Minutes of the General Education Committee Meeting
March 4, 2002
325 Main Hall

Meeting was called to order at 3:37 p.m.

Members Attending: Emily Johnson (chair), Tom Pribek, Jess Hollenback, Roger Reinsch, Sandy Grunwald, Mary Leonard, Jean Hindson, Brenda Soto-Torres, Gretchen Reabe, Mike Winfrey

Consultants: John Magerus, Bill Cerbin, Diane Schumacher, Theda Holder

Guests: Barbara Rusterholz, Laura Nelson

Minutes of the February 18, 2002 meeting were approved.

Minutes of the February 11, 2002 meeting were distributed and approved as corrected.

Conference Report

1.  Emily Johnson and Barb Rusterholz reported on Gen Ed conference held in Dallas.  Some of the major themes coming from that conference included:

  • not "dichotomizing" (separating)  gen ed & major; working toward a unified view of liberal education
  • importance of the freshman year experience, including coursework & experiential learning and learning communities
  • assessment of Gen Ed programs is essential for accreditation, and in some cases, funding
  • campus-wide participation & support of the General Education program
  • student-centered learning & "engagement" in learning process

(a written summary of conference themes will be sent via e-mail)


General Education Goals/ Student Learning Outcomes
The GEC continued the discussion of the Gen Ed Program goals and student learning outcomes.  Edited or re-written versions of goals/student learning outcomes were distributed by Johnson, Hollenback, Leonard, Hindson.  Pribek distributed a list of other concerns related to revision to the General Education goals and program. A lengthy discussion followed concerning merits and drawbacks of global vs. specific goal statements, need for simplicity vs. overly ambiguous goals, loss of buy-in from campus community if the outcomes are overly prescriptive, etc. By committee consensus the following statements were seen as global, yet appropriate for the Gen Ed Outcomes list.


1.  Demonstrate effective communication skills

2.  Demonstrate effective critical thinking skills

3.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of and respect for a wide array of disciplines and demonstrate an understanding of how they are interrelated.

4.  Demonstrate the ability to integrate skills and knowledge and to apply them to real life situations.

5.  Demonstrate knowledge of one’s role as an engaged citizen in a changing, diverse and global world.

6.  Demonstrate the ability to articulate how human experience is shaped by one’s historical context and by social factors such as gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, culture, race and ethnicity

 Non-consensus items: May have merit, but concerns were voiced. 

1. Discovery and Experience (concerns:  vague, what does this mean, how will it be interpreted, does this wording mean that any course on campus is Gen Ed, etc.)

2.  Evaluate and Unify (or re-label this as Integration of Knowledge) (concerns: evaluate and unity of what? Is this part of critical thinking? How will it be interpreted? Etc.)

3.  Demonstrate an understanding of how dynamic and complex systems, both those which occur in nature and  those which are humanly created, achieve stability, change through time, and respond to changes in the environments that sustain them. (concerns: wording is not “user” friendly, what does it really mean? Is it too specific?)

4.  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of multiple methods of inquiry including mathematics.(concerns: is this part of critical thinking and part of knowledge gained across an array of disciplines?)

5.  Demonstrate an ability to articulate the roles that science, technology, and economic factors play in society and their costs and benefits to human beings and societies. (concerns:  too specific?)

6.  Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the fine arts and the humanities and how they contribute to the enrichment of human life and society. (concerns:  too specific?)

7.  Demonstrate the ability to articulate the components of a healthy lifestyle and to understand which factors can enhance or limit the physical and mental well-being of self and others. (concerns? Too specific?)

The committee did not feel the ‘agreement’ list should be sent out across campus until members had additional time to provide commentary.  The chair will send both lists out to committee members asking for feedback.  A final discussion on these statements will occur at the April 1 meeting.

Laura Nelson provided a brief review of the backlog problem in CST 110 and presented a proposal with a four step resolution of the problem.  The proposal included increased resources allocated from the Deans and Provost for more sections of CST 110, blocking Seniors from enrollment beginning in spring 2003, blocking juniors from enrolling beginning in 2004 and increasing the number of sections offered during summer terms. The most pressing item  is blocking enrollment of seniors as this has immediate implications for the upcoming advising/registration period. Discussion followed regarding the appropriateness of the GEC’s involvement in resource allocation and concern about resources in light of budget concerns. No action was taken given the late hour.  The chair will solicit feedback on the proposal via e-mail so that she can forward this to Laura prior to the April 1 meeting. 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:55

The next scheduled meeting is April 1.

Notes respectfully submitted by T. Pribek; minutes written by E. Johnson