FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

March 1, 2007

MINUTES

UN 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, Dr. Karen Bradley, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Victoria Jackson, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, 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. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison.

 

Approval of Minutes

Dr. Cairns moved to approve the February 8, 2007 minutes, Dr. Jackson seconded the motion and the minutes were unanimously approved. 

 

Updates on FSUCC motions and feedback from the Provost’s Cabinet and Academic Council

Dr. Schierenbeck reported that, on February 15, 2007, the FSUCC unanimously approved the motion previously recommended by us to reduce the General Education credit hours required from 48 down to 43.  They also approved removing title of “Functional” from Functional Majors and the removal of the required minor, but they retained optional minors or areas of emphasis. FSUCC is also looking at the 40-hour rule.  Dr. Cairns explained the 40-hour rule was enacted about 5 years ago and for many department programs, this rule caused students to stay 1-1.5 years longer.  The FSUCC is now looking at the problems and benefits of this rule.  Dr. Viscusi said that Academic Council also wanted the requirement that 50% of the courses had to be taken at UCM.  The Provost Cabinet’s resolution was to revisit the whole question, possibly going down to 30 credit hour upper division courses with a minimum of 15 credit hours in the major, which would eliminate the 50% rule.  Other institutions have a 30-hour rule.  Dr. Cairns added that 35 credit hour rule was high for most universities, so we are quite a bit above that. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck had two additional comments from attending the Provost Cabinet and Academic Council.  Departments are concerned about moving IGEN/ICAP courses into programs because that will add 3 extra credit hours into their program.  The other concern was whether managing information competencies would be covered if the Technology course is moved out of General Education.  Dean Dinwiddie would like for Library faculty to be consulted regarding these competencies. 

 

Dr. Viscusi said another topic discussed was the need for communication.  This committee is operating at a university level and does what is best for the university.  We are not a deciding body; we are a recommending body and our recommendations then go to the FSUCC and Faculty Senate.  No matter what we do, there will be objections.  Dr. Cairns noted that each committee member is a representative of his or her college, so there needs to be communication back to the college. 

 

Dr. Viscusi also said the perception was that the committee jumped at one category, when in fact, we did look at other categories and options and put many hours into the decision.  We also talked about embedding the competencies in courses.  Dr. Viscusi didn’t realize that CIS instructors are generalists and the course not only manages information, but also shows how to word process.  The committee previously talked about LIS adjuncts, but Dr. Viscusi talked to Dean Dinwiddie, and she would like to have librarians do modules in sections, at no additional cost.  Dr. Viscusi also spoke with Dr. Antrim about the faculty member who could possibly be affected by the change and found out there are other courses the faculty member could teach in her department as well as in the library, so unemployment is not an issue in eliminating the Technology category. 

 

Ms. Edmondson thought that the General Education matrix and competencies are not clearly understood by faculty at Academic Council.  Regarding the LIS course, faculty across campus have different ideas of what managing information means.  She would like to see that question addressed.  Dr. Cairns said the next task is to set criteria and determine how to judge each course.  Dr. Viscusi noted that the goal is to get students to understand managing information, not to keep a specific course. 

 

Ms. Edmondson asked for clarification on the statewide articulation agreement.  Dr. Viscusi explained that we have to accept what other universities say satisfy particular competencies in their General Education Program.  Likewise, if we say competencies are met in our 42-hour block, then they have to accept the block.  He also reminded the committee that nothing is permanent until the next catalog deadline of January 30, 2008, and the Provost is still hopeful that we will have it trimmed down to 42 credit hours. 

 

Future Directions/Plans

Dr. Schierenbeck said the next items we need to look at are the matrix, Statement of Philosophy and Goals link to CBHE on the General Education page, state goals and competencies, as well as the institutional competencies.  The Provost said he would like the program to be academically rigorous and operationally flexible, and he is pleased with the committee’s efforts and progress to date. 

 

Process and Responsibility for Decisions on Gen Ed Transfer and Equivalencies

Dr. Schierenbeck asked for input about whether questionable transfer equivalencies should go to Dr. Viscusi and he would then report results at the next General Education Committee meeting.  Dr. Viscusi said the deans are concerned that we have a transfer articulation table on file because we can’t say a 1000 level course equals a 4000 level course.  An example would be a 1000 level Shakespeare course.  The English department maintains it has to be a 2000 level course, and they won’t accept it in their major.  The deans suggested we articulate on the screen that a 1000 level Literature course satisfies the Literature requirement instead equating.  Some wording needs to be arrived at, but eventually the list of approved, articulated courses will be built over time, on an as needed basis. 

 

Dr. Bradley was under the impression that CBHE intended General Education courses should be lower level courses.  Dr. Jackson noted that has not been the practice because of the 40-hour rule. Dr. Viscusi also added that our transfer and articulation screens do not take that into consideration.   Dr. Cairns made reference to the one-stop student center currently under discussion and said that Dr. Melvin thinks it is alright for departments to determine equivalency for their programs.  Dr. Viscusi feels people may be discounting the idea because it is only in discussion at this point.  He believes it has been very valuable that Dr. Schierenbeck and Dr. Cairns met with the Provost Cabinet and Academic Council.  The Provost loves the idea, the deans appeared to like the idea, but he is not sure about department chairs or faculty.  

 

Dr. Cairns would like to see how the committee determines what belongs in the General Education Program.  Dr. Viscusi said a list of components will have to be decided on and brought before the Provost Cabinet and Academic Council.  Dr. Schierenbeck thinks we will use something similar to the current framework for goals and competencies.  Dr. Cairns believes departments need to make a decision for equivalencies for their program, whether it is the advisor or the department.

 

Dr. Bradley thinks there are three choices to decide on for who should handle transfer equivalencies: Dr. Viscusi, the committee, or the transfer group under Dr. Melvin.  Dr. Schierenbeck noted that we are only dealing with exceptions in non-articulated courses, not all transfer equivalencies.  Dr. Viscusi said he currently only gets about 1-2 exceptions a month, and once the committee eliminates them and they are put on the articulation screen, the number will become fewer.  Dr. Bradley feels it would be useful to have collective discussion.  Dr. Viscusi agreed but noted that in order to have a quick answer for the student, his decision would only apply for that student.  He would then report his decision at the next committee meeting, and the committee would decide if it goes on the satisfaction screen. 

 

Dr. Bradley is not sure of the logic of having Dr. Viscusi approve the courses.  She thinks it would make more sense to have the committee chair make the decisions.  As the current committee chair, Dr. Schierenbeck is concerned about the decision being made at that level due to the steep learning curve.  Dr. Viscusi added that as the ex-officio member, he is the corporate memory of the committee.  The university is currently losing transfer students because of the many hurdles and getting an answer takes too long.  Dr. Cairns suggested both the committee chair and ex-officio member make a joint decision.  Ms. Edmondson noted that chairs come and go; therefore, the decision process might be more consistent with the ex-officio member (Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies.)  Dr. Cairns noted that the number of exceptions will possibly be changing with the 40-hour rule and other discussions on campus. 

 

It was determined that any decision made for a 24-hour turn around time applies to that student only and the committee will decide what courses are added to the articulation screen. 

 

Bradley Motion

Due to lack of time, this topic will be discussed at the next meeting.

 

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 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

March 15, 2007

MINUTES

UN 233

 

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Dan Schierenbeck, Chair, with the following members present: Dr. Nicholas Baeth, Ms. Rochelle Barabas, Dr. Karen Bradley, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Victoria Jackson, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, 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. Kelly Boyd and Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison.

 

Approval of Minutes

Dr. Jackson moved to approve the February 15, 2007 minutes, Dr. Baeth seconded the motion and the minutes were unanimously approved. 

 

Announcements

Dr. Schierenbeck announced that even though Provost Shah turned in his resignation, Dr. Schierenbeck thinks that as long as the committee feels it is making decisions in the best interest of the General Education Program, we should stay on the same track. 

 

Dr. Viscusi added that the President is still concerned about required minors, large majors, and students not being able to graduate within 124 credit hours.  The President understands things can take longer than 90 days to accomplish but believes it can still be done in a timely manner.  The FSUAC discussed the idea of assessment for Information Management and Computer Literacy, and they are still exploring the possibility of a low cost way of testing Computer Literacy. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck announced that we will not meet on March 22, 2007.  Therefore, our next meeting will be on March 29, 2007, which will allow committee members time in between meetings to write proposals/motions.

 

Transfer Policy

Dr. Viscusi provided a recent example of the current transfer situation.  A student transferred in 2003 with a 1000 level history course taken in KS, and that course was on our articulation screen.  The student took the MO Constitution and passed, but the department refused to sign off on the course.  The department did agree to the MO Constitution being satisfied through a Political Science course but would not recognize the history course.  Dr. Viscusi believes that if the articulation screen says a course is acceptable, then we have to stand by it. 

 

Based on the motion that was passed at the previous meeting, Dr. Schierenbeck proposed the following language for a transfer policy be presented to the FSUCC: 

 

“In order to ensure that decisions on general education courses are made by the General Education Committee rather than departments or programs, we recommend the following policy regarding transfer students:

 

● All decisions on exceptions and unarticulated courses shall be forwarded to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

 

● The Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in consultation with the chair of the Faculty Senate General Education Committee, will make a decision regarding that particular course for that particular student.

 

● The Dean of Undergraduate Studies will report his/her decision to the Faculty Senate General Education Committee.

 

● If the committee approves the decision, the course will be added to a new section in the transfer table that covers courses that satisfy General Education requirements. If the committee does not approve the decision, this decision will also be recorded for future reference.”

 

The accurate position title is “Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies,” so “Dean” will be replaced with “Assistant Provost, etc.”  Ms. Edmondson asked if we needed to guard against our native students wanting to substitute a course taken here or elsewhere, and Dr. Viscusi said we have to hold them to the General Education policy. 

 

Dr. Jackson moved to approve the transfer policy as amended and Ms. Reinke seconded the motion.  There was no further discussion and the policy was approved as amended. 

 

Dr. Viscusi thinks there will be a jurisdiction issue because some departments think they have absolute control over their courses and the equivalent courses in the General Education Program.  Ms. Edmondson noted that this policy will establish a new line of jurisdiction.  Dr. Cairns is not sure the FSUCC has the ability to approve the motion, but they will make the recommendation to administration. 

 

Dr. Viscusi said the official policy was that all articulated courses were passed by departments.  Departments should proceed to remove courses if they do not think they are acceptable any longer.  Dr. Schierenbeck noted that our motion is a reflective result. 

 

Bradley Proposal

Dr. Bradley said she wanted to start with something concrete and thinks it is disappointing that General Education has a bad reputation.  She would like to find something that isn’t as complicated to understand and deal with.  Dr. Schierenbeck pointed out that there are state goals and competencies within those goals but that we also have additional competencies layered in.  Dr. Viscusi said the state competencies were initially made vague because there is so much variety throughout the state. They were recognized as general areas that needed to be addressed by a wide variety of approaches. 

 

Dr. Bradley suggested faculty can specify if there are competencies that are not met in a course instead of showing how assigned primary competencies are met.  Dr. Viscusi said that was previously done in the Open Forum reviews for courses in individual categories.  Just because a course is in a category does not mean you do all the competencies.  This was a faculty compromise.  Dr. Bradley gave the example that if a class is a 1000 level Science class, then it can be an appropriate General Education class, and there are only so many classes this applies to.  When asked if she is talking about opening up the entire program to introductory courses, Dr. Bradley said almost, because we need to move back to a more discipline based model.  Dr.Viscusi then asked who delineates what courses are open to students not in that major, and Dr. Bradley does not think we have that many 1000 level courses.  Dr. Jackson pointed out that both Fort Hays and North Texas catalog descriptions state that this course is intended for non-majors.

 

Dr. Bradley thinks we should use the state goals to set categories and, when we set courses, make sure the competencies are met.  Dr. Viscusi pointed out that we are talking about a fundamental shift, and this would need to be discussed in a broader based task force.  Ms. Edmondson said that our current process is highly inefficient, we do not get information correctly, and it is very complicated.  This new process could lend itself to a more reasonable and less competitive approach.  Dr. Viscusi noted that is a good point in theory now, but departments can create new 1000 level courses to get in General Education.  Dr. Bradley does not believe there will be any motivation for departments to add more courses.  Ms. Edmondson pointed out that other departments that do not have General Education classes can view this as a recruitment opportunity. 

 

Dr. Bradley said we could transform current categories, knowledge, and skill areas.  Ms. Edmondson does like the idea of sticking with state categories and Dr. Jackson noted that it also will help transfer students.  Dr. Baeth mentioned managing information in our matrix and primary goals seems to be met by the English composition courses, so maybe it is not an issue.  Dr. Bradley spoke with Dr. Antrim about the library setting up little units to make sure students are exposed to what they need.  Ms. Reinke said they are also working on library usage presentations for AE 1400.  Dr. Viscusi offered to create a new General Education Program sheet based on Dr. Bradley’s proposal to see what it would look like.  Dr. Jackson suggested to we add recommended 1000 level courses.  Dr. Baeth asked about higher-level courses that do not require a prerequisite, but Dr. Bradley said there is a difference between specific courses and General Education course which are meant to be introductory courses.  Dr. Viscusi will look at the catalog for other 1000 and 2000 level courses.

 

Dr. Viscusi said President Podolefsky would like to see the General Education Program at 42 credit hours; it was not just an initiative from the Provost.  Dr. Viscusi offered to suggest a 44 credit hour program, which would require a mandatory AE 1400 or department equivalent course for General Education.  Ms. Edmondson noted this would be a more honest approach.

 

 

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 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

March 29, 2007

MINUTES

UN 233

 

 

 

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

 

Approval of Minutes

Dr. Jackson moved to approve the March 1, 2007 minutes, Dr. Cairns seconded the motion and the minutes were unanimously approved. 

 

Announcements

The recommended motions passed on to the FSUCC will be sent on to the Faculty Senate once the minutes are approved.  Since Dr. Viscusi was not able to attend today’s meeting, he called Dr. Schierenbeck so he could relay information that was communicated 2 weeks ago when Dr. Viscusi met with Provost Wilson.  Dr. Viscusi explained the committee’s progress, data, and decisions, and the Provost saw the logic of our recommendations to FSUCC and thought our new direction for flexibility was on the right track. The Provost is concerned with transfer issues, but he does not seem to be wedded to the idea of a 42 credit hour General Education Program.  He does not have a problem with open forums.  He recognizes the committee is working hard and is doing what needs to be done. 

 

Process Issues

Dr. Schierenbeck thinks the recent email communication among committee members is good.  One new thing was the technical writing course.  Most of the issues were of what has been done and the processes used.  Ms. Barabas said information is leaking down into her college, and they are beginning to express their concerns to her.  Dr. Schierenbeck pointed out the good part is we’re getting feedback, but we need to find a way to get it earlier in the process.  He would like to see people get on board more at the beginning than at the end of the process.  We need to bring the information back to our colleges, whether it is via email or some other form of communication. 

 

Dr. Cairns said that a member on the FSUCC is not required to be on the college committee, and the same is true for the FS General Education Committee.  Ms. Barabas is hesitant to send emails to the college.  Dr. Jackson suggested sending an email to the Dean so he/she can forward the information on to the college or another option would be to go to Academic Council on a regular basis and keep them informed.  Dr. Cairns pointed out that discussion is important, not just dissemination of information.  Perhaps instead of electing from faculty at large, the FSUCC member could be the college curriculum committee chair.  Dr. Bradley thinks that if department chairs understand and are on board with the holistic approach, they can then explain the information to their faculty.  Dr. Cairns pointed out that information was communicated to Academic Council and they received handouts, yet there is still either misinformation or information is not being shared.  Dr. Grelle noted that faculty are hearing about it and that the source of emails may have come from informal discussion stemming from the Academic Council meeting. Dr. Ma suggested that the FS General Education Chair could email our discussions to department chairs on a regular basis.  Dr. Bradley mentioned posting our minutes in a public place.  Dr. Cairns said to send them to Ms. Kerr, and she will post them on the Faculty Senate website.  Dr. Schierenbeck suggested we go to Academic Council and ask to be on their agenda for announcements.  He is concerned with only the chair sending email updates to the campus community; he recommends each member email their own college. 

 

Dr. Grelle believes one voice is a good idea to take the pressure off individual committee members.  He also suggested hot topics and present issues be communicated to the Provost Council.  Dr. Cairns is meeting with Provost Wilson tomorrow and will discuss committee composition and ask that Dr. Grelle be back on APC. 

 

Discussion of Data on Bradley Proposal

Dr. Schierenbeck wants to make sure the committee is comfortable going forward and asked if open forums would be useful.  Ms. Barabas thinks open forums would be useful, especially since the President and Provost said there would be.  Dr. Schierenbeck thinks they will be useful to have as we move forward, but not to discuss past decisions.  Dr. Baeth said we need an agenda and specific issues.  Dr. Bradley suggested sharing our vision and point out the constraints, problems, reasons, and be open to other suggestions. 

 

Dr. Grelle thinks essential knowledge and skill areas should be defined at the first open forum.  Discussions typically center on certain courses, but the focus should be on knowledge/skills.  We need to set a parameter of discussion and maintain focus at the level of competencies.  However, once outcomes are mentioned, people will tend to respond with specific courses.  Provost Wilson has defended the process of the committee.  Dr. Cairns suggested we use the framework from the state with slight modifications and liked the context in Dr. Bradley’s email. 

 

In reference to the handout in which Dr. Viscusi added courses using Dr. Bradley’s proposal, Dr. Jackson said that BIOL 1112 could be added.  CHEM 1130 is no longer offered, but students can take CHEM 1131, and PHYS 1101 can be added.  Some courses are designed for science majors, but they are an introductory course.  She suggested adding a statement in the catalog of which courses are intended for majors or non-majors.  Dr. Grelle thinks it would be useful to have that information.  Dr. Jackson likes the verbiage Physics uses. 

 

Dr. Bradley suggested we create a definition to fit into a category and set the criteria.  Dr. Grelle pointed out that criteria will also help with transfer articulation issues.  Dr. Schierenbeck feels more comfortable with criteria justification.  Dr. Bradley also believes this would relieve the impression that the committee is territorial.  Dr. Schierenbeck recommends we work on the language of what sort of criteria we would support, and we have to articulate why we are going for the chosen areas.  Dr. Bradley thinks we need a separate set of criteria for knowledge and skill areas.  Dr. Grelle noticed the proposal does not address the valuing outcome and integrating that into courses makes it difficult when addressing transfer courses.  Dr. Bradley said that the Higher Order Thinking definition and outcomes are no more than basic science.  Dr. Grelle said in the original General Education document, the state had its own definition and agreed that most science classes address Higher Order Thinking.  Dr. Cairns said that if we approve the platform foundation to bring to the open forum, starting at the state level is a good point. 

 

Dr. Bradley thinks we need to deal with the library segments and honor that commitment.  Ms. Reinke said the library sections mentioned earlier for AE 1400 could be slanted in the direction of the course subject area. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck asked if there are any other proposals or another direction we would want to go.  Dr. Grelle mentioned a competency assessment so transfer students would be able to test out of a subject.  Dr. Schierenbeck noted that other state General Education programs have a range for CLEP courses.  Dr. Bradley agrees that technology would make sense to test, since the competencies we will have them embedded.  Dr. Grelle would like the committee to look at the valuing definition because the criteria are important in articulation. 

 

Dr. Schierenbeck suggested we address criteria at the next meeting.  He asked committee members to email proposals/suggestions to him by April 6, 2007, and he will email them to the committee. 

 

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        

April 12, 2007                          UN 233          

April 26, 2007                          UN 233          

 

The meeting was then adjourned.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Traci Butler, Secretary