General Education Committee Minutes

October 4, 2004

329 Graff Main Hall


Members Present:  Mary Leonard Anderson, Sandy Grunwald, Jess Hollenback, Emily Johnson (Chair), Eric Kraemer, Cris Prucha, Bruce Riley, Brian Udermann, Mike Winfrey

Consultants Present:  Chris Bakkum, Terry Beck, Bruce May, Diane Schumacher

Guests Present:  Ruthann Benson, Katie Lindemann


I.        M/S/P to approve the Minutes of 9/13/04 and to approve the Minutes of 9/20/04 with the addition under IV. A. #2 that Cris Prucha has been added to the Learning Outcome and Refinement of LX Form Revision Subcommittee.


II.     Presentation: Ruthann Benson: Task Force on Academic Initiatives in International Education - Ruthann Benson presented information about International/Intercultural Competencies, provided a list of “Best Practices” in International initiatives from other universities and asked for feedback about strategies and obstacles for making an “International Experience” a requirement for UWL students.  The GEC requested that the Task Force seek feedback from the university community on attitudes toward International/Intercultural Education and on innovative ways that international experiences might be incorporated into the Gen Ed structure.  Ruthann encouraged committee members to fill out and return the Discussion Questions sheet and informed members that the Task Force will be holding brown bag forums and meetings addressing International/Intercultural Competencies.


III.   Structure

A.     Considerable discussion took place about the format, length, and content of the General Education Mission Statement.  M/S to take the mission statement as a bulleted item as suggested by Terry with suggestions in discussion.  M/S/P to table the discussion.  Chris, Terry, and Diane will work together (via email) to create a statement that takes into consideration the statements proposed by each of them:

            Chris’ statement- “The mission of the General Education program is to develop students as responsible citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world.”

            Terry’s bulleted statement- “General Education, the core of a university education, encourages students to:

§         Discover connections between disciplines, putting their major in a broader context

§         Cultivate knowledge, skills and habits of mind essential for life-long independent learning

§         Become responsible citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world

§         Become responsible stewards of our natural and cultural heritage”

            Diane’s statement- As stated in the handout distributed by Diane at the meeting.

B.     Proposed Structure: Discussion and refinement - Emily distributed a green sheet with a visual representation of what the Structure subcommittee has come up with so far for the revised structure.  Several concerns were expressed, and it was decided that the Structure subcommittee will meet on Monday, October 11th to work on further review of the structure.  Questions/comments/concerns from the GEC to the Structure Committee are as follows:

§   Where will foreign languages go?

§   There is concern about what will happen with math and language courses than often need to be taken within the first year.

§   Having a minimal First Year Core (around 10 credits) allows students and advisors flexibility in designing good educational experiences since most students will complete around 30 credits in their first year.  Concern was raised as to whether a course in Health and Well-being is essential in the first year.

§   There is a fear that students will be given so much choice that they will be able to graduate without having taken certain core courses (History or an arts course, for example).

§   There is a need to know how departments and courses will fit in, and some legislation of what needs to be taken will be necessary.

§   Further examination of the details under the emphasis areas may eventually result in the need for an additional emphasis area.

C.     Changes to the list of “What makes a course a General Education Course?” were reviewed.  The Committee is in agreement upon the general points, but specific wording is still an issue.  Emily asked members to look over the list and to send out preferred wording.


IV.  Old Business

A.     The GEC is still in need of a committee member from CBA and Lisa Giddings is still the only person interested.  The importance of having somebody who will be an active member of the GEC and its subcommittees was recognized. Logistical concerns surrounding how to handle last-minute information and handouts via teleconferencing were raised.  M/S/P to accept Lisa Giddings as a committee member from CBA through teleconference for this year.  Emily will invite Lisa to be a member of the GEC.

B.     Other work groups and group reports

      1. Learning Outcome Refinement and LX form revisions-

      The subcommittee reported that the course review process departments are being asked to complete needs to be made clearer.  Emily will send out a short reminder to department chairs with clarification that the bullets are provided to give maximum freedom in assessing outcome areas that are the most important in a class.

      2. No reports from any other workgroups

C. Dates for review of WIMP and new courses were set – November 15th for WIMP and November 29 for course review.


V.     New Business

A.     Sandy and Terry are interested in attending assessment conferences/workshops – This was approved.

B.     Emily will be attending AGLS on October 28-30. 

C.     The AAC&U General Education workshop is in February.  Emily will send information about AGLS and AAC&U via email and those interested in attending either conference/workshop should notify her.


VI.  Announcements

A.     The Learning Communities workshops run by Dr. Ellen Goldey went well and were attended by small but very invested groups.  Mike Winfrey would like the GEC to consider submitting a grant to the National Science Foundation for a pilot program and would like anyone who is interested to notify him.

B.     ADP/Campus Compact & Service Learning and GE was not discussed and will carry over to the October 18 meeting.


VII.            Next Meetings

A.     Monday, October 18

B.     Monday November 1


Meeting Adjourned at 5:35pm.