General Education Committee Minutes

November 3, 2003

325 Graff Main Hall



Members present:  Emily Johnson (chair), Sandra Grunwald, Jess Hollenback, John Betton, Ray Martinez, Mike Winfrey, Jean Hindson, Bruce Riley, Mary Leonard Anderson

Student member: Matt Palma

Consultants present: Diane Schumacher, Bruce May, John Magerus, Terry Beck


APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF 10-20-03 MEETING:  M/S/P to approve. Grumwald should be changed to Grunwald. 


There was a lengthy discussion with guests from other departments about the feasibility and advisability of having a linked class or other multi-disciplinary/interdisciplinary class as a General Education requirement as a means of encouraging the integration of knowledge. Some of the concerns expressed included the difficulty of getting sufficient staff to teach linked classes, recruitment of faculty eager to teach such courses, and the readiness of freshmen to be in an interdisciplinary course.  The discussion ended with no formal action being taken. 


---GEC "marathon" session will be held TUESDAY, JANUARY 20 from 1:30 to 4:30. Room TBA
---chair publicized some opportunities for members to go to conferences concerning assessment and other important General Education topics, specifically, AAC&&U conferences on the following topics: 
    Practicing Liberal Education: Deepening Knowledge, Pursuing Justice, Taking Action--Washington, DC, January 21-24.
    General Education Assessment: Generating Commitment, Values, and Evidence---Long Beach, CA, March 4-6, 2004.
    Institute on General Education---Newport, RI, May 21-26, 2004.


the members of the subcommittee discussed several topics, namely, how to assess the outcome concerning Global Perspective and the logistics of assessment---who is to do it? where is it to be done?  All these discussions were at the preliminary stage with no formal motions as yet. 
Structure: the structure group has had two meetings in the last two weeks.  Topics discussed included the following:  What do students in General Education now think about its structure?  Students who have been out for several years are excellent sources of information about planning the structure of the Program. We could ask these recent graduates such questions as:  (1) which specific courses should everyone take? which skills?  what course had the most impact on you?  It was also mentioned that though we have a training program for writing emphasis instructors, we have no such thing for General Education instructors.  Maybe a one-half day training course the week before classes start would be a good idea.
First Year Experience: Only one person plus the chair of the subcommittee showed up but the discussion focused on the usefulness of placing students in cohorts during their first year as a way of developing a sense of community and cutting down the attrition rate.  It seems to work very well for the ASI program for at-risk students.  That strategy may have broader applicability. The use of Freshman Interest Groups (FIGS) was also discussed. It was also mentioned that it was absolutely vital to get students to talk with their advisors several times during the freshman year.  No curricular suggestions were made at that meeting since there was not sufficient attendance to begin raising that issue.

DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE "PILOT" PROJECT FOR FALL 2004: There was a general discussion among the members and consultants about possible projects to pilot in the fall of 2004. Those discussed or mentioned included:

§         Value of linked classes 

§         pilot courses on such themes as "terrorism", "stewardship", "hunger," etc. 

§         focus on a yearly theme and encourage instructors, residence halls, speakers' programs, campus activities, etc to focus on the theme in their various courses and activities.  That way the theme would be focused upon across the curriculum and also in the various student activities that are going on at the extra-curricular level.

§         possible 6-credit pilot programs linking two General Education courses, e.g., CST 110/ENG 110 in a six-credit course that met 5 days per week or HIS 101/DIVERSITY 110 formatted in the same manner were also put forward as suggestions. 

§         an "interdisciplinary" Gen Ed pilot 

§         a "UWL 100" pilot 

§         a theme-based pilot freshman Gen Ed seminar  

§         a Freshman Interest Group approach? 


Also discussed was the importance of creating some kind of General Education WEBSITE.


These were all some suggestions that were bandied about at the end of the meeting.  However, no formal proposal was adopted.  We would pick up where we left off at the next meeting. 
Respectfully submitted,

Jess Hollenback, secretary