Curriculum Committee: Meeting 7

New Graduate-Level Courses

Two new courses were proposed:

Both of these proposals were strongly endorsed by the curriculum committee. The Statistics and Computing course will debut as a 3-credit seminar in the Fall of 2003. The AGN proposal will be forwarded to the Natural Sciences Curriculum Committee for consideraton this semester.

Curriculum Structure

As these and other graduate-level courses come on-line, it will be possible for students to pick and choose (instead of taking essentially every course we offer). Should we enforce some sort of breadth or distribution requirement, and if so, how? Several ideas were proposed:

Most people favored the `menu' or `core' models, although several faculty members noted that their own graduate educations more closely approximated the `laissez-faire' model. These models need to be fleshed out and discussed by the entire teaching faculty.

There was a strong sentiment that the courses in Stellar Astronomy should be reorganized. One possibility would be to offer a basic course covering both atmospheres and interiors, and one or more advanced courses on stellar evolution, winds, and other topics.

There was little support for increasing the number of 600-level courses required from 6 to 7 or 8. Many students do take more than the minimum number of courses in their first two years, but very few formally enroll in any course after that time. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but many students seem to feel that they must `publish or perish'. This was also cited as a reason for low turnout at colloquia.

Joshua E. Barnes (
Last modified: October 22, 2002