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A three-year debate about how and whether the concepts of diversity, inequality and social responsibility should be taught at University of Illinois Springfield could culminate Feb. 18.

The Campus Senate, made up of about 30 faculty and student members, will consider resolutions at that time dealing with the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) curriculum. The curriculum is a three-course graduation requirement for all students that has been in place for more than a decade.

Faculty members who support retaining the curriculum without changes say they worry diluting it would leave students ill-prepared to recognize societal problems and work toward change after they graduate and get jobs in Springfield and elsewhere.

"We would create less well-rounded students," said Kristi Barnwell, an associate professor of history. "Springfield is made up of a diverse group of people. We need to prepare our students for that."

Other faculty members want to see the faculty group that decides on which courses qualify as ECCE classes broadened so the classes are not so focused on the liberal arts.

"My biggest gripe is it's not being administered fairly," said accounting professor Frank Nation, a Senate member and acting chairman of the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance.

Nation said he and other faculty members also want to give individual colleges within the university the authority to decide on which classes qualify for ECCE credit.

This article appeared in Illinois Times on Feb. 17, 2022. Read the entire article online.