General Education Committee Minutes
November 5, 2001
325 Graff Main Hall
3:30 p. m.

Members Present:  Johnson (director and Chair), Soto Torres, Grunwald, Hollenback,  Hindson, Pribek, Reinsch, Winfrey
Consultants Present:  Diane Schumacher, Bill Cerbin, Amelia Dittman

Chair Emily Johnson called the meeting to order at 3:30.

Sandy Grunwald was assigned the task of taking minutes for this meeting.

The minutes of the Oct. 15, 200l meeting were approved as submitted.

Agenda for the day was to be discussing the goals of the general education program.

Chair discussed having a team of 4 members of the General Education Committee attending the AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Working Conference: General Education and the Assessment of Student Learning.  This conference will be held Feb 21-23, 2002 in Dallas, Texas.  The cost to send a team of 4 would be approximately $5000.  These funds could be obtained from the Innovations in General Education Fund.  Winfrey, though he could not attend, suggested that a committee member from each college attend this meeting as a team.  Another suggestion was to invite speakers to campus to address general education issues; however, the benefit of a team going to a conference and thus focusing exclusively on this issue was discussed as being very beneficial.

In lieu of breaking into small groups a larger group discussion was held discussing goals for the program, problems of the current general education program, and possible solutions.  These are summarized below:

Problems with the current program –

  • Students don’t think of it as a program, just a collection of courses
  • Faculty have a hard time articulating the goals of the gen ed program
  • The gen ed courses do not tie into the major programs.  What competencies do different majors need?
  • There is a culture problem to not want to be educated for the purpose of asking the “right” questions.
  • We have never made a good case for the gen ed program.
  • Faculty do not know what is happening in the gen ed courses.
  • Need to assess students based on the goals.
  • There is no connection between the programs.

Solution to the current program-

  • Get student input into developing the gen ed program goals.
  • Alumni input into the importance of the gen ed program
  • Educate the students into what a university education should be (what it means to be educated).  Introduce this to them in a required freshman seminar course.
  • Assess students in a senior capstone course.
  • A sequence of courses in gen ed program.
  • Use a ETS General Education Tool to assess gen ed program.
  • Assessment exams for freshmen and seniors.

 General discussion about the gen ed program goals-

  • Need to have goals that are measurable.
  • Give students the ability to articulate, be intellectually independent, and the skills to deal with ill-defined problems.
  • One needs to be for students to think critically and obtain communication skills.
  • Hollenbeck distributed a list of what he feels should be goals for the general education program.

“Homework” for the November 12th meeting – Bring a list of what you feel should be items included in the goals for the general education meeting.  Please mail these to Emily Johnson before Thursday, Nov. 15th so she can distribute them to everyone.

 The meeting was adjourned at 5:10.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandy Grunwald