Scott Sutherland, left, and Eugene Hammond, right, serve as committee members to re-evaluate the DEC system. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
Scott Sutherland, left, and Eugene Hammond, right, serve as committee members to re-evaluate the DEC system. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook University has reviewed its re-accreditation to meet the standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), an association that examines institutions to ensure assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation.

“The re-accreditation is an on-going process,” Scott Sutherland, professor of mathematics and chair of the undergraduate council at Stony Brook University, said. “We want to have a unique set of requirements for our students.”

The MSCHE reviews the university’s progress every seven to 10 years and holds all institutions to 14 standards. Institutions must meet the requirements for affiliation. The reviews will help promote educational excellence and ensure agreement with its standard quality.

The new version of the current Diversified Education Curriculum (DEC) system will be effective for Stony Brook University students in the spring of 2014.


Every four or five years, the chair of the undergraduate council reviews the DEC system.

“We review DECS to improve the education system and it could be better,” Sutherland, said.

The Stony Brook University General Education committee, which was formed by Provost Eric Kaler, and Professor Sutherland, consists of 20 staff members.

The committee is in charge of revising the university’s curriculum.


Sutherland suggested that the current DEC system was forced for a reevaluation because the current system was complicated and too severe for both students and faculty members.

“The new curriculum is a set of common requirements for all Stony Brook undergraduate students,”Sutherland, said.

The new DEC system requires students to acquire and practice learning skills.

The committee wants students to have an understanding of the natural and physical world through the study of sciences, technologies, humanities, arts and social sciences.

The university’s general education requirements will have four guiding principles which include Demonstrate Versatility, Explore Interconnectedness, Pursue Deeper Understanding and Prepare for Life-Long Learning, according to Stony Brook University Office of the Provost’s website.


Students must complete 10 of the Demonstrate Versatility requirements.

The areas of learning include Write Effectively in English (WRT), Master Quantitative Problem Solving (QSP), Study the Natural World (SNW), and Appreciate the Fine and Performing Arts (ARTS).

“The new DEC system will give students an understanding of current changes in technology, science and the arts,” Enoch Allotey, a senior biology major, said. “Students will be more prepared for life after college.”

Students will learn how writing has enabled people to communicate most effectively.

WRT will allow students to be more skilled and capable in written communication.

Students will also have to fulfill the Explore Interconnectedness requirement. Students will complete a course that analyzes significant relationships between science or technology and the arts, humanities or social sciences (STAS), according to Stony Brook University Office of the Provost’s website.


The committee requires students to take Pursue Deeper Understanding.

Students can take individual courses which can satisfy as General Education or major requirements.

Students must complete advanced studies in three of four distinct areas that include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA) and Experiential Learning (EXP).

The General Education Committee insists that students should complete at least 30 credits of General education.

Students who receive a grade P would not satisfy the requirement.

Students must prepare for Life-Long Learning. Students will be required to take Evaluate and Synthesize Researched Information (ESI), Practice and Respect Critical and Ethical Reasoning (CER) and other individual courses.

“Part of the new DEC system is to reduce the total number of requirements,” Eugene Hammond, Director of the Writing Program, said.


Hammond suggested that the new system will encourage students to take follow up courses of their interest. Students can take two required classes in humanities and sciences and other general education requirements.

The General Education committee was undecided as to whether TECH, or Understand Technology, should be a tenth requirement in the curriculum. The committee has agreed to add TECH in higher level of philosophy, Hammon said.

The provost committee convinced the university councils to add TECH in the curriculum. TECH will allow students to learn about technology, engineering and other areas relating to technology.

“This will allow students to celebrate their strengths,” Hammon said.


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