FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

February 1, 2007

MINUTES

Union 235

 

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Dan Schierenbeck, Chair, with the following members present: Dr. Nicholas Baeth, Ms. Rochelle Barabas, Dr. Kelly Boyd, Dr. Karen Bradley, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, Ms. Joanne Reinke, Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison, Mr. Travis Bingham, SGA Representative, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio, and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary.  The following members were not present: Dr. Victoria Jackson and Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee (liaison)

 

Academic Advisors were previously asked to attend this meeting to discuss transfer issues that affect the General Education Program.  The Provost announced at the last Provost Cabinet meeting that he would also like to discuss the situation with both the committee members and advisors.  Attendees were: Provost Y. T. Shah, Dr. Matt Melvin, Dr. Doug Couch, Dr. Lynn Alkire, Dr. Steven Boone, Mr. James Piatt, Mr. Pete Ozias, Mr. Denton Humphrey, Ms. Carla Jones, Ms. Julie Carman, Ms. Linda Guin, Ms. Jessica Johnson, Ms. Tammy Shumate, Ms. Kathy Shearer, Ms. Annie Ensminger, Ms. Dana Hoover, and Ms. Jenny Steen.  The following Academic Advisors were not in attendance: Mr. John Hicklin, Ms. Jennifer Pint, Ms. Lisa Runyan, and Ms. Krisana West. 

 

The Provost thanked everyone for coming and said he would like to express his thoughts about what he has been hearing across campus and discuss the core organization structure, along with where to take the university in the future. 

 

Provost Shah would like to develop a Teacher/Scholar model for faculty.  The faculty appear to agree strongly with the concept, but they are cautious about how it will be accomplished.  The Provost then went on to explain state funding.  Governor Blunt is only allowing higher education a 4.2% increase in state appropriations over the next 3 years and, beginning next year, universities will not be allowed to increase tuition more than the cost of living.  Provost Shah was not sure how much support we can expect from the Missouri legislature, so we need to take control of our own destiny. 

Our current retention rate from freshmen to sophomore year is 72%.  We lose 500 freshmen, which equates to $3 million dollars.  Our 6-year graduation rate is only 52%. 

 

The next issue the Provost wanted to discuss was curriculum.  Provost Shah said that our campus seems to put a high value on student credit hours generated.  This high number of student credit hours, however, burdens both faculty and students.  We need to manage and orchestrate curriculum to reduce faculty workload.  Student credit hours will not be the way to finance departments in the future.  We tell students they only need 124 hours to graduate, but, on average, most students graduate with 135-140 credit hours. 

 

Provost Shah acknowledged that faculty are in charge of curriculum.  He wants to mobilize conversations on how to make the General Education Program more flexible.  He would like to urge the committee to build a system with General Education where competency requirements are served in a more flexible manner and that the General Education Program is slimmed down to 42 credit hours

 

While certain courses (e.g., literature and the sciences) are important, we need to decide what is acceptable as a transfer.  This issue is important for degree requirements as well as recruitment and retention.  We also need to keep in mind that we have the C-Base exam as a check and balance.  From a quality point of view, faculty time is the most important concern.  The deans realize that, in the end, we need to find the best way to serve our students.  The Provost will no longer allow hiring faculty based on the number of student credit hours generated. 

 

We need a well-balanced, comprehensive General Education Program, but we will not get there unless fundamental issues are first addressed.  The ultimate objective for students who attend UCM is that they have a successful and rigorous academic experience so they can then graduate from here.  At the same time, we want the best faculty to come here and have a meaningful professional experience with quality time for instruction and scholarship. 

 

The Provost then opened up the meeting for discussion.  Dr. Viscusi pointed out that the significance of the joint meeting between the FS General Education Committee and the Academic Advisors was to become transfer-friendly and to be as accommodating as possible.  The Provost noted that we lose 400 International students every year.  Dr. Melvin explained that students who leave the university receive exit surveys, but the surveys are seldom returned.  He believes cost is one issue why people leave. Also, if students do not perform well, they usually do not stay.  Dr. Bradley said she is anxious about modifying a program just to retain students.  The Provost noted that it is also to recruit and improve quality for the student body. 

 

Dr. Couch said when he worked at Metropolitan Community College, Central Missouri had the reputation of being the most difficult institution in the state for transferring credits and matching courses.  He believes that if we could accept any science or literature course in the catalog, the transition would be much easier.  Ms. Shumate said the process to approve major-specific General Education courses is slow since the students have to get departmental approval for substitutions.  The Provost pointed out that this is also an instant conflict of interest for departments because accepting the substitution affects their number of student credit hours generated.  Dr. Bradley noted General Education courses are outcome based across course content, and the purpose is to make sure competencies such as writing, information management, etc., are embedded in the courses.  Therefore, stating that any course counts within a particular area is not necessarily true.  Improving flexibility is all right as long as skills are demonstrated in courses.  Provost Shah agreed that not all courses would qualify but that we will need to scrutinize what counts.  He does not want to compromise competencies but feels that the courses should be similar.  Dr. Grelle pointed out that simply matching course titles and descriptions is not an appropriate method in accepting transfer courses, and he feels the outcomes driven point expressed by Dr. Bradley is important. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck said that departments can propose new courses to be in the General Education Program, and we need to separate out what are General Education issues from transfer issues.  Provost Shah agreed that we should define the issues and address them.  General Education is extremely important and needs to be addressed.  Dr. Viscusi said that when departments do not accept a transfer course because it does not meet 100% of the competencies, he wonders if departments should say that 80%-90% is close enough for flexibility.  Provost Shah again reminded everyone that all students have to pass the C-Base exam, which will demonstrate their abilities in the core courses.  Dr. Bradley asked what the percentage is for transfer students not ready to take the C-Base exam.  Both the Provost and Dr. Melvin think that transfer students should be able to follow the same practices that native students do.  Dr. Grelle said the issue is complicated when transfer students have Ds in core courses.  Another problem is whether a core course taken 10-15 years ago should still be counted, since so many courses have changed over that period. 

 

Dr. Alkire suggested looking at the broader picture from a statewide perspective.  She recently attended the DHE Transfer and Articulation Conference, and her impression was that UCM is way behind 2-year and 4-year institutions working together.  The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) has a 77% transfer population, so she questions what we are doing at UCM.  Several universities also had an Office of Transfer and Articulation.  UCM is viewed as not being customer friendly and not informing other institutions of our requirements. 

 

Provost Shah agreed that the majority of UMSL business was transfer students.  It is a transfer student market, and students shop around.  He feels that we are not doing good business when the transfer market is increasing across the state.  Rolla’s debt per student ratio is $80,000 on average, with $67,000 per capita income.  Education is expensive; therefore, students will go where they are welcome and the institution is cost effective.  Dr. Melvin said our current student debt ratio is $15,000, with a per capita income of $53,000. 

 

Provost Shah wants UCM to be perceived as a high quality institution and flexible.  He will also discuss these issues with Academic Council.  The Provost is trying to figure out how to give raises this year.  There are two basic sources of revenue coming into the university: the state and students.  If the state does not give us more money, then we need to make sure we retain the students we have.  State appropriations make up 44% of our funding and 56% comes from students.  The university is constantly struggling with how to generate more revenue. 

 

Dr. Boyd asked if there were model General Education Programs that could be referenced nationwide or if the Provost could recommend particular models for the committee to consider.  Provost Shah said he wanted the committee to look at models within the state as well others.  He would like for us to compete with MU and KU.  He felt we have to change our fundamental behavior to get different results.  The national average number of credit hours to graduate from college is between 120-128 credit hours.  We need to look at what the best practices are in the country; for example, the nursing program knows the best nursing institutions out there. 

 

Provost Shah said General Education is important because of the set of competencies each student should have.  The problem occurs when these get translated into specific courses.  He is not questioning majors that are rigorous, but he is surprised with majors that do not have electives.  He is mindful of the fact that there is no unique answer, but he would like to remind everyone that students are our business.  Whatever it takes, we have to make a change, whether it is expanding this committee or starting over.  The Provost thanked everyone for attending and said he was available at any time for further conversations. 

 

As the guest attendees were leaving the room, Dr. Schierenbeck asked the FS General Education Committee members to stay so we could schedule a meeting time to discuss the issues mentioned today. 

 

The next FS General Education Committee meeting will be on February 8, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.  Committee members will be notified of the room location via email. 

 

The meeting was then adjourned.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Traci Butler, Secretary

 

 

FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

February 8, 2007

MINUTES

Union 233

 

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Dan Schierenbeck, Chair, with the following members present: Dr. Nicholas Baeth, Ms. Rochelle Barabas, Dr. Kelly Boyd, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Victoria Jackson, Ms. Joanne Reinke, Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee (liaison), Mr. Travis Bingham, SGA Representative, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio, and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary.  The following members were not present: Dr. Karen Bradley, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, and

Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison.

 

Approval of January 18 Minutes

Dr. Jackson moved to approve the minutes, Ms. Reinke seconded the motion, and the minutes were unanimously approved. 

 

Announcements

Dr. Schierenbeck announced that in light of recent events, he did not send the workshop letters to the department chairs who had courses up for review.  The Provost is still not happy that we have not reached 42 credit hours and there are other issues regarding flexibility.  Dr. Cairns and Dr. Schierenbeck talked to Dr. Odin, Faculty Senate president, and Dr. McKee, Faculty Senate vice-president.  They agreed that Dr. Cairns, Dr. Schierenbeck, and a representative from the Provost’s office should lay out the items which need to be addressed and then discuss the items with the FS General Education Committee.  It was also agreed to not throw away all of the work that went into the decision of a 43 credit hour General Education Program.  We need to come up with ideas of where to go from here, do the legwork, look at data, and then it will go through our committee, FSUCC, and Faculty Senate.  Provost Shah made the comment at last week’s meeting that if we don’t get it right, he’s going to take it out of our hands and do something else.  The Provost also stressed the size and structure of the FS General Education Committee, noting that he thinks it should be larger. 

 

Discussion of Committee Business for the Rest of the Semester

A.  Course Review

Dr. Schierenbeck asked the members if they thought it was best to shelve the course reviews.  Dr. Viscusi pointed out that doing so would enable the committee to address flexibility issues and adding courses.  The Provost is trying to address a complaint that was lodged that the committee is composed of faculty are here to defend their turf.  One suggestion made is that non-general education people should be added to the committee.         

 

Ms. Barabas asked if the intention is to keep the current members and add in additional people.  Dr. Viscusi thinks if the committee gets to be 20 people large, the process will be slowed down.  He suggested to Dr. Odin and Dr. Schierenbeck to only add 3 more At-Large positions, which will keep the numbers close to what we have and allow non-General Education members to serve.  Dr. Schierenbeck’s impression was that the Provost wanted 2-3 members from each college.  Ms. Reinke said we wouldn’t necessarily have to keep At-Large positions.  Dr. Viscusi believes there is no right answer but he wants to point out that it is harder to get progress moving on a large committee. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck said another issue about structure/composition is that other faculty areas can complain and we would be back in the same situation.  Dr. Viscusi said the base question is whether or not to shelve the course review to concentrate on other issues and then determine how often to meet.  It will be counter-productive to give a general call to departments to submit something.  We could go to the departments, talk about the issue, and tailor what we ask them to do.  Some student complaints are that some of the courses aren’t interesting but only fill a slot.  We should remove curricular choke points and make the courses more interesting. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck noted that these are large issues and we need to figure out a way to review courses so that we are not inundated with too many.  We need to tackle the programs and departments that use General Education.  Dr. Cairns said that the 40-hour rule of 3000 and 4000 level courses as well as requiring General Education, which deals with flexibility, will be on the next FSUCC agenda. 

 

Dr. Boyd wonders if the Provost realizes the precedent set if he allows a complaint to change a FS committee.  Is it possible that people who complained feel slighted because of their own territorial issues?  She is not sure what the flexibility of the program would look like and does not have a real sense of how to initiate it.  Dr. Schierenbeck and Dr. Cairns will work on gathering information from peer institutions and then the committee needs to find a range of offerings suitable to us.  The Provost wants to see a select list of courses and feels that the native vs. transfer student is another issue to deal with.  German Literature is an example where we say transfer students can count it because they didn’t know our program but that our native students are not allowed to count it as a General Education literature course.  Instead of only allowing 5 literature courses, opening it up to 8-10 courses will bring flexibility, yet it is not too wide open. 

 

Dr. Boyd asked when it happens, if we will be approaching departments.  Dr. Viscusi said there will be a blanket invitation if we start over, but if it is a select list of courses, then we would approach the departments.  Dr. Schierenbeck said we have some control of how open and restrictive the program will be.  Dr. Viscusi would like the committee to avoid the danger of throwing it wide open.  Dr. Cairns said that is why they are looking at other institutions to get a range of courses. 

 

Ms. Edmondson thinks an artificial inflexibility was created from departments over-riding courses on their own whim.  Dr. Viscusi said he will address departments about those issues.  Dr. Cairns also suggested the possibility of asking departments to not require General Education courses in their majors. 

 

Dr. Jackson noted that one of the largest problems is it depends on what advisor a student sees and the different answers that are given.  Dr. Viscusi said we need consistent application.  Dr. Schierenbeck agreed that we need guidelines. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck feels the committee has a sense of what we are up against and asked if we are willing to move past the course reviews.  Dr. Cairns said a process needs to be set up.  Dr. Schierenbeck plans to publicize and make the process clear.  He would like to see open communication between people and we also need to hold ourselves to what is best for the university.  The committee agreed to drop the workshops and course reviews.  Dr. Schierenbeck will notify the departments that were up for review, as well as those with new courses, about what we are doing and not doing.

 

B.  Flexibility and 42-hour Gen Ed Program

Dr. Cairns wanted to know if the committee would like the FSUCC to still address the IGEN/ICAP issue if we think it should happen anyway.  Dr. Viscusi said the process was to get to 42 credit hours.  If we don’t change what we proposed for the IGEN/ICAP courses and stick to a 43 credit hour General Education Program, we can now deal with the other issues.  Dr. Cairns agreed but he didn’t want to take it forward without the committee’s approval.  Dr. Schierenbeck said that our recommendation was tied to moving other courses to other spots.  Dr. Jackson pointed out that the idea was the bulk of the classes did not meet the General Education Program goals.  Dr. Cairns and Dr. Schierenbeck will send a list of number and prefix changes to departments for approval before it goes to the FSUCC. 

 

Ms. Barabas clarified that re-prefixing will be done by the FSUCC and emailed to department chairs.  The departments can then change or delete the course and if there are no changes, the FSUCC will move forward.  Dr. Cairns said he will provide a complete list.  The IGEN/ICAP will be an inclusive list for the whole university.  The FS General Education Committee can decide which category courses fall in. 

 

Committee Size & Structure

Dr. Schierenbeck said he fulfilled his promise to the Provost to talk about committee structure.  Dr. Jackson also pointed out that our meetings are open so people can come and listen if they want.  Dr. Viscusi said on a practical level you need to speak your mind and take a university-wide view, and the committee is doing what it is expected to do.  He also is inclined to believe that only General Education people would want to be on the committee.  Remember to keep in mind that this committee only recommends to the FSUCC which then goes through Faculty Senate for final approval. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck said the Provost has proposed a FS Task Force be created if we decide to re-do the General Education Program from the ground up.  He also laid it on the table that if we don’t come up with a flexible enough program, he will throw it out and start over.  Dr. Cairns said we are just trying to minimize our losses right now. 

 

 

 

Implementation Plan

Dr. Schierenbeck and Dr. Cairns will provide ranges of flexibility.  We will want evidence that we are benchmarking.  Dr. Cairns and Dr. Schierenbeck have a separate meeting with the Provost and Dr. Grelle and they will discuss the committee’s ideas and insights of how to go forward.  Dr. Schierenbeck will keep bringing the committee’s concerns to Provost Shah. 

 

Ms. Reinke asked if we will meet with the advisors.  Dr. Schierenbeck needs to talk to Dr. Melvin and maybe the advisors.  We need to keep them informed and show them how we are trying to satisfy their concerns.  Two sets of institutions will be looked at for flexibility comparison purposes; our peer or sister institutions and those institutions we aspire to be similar to.

 

Meeting Times and Possible Scheduling Changes

Dr. Schierenbeck said to anticipate weekly meetings because the Provost wants things done quickly.  This will be further discussed next week.

 

Below are the upcoming scheduled meeting dates and locations for the remainder of the semester.  All meetings will be from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

 

Dates                                       Locations        

February 15, 2007                   LIB 2305        

March 1, 2007                         UN 233          

March 15, 2007                       UN 233          

March 29, 2007                       UN 233          

April 12, 2007                          UN 233          

April 26, 2007                          UN 233          

 

The meeting was then adjourned.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Traci Butler, Secretary

 

 

FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

February 15, 2007

MINUTES

LIB 2305

 

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Dan Schierenbeck, Chair, with the following members present: Dr. Nicholas Baeth, Ms. Rochelle Barabas, Dr. Kelly Boyd, Dr. Karen Bradley, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Victoria Jackson, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee (liaison), Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio, and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary.  The following members were not present: Ms. Joanne Reinke and Mr. Travis Bingham, SGA Representative.

 

Approval of February 1 Minutes

For clarification purposes, it was recommended to change the fifth sentence in the fourth paragraph on page 2 to read as follows, “He believes cost is one issue why people leave.”  Ms. Edmondson moved to approve the minutes as amended, Ms. Barabas seconded the motion and the minutes were unanimously approved as amended. 

 

Announcements

We will not meet on February 22, 2007 or the week of spring break.  We have UN 233 reserved for March 1, 15, 22, and 29.  In case the committee decides to continue meeting on a weekly basis in April, UN 233 has already been reserved for every Thursday morning.   

 

Range of Flexibility for General Education Program

Dr. Schierenbeck emailed the handouts on peer, aspirant, and MO institutions to committee members.  UCM numbers on the MO institutions handout were taken from our recommendation to the FSUCC, not the Undergraduate Catalog.  Provost Shah still wants us to drop one credit hour, but we will hold off on that for now and will begin work on the flexibility for General Education transfer and equivalencies. 

 

The question was asked if 2000 and 3000 level courses should be added to the Program since certain departments only have so many introductory courses.  Dr. Viscusi stated that departments creating new courses for the Program will not necessarily be proposing courses for the categories that need expanding.  Dr. Schierenbeck said there will be a different solution for each category and Dr. Cairns added that some areas will be broader than others.  We will start with the current listing and add new courses into the existing categories but that the difficult part will be identifying the criteria we should use.

 

Dr. Bradley asked if there was documentation as to what the problems are with transfers.  Dr. Viscusi replied no that all the issues have not been clarified.  When an advisor does not know if a course will transfer, the student is sent to the department.  All transfer issues do not involve General Education.  An example of a General Education issue, however, is that business majors are required to take Public Speaking.  While the Oral Interpretation course forces students to speak in public, it doesn’t count for that category.  Dr. Cairns said he and Dr. Schierenbeck spent 3 hours going over isolated problems with the Provost and we need to deal with his perceptions.  Eliminating functional majors and required minors, however, may solve some of these problems, but in a different way. 

 

Process and Responsibility for Decisions on Gen Ed Transfer and Equivalencies

Ms. Edmondson asked why Mr. Couch said UCM had the worst reputation regarding transfer students.  Dr. Cairns said it is a combination of department, university, and a few General Education issues.  Dr. Grelle said he was also at the Articulation Conference Dr. Alkire mentioned and he did not get the impression that we were one of the worst schools.  Dr. Viscusi pointed out that when a student doesn’t get his or her way, it is the institution that stands in the way of him or her getting the degree, therefore, it is the institution that is inflexible.  Dr. Schierenbeck said the Provost does not want departments putting up road blocks.  Dr. Cairns said we need to focus on keeping departmental problems separate from General Education problems.  Dr. Cairns also thought it would be a good idea for this committee to make a motion to FSUCC about stopping General Education courses from being required in a degree.  Departments can determine equivalency for General Education. 

 

Dr. Boyd asked how departments will be impacted with the decrease in hours and Dr. Cairns replied that the Provost is not saying to reduce programs, but he does want departments to take a hard look at the requirements.  Right now, departments are determining General Education issues.  Dr. Grelle pointed out that departments will have to justify courses and student complaints will reduce if it is a degree requirement.  Ms. Edmondson noted that the student perception will be different if it is a degree requirement instead of General Education requirement. 

 

Dr. Viscusi explained that the process begins in the office of Admissions to see if a transfer course corresponds to one of ours and then it goes to Advising if there is a question.  If the advisor does not know the answer he or she contacts Dr. Viscusi.  Dr. Grelle said Enrollment Management has recently talked about setting up a transfer center.  Ms. Edmondson is worried that even though we change transfer equivalencies in the catalog that departments will still tell the student he or she needs to take certain courses.  Dr. Schierenbeck is concerned that if programs are under pressure to keep under 124 credit hours for majors that departments are going to try and put courses in the General Education Program. 

 

Dr. Grelle said there are two separate issues, one is jurisdiction and the other is non-articulated courses.  Dr. Cairns recommended a motion be made to FSUCC asking them to ensure that decisions on General Education requirements are made by the General Education Committee rather than departments or programs.  Dr. Jackson seconded the motion.  Dr. Grelle said that from an administrative perspective this will clear up a lot of issues and he is in favor of the motion.  The committee unanimously approved the motion, with the understanding that the exact wording will be presented at the next meeting. 

 

The next decision is the implementation process.  Dr. Jackson would like the General Education Committee to review the questionable courses.  Dr. Viscusi said that would be difficult because the student needs to have a response back within 24-48 hours.  Dr. Viscusi said that a list of all decisions will be presented to the committee for final approval before they are posted to the website.  Ms. Barabas agrees that we need to expedite the process to do what is in the best interest of the student. 

 

Ms. Edmondson asked if wording could be added to our motion that academic advisors will no longer take General Education course questions to the department.  Dr. Cairns agreed that we need guidelines.  Dr. Viscusi said the important factor is that the competencies are being met.  Dr. Ma suggested another meeting with the advisors to discuss the issues and Dr. Viscusi agreed that there needs to be greater coordination with the advisors.

 

Dr. Schierenbeck confirmed that all decisions on courses that are not clear or articulated will go to the committee and asked the committee if there were any objections to having Dr. Viscusi make the immediate decisions on the “oddball” courses.  There were no objections. 

 

Meeting Times and Possible Scheduling Changes

Below are the upcoming scheduled meeting dates and locations for the remainder of the semester.  All meetings will be from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

 

Dates                                       Locations        

March 1, 2007                         UN 233          

March 15, 2007                       UN 233          

March 29, 2007                       UN 233          

April 12, 2007                          UN 233          

April 26, 2007                          UN 233          

 

The meeting was then adjourned.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Traci Butler, Secretary