2/21/2007

 

To:       Faculty Senate

From:   William Wehrs, Chairperson - College of Business Administration Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

Re:       General Education Assessment

 

On 12/15/2006 I sent a memorandum to the General Education Committee on behalf of the CBA undergraduate curriculum committee and the CBA department chairs.  The content of that memorandum follows.

 

On 11/29/2006 Amelia Dittman and Jon Fields attended the weekly meeting of the CBA department chairs to discuss a request for a response to the General Education Committee (GEC) regarding tier III of a new general education curriculum.  Following discussion, interim Dean May charged the CBA undergraduate curriculum committee (CBA UCC) with providing a response to the GEC.  This document is the result of that charge.

 

In its discussions, the committee acknowledged the good work the GEC has done with regards to general education at UW-L.  The general education curriculum is a critical component of the many high quality programs we offer.  That we have high quality programs is further validated through external accreditation by groups such as the North Central Association.

 

The members of the curriculum committee believe that the GEC must recognize that in slightly over two years (by 01/01/2009) UW-L is subject to monitoring reports for the North Central Association (NCA) regarding accreditation criteria three and four.  While the results of the 2006 NCA accreditation process were largely successful for the institution, the accreditation team found UW-L’s response to problems identified in the 1996 accreditation to be inadequate with respect to general education and assessment of student learning.  According to the report (p. 15): “The 1996 NCA review team could not judge the effectiveness of the General Education Program…”  The report further states (p. 18) “While learning outcomes have been developed… there is no plan for the systematic assessment of the learning goals associated with the general education curriculum, an essential first step toward determining the effectiveness of the general education program.”

 

At the present time, it does not appear that GEC is developing a plan for systematic assessment of the general education program.  Rather, the GEC is engaged in time-consuming development of a new general education program without first determining whether the existing program has been effective (in whole or in part) or not.  The CBA UCC is of the opinion that this activity represents a misunderstanding of institutional priorities.

 

In view of these circumstances, the following motion was unanimously (5-0-0) approved by the CBA UCC:

 

The CBA UCC recommends that the GEC cease their work on a new general education curriculum and redirect their efforts toward a systematic, learning-outcome-based assessment of the existing general education curriculum that addresses the requirements of the NCA.

 

The above discussion and motion were presented to the department chairs in the College of Business Administration.  The chairs concurred with the CBA UCC’s concerns with respect to institutional priorities.  They further thought it likely that external accreditation will be even more critical as UW-L implements the proposals in the growth and access plan.  They therefore unanimously endorsed the CBA UCC’s recommendation to the GEC.

 

It is my understanding that the faculty senate intends to discuss this issue at its next meeting.  Accordingly, for informational purposes, the senate should be aware of the position of the CBA faculty on this matter of institutional priorities.