General Education Final Report to Faculty Senate, May 2010

 

As usual for the General Education Committee (GEC), this year was quite busy with an ongoing focus of analyzing the results of the first formal assessment of all GE courses taught during the 2008-09 academic year. Before beginning this report, I would like to thank Kara Zwieg, Riley Moore, Don Sloan, Tom Pribek, Gerald Iguchi, Tom Gendreau, James Peirce, Michael Current, Jean Hindson, and Bob Ragan for their hard work, insightful comments, and clear passion for the job at hand.

 

The GEC received four specific charges from Faculty Senate (FS):

  • Immediately adopt the revised SLOs and submit to Faculty Senate for final approval so they are in place prior to the GEAC’s October assessment tool development deadline. Please plan to provide a report to faculty senate no later than the October 15, 2009 meeting.
  • Consider the possibility of requiring that the lower level English competency course, math general education requirement, and perhaps the required speech course be completed within a certain time frame (e.g. by the completion of the first 30 credits or by the end of the students third semester) and make a recommendation to Senate.  Please plan to provide a report to faculty senate at the January 28, 2010 meeting.

·         Continue working with Bryan Kopp on improvements to writing emphasis courses and Writing-in-the-Major Programs.

·         Remain in close contact with the ad hoc Assessment Committee and recommend steps to implement policies consistent with their assessment data.

 

We accomplished each of these charges, as well as many other things during the year, the highlights of which are as follows:

  • At the end of last year, we were heavily entrenched in a critical review of GE’s Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Redundancies were eliminated by merging or deleting some SLOs. Careful attention was paid to SLOs being assessed in 08-09 and 09-10 so that we were not changing SLOs that were in the process of being assessed by departments. Feedback was solicited from Chairs and Program Directors to be sure we were minimizing any detrimental impacts on current assessment plans. (For example, many SLOs were simply getting a new number). Early this year, we finalized this revision of the SLOs by integrating them into a set of Shared Learning Goals adopted by UW-System based on LEAP outcomes. This new arrangement of SLOs was approved by Senate and placed on the GE web site (http://www.uwlax.edu/gened/Outcomes.htm). The improved SLOs will be used in assessment of courses in 10-11.
  • One new course was passed by GEC this spring, ENG112. This course can be taken by students who earn a 3 or 4 on the English Placement Exam in lieu of ENG110. (Students will no longer earn automatic credit for ENG110 with a score of 3 or 4.) Students cannot take both ENG110 and ENG112 for credit. In addition, a minimum grade of “C” is required in ENG110 or ENG112, and must be repeated if necessary to earn the minimum “C” requirement. Students who earn a 5 on the placement exam are exempt from taking either of these two courses (ENG110 or ENG112).

 

  • In response to the second charge, GEC (and Senate) approved a change requiring that CST110, ENG110 or 112, and the GE Mathematics course be taken by all students prior to their acquiring 60 credits, beginning with new students in Fall 2010. Rationale for this change is found at the end of this report, minus reference to ENG112 which had not been approved when this change was made. Verbiage for this change will be place in the catalog (and on Academic Reports) as follows: “All students must complete the Literacy Requirements (ENG110 or ENG112, and CST110) and a General Education math course prior to earning 60 university credits.”  
  • Bryan Kopp (Dept. of English) was left with the task of making recommendations for the writing component to GE (Writing Emphasis/Writing in the Major Program; WE/WIMP). Bryan brought several WE proposals to the committee that were passed. In addition, the Chemistry Department presented a proposal to become a Writing in the Major department which was also passed. Bryan continues to work on the regulation and implementation of this part of the GE program. I recommend that the GEC be charged to continue working with Bryan Kopp on improvements to WE/WIMP in 10-11, particularly with regard to assessment of writing on campus.
  • Thanks once again to the hard work and efficiency (and endless patience) of the ad hoc General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) (Chair Scott Cooper, Cris Prucha, Kenny Hunt, Elizabeth Knowles, and Linda Dickmeyer), a report of last year’s assessment was made available to us early in Fall 2009. In addition, the GEAC headed up the second year of formalized GE assessment, with nearly all departments complying with the assessment piece. The GEAC has one more year of their 3-year ad hoc committee work to do in 10-11 and Senate will be deciding the fate of that committee early in 10-11, including how GE assessment might integrate with the duties of our new Assessment Coordinator. I recommend that the GEC have a voice in the decisions regarding the distribution of duties involved in assessment of GE courses.
  • We were not provided GE Innovation Grant funding this year due to budget shortfalls, making this the second year in a row that this grant opportunity has been absent from campus. We hope to reinstate these grants in 10-11, particularly to provide incentive to develop new courses and/or assess different SLOs.
  • Finally, we had many discussions about how to assess the GE program, as requested by the HLA in their report. I recommend that the GEC immediately begin working with the Assessment Coordinator, and possibly the GEAC, on the best way to assess the GE program in addition to assessing individual courses in 10-11.   

 

 

Recommendations for FS Charges for GEC in 10-11:

  • Continue working with Bryan Kopp on improvements to WE/WIMP in 10-11, particularly with regard to assessment of writing on campus.
  • Continue to monitor the compliance of departments in the assessment process and enforce the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Participate in the decisions regarding the distribution of duties involved in assessment of GE courses.
  • Immediately begin working with the Assessment Coordinator, and possibly the GEAC, on the best way to assess the GE program in addition to assessing individual courses in 10-11.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Anne Galbraith

Chair of GEC 09-10


 

 

General Education Committee’s Report on the following 2009-10 charge from Senate:

Consider the possibility of requiring that the lower level English competency course, math general education requirement, and perhaps the required speech course be completed within a certain time frame (e.g. by the completion of the first 30 credits or by the end of the students third semester) and make a recommendation to Senate.  Please plan to provide a report to faculty senate at the January 28, 2010 meeting.

 

The General Education Committee has unanimously approved the following recommendation that we bring to Faculty Senate:

 

Require students to complete ENG110, CST110, and a General Education Math course prior to earning 60 total degree credits.

 

NOTE: This proposed requirement would apply to all new students beginning Fall 2010.

 

  • The catalog language approved is as follows (with new language in bold):

 

General Education Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 48 credits of General Education courses.

Students must earn the minimum credits within each category (totaling 39 credits).

Students earn the remaining credits from any combination of categories.

Students must complete ENG110, CST110, and a General Education Math course prior to earning 60 total degree credits.

 

  • In addition to the additional sentence, the following (in bold) will be added to the section of the catalog where the courses involved are listed as follows:

 

CST 110: Communicating Effectively (complete prior to earning 60 credits)

 

ENG 110: College Writing I (complete prior to earning 60 credits)

 

(Minimum of 7 credits required; a minimum of 3 credits must be taken in mathematics from List 1 –complete prior to earning 60 credits. In List 1, only one course in each of the “or” pairs may be used to meet General Education.)

 

  • Similar language will be added to the Student Academic Reports on Wings and a separate entry will be added on the AR to emphasize this proposed requirement.

Rationale/Justification

Why these courses and not others? These three courses are the most “skills-based” of all courses in the program. By taking them early, the skills learned can be used in other courses taken both in General Education and in a student’s major program of study. Although arguments can be made that other courses might also provide useful skills, we only considered these three at this time.

 

Why 60 credits? By giving students two years to complete these three courses, negative impacts on programs/majors with large credit requirements will be minimal. In addition, a 60 credit window improves the chances that transfer students can comply. Finally, this allows ample time for students needing remedial courses prior to enrolling in the appropriate General Education course(s).

Effect on students? Most students are doing this already. Data from Spring 2006-07-08 (see appendix A) indicate that about 99% of second semester sophomores have taken ENG110 and about 95% have taken CST110. The data that we received regarding the Math course did not allow us to know the exact percentage of students who completed one General Education Math course because some students take more than one. We noted that since math placement scores are only valid for two years, if students are in their appropriate math course prior to 60 credits, the number of math placement test retakes will decrease.

 

Effect on departments? All three departments involved were informed of the proposed changes and allowed time to respond. The chairs of each department have indicated that they support this proposal, and will be certain that seats are made available to allow students to comply with the new requirement. In addition, the Provost expressed support of this proposal and will provide extra session money during the transition if needed to accommodate the change.

 

Enforcement? After many discussions, we decided to wait to see if formal consequences are necessary. The data in Appendix A indicate that most students already “comply” with this proposed requirement. After one year, a query will be done to determine compliance and the Registrar’s Office will send emails to non-compliant first year students to remind them of the 60-credit requirement. After two years, a query will be done again to determine compliance. If it appears that formal consequences need to be in place, we will implement a mechanism for enforcement at that time. 

 

APPENDIX A

Class Standing

Second Semester Freshmen

Second Semester Sophomores

Course

Term

Spring 2006

Spring 2007

Spring 2008

Spring 2006

Spring 2007

Spring 2008

Total

1265

1186

1152

1028

1109

1103

ENG110

#

1152

1094

1065

1016

1092

1094

%

91.1%

92.2%

92.4%

98.8%

98.5%

99.2%

CST110

#

1064

994

998

969

1048

1050

%

84.1%

83.8%

86.6%

94.3%

94.5%

95.2%

HPR105

#

634

582

619

724

759

811

%

50.1%

49.1%

53.7%

70.4%

68.4%

73.5%

SAH105

#

82

57

56

122

133

99

%

6.5%

4.8%

4.9%

11.9%

12.0%

9.0%

MTH126

#

0

15

14

2

8

49

%

0.0%

1.3%

1.2%

0.2%

0.7%

4.4%

MTH150

#

222

185

188

302

313

291

%

17.5%

15.6%

16.3%

29.4%

28.2%

26.4%

MTH151

#

208

208

197

241

228

254

%

16.4%

17.5%

17.1%

23.4%

20.6%

23.0%

MTH175/207

#

287

288

300

334

378

380

%

22.7%

24.3%

26.0%

32.5%

34.1%

34.5%

MTH145

#

340

309

328

497

586

546

%

26.9%

26.1%

28.5%

48.3%

52.8%

49.5%

MTH208

#

51

54

51

63

70

73

%

4.0%

4.6%

4.4%

6.1%

6.3%

6.6%