August 27, 2007


TO:                  Cris Prucha, Convener

                        General Education Committee


FROM:            Carmen Wilson, Chair

                        Faculty Senate


RE:                   Committee Charge for 2007-2008 Academic Year


This memo is intended to serve as the initial charge letter to the General Education Committee for the 2007-08 academic year. 


In response to concerns that, frequently, committee member turnover each year tends to slow committee work, the senate executive committee is working to find better ways to orient new committee members.  Additionally, we would like to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of committee work.  To that end, we will be trying several new ideas. 

  1. The Senate Executive Committee will be holding a meeting of conveners at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, August 27 in 325 Graff Main Hall.  Please plan on attending this meeting if possible.  An agenda will follow.
  2. The SEC will be holding a meeting of Chairs during the week before classes in January.  The purpose of this meeting will be for committee chairs to report on progress on charges to date and discuss any problems committees may be experiencing.
  3. I have not yet received a final version of the 2006-2007 General Education Committee end-of-year report but will send you a copy as soon as it is available.  I am including a list of last year’s committee members with this charge letter.  The SEC strongly encourages you to invite past members to the first committee meeting of the year to review their work in the previous year. 


Last year, the General Education Committee recommended the committee no long automatically be chaired by the General Education Director and rather be allowed to elect a chair.  The Faculty Senate supported that recommendation and has suspended that by-law to allow the committee to elect its chair.  The Senate Executive Committee has charged the Articles and By-Laws Committee with rewriting the GEC by-laws to reflect that change.


Per Faculty Senate Bylaw II. (s):  “Each faculty committee shall hold an organizational meeting and report the name of the chairperson to the senate office by October 1. (Joint Chairpersons are not permitted.)” 


Therefore, as the convener of the General Education Committee it is your responsibility to arrange as soon as feasible an organizational meeting.  In addition to a chairperson, please also elect a secretary.


 Primary responsibilities of the chairperson include:

o       promptly informing the Senate office (5-8018) the results of the election of officers and any changes in committee membership.*

o       organizing and conducting meetings.

o       completing a year end report on the General Education Committee activities to be submitted to the Senate Office no later than May 31, 2008.


*The committee chairperson should carefully review Faculty Senate Bylaw II, “Faculty Standing Committees” for information on committee attendance and the role of alternates.


Primary responsibilities of the secretary include:

o       recording minutes of each meeting.

o       promptly sending meeting minutes to Sibbie Weathers ( so that the minutes can be posted on the faculty senate website. 


In the event the committee chooses to rotate secretarial duties, please designate one person to be responsible for e-mailing the meeting minutes to Sibbie Weathers.


According to Faculty Senate Bylaw II. H. The General Education  Committee, the duties and responsibilities of the committee shall include:

  1. Coordinating general education curricula.
  2. Conducting a systematic review of the General Education Program by examining existing courses on a regular, rotating basis, and recommending curricular changes.
  3. Reviewing and approving proposals for curricular changes in general education, including changes resulting from revisions of existing courses and proposals for admitting additional courses into the program after these courses have been approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
  4. Evaluating general education proposals within the established program structure, taking into consideration the needs of students and of society, the mission of the university, the necessity for quality general education, and the goals of the program.
  5. Consulting formally with the academic departments about coordination of the General Education Program by informing chairpersons in writing of proposals being considered that relate to their programs and by providing adequate opportunity for departments to be heard prior to committee and senate action on such proposals.
  6. Approving existing specific foreign languages offered as appropriate to the General Education Program.
  7. Studying different models of interdisciplinary courses, determining their appropriateness for general education, and encouraging faculty to develop such courses.
  8. Monitoring the development and application of methods for assessing the proficiency of students' skills to ensure that waivers of required skills courses, with or without retroactive credit, are appropriately granted.
  9. Encouraging the development of additional writing emphasis courses, monitoring their availability and systematically reviewing them according to established guidelines.
  10. Studying the relationship between the General Education Program and the University Honors Program.
  11. Authorizing substitutions or waivers for individual students in the General Education Program/University Core Curriculum.



In addition to the committee's normal duties, I ask that the committee consider and report on the following special charge:

·         Review and make recommendations for revisions of the LX140 form for proposing new courses to be included in the University Core Curriculum.


In addition, the Senate Executive Committee will be working with the Provost to revise the position description for the Director of the University Core Curriculum.  Once a draft position description is developed, I will be forwarding it to the General Education Committee for review.


Finally, the Senate Executive Committee will be surveying faculty and instructional academic staff about their support of our current general education program as well as structural changes agreed upon by the General Education Committee last year.  I anticipate that after we have the results of the survey, the Senate Executive Committee may develop special charges for the committee.  Additionally, should the membership wish to bring any policy issues to the attention of the senate, it should certainly do so.  Any recommendations that the committee would like to make to the senate should be submitted to our office in a timely fashion. 


If you have any questions about the above charge and potential charges, or if the Senate Executive Committee or I can assist your committee in any way during the year, please do not hesitate to ask.