General Education Final Report to Faculty Senate, May 2009
As usual for the General Education Committee (GEC), this year was quite busy, but the ongoing focus was the first formal assessment of all GE courses taught during the academic year. Before beginning this report, I would like to thank Erik Kahl, Don Sloan, Tom Pribek, Eric Kraemer, Tom Gendreau, Cris Prucha, Michael Current, Jon Fields, and Bob Ragan for their hard work, insightful comments, and clear passion for the job at hand.
The GEC received four specific charges from Faculty Senate (FS):
- The committee should study and review the Writing in the Major program and make any recommendations regarding changes. It has been suggested that you explore the feasibility of having all majors participate in this program. Additionally, review the entire Writing Emphasis and Writing in the Major programs to determine if these are working effectively in implementing their stated or implied goals. Make any recommendations to the Faculty Senate as a result of these deliberations.
- The committee should remain in close contact with the ad hoc Assessment Committee and recommend steps to implement policies consistent with their assessment data. The committee might also consider a moratorium on changes to the General Education/University Core for the 2008-09 academic year until such assessment data is available.
- Review assessment plans that are submitted to the assessment committee to determine the degree to which they comply with stated objectives.
- Communicate and collaborate with the Provost to determine the exact nature of the need for a Director of the General Education/University Core program. Depending on the outcome of this review, make the appropriate recommendations.
We accomplished each of these charges, as well as many other things during the year, making the following progress:
- Bryan Kopp (Dept. of English) was left with the task of making recommendations for the writing component to GE (Writing Emphasis/Writing in the Major Program; WE/WIMP). Bryan brought several WE proposals to the committee that were passed. He also pointed out several problems with the regulation and implementation of this part of the GE program. I recommend that the GEC be charged to continue working with Bryan Kopp on improvements to WE/WIMP in 09-10.
- Thanks to the hard work and efficiency (and endless patience) of the ad hoc General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) (Chair Scott Cooper, Cris Prucha, Kenny Hunt, Elizabeth Knowles, and Linda Dickmeyer), the first year of formalized GE assessment was quite successful, with all departments developing assessment tools, and nearly all departments complying with the assessment and reporting piece. The GEAC will compile the data during Summer 09 and a final report will be submitted to the GEC prior to the 09-10 academic year.
- We determined that a Director of GE was not necessary at this time. However, we decided that an Assessment Coordinator would be a wise investment, especially given (1) the incredible amount of work that the ad hoc GEAC did to formalize our first year of GE assessment, and (2) the fact that the GEAC is a temporary 3-year committee that expires after 10-11. Although a position description for the Assessment Coordinator was drafted in October by the Provost’s Office, and approved by both GEC and FS, budget cuts prevented this hire. I recommend that Faculty Senate continue to push for the Assessment Coordinator position to have someone in place before the temporary GEAC completes their assessment work in 2011.
- Fifteen new or revised courses were reviewed and added to the GE program (see http://www.uwlax.edu/gened/New.htm for a list). In addition, a new form, LX140-D, was developed to provide a formal way for courses to be removed from General Education. This form is also found on the GE web site (see “Deleting a Course” http://www.uwlax.edu/gened/Instructors.htm).
- The “salvage plan” that was left incomplete at the end of the 2007-2008 academic year remained unattended due to lack of time. I am recommending that continued work on these changes a charge from Senate for 09-10.
- At the end of the semester, we were heavily entrenched in a critical review of GE’s Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Redundancies were eliminated by merging or deleting some SLOs. Careful attention was paid to SLOs being assessed in 08-09 so that we were not changing SLOs that were in the process of being assessed by departments. Feedback was solicited from Chairs and Program Directors to be sure we were minimizing any detrimental impacts on current assessment plans. (For example, many SLOs simply have a new number). The revisions were nearly completed when the semester ran out. I am recommending that adoption of these changes be an immediate charge from Senate for 09-10 because we need the modified list of SLOs in place well before October, the GEAC deadline for assessment tool development.
- Kathy Kiefer indicated that the GE video used at freshman orientation was outdated and had been receiving negative comments from viewers. After viewing, the GEC agreed and the Provost’s Office provided funds to have Jim Jorstad work with a subset of the GEC to develop something new for Summer 2009.
- We did not use the GE Innovation Grant funding this year due to budget shortfalls. However, we plan to reinstate these grants in 09-10.
Recommendations for FS Charges for GEC in 09-10:
- Immediately adopt the revised SLOs and submit to Faculty Senate for final approval so they are in place prior to the GEAC’s October assessment tool development deadline.
- Continue to monitor the compliance of departments in the assessment process and enforce the consequences of non-compliance.
- Review the assessment data that will be reported to us by the GEAC from 08-09 to help write the charge for GEAC for 10-11 to be approved by Faculty Senate.
- Review the assessment data that will be reported to us by the GEAC from 08-09 to find strengths and weaknesses in the overall GE program and develop ways to improve what we have that may or may not involve incorporating some of the “salvage plan” (see appendix).
- Continue to work with Bryan Kopp to improve WE/WIMP.
Chair of GEC 08-09
APPENDIX University Core: Salvaging a Compromise (May 2008)
· ALL current GenEd courses will remain in the program unless a department or instructor wants to eliminate one of their own
· GEC will place courses into categories based on their understanding of the course. However, departments or instructors will have the final say with regard to where a course is best placed so long as argument behind the placement makes sense from a General Education perspective (i.e., is not based on course enrollment predictions, etc.)
Tier I: Taken within first 60 credits (45???)
1. Writing (ENG110)-3*
2. Oral Communication (CST110)-3
4. Well-Being (HPR105, SAH105)
FYE** (such as UWL100, CST110, HPR105) 0-1
* Taken within 1st 30 credits
**Strongly recommended to be taken within first semester.
Tier II: Taken any time
A. Fine and Performing Arts [4 min]
B. Global Perspective [3 min]
C. Humanities [3 min, 1 lit req]
D. Math/Logic/Language [3 min]
E. Natural Science [4 min]
F. Social Science [3 min]
G. Diversity [3 min]
H. Historical Foundation [3 min]
I. GE Electives (minimum of XX credits A-H)
Total: 46-48 credits min
Number of credits total; Too modest
· Students are strongly recommended to do at least 2 of the following:
Study Abroad Experience
Service Learning Experience
Upper-level Interdisciplinary Course