34th Faculty Senate

Vol. 34, No. 5

November 4, 1999

I. Roll Call.

Present: Bange, Barmore, Grant, Heim, Hench, S. Kelly, Kraemer, R. LeDocq, Majak, Nyatepe-Coo, Prucha, D. Riley, R. Sullivan, P. Taylor, VanVoorhis, Vogt, Voiku, Wingate

Excused: Duquette, Monte, L. Nelson.

II. Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of the October 14, 1999, meeting were approved as distributed.

III. Reports.

A.  Chancellor’s Report.  The Chancellor was in Madison attending the BOR meeting.

B.  Provost/Vice Chancellor’s Report.  The P/VC was in Madison attending the BOR meeting.

C. Chair/Faculty Representative's Report.

1. Much of the discussion at the Faculty Representatives meeting concerned the budget. Although this budget was the best one for the UW-System in more than 20 years, it is not clear how much of the budget affects UW-L positively. There was additional money in the budget for Plan 2008 as well as several DINs that should help fund some of the new budget initiatives. These include a library DIN and an advising DIN. We will be looking at the budget proposals over the next few weeks and we need to make sure we clarify which initiatives may be funded from these sources.

2. The budget also included a 1% position flexibility. This means that the UW-System is free to exceed the budget limit for numbers of full time positions by 1%, or approximately 180 positions system-wide. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no new funding available for these positions.

3. The new enrollment management program, EM21, was also discussed at the meeting. It was decided that UW-L will be allowed to reduce its enrollment, but keep its current level of  resources. This is what the Chancellor had been seeking. In recent years, UW-L has been over extending itself with new programs and new initiatives. Being allowed to reduce the numbers of students may help this a bit.

4. The salary package is still in limbo. The 5.2% increase still appears safe, but they are waiting for some key unions to reach agreements. It is not likely that we will receive salary adjustments until after January1, 2000. The increase in the retirement multiplier still looks good although it is on hold while the Governor waits to hear from a consultant to make sure it is fiscally sound. There are likely to be lawsuits in an attempt to block the increase.

5. The Senate will be reviewing the Planning and Budgeting Initiatives over the next few weeks. We have been asked to rank the proposals on a scale of 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority). The plan for reviewing the proposals is as follows:  November 11th - nonacademic proposals; November 18th - academic proposals (proposals from the colleges as well as the Undergraduate Research Initiative); December 2nd - final recommendations.

6. Finally, the SEC met with a member of the Student Association concerning the posting of grades. The Chair reminded the senators that faculty members are not permitted to use any part of the social security number to post grades. Beginning January 1st, new students will receive student ID numbers different from their social security numbers, but these numbers still cannot be used to post grades since they will identify the student.  It appears that the only acceptable way to post grades is for the faculty member to assign random numbers to the students, let each student know their number individually, scramble the numbers and then post them. However, the easiest way to avoid problems is simply to not post grades. Chair Bange recommended that the deans tell their faculty not to post grades.

IV. Nominations to the Search and Screen Committee for the Associate Dean of HPERTE and Director of Teacher Education.

The Senate was asked to consider the following nominations from the SEC for the search and screen committee for the Associate Dean of HPERTE/Director of Teacher Education:

Emily Johnson (Psychology)
Joyce Shanks (Curriculum & Instruction)
Jeff Steffen (Exercise & Sport Science)
Clifton Tanabe (Foundations of Educational Policy & Practice)
Greg Wegner (Foundations of Educational Policy & Practice)
M/S/P (by voice vote) to approve the nominations.

V. Update on the Assessment of the General Education Program.

Mary Hampton, chair of the General Education Committee, addressed the Senate concerning the progress made by the committee on its charge to assess the General Education Program. The following summary of the committee's progress was distributed and presented by Dr. Hampton:

Assessment of General Education: Progress Report (11/4/99)

General Education Committee Members: Tom Gendreau, Steve Gilles, Mary Hampton, Jean Hindson, Kent Koppelman, Betsy Morgan, Akorlie Nyatepe-Coo, Barbara Rusterholz, Brenda Soto-Torres

A. The Senate's first charge to the General Education Committee has two parts:

1. review outcomes of the General Education program and
2. review effectiveness of the committee's oversight and leadership for the program.
B. The Committee addressed #1 (outcomes) with a comprehensive review of all reports prepared over the past few years.  These sources of information include:
  • individual course reviews
  • category-wide reviews
  • student surveys
  • student focus groups
C. The Committee's conclusions for #1 are:
    1. Course content is appropriate to the General Education goals.
    2. Courses include inquiry-based instruction techniques.
    3. Students believe that the purpose of General Education is to provide "breadth" of education.  They are unaware or do not understand the specific goals of the UW-L General Education program.  They view the curriculum as a collection of unrelated courses.
    4. Student response to General Education is strongly tied to the experience of a particular course or instructor.
    5. Study of the course reviews indicates that:
    • The actual assessment process is uneven.  In a substantial number of cases faculty have not assessed students' progress toward General Education objectives.
    • It is unclear how often the course review process leads to course improvement.
    6. There is wide variation in faculty and departmental investment in both individual General Education classes and the General Education program.
    7. Faculty and departments do not know much about what other faculty and departments do in their General Education courses.
    8. There is no leadership structure to provide opportunities for individual faculty and programs to pursue a more coherent General Education.
    9. UW-L needs to build faculty commitment to the program.
D. The Committee's conclusion for #2 (oversight and leadership) is:

The current committee structure is not conducive to efficient oversight and assessment.  Clear direction for assessment activities is missing.  In particular, we are concerned by:

  • high turnover in committee membership leads to lack of continuity
  • tendency to "reinvent" the assessment process each year
  • overload of responsibilities - unable to provide feedback on reviews to departments
  • difficulties in sustaining on-going relationships with departments, regarding assessment of General Education outcomes
  • lack of direction and long-term vision for General Education assessment and General Education programming and goals
E. Remaining Tasks:

1. Explore ways to make the course review process more effective.

  • Work with faculty to indicte the type of assessment that is appropriate for course improvement.
  • Focus on results to improve student learning.
2. Explore other ways to effectively assess student learning outcomes in General Education.
3. Consider a leadership for General Education that provides:
  • orientation and on-going guidance for faculty,
  • General Education orientation for students,
  • links to other UW-L education activities,
  • a continuing connection for faculty, students and other UW-L education activities, and
  • continuity in the administration of the program.
The floor was then opened up to the senators for questions and discussion.
  • One concern that was mentioned was that there doesn't seem to be any guidance on goals of the General Education Program. Without knowing what is expected from the program, it is difficult to assess courses within the program. In the past is has seemed that within the General Education Committee there is emphasis on process, but little on the product of the program. It was brought up that in 1994 a group of faculty did produce a document containing learning outcomes for each category within the General Education Program. Some overall goals for General Education have been produced.
  • A second issue concerned the conclusion from the committee that there is a need for more oversight and coherency in the program. There was a question whether this conclusion is subjective or based on hard data. If it is based on data, some senators would like to see the data that supports this conclusion. This would include the reports and student questionnaires and data. Mary and other committee members will make this information available to interested senators.
  • It was then mentioned that in recent student surveys and focus groups, it appeared that students didn't appreciate or like the General Education Program. It was pointed out that there are no questions directly in the survey that ask how the student feels about General Education. Students are likely to be ore enthusiastic about courses in their major than General Education courses, and this is what comes out in the surveys.  Bill Cerbin then mentioned that there was a senior survey given in 1996 specifically related to General Education. This data will also be provided as requested. It was noted that true appreciation for General Education may require some time and perspective. Perhaps we could survey our graduates concerning their feeling about General Education.
  • It was then asked whether the committee has considered testing a portion of our students using the ACT Comp or similar exam to determine objectively what our students know compared to students across the nation. Mary indicated that the committee is considering this as an alternative method to assess student learning outcomes in General Education.
  • A common complaint concerning our General Education Program is that it doesn't provide depth. The program seems to be essentially 48 credits of freshman courses. When the program was first being considered to replace Basic Studies, this depth requirement was strongly considered. A more specific complaint along these lines is that some people consider the program very weak in the physical sciences. Several senators commented on the need for a requirement for a sequence of courses in General Education in order to bring more depth to the program. It was noted that in order to add any requirements to the program, we have to be willing to give something else up.
  • A possible alternative to our General Education Program was suggested for the sake of the discussion. Perhaps students could be required to complete a primary and a secondary minor (one in the Arts and Humanities and one in Science). In this way, there would still be breadth, but with more depth.
  • An observation was made that there seems to be a conflict between Design for Diversity and the changes suggested in the General Education Program. We have had to give up depth within the program in order to accommodate more diversity within the program.
  • It was then mentioned that with the current revenue model, General Education is very important to departments in helping them to offer smaller upper level courses. Some departments may fail to exist if it weren't for General Education. Until we divorce General Education from the revenue model, we won't be able to make any significant changes.
  • It was suggested that we should be looking at the liberal arts institutions, rather than the comprehensive universities within the UW-System. In the liberal arts institutions, the programs have fewer credits, there are fewer choices and hence a more standard program, and they regularly have double and triple majors.
  • One final comment concerned the conclusion from the General Education Committee that there needs to be a student orientation to General Education. It was pointed out that the First Year Student Seminar provided such an orientation for students.
Mary Hampton thanked the senators for all their ideas. The chair and senators, in turn, thanked Mary for joining the Senate for the discussion.

VI. Request from Unity Through Diversity Committee.

Tom Harris from Residence Life, representing the Unity through Diversity Committee, addressed the Senate. He invited senators to participate in two brainstorming sessions targeted at three diversity issues. The issues are:

 1. Recruitment and retention of faculty of color.
 2. Recruitment and retention of students of color.
 3. Increasing the accessibility on campus for the disabled.
The sessions will be held on Wednesday, November 10, in Room 257 Cartwright Center, 1:00-2:30 p.m. and Tuesday, December 7, in Room 326 Cartwright Center, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
A question was asked concerning how this work overlaps with Plan 2008. Tom stated that he has not read the plan yet and so doesn't really know the answer. However, he did mention that the two will probably help each other. There is more room for flexibility in the committee's work since there can be many more goals than those specified in Plan 2008.

VII. Old Business.   There was no old business.

VIII.  New Business.   There was no new business.

IX. Adjournment.  The meeting adjourned at approximately 5:05 p.m.

Rebecca Lewin LeDocq, Secretary