General Education Committee Notes

“Jump Start” Meeting--September 4, 2003

325 Graff Main Hall



The meeting was called to order at 1:05.


Members present: John Betton, Sandy Grunwald, Jean Hindson, Jess Hollenback, Emily Johnson (chair), Ray Martinez, Bruce Rile, Mike Winfrey


Consultants present: John Magerus, Bruce May, Guy Herling, Diane Schumacher, Terry Beck


Members and consultants introduced themselves.  Ray Martinez was welcomed as a new member.


A schedule of GEC meetings was handed out with a suggestion that we may need to find time for additional meetings, particularly for spring semester. Chair Johnson also handed out information and draft proposal about the “Integrated Learning Project” being co-sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation and AAC&U.  Bill Cerbin is willing to write the proposal if the GEC feels we are ready for involvement in this project.  Whether or not to participate in this project will be discussed and decided upon at the regularly scheduled meeting on September 15, 2003.


Chair Johnson discussed some of her summer activities and recent meetings with Chancellor Hastad and Provost Hitch and Faculty Sentate Chair, Bob Hoar. A general theme that emerged from these meetings was that the GEC needs to quickly move toward implementation of a program based on learning outcomes.  Although a fall deadline for implementation was suggested by the Chancellor, committee members felt we needed a longer timeline that allowed careful consideration of possible structures and involvement and buy-in from the faculty.  


The Round Table Session held on August 27, 2003 was also briefly discussed.  Committee members indicated that most of the comments regarding the Student Learning Outcomes were positive.  However, others felt it was time to move on to an implementation phase of a learning outcome-based GE program.  The importance of faculty buy-in for the outcomes and any change in program was emphasized.


Chair Johnson briefly outline three possible goals for the year: (1) Development and approval of strategies for implementing a learning-outcome based program, (2) Assessment of three or more outcomes and (3) a possible position statement on the role of General Education at UW-L relative to SCH and FTE.  Revisions to the GE program must consider an appropriate timeline, structure, requirements, and the process of approving courses for the program.  Whether or not the GEC should lift the moratorium on new courses was discussed.  Chair Johnson asked for a motion on this issue.  Moved and seconded by Betton and Winfrey: The GEC will lift the moratorium on new courses being considered for the Gen Ed program. After considerable discussion, the motion passed.


Immediately following the vote, several members indicated the need for a revised set of criteria for review of courses.  Concerns included that the current criteria is too vague, that if no new criteria is put into place, a focus on learning outcomes will be lost, but also that the GEC has no official approval to structure a program on outcomes given that Faculty Senate has not officially approved the learning outcomes.  The committee decided by consensus that Chair Johnson should prepare a draft of a course review process that incorporated the current program goals and structure and the new learning outcomes.  Johnson will send a copy of this draft to members via e-mail prior to the September 15 meeting. Johnson will also meet with the Senate Executive Committee to ask for approval to move forward on implementing changes to the GEC.


Chair Johnson reminded the committee that with the moratorium lifted part of our committee meeting time would be spent on review of courses.  She suggested that we identify specific meeting dates for course review and notify departments as soon as possible what these dates will be. 


Hindson suggested that the GEC should work with departments who wish to put forth new courses (or revise old ones). The GEC should provide examples and specific guidelines for departments prior to any course coming to the committee for approval.  Winfrey also suggested that the GEC not automatically grandfather in all current courses.  Rather all courses would need to be reviewed before they become part of the revised program.


Meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.


Notes Respectfully submitted, 

Emily Johnson, Chair