General Education Committee Minutes
October 15, 2001
325 Graff Main Hall
3:30 p. m.

Members Present:  Johnson (director and Chair), Soto Torres, Grunwald, Hollenback,  Leonard,  Hindson, Winfrey
Consultants Present:  Diane Schumacher, Bell Cerbin, Amelia Dittman, John Magerus
Visitors: Billy Clow

Chair Emily Johnson called the meeting to order at 3:30.   

Chair will make second effort at bringing treats for the next meeting.

Jean Hindson was assigned the task of taking minutes for this meeting.

Meeting dates for the rest of the academic year were distributed.

New member Mary Leonard was introduced. (She is replacing Billy Clow who will be chairing the UW-L Budget and Strategic Planning Committee.)

Chair reported on the Annual Meeting for the Association of General and Liberal Studies which she had attended in Pittsburgh.  She was elected to the Board of Directors for the Council of Administrators for General and Liberal Studies. This group now provides consultants to universities that are considering revising their general education programs.  Chair noted that this is something we could consider.  She also noted in particular a conference in Dallas (Feb 21 –23)  on General Education sponsored by Association of American Colleges and Universities that committee members should consider attending.  Chair commented on several areas that were highlighted at the Pittsburgh meeting and that are topics of interest to our committee:  building community service into general education programs, revisions in general education programs , freshman seminars, and capstone courses.  She noted in particular that universities that have universal freshman seminars and capstone courses have an advantage in doing assessment because they have established cohort groups with which to do assessment.

Chair has met with staff from Murphy Library regarding their interest in integrating information literacy into courses at UW-L.  They would like to see information literacy as a part of General Education.  Committee members should have received the library brochure on this issue.

Chair reminded committee of the article she had sent them, which could be useful in discussing key issues facing the committee:  l) setting directions for the future in light of the Strategic Plan that is being formulated;  2) responding to the Faculty Senate’s charge to the committee for this coming year:  a) deciding whether to revisit the goals of General Education;  b) deciding whether to  refine or redevelop the General Education assessment plan.

New Business
The proposal to include Theatre Studies 351, World Theater in General Education  was presented.  The course will be offered for the first time in Spring 2003; it is a writing emphasis course and will remain as such.  Discussion centered on whether a 300-level course would assume or require previous experience.  The conclusion was that this is a question for UCC.  Presenters were asked to make more explicit some of the goals of the category in which it would be placed and ways in which these goals would be assessed.  The second reading will take with the course instructor present.

The minutes of the Oct. 1, 200l meeting were approved as submitted.

Old Business
The question was raised as to whether the committee should put a moratorium on the consideration of new courses.  With the Strategic Plan due April l0, the committee is facing some important issues with major budget implications.  Should we thinking about major revisions to the General Education Program?  Is this in line with the current Faculty Senate charge to the committee?  What really are the expectations for the committee now that there is a Director of General Education?   In view of the far-reaching consequences of committee responsibilities, should part of the Innovation in General Education Fund be designated for development for committee members?   

The Chair raised several issues that the Strategic Plan may require us to deal with, among them:  1)  should UW-L have a common core curriculum for freshman or some sort of  common freshman experience?  2) should a foreign language experience be part of general education requirements?  3) how will EM21 affect General Education and what implications does this have for advising?

A discussion of many of these issues led to a determination on the part of the committee that the current committee members need to have a stronger sense of the history of the essential issues of general education on this campus.  This history is necessary in order to the carry out an in-depth discussion of general education goals so that we can chart an effective course of action to follow for this year.  The next two meetings will be devoted to this discussion.  To this end, members are urged to do a careful study of the history provided in our committee binder, and to take notes, considering in particular:  What are the goals of General Education on this campus? and Are we accomplishing these goals? (see list of highlighted sections below).

In light of this, the committee agreed to postpone the second reading of the Theater Arts proposal until the first December meeting. The Chair will talk with Billy Clow, chair of the Theater Arts department, about the postponement of the second reading. 

At the first meeting of the fall the chair highlighted for us the following list of sections of the committee binder to pay special attention to:  l) The introduction to the blue section under the history label followed by The Report and Recommendations  to Faculty Senate of the Gen. Ed. Committee on Mar. 23, 2000;  2)  Parts of the appendices:  A:  the description of Gen. Ed program with special attention to Inquiry Based Education; 3) Appendix C (part of Appendix A , Final Report): 4) the 2001-02 Faculty Senate Charge; 5) the assessment plan approved in 1994;  5)  The  revised LX-140 form;  6)  the Writing Emphasis and Writing in the Major information (handed out separately); and  7) the  brochure on General Education with special attention  to the goals statement.

Winfrey indicated that he would be willing to make a motion to set aside money (from the Fund for Innovation in General Education) to send committee members to appropriate conferences on issues important to committee deliberations.  Chair said that the Provost has spoken favorably about this proposal.  She will prepare a budget for sending a team to the conference in Dallas and speak to the Provost again regarding amounts of funding which could be used for this purpose.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:20.

Respectfully submitted,
Jean M. Hindson