I awoke this morning and was promptly puzzled by an op-ed from Inside Higher Education, a state of mind I more commonly associate with op-eds at the CoHE.
What I did not find puzzling: the paperwork (I need to fill out paperwork for every new course I propose); the courses with "umbrella" titles (yes, we have those); the assessment procedure; the working with higher-ups; etc. These are normative procedures on my campus, and I imagine that they're normative procedures on many other campuses as well.
What I found mildly puzzling: removing pre-reqs (OK, in some instances, but...).
What I found entirely baffling:The idea that you could have two hundred students in Principles of Poetry and have a successful course. Oh, I'm sure there are universities that have two hundred students in Principles of Poetry, or whatever you'd like to call it, but they would also have to have discussion sections and multiple TAs. My department has no TAs. We would not put two hundred students into Intro to Poetry, because that would make no pedagogical sense. It was not clear from the article that Bugeja quite understood what's necessary for good teaching outside his own department.
Bugeja's ideas about how the Faculty Senate should control curriculum were also a little odd, the first because it's old rather than new, the second because it's not workable. Any change to the major that led to duplication would be whacked down in committee even before it got to the entire senate (I know this, because I've both been on the UCC and I'm currently a senator). Moreover, the danger of cross-major duplication seems to me, from my own observations at least, to affect small majors more than big ones--the obvious case being women's studies and ethnic studies departments, which are usually both extremely tiny (despite frequent outbursts of angst from academic observers further to my right) and likely to see their course material appearing elsewhere. It's possible to get around this by cross-listing, which then obviates the duplication issue somewhat.
Now, having the UCC approve every new course...no. No no no no no. No. Absolutely not. We have a special committee set aside to handle General Education courses specifically, and that committee is a huge burden. Similarly, the UCC handles significant changes--new majors, changes to major requirements, new tracks or programs, new certificates. That committee is also a massive time-sink, with dozens of applications to approve, and I teach at a very small college. We could not approve, or even look at, every new course. I can imagine that a very tiny SLAC could be hands-on with new courses like that, but a committee at a small SUNY like mine would simply implode under the weight.