General Education Committee Retreat Minutes

September 1, 2004

1931 Nakomis, Hiawatha Island-French Island


Members present:   Grunwald; Hollenback,  Johnson (Chair); Kraemer, Prucha; Riley; Udermann; Winfrey
Consultants Present: Schumacher, Bakkum, Beck

Guest Present:  Hitch, Hoskins


I.  Announcements/Updates

·  Membership & meeting times were reviewed

·  We have approximately $30,000. carry-over in Gen Ed Innovations fund.

·  GEC is still in need of someone to serve as a Recording Secretary. Chris Bakkum volunteered to look into finding a CSDA student who will serve as secretary to the Committee.

·  Not all courses using the Human Rights theme are listed, either on our list or on the Timetable.  Emily will contact chairs inquiring whether there are others.

·  Emily is developing an evaluation form for faculty using human rights theme—in order to get feedback on how it worked, what might be changed, etc.

·  The first Faculty Development workshop is being held on Friday, September 3 for Chairs, Program Directors, Deans & Assoc. Deans on reviewing/recasting their courses to indicate how outcomes will be addressed in GE courses.

·  Workshops for Gen Ed faculty—on revising/re-casting their courses using the learning outcomes —is tentatively planned for  Sept. 17.  By then we should have Faculty Senate approval that Gen Ed be outcome based.  Another workshop for faculty will be scheduled for another day such as a Tuesday.

·  Ellen Goldey, (Dept. of Biology, Wofford College) will be on campus Sept 30 to October 2 (funded by Gen Ed) on “Learning Communities:  A Strategy for Disciplinary Integration.” Tentative schedule is:

o        Sep.30   4:30 p.m. Great Hall, Cleary  campus-wide presentation & reception

o        Oct. 1   9 to 11:30 Cleary Conference Room, interactive workshop and repeated in the afternoon

o        Oct. 2   9:30 to 11  “Obtaining Funding for Development of Learning Communities” workshop,  Ward Room, Cartwright

o        This program should be advertisized through e-mail, paper brochure, Campus Connection, asking people to sign up in advance.  If people don’t come as teams, we will try to organize some ways of helping people connect.

·  The January conference on Teaching & Learning will have time set aside to for faculty to discuss how outcomes are being addressed in Gen Ed courses

·  Emily is working on getting a Gen Ed Web Page and looking for additional funding for faculty development proposals. 

·   During the summer, it was recommended that Teacher Education Governing Council have a Gen Ed representative.  This person would serve in a consultant role and this proposed change would be made to Faculty Senate.  At this time, Emily will serve as the consultant. 

·   Emily has been invited and has agreed to participate in a UW System Task Force on the Liberal Arts.  Two meetings are scheduled at this time. 


Report from Summer Assessment Teams

Eight people (who were given $1000. stipends) met as a group twice, then broke into two sub-committees The  Science, Global Perspective & Critical Thinking group came up with 2 assessments:

  1. one based on a Newsweek article on AIDS in Africa
  2. the other on genetically modified foods.  This assessment would have two conflicting articles, including graphics. These articles would form the basis for a set of questions that would reveal student scientific knowledge, global perspective and critical thinking.
  3. Both assessment measures will be pilot  tested


The Written Communications, Critical Thinking, Integration of Knowledge, Responsible Citizenship and Ethical Decision Making group advocates using Gen Ed portfolios for assessment but until that process can be worked out, proposes two alternative approaches:  collecting materials from Gen Ed classes to be analyzed with standardized rubrics and using capstones courses to embed a specific writing prompt as a course requirement.  A specific prompt and rubrics, as well as a detailed description and argument for an alternative approach, were given in a handout.


The Global Awareness assessment conducted last spring is nearly completed  (Suggestion was made that INS 252 do it after their international experience.)


A pilot seminar of a second semester extension of UWL 100 course being designed by Betsy Morgan & Chris Bakkum (funded by GE Fund) will introduce and require portfolios and might act as a pilot for a Gen Ed portfolio assessment.  The same may be true with a freshmen seminar being developed by a group within Teacher Education (also funded by GE Fund). 


The Assessment sub-committee should flesh out the draft plan from that was first discussed at the May 2004 meeting to identify several assessment processes, such as:  

·         how a portfolio assessment might be carried out

·         Embedded assessment

·         Campus-wide assessments

A recommendation will be made to Faculty Senate to endorse the plan, as found in the draft assessment document, ask departments to on a rotating basis, make students available (i.e., make courses available) for assessment purposes.




II.  Working Session

·         A request has been made to condense/shorten the Learning Outcomes.  Deb Hoskins has already worked on this and submitted an initial draft.

·         A questions about whether to make the Gen Ed grant proposals rolling across the year was discussed. Multiple due dates were suggested.  First due date would be November 15, 2004 and the second January 31, 2005.  A third call may go out if funds are left.

o        Question:  what kind of proposals are we going to invite for November 15th?


Report and Recommendations to be made to Faculty Senate (in addition to the assessment plan recommendation)

  • Gen Ed will ask Faculty Senate to formally approve a General Education Program that is based on learning outcomes.  The current learning outcomes will be used, but continue to be seen as a living document to be reviewed and revised along with department reviews and assessment of student learning.
  • Gen Ed will ask Faculty Senate to endorse asking departments to review their courses vis-à-vis the learning outcomes. 
  • Reports from Departments will be due November 15th   Then Gen Ed will review current offerings to see whether all outcomes are being addressed by courses.  (That means that the courses reviewed by November 15th will be current courses—there won’t be time to generate new courses to address outcomes not inherent in the current Gen Ed program.)
  • General Education will ask the Faculty Senate to review a proposed policy regarding SCH and the General Education Program (see below).




First Read: UWL 100 (postponed until September 13, 2004)

Suggested changes for on the LX for UWL 100 should be given to Emily BEFORE 9/13.  There was agreement that Emily will amend the LX to situate UWL 100 in “Self & Society.”   E-mail will be sent to Department Chairs who have courses in that category assuring them that UWL 100 will not displace any of their courses.


Gen Ed Timeline (given out).  The remainder of the meeting focused on items within the proposed timeline. The timeline is ambitious, and that is favored by the Provost, even if it cannot be fully met. 


1.  Extensive discussion occurred around possible roadblocks to a revised Gen Ed program.  This include discussion of SCH, faculty positions, Instructional Academic Staff, and resources.


Emily distributed a draft policy statement regarding SCH and Gen Ed curriculum.  She had been asked by the Provost to write such a statement, given the concern that SCH seems to determine curriculum in General Education. By consensus, GEC ask that wording related to “a grace period” for both SCH and faculty positions be eliminated.  The goal is to stimulate interest in creating new courses (as opposed to leaving departments and faculty worried about student credit hours and faculty positions).  She will revise the proposed policy and it will be reviewed by GEC prior to going to the Provost and Deans.  As an FYI, it will also be sent to Chairs.


Remaining Questions/Concerns include questions about how Instructional Academic Staff fit into the “departmental faculty” formula?   Resources that will or are available for the GEP (what fraction of University resources is going to Gen Ed?)  Emily reported that approximately 50% of CLS and SAH “seats” are for GE courses.  Faculty Senate will need a feasibility study for the new program which includes a statement about resource use.


2.  Development of Freshmen Seminars and Freshmen Experience Courses.  Emily defined a Freshman seminar as not discipline specific, whereas a freshman experience course is grounded in a discipline with the addition of important transition to college topics.  Consensus seemed to lean toward FE courses as being more feasible sooner than FS.  Questions about the role of FS courses remain to be answered.


Goal for the Year:  to have a proposal for a new Gen Ed program to Faculty Senate by the end of Spring 2005 


Members were asked to study the structure draft prior to the September 13 meeting.

Mission statements and a philosophy about General Education will be included in the discussion on structure at the September 13 meeting.  


Next Meeting: Sept. 13th 3:30 pm. Room 327 Graff Main Hall


Ramblingly submitted,


Terry Beck