GEC Meeting

Monday, February 20, 2006

3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

325 Graff Main Hall


Members Present:  Sandy Grunwald, Jon Fields, Emily Johnson, Becky Belter, Stephen McDougal, Cris Prucha, Robert Ragan, Bruce Riley, Brian Udermann, Devyn Strand

Consultants:  Chris Bakkum, Bruce May, Diane Schumacher, Melissa Schultz


 I .  Approval of Minutes February 20, 2006 – M/S/P unanimous, with the amendment that a diversity component was discussed to be added to the freshman core OR to the University Foundations I.


II.   Announcements

§    UWL- LEAP – Project soliciting ideas from faculty about what creates excitement for them in their teaching.  Also generating ideas regarding interdisciplinary projects.  Those attending the AAC&U Liberal Education conference are hoping to host two sessions will be held to discuss thoughts and possibilities.


III.  Discussion/Action Items  

A.  Design Team Recommendations or alternatives

Additional Feedback

1.        Content 

§    University Foundations II or the rest of the University Core requirements – Chair distributed two documents with different potential scenarios for revision of the General Education structure to better meet goals of the institution. 


The first handout (lavender) inspired the following questions from the committee:

Q:  Is it within our bounds to create a requirement that includes internships for academic credit?

A:  Students can currently take up to 15 credits of Cooperative Education Internships.  These and other integrated knowledge experiences enhance classroom content and render it applicable in “real life.”

Q:  In this version, how have courses been reallocated into different areas?

A:  History would no longer be a requirement in and of itself, and has been integrated into humanities; literature and modern languages would also fall within the realm of humanities.  Categories of international studies and global studies are also not explicitly included; course content would hopefully include these aspects, but it is possible that not having them as a category would not gel with current UW System expectations.

Q:  What about the expectation discussed by the Design team and GEC regarding 300 level courses taken as part of core?

A:  That expectation would need to be built into requirements in general.


Feedback:  Are any improvements being made by a simple redistribution of current courses and a renaming of categories?  Currently, CLS students often take languages to satisfy the logical systems requirement.  Changing the location of languages would create problems for those students who count on this rather than math or computer science to graduate.  A suggestion was submitted of creating a “language and/or logical systems requirement.”


Chair indicated that, as we consider revisions to the curriculum, we need to consider size. According to information given to her by the Provost, our requirement of 48 credits of general education is higher number than many other institutions. 


Second potential scenario (green handout):  Chair stated that this structure based on a 36 credit common core focused on interdisciplinary courses would break us out of silos as they currently exist.  Any course proposed would need to justify how it is addressing competencies.  Potentially, a course could count in more than one category.  If a minimum number of credits were required in the program overall and in each competency category, students would still need to meet the minimum level of credits if they want to double dip courses, as they do now.   Benefit of this structure is that it more directly connects us back to the learning outcomes.   


Q:  Could colleges use this system to implement further requirements for their majors within the core structure?

A:  This could be addressed by requiring a number of credits to be taken outside the student’s major area.


Q:  Do current courses as they exist address these learning objectives?

A:  If not, they can be revised to address them or new courses created.  The general feeling was that there are enough courses to fulfill the categories.


General Feedback:

·         Some have an appreciation of traditional labels: social sciences, humanities, etc.

·         Issues may arise with transferability, both into and out of UW-L with a structure like this.

·         The plan on the green sheet seems to address more ideas as have been previously discussed.

·         The simplicity of the 36-credit core plan is good, allows us to communicate what we want students to know.

·         GEC expressed a general level of support, with some questions about further definitions of categories and the boundaries between categories, especially regarding “Human/Social Systems and Human Diversity” and “Personal, Social and Global Responsibility.”  Chair agreed to create clear definitions and scenarios of how current courses might fit into these categories.

·         Discussion was tabled until further structure could be suggested.  Chair asked GEC to come to the next meeting (3/6) with recommendations.


§         Freshman course determined by college revisited:  Some expressed a struggle with justifying this piece of the newly created structure.  Discussion ensued regarding implications if a student changed majors, whether colleges will be able to choose just one, and whether colleges will choose a course that has already been implemented in freshman core or in UF I.

M/S/P unanimous to amend Freshman core curriculum and remove the requirement of one course determined by college.  This leaves the Freshman core at College Writing and a First Year Experience course, a total of 3-6 credits.


§         Other requirement options or considerations to be discussed at further meetings.

o        Require 3-6 credits of advanced courses  (300/400 level) – Brief discussion regarding where these courses
    should be housed, and whether placing them in general education compromises the content and the
    experience for students exploring outside their area of knowledge.  At the same time, majors must be
    protected, and some upper division major courses don’t have room for students outside the major.  Sandy
    Grunwald will examine existing 300 level courses within the current structure.

o        Integration/infusion of global perspective

o        Integration/infusion of diversity

o        Moving toward Writing across the majors, thus eliminating WE course requirements

o        Rotating themes (e.g., Human rights)

o        Experiential and interdisciplinary focus?

o        Integration of knowledge

3.   Timeline and Strategies for campus communication and implementation

§         GEC felt it would be premature to present anything to Faculty Senate at this time. Further progress on structure and
     terminology should be in place first.

§         Funding – To be further discussed at 3/6 meeting

o        Student Association

o        Innovations Fund –  priorities and deadlines – Decisions should be made as soon as possible so those
    interested can move forward.  Consider priorities to include: learning communities, linkages, diversity
   components, first year seminars,etc.

o        Is too late to attempt Faculty Development Fund or OPID grants


V.   New Business: none


VI.   Meeting Dates

                March 6 & 20

                April 3 & 17 & May 1

VII.  Other – Decisions on consistent elements of a first year experience course also need to be made in the next meeting so information can be distributed to the university community.


 Adjourned 5:26 p.m.