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Faculty Senate to hear progress report on new undergraduate requirements

Starting this year, freshmen are required to take a Thinking Matters course, and the class entering in the fall of 2013 is required to take 11 courses in eight Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing categories to earn a bachelor's degree.

At today's Faculty Senate meeting, Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, will talk about the progress Stanford has made implementing the new Thinking Matters courses for freshmen and Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing breadth requirements for undergraduates.

The requirements, which Stanford has begun implementing this year, were recommended in the 2012 Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) and approved last year by the senate in separate votes – in March and May.

"I will be providing a post-SUES strategy for implementing the recommendations, including Thinking Matters and Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing," Elam said, adding that the primary focus of his report would be on the new breadth requirements.

Starting with the class entering in fall 2013, Stanford undergraduates are required to take 11 courses in eight categories to earn a bachelor's degree.

The eight Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing categories are aesthetic and interpretive inquiry; social inquiry; scientific method and analysis; formal reasoning; applied quantitative reasoning; engaging diversity; ethical reasoning; and creative expression.

Elam also will discuss the work of the Breadth Governance Board, which was created to establish the Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing breadth system. The board, which is composed of 22 faculty, staff and students, is chaired by Chris Edwards, a professor of mechanical engineering and a senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy.

Elam will speak for 20 minutes. A 20-minute Q&A will follow.

The senate meeting will begin at 3:15 p.m. in Room 180 of the Law School. Discussion is limited to members of the senate, but members of the Stanford community may request to attend the meeting by contacting the Academic Secretary's Office at 723-4992 or Trish Del Pozzo at delpozzo@stanford.edu.

The senate will reconvene in executive session at 4:30 p.m. in Room 180 of the Law School.