UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-LA CROSSE

GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

MINUTES of the Special Meeting of Wednesday, January 18, 2006

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Emily Johnson (chair), Sandra Grunwald, Eric Kraemer, Stephen McDougal, Cris Prucha, Robert Ragan, Bruce Riley, Brian Udermann.

OTHERS: Diane Schumacher, Chris Bakkum, Melissa Schultz, David Riley, Betsy Morgan.

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:40 PM in room 257 of the Cartwright Center.

 

I. Minutes from 12/05/05 and 12/12/05 were approved with one correction: Bruce Riley should be listed as an excused absence on 12/12/05.

 

II. Announcements:

  1. Emily informed the committee of the upcoming AAC&U General Education conference. There are funds for attendance by some members of the committee. A brochure was handed around. Emily asked for those interested in attending to let her know.

 

  1. UW-L’s report to the Board of Regents on General Education will be completed after the NCA review process is done. The due date will likely be sometime next year.

 

  1. Emily attended the System Advisory Group on Liberal Arts (SAGLA).  The advisory group is working on a variety of strategies to promote a liberal education as such, i.e., without the political ideological connotations of the word “liberal.” Based on focus groups of students and business leaders, the public does not seem to understand what is meant by a liberal arts or liberal education. Emily will be working with Don Sloan, Art, and the SAGLA group to host a campus-community dialog about the kind of education that our students need as 21st century citizens.  SAGLA will also be discussing the relationship between “liberal education” and “general education.” AAC&U’s latest publication on liberal education outcomes were also passed around.

 

III. Continued Consideration of the D-Team Report:

A.     Review of earlier work and feedback from campus. The Committee’s decisions of December 12, 2005 were reviewed, and the following matters discussed: lowering the core from 12 credits to 9 (Motion #1, passed 12/12/05) should give the more structured majors more flexibility.

 

  1. Motion #2 (passed 12/12/05) on the requirements of the first year were reviewed: ENG 110, a First Year Experience course, and a course selected by a student’s college.   Emily noted that there are many options as to how the freshmen experience course (FYE) might be structured, including the idea of “learning communities” where a student would enroll in a learning community consisting of 2 or 3 courses rather than enroll separately into each course.  Other options could include the UWL 110 seminar as proposed by the Design Team, an existing content course redesigned to include transition to college and college success skills, UWL 100 linked with another course, etc. The guidelines for FYE courses will need to be developed although the Design Team report and information handed out at the December 12 meeting reflects some possible requirements. Enforcement of the First Year Core needs to be discussed as part of the implementation of a revised program.     

 

  1. Overall Structure Recommendations:

      1.  The committee discussed at length the recommendations for University Foundations I & II (as found in the Design Team report and as listed under possible motions 3, “Students will be required to take the university foundation (UFO I) courses in their first 60 credits” and 4, “UFO I courses will be grouped into the following categories: History, Natural and Physical Sciences, Arts, Social Science and Humanities.

 

            Given the changes approved for the freshmen core, motions 3 and 4 may need further consideration.  Discussion points included:

§          how rigid should the UFO I and II requirements should be, including number of credits. 

§         While there is the need for flexibility, there is also some need for specification and order in the three-tiered concept.

§         What is the purpose of UFO I (or UFO II)? Is the UFO I’s purpose/goal to provide each student a foundation for success in later college, major class work, and electives?  OR To prepare the student for life in the real world? Or both?

§         How important is breath and sequence early on.

§         Possible ways to think about the core could be with the broad liberal arts categories:  Math, Language, Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, Physical and Natural Sciences, Diversity, Communication, Health & Well-Being. Whatever specific classes might be designated within these categories, there could still be a requirement that they be completed within the first x (60 or 75, or whatever) credits taken. There could be flexibility to students and to the colleges as to the scope or limits of those choices. The big question, here, would be what the categories mean and what they should include. Also, there could be flexibility in requiring that (e.g.) five of the categories be completed within the first x credits taken.

§         Another way to think about the core could be with specific type of knowledge ad skills that should be foundational for students, such as math (quantitative reasoning), oral communication, diversity, global perspective, health and well-being.  Courses that address these needs could potentially come from any of the broad liberal arts areas.

§         Another way to think about the foundational core could be by asking the question, “By the time students are juniors (60 credits), what do you expect them to know, to have done, and to be able to do?” A broad-ranging discussion followed.  One recommendation was made to ask chairs to discuss this with their faculty and use their feedback to guide our recommendations.

§         We need to be mindful of how our recommendations for UFO I & II reflect our learning outcomes.  One problem with the learning outcomes is that they are not yet developmental. This makes it difficult to select some for early in the college career and others for later in students’ career.  Rather we may need to think of levels of competency within each outcome, i.e., what is competency in written communication for freshmen year vs. seniors.

 

Emily reminded the committee about the earlier discussion on integration of knowledge.  How can we best achieve that broad goal?

 

No specific motions were brought forth for discussion or vote. Emily reminded members that we were expected to bring to Faculty Senate early in this semester our recommendations for program redesign.  Thus, we need to take action and move forward. Emily directed members to craft written motions pertaining to UFO I and II or other options for program structure.  These should be sent to Emily as soon as possible or bring them to the next meeting.  She would contact the chairs for feedback regarding the questions posed above.

 

Next regular meeting (5th Monday) is Monday, January 30, 2006 at 3:30 pm in the Faculty Senate chambers.

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:02 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen McDougal