Date: February 12, 2007
To: Faculty Senate; General Education Committee
From: Science and Health College Committee
Re: General Education
The Science and Health (SAH) College Committee has worked to keep abreast of the developments within the General Education Committee (GEC), in particular their work regarding revisions to the General Education program. To that end, our committee has provided input to the GEC multiple times over the past few years. In a document submitted by the SAH College Committee to the GEC in November 2006, three primary concerns with the revision of the General Education program were highlighted: (1) justification for the proposed structure, (2) maintaining flexibility for students in diverse programs, and (3) the process by which the revised program was evolving, with individual changes being considered as separate entities instead of as integral parts of the larger General Education program. Those concerns have not been mitigated over the past three months, which led the SAH College Committee to revisit these issues during their February 8, 2007 meeting which was also attended by two GEC members from SAH. The following motion was made and passed:
M/S/P (7, 1, 0): The SAH College Committee recommends to the Faculty Senate that they charge the General Education Committee to assess the current program and stop their work on developing a new program.
The motion followed a considerable amount of discussion about the most recent proposed structure of General Education, the work of subgroups within the General Education Committee, and the nature of the recommendations put forward by North Central Accreditation in their reports following the 1996 and 2006 visits. Although the SAH College Committee does not advocate a revision of General Education at this time, the committee does recognize that change might be deemed necessary in the near future. However, two factors identified as major impediments to change in the present structure must be addressed first:
(1) Assessment of the current program. It is our understanding that following the development of student learning outcomes for General Education, large amounts of assessment data were gathered on this campus. However, these data have not been sufficiently analyzed and clear recommendations have not emerged. The first step towards positive change in the General Education Program is to determine as well as possible what change is needed, therefore, a qualitative, comprehensive assessment is necessary. This should provide insight into what, if anything, is lacking in our current General Education program and supply some of the much-needed justification for change in the present courses and structure.
(2) Dedication of resources. The resources that are needed in order to make change possible and acceptable to many departments in the university are not in place. Hence, serious programmatic change is not possible for both practical and political reasons.
It is the sincere hope of the SAH College Committee that upon completion of the assessment of General Education, and when significant resources are provided to create and sustain meaningful programmatic reform, positive change can be considered and pursued successfully on this campus.
Jennifer Miskowski, Chair
SAH College Committee