General Education Committee Minutes

September 20, 2004

327 Graff Main Hall


Members Present:  Mary Leonard, Sandy Grunwald, Jess Hollenback, Emily Johnson (Chair), Eric Kraemer, Cris Prucha, Bruce Riley, Brian Udermann, Mike Winfrey

Consultants Present:  Chris Bakkum, Terry Beck, Bruce May, Diane Schumacher

Guests Present:  Carmen Wilson, Katie Lindemann


I.        Correction to UWL 100 effective date from Fall 2001 to Fall 2000.


II.     Brief presentation:  Carmen Wilson provided results from the NSSE that appear to relate to the General Education learning outcomes.  Options about how the results could potentially be used were presented.  Discussion centered on the difficulty of assessing the meaning of the results.


III.   Structure

A.     General Education Mission Statement and Philosophy and Goals

After considerable review and discussion of several proposed mission statements and philosophies, the following were agreed upon:

    1. The mission statement and philosophy should be combined into a shorter, more concise statement that is easier to access and remember.
    2. The mission statement is important and should be available to and readable (understandable) by students and faculty.
    3. Key concepts/phrases that should be included are stewardship, life-long learning, and an awareness of diverse perspectives, cultures, and communities.
    4. Diane will re-work the mission statement and run it past Jess before the next meeting. 

B.     What makes a course a General Education Course?

Notes from the GEC Structure Subcommittee were reviewed and discussion focused on “What makes a Gen Ed course a Gen Ed course?”  It was agreed upon that Gen Ed courses should address all or most of the following:

1.      Course is appropriate for a general audience (with a caveat stating, “If course is expected to be a Gateway course for the major, please describe how it is also appropriate to non-majors”)

2.      Emphasis on the integration of knowledge

3.      Relevant for an educated citizen, global citizen

4.      Helps develop an appreciation of the subject

5.      Promotes intellectual curiosity

6.      Helps develop different perspectives, ways of thinking and knowing

7.      Promotes critical thinking and problem solving.

C.     Proposed Structure:  Discussion and refinement

The Committee came up with the following as the highest priorities for a revised program:

1.      Meaningful, rigorous courses

2.      Focus on learning outcomes

3.      First Year Experience

4.      Sequencing

5.      Structure within a structure

6.      Understandable by students and more than simply a check-off list

It was recognized that reports from faculty will be helpful in further discussions of structure, and that the structure subcommittee would still like more feedback and specifics on structure.  Recommendations provided to the structure subcommittee were:

1.      The current draft is too vague.

2.      Focus on the First Year Experience

3.      Focus on learning outcomes

4.      Focus on making the program understandable by students

5.      Further examine the appropriateness of reducing the number of credits.


IV.  Old Business

A.     Work groups and group tasks for year

1.      Structure – A recommendation was made to leave the subcommittee with the same members as it had last year, with addition of Eric Kraemer.

2.      Learning Outcome and Refinement and LX form revisions – The Chair asked for a group to be put together to work on making the LX form more user-friendly and to begin looking at where changes to the learning outcomes might be made. Chair asked Jess Hollenback and Mary Leonard to meet to begin this process. Cris Prucha also agreed to join this group.

3.      Assessment – The subcommittee is in need of additional members.

4.      FYE – The subcommittee is on hold until the Chair talks to Dean Roter , but its members will begin looking at the learning outcome and LX form revisions.

5.      Other – No other subcommittees were discussed.


V.                 No new Business was discussed.

·        A request was made to begin and end GEC meetings at scheduled times (3:30pm – 5:30 pm).

·        Meeting adjourned at 5:45pm


VI.              Next meetings:

A.     Monday, October 4 (with Ruthann Benson)

B.     Monday, October 18