Structured Exploratory Emphases (SEEs)

What is a Structured Exploratory Emphasis (SEE)? 

A Structured Exploratory Emphasis (SEE) is an integrated, interdisciplinary grouping of lower and/or upper division courses across multiple General Education areas organized around a common theme. All undergraduate students must complete General Education coursework, and the SEE program provides an opportunity to focus on a specific social or academic theme or disciplinary area while completing a portion of these required courses. To enhance the experience of SEE participation, co-curricular activities may be offered that connect coursework to campus and community events, and/or link students and faculty at Stanislaus State with those at regional Community Colleges. 


Why Might A Student Participate in a SEE?

While participation in a SEE is optional, these emphases can offer several benefits to students. For those who have not yet declared a major, participating in a SEE can help students to gain insights into potential majors (and minors) that are related to these themes/areas. For those with a declared major, the SEE can help students to develop interdisciplinary knowledge of an area related to or complementary to the major. All participants will benefit from the connections to classmates and the faculty, staff and students who participate in the SEE. The SEE also helps create some connection among General Education courses taken at the lower and upper division level. Further, research suggests that participation in learning cohorts like these increases student retention and progress to graduation, grade point average, sense of connection to the university, and overall satisfaction with the University experience.


How does the Structured Exploratory Emphasis relate to a Major or Minor?

The General Education program is intended to help students develop foundational knowledge and skills that support and expand what is learned within the major. The SEE program can help students to focus their General Education coursework around a theme of interest, exposing them to some of the disciplines related to that theme, and perhaps serving as a point of entry to the identification of a related Major or Minor. For some students the SEE will be in an area that complements their Major, and for others it is an opportunity to explore an interest with a less direct relationship to the Major. 


To Create a New SEE:

  1. SEE Focus/Theme/Topic
  2. A brief description of the SEE for inclusion in the catalog and promotional materials.
  3. Learning Outcomes related to the Focus/Theme/Topic.  Changes to course learning outcomes follow the normal course modification process.
  4. A list of General Education courses that support the learning outcomes. If the SEE is related to an Associate Degree for Transfer, please indicate the relationship between the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) and the courses included in the SEE.
  5. A list of majors and minors to which the SEE will be affiliated.
  6. MOUs from each department/program whose courses are to be included in the SEE.
  7. A list of recommended faculty for the SEE’s Advisory Committee. Advisory Committee members serve three-year renewable terms. The Advisory Committee is expected to meet at least once annually to review courses for inclusion in the SEE, review and recommend co-curricular activities related to the SEE, review student participation in the SEE, and assist in development and marketing of the SEE.

Process for approval or modification of a Structured Exploratory Emphasis (SEE):

Note: addition or deletion of courses from a SEE does not constitute a modification; however, disagreements over addition or deletion of courses may be resolved through recourse to the University Educational Policies Committee (UEPC).

  1. The Faculty Director of Advising and Learning Cohorts (FDALC) will simultaneously submit the proposal to all college curriculum committees (or body serving in a similar capacity) for review and approval.
  2. Approved proposals are forwarded to the college deans for their approval.
  3. Upon receipt of the four college approvals, the General Education Subcommittee shall review the proposal and forward approved SEEs to the UEPC.
  4. The UEPC shall provide final review of the proposal and forward approved SEE proposals to the Faculty Director for Advising and Learning Cohorts (FDALC).

What themes have been created at Stanislaus?

None have been proposed yet. A FLC created draft documents for a Social Justice Studies SEE, and these will be more fully developed in Summer 2018. The Civic Engagement FLC appears interested in creating a SEE. We are open to any topics faculty wish to propose.


As examples, what themes/ GE Pathways are offered at other CSUs?

Chico – 10 themes, can lead to a minor. Diversity Studies; Ethics, Justice and Policy Studies, Food Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Global Development Studies; Great Books and Ideas; Health and Wellness Studies; International Studies; Science, Technology and Values; Sustainability Studies.

East Bay – has thematic “GE Clusters” that serve as learning communities – 14 clusters that are available for any major, but also specific clusters for 12 majors (primarily science-related majors). Clusters are mandatory. Includes Ancient World, Earth Crisis!, How Things Work, Humans in the Natural World, Individual and Society, Language and Culture, Moving Bodies/Shifting Identities and Social Justice, Science in the Ancient World, Science Behind the Music, Spirituality Creativity and the Human Experience, Taking Charge of Your Life – Balance, Thinking Globally, Viewing Diversity, World Problems. These are for the first year only.

San Francisco – has developed “Metro Academies” tied to majors/fields with thematic emphases (community health, science for the public good, education equity and social justice) within the General Education program. Fields include Business, Child and Adolescent Development, Computer Science and Engineering, Education, Ethnic Studies, Health, Liberal and Creative Arts, and Science.

Bakersfield – three themes – Quality of Life, Revolutionary Ideas and Innovations, Sustainability and Justice.

Northridge – GE Paths – optional. Arts, Media and Culture; Global Studies; Health and Wellness; Principles of Sustainability; Social Justice; Scientific Reasoning.

Pomona – a special “interdisciplinary general education” (IGE) option is available to first time freshmen, with 6 lower division and 2 upper division courses satisfying 32 units of the GE program. Co-curricular experiences in the arts are integrated into the program.

San Bernardino – GE Pathways - Global Connections; Social Justice; Environmental Sustainability; Digital Life; World Culture and Diversity; Revolutionary Ideas that Changed the World; Who has the right to eat? Food Science, Society and Security.
 

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