GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-LA CROSSE

 

MINUTES

Special meeting of Wednesday, August 30, 2006.

 

Members Present: Jon Fields, Emily Johnson (chair), Eric Kraemer, Stephen McDougal, Paul Miller, Cris Prucha, Robert Ragan, Bruce Riley, Soojin Ritterling, Brian Udermann, Devyne Strand

Consultants: Chris Bakkum, Diane Schumacher, Betsy Morgan

Guests: Carmen Wilson, Melissa Schultz, Chuck Lee, Jess Hollenbeck

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:35 PM in Room 2064 of the Health Sciences Center.

The chair asked for a volunteer to take Minutes.

I.  Announcements/Updates

(1)     Faculty Senate: Carmen Wilson spoke to the Committee about the status of the proposal as presented to FS initially last Spring. FS is expecting GEC to present a proposal that we have approved in its entirety, that major changes to the proposal were not being requested or necessarily expected. Faculty buy-in is important, but 100% agreement across campus is not expected or likely.  The Committee should provide written documentation to accompany the proposal.  The document should include a clear rational for the proposal as well as resource implications.

(2)     Handouts to the Committee:

a.        Minutes of May 1, 2006, to be considered later,

b.       Gen Ed briefing materials used with new faculty this year,

c.        The University Core (UC) Proposal as of April 20, 2006,

d.       The Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) approved September 29, 2005,

e.        Draft criteria for the First Year Experience (FYE) course and draft goals and outcomes of the First Year,

f.         The 2006-07 charge of the Senate Executive Committee to the General Education Committee,

g.       A draft description and justification for the UC proposal.

h.       Newly released Association for General and Liberal Studies Guidelines for Review and Assessment of General Education Programs

(3)     “Writing in the Major Program” (WIMP): Chair announced that Terry Beck, English, would be providing faculty development seminars for faculty needing Writing Emphasis certification and departments hoping to become approved as Writing in the Major programs.  Terry is being supported through the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL).  Terry would serve as the support person but would not be the individual to give final approval to WIMP proposals or WE proposals.  GEC would serve in that capacity

(4)     General Education Appeals: UCC has recommended to the Faculty Senate that GEC be given this task. This needs approval from Faculty Senate.  The Articles and By-Laws committee would then revise the appropriate By-Laws.  UCC argued that GEC has the most expertise regarding the goals and outcomes of the GE program so it is the best body to hear student appeals. 

(5)     Bachelor of Arts & Science Degree Recommendations:  As per GEC’s spring motion, Faculty Senate has referred the matter to UCC.

(6)     Faculty Senate Survey on 05-06 Gen Ed Proposal: The questions and responses will be e-mailed to members of the Committee. The one area that respondents decidedly answered “no” was a smaller program size.  In general, most liked the three-tiers; a plurality (47%) supported the FYE as well as the broad content of Tier One.

(7)     General Education Committee By-Laws: Distributed for the members information.

(8)     Director Goals and Strategies for 06-07: Disseminated to committee.  The Provost and SEC were also provided copies of these goals.

(9)     Chair of GEC: Emily discussed the possibility of electing the GEC Chair, rather than making the Gen Ed Director chair ex officio. Discussion was had on the differences between the responsibilities for the Director vis-à-vis the Chair.  Emily will provide the Director’s position description and possible Chair responsibilities for the next meeting.   The Director position is not a supported position in terms of program assistant or other clerical help.  Spinning off chair-duties would be helpful to Emily.

M/S/P: To recommend to the Faculty Senate that the By-Laws be changed, providing for the election of the Chair of the General Education Committee, with the General Education Director eligible for election. Unanimously on a voice vote.


 

 

The Committee recessed for fifteen minutes at 3:00 PM.

II.  Working Session

      The Status of the UC Proposal:

a.        Minor wording changes were suggested by Emily – in Tier Three accompanying text, as follows: “engagement” to “responsibility” and add “global understanding” in that same item.

b.       Emily walked the Committee through the current proposal, asking members to engage in a close review of it and the accompanying documentation for later GEC deliberations.

c.        Considerable discussion ensued regarding the relation between the SLO and the structure and content of the core.  Emily described some of the work done by Sandy Grunwald over the summer on this issue.  Feedback that Sandy received from several departments and/or Faculty Senate members indicated that there were a few outcomes unique to some categories, but the outcomes appeared to be spread across disciplines and categories, as GEC had intended (i.e., these are  programmatic outcomes). Concern was raised that the outcomes as currently included in core labels were confusing and inconsistently applied.  The argument was made that having the program goals as part of the Core subtitles was not important; having students understand what they were suppose to be learning through core courses was important.

By Unanimous Consent: To remove the following wording from the Core name and Three Tier titles: 

University Core Curriculum -  delete subtitle, “Inquiry and Critical Thinking

University Core I & II – delete subtitle, “Foundations of Knowledge”

University Core III –delete subtitle, “Personal, social and global responsibility”

 

d.       Several questions pertained to the minimum criteria for course entry into a particular category. Emily distributed, “Draft Criteria for Inclusion in University Core Disciplinary Categories.”  This document largely derived from the descriptions of categories found in the current Undergraduate Catalog. This could serve as a place to start in placing courses into categories.  Questions that the committee needs to consider include:  Will the Committee be classifying individual courses into categories or giving departments an opportunity to place a course as long as they have appropriate justification (departments must now provide justification for category placement as per the current LX forms)? Are multiple-classifications possible for a given course? Should all courses be grandfathered in or only those that have been offered regularly in the last few years?   What  timeline and criteria will be used for first official re-certification of courses in the Core?  

e.        Considerable discussion focused on the requirements of University Core II and part I of Core III.  Concerns raised included required credit hours, the categories included, the loss of some of current specific requirements such as HIS 101 or 102 and literature, the appropriate placement of courses focused on a global perspective or historical perspective, and whether/how Core reflects a liberal arts education philosophy

f.         Chair directed members to read and carefully consider all the materials disseminated today before the next meeting.  The major focus of the meeting will be on University Core II and III.    

 

Adjourned at 5:10 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Steve McDougal, pro temp.