GEC  Meeting

Monday, October 31, 2005



Members Present : Sandy Grunwald, Jon Fields, Emily Johnson, Eric Kraemer, Cris Prucha, Robert Ragan, Bruce Riley, Soojin Ritterling, Brian Udermann, Devyne Strand

Absent:  Steve Mc Dougal

Consultants Present: Keith Beyer, Chris Bakkum, Bruce May, Betsy Morgan, Diane Schumacher

Guests: Susan Crutchfield, Dick Sullivan 

Recorder:  Lisa Heise


I .  M/S/P.  Approval of October 17, 2005 Minutes


II.  Announcements

A.  Course and WIMP proposals for next meeting - Emily distributed 2 course proposals: MTH126 and FIN207.  An additional PHL course is en route for GEC consideration as well.  Also distributed a Theater Writing in the Major Proposal (WIMP); an Art WIMP will be sent via campus mail.  First read of proposals will happen in next GEC meeting, 2nd read on 11/21.

B.  WE approval - Discussion of whether committee may express urgency to Chancellor on a Writing Coordinator and request a speedy response. Emily will check with Senate Chair to see if any progress has been made.

C.  Reminder: Listening sessions Nov 14 and 28 - Please be present, and urge Department Chairs and other faculty to be there with questions and feedback.

D.  Reporting Line for Director of General Education - Emily currently reports to the Provost.  Questions have been raised by Senate Executive Committee  whether this position should report more directly to Faculty Senate.  Change:  Faculty Senate will read and approve Emily's goals each year, after these have been discussed with GEC.  She will send goals from last year and this year to GEC.

E.  GEC Mission and Vision Statements as written 10/17 will be up for discussion in faculty senate at their 11/10/05 meeting.


III.  English Department collaboration - Dick Sullivan and Susan Crutchfield provided GEC with an update on the activities in the English department related to general education.  A 3.5 year revision of the major came to fruition last year, new emphases in majors and revised & numbered courses.  Much assessment information is yet to be evaluated.  They are in the midst of putting together a self study to examine the way freshman writing intersects with General Education.  Limited resources have been behind the mixed dynamic created with ENG300.  English department is considering several options to address the issue, including suggestions read in GEC minutes.  Interested in a possible liaison scenario with GEC and a member of the Design Team, they would like a collaborative approach to a set of solutions.  A subcommittee was suggested that would include representatives of each of courses proposed as “freshmen foundations” by the Design Team--CST, HPR, and ENG.   


IV.  Reports 

A.          Wine and Dine Kick Off Event - Approximately 40 people attended.  Design team was there, mingled and answered questions.  Important to stress that this plan is not written in stone, that these are fluid ideas being considered by GEC.  The general mood seemed to be favorable toward the plan, but with many questions regarding structure, resources, etc. (including concerns regarding very “front loaded,” structured majors and a place for international perspectives, including study abroad opportunities).


V.  Old Business    

A.       Design Team Report & Discussion

        1.  Next steps.  Emily disseminated wording for potential motions that could be made based on the specific curricular recommendation as found in the Design Team report.  She suggested that by turning the recommendations into motions, GEC could address and vote on specific aspects of the report.  Feasibility studies could occur after GEC clearly identified the recommendations they supported. 


              She suggested that since the next two meetings will likely focus only on review of proposals, the first meeting in December should focus on these specific recommendations along with feedback received from campus constituents. Chairs would be informed that these specific recommendations may be made into motions to be voted on by GEC before the end of fall semester.


              Concern was raised about how best to communicate with the campus community so that key players are aware of these recommendations and that they have an opportunity to provide feedback.  Emily will send a reminder about the listening sessions to Campus Connections, listing the specific topics under discussion.  In addition, she will send out a campus-wide email with this information and a link to the report on the GE web site, strongly encouraging attendance at the listening sessions or, in other ways, providing feedback on the specific recommendations. Other questions and concerns raised included:

·      Are more details needed now, or does GEC need to focus on a set of decisions and sort the logistics after decisions have been made whether or not to move forward. 

·      Does the new course (UWL110) need to be more clearly defined and held to the same standards as any new course being proposed?

·      Should Syllabi from CST110, ENG110, and HPR105 be distributed as GEC considers courses, such as UWL 110?

·      Is it possible to vote on these issues considering first and foremost the best interests of students and whether they are broadly conceivable, and then move toward the feasibility and resource issues?


Members were reminded that the Design Team Report is a working document and therefore serves as a mechanism to force conversations about changes in the program.  Nothing is a foregone conclusion or given. However, changes are expected to be in place by the Fall of 2007, which will be upon us sooner than we may think.   

                  2.   First Year Experience. Rather than focus on the topic for Listening Session II, members wanted to continued discussion of First year experience (Listening Session I). Specific questions and concerns raised included:  

·         Whether the 12 credit requirement is feasible in all majors?

·         Should some courses be highly recommended for the first year, such as CST and EN\G, but students with more structured majors could take CST, for example, later?

·         Would the foundations requirements be any different than the prescriptive requirements now in place with some more structured majors?  What do students currently take in their first 30 credits across all the different majors?

·         Is there room for 5 credit courses if freshmen foundation courses are required?

·         Could more 300 level courses be included in General Education?  Is there interest among some departments to turn 100 level courses into 200 or 300 level courses? 

·         Should we ask again WHY these particular courses are considered foundational?  Is anything missing? Should we first identify the foundational knowledge and skills students should work toward in their first year and then suggest ways these needs could be addressed in and out of the curriculum?


Emily reminded members of several points:  (1) the most consistent feedback regarding first year student academic “needs” focused on communication skills.  (2) curricular decisions must be made while addressing learning outcomes—how best can we help students achieve these outcomes?  And (3) the Design Team’s plan was based on what they perceived as some of the current political realities of our current curriculum and institution.  That does not mean that GEC must adhere to these perceived realities; GEC can suggest alternatives such as more 300 and 400 level courses.


 VIII.  Next meetings:

A.       Monday, November 7 (first reads)

B.       Monday, November 21 (second reads)



 Adjourn  5:10 p.m.