A letter of mine, disputing an "inaccurate" description (to be kind) of Pathways--the rock that we at CUNY have had to roll up the hill, day after day, only, like Sisyphus, to see it roll back down again--was printed in the Wall Street Journal on May 16:
William Bowen's "How to Keep American Colleges on Top" (op-ed, May 10) presents a grave mischaracterization of the Pathways initiative at the City University of New York. As a department chair and faculty member in the CUNY system, I can assure readers that Pathways is neither "rigorous" nor "faculty-defined," nor did it result from "a collaborative effort of committed faculty members and enlightened administrators."
Pathways reduces the credit hours devoted to English composition, math and science at a time when our students need these subjects the most. It also makes little room for foreign-language instruction, also shown to be tremendously beneficial to cognitive development, but which is now considered a square peg that must be forced into the round holes of the Pathways general-education template.
Pathways was imposed on the faculty of the CUNY colleges by the central administration, and most of our faculty organizations have issued public renunciations of it. Pathways is in direct violation of the spirit of faculty governance and negates all the hard work by the dedicated faculty at the individual CUNY colleges to structure their own general-education programs.
In the end, Pathways is just one more attempt by the central CUNY administration to subvert the autonomy of faculty at the individual campuses. All of us who teach at CUNY, from full professors to adjuncts, want our students to succeed. But difficulties with transferring credits should and can be handled in a way that ensures a smooth road to graduation for our students while guaranteeing them the quality education they deserve.
See here for the faculty reaction to Pathways throughout the CUNY system (as mentioned in the letter).