn College

Pathways seems to be the epitome of curriculum made by people who have never set foot in a classroom. It’s going to dilute the quality of education at the senior colleges.

It’s going to cause us to produce students who know nothing about computers except the misapprehensions they brought with them when they came to college, who are less able to communicate verbally, who are less able to write and who are less able to work in a lab.

06-2013_Tamara-Mose-Brown_thumbnail.jpgTamara Mose Brown
Assistant Professor, Sociology Director, Caribbean Studies Program
Brooklyn College

Pathways communicates that learning another language is just not that important. And I think the opposite is true.

In most other countries, students learn three or four other languages. Our students need language skills to become global thinkers and part of the global workforce, as today there are fewer and fewer boundaries across countries and continents. Having that language base helps broaden the way you think as a global citizen.

I’m very upset about the Brooklyn College administration’s elimination of our language requirement, which we’ve had for years. Why is CUNY reducing language study in the 21st century? It doesn’t make any sense.

We are seeing wrong-headed standardization and centralization in US education across the board. Both K-12 teachers and college professors are being told what to teach and how. The view is that we should no longer have the autonomy to make such decisions ourselves.

06-Charles Neuman.jpgCharles Neuman
Associate Professor, Physics
Queensborough Community College

The Pathways curriculum values science less. You need a general background in science. It’s important no matter what kind of work you go into. It goes far beyond the specific content of a given course – it teaches scientific thinking and logical thinking.

It’s bad to encourage less science. We can’t help students as much as we feel they deserve. The three-credit science courses being created under Pathways may not transfer to many schools outside of the CUNY system, including SUNY colleges.

Matthew Goldstein stepping down is one big vote of no confidence in Pathways. He’s jumping ship before things hit the fan. If he believed in Pathways, he would stick around for the implementation.

07-Lynne Teplin.jpg
Lynne Teplin
Lecturer, Counseling Department
LaGuardia Community College

I don’t buy the claim that this is going to be better for transfer. In terms of curriculum, I think the old one was better because it was carefully chosen by faculty to prepare students well for a four-year school. Students who lack confidence in their abilities may choose the easiest course in each area, and that will harm them when they go on to senior colleges.

Most of the students I talk to about Pathways are more confused than happy. When I try to explain Pathways to them, they are confused about what they see.

07-Fay Rogg.jpgFay Rogg
Professor and former Chair, Modern Languages Dept.

I do not believe that any educator would endorse a program that takes away an extra hour of class time with the professor and the student in languages and sciences. After the move to open admissions, we fought so hard for the extra hour of instruction to meet the needs of our students. Sadly, CUNY’s motive for implementing Pathways is economic, not educational.

07-AlfonsoGarciaOsuna.jpgAlfonso García Osuna
Professor & Chair, Foreign Languages Department
Kingsborough Community College

Our mission at the community colleges is to do right by students who have been shortchanged by every institution. And Pathways says, “No, we won’t!” They don’t believe in our students.
I’m incensed that they would even consider doing something like this – we fought it tooth and nail. Even a child could tell this makes no sense. When 92% of the people say, “This is wrong,” you can’t just shut your eyes and go forward.

07-Henry Africk.jpgHenry Africk
Professor & Chair, Mathematics Dept.
City Tech

Pathways is making it easier for students to graduate, but by lowering the standards for getting a degree. For example, for our math majors, it is no longer possible to require courses in general education, like economics, which would be relevant to a math major. These courses can be recommended, but not required. As a result, we’ve had to remove some of our math requirements to make room for Pathways general education courses. This is going to weaken the degree. For non-STEM majors, we have had to cut our four-credit quantitative reasoning course to three credits. There is no way you can cover the same amount of work in three hours as you could in four.

07-Reneta-Lansiquot.jpgReneta Lansiquot
Associate Professor, English Assistant Director, Honors Scholars Program
City Tech

Pathways lowers the standards for our students. It lowers the bar. Students won’t have to take sciences with a lab, or a proper math course, or any classes in the social sciences. With these catch-all “buckets” of courses, students can avoid an entire area of study. So both the depth and the breadth of the education that our students receive will be at risk.



Big Vote Against Pathways: 92% Say “No Confidence”
In Rush to Implement Pathways, Administrators Usurp Faculty’s Role
Points of Contention in the Pathways Debate

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