FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE
SEPTEMBER 7, 2006
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. Peter Viscusi, and Ms. Amy Chester, Secretary.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. Schierenbeck asked the committee if there were any questions or comments on the August 17, 2006 minutes. Dr. Jackson made a motion to approve the minutes. Dr. Boyd seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
Dr. Schierenbeck will talk to Dr. Yelton, the past committee chair, and get an updated version of the matrix. The only courses left to look at for this cycle of reviewing the General Education program are HONR 3000 and HONR 4000. Dr. Schierenbeck also noted that Chemistry has already submitted their information for the next cycle.
Dr. Schierenbeck started out the discussion by telling the committee that the course had only two competencies in the Cultural and Personal Interaction sections when it was reviewed for the first time on February 9, 2005. Dr. Baeth noted that the course evaluation matched the syllabus. Dr. Viscusi and Dr. Schierenbeck were concerned that the new course evaluation might have now too many competencies, when before it did not have enough. Dr. Jackson commented that it would be easy for an ethics class to provide a majority of the competencies, but they should not all be primary. Dr. Jackson made the motion to approve the PHIL 2300 course evaluation, Ms. Edmondson seconded the motion, and the motion passed.
Joint Meeting for C-Base Policies
Dr. Schierenbeck handed out the flyers that were distributed during the joint meeting with the FS University Assessment Council on August 28, 2006. He then explained to the committee the current policy of scoring a 235 on all four sections of the C-Base test OR earn scoring a 235 on three of the four sections and earning a grade of “C” or better in all courses that are in the section of the C-Base test for which the student did not receive a score of 235. He then mentioned the problems that Dr. Grelle had talked about in the August 17, 2006 meeting. The committee then discussed their concerns with the old and proposed new policy of scoring a 235 in all four sections of the C-Base by the time the student reaches 90 credit hours. Some of the concerns were making a clear and definite deadline for the students to complete the requirement, cooperation with Academic Advising on not lifting enrollment blocks, providing more reminders and information for the students, providing more testing times and dates, and the handling of exceptions to the rule. It was decided that there should be a definite deadline of 90 credit hours; if the student has not passed all sections of the C-Base with a 235 at that time he or she would no longer be able to attend Central Missouri State University. Academic Advisors would need to be on board and educated on the policy change, so there would be no misadvisement on the issue. Certain transfer students would need exceptions to this rule, and those exceptions should not be published, but handled on an individual basis. Dr. Schierenbeck will send out a typed version of the recommended policy change for an email vote. The recommended policy change will include three things: (1) All students need to score a 235 in all four sections of the C-Base exam, (2) All four sections should be passed by the time the student reaches 90 credit hours, and (3) otherwise, the student will no longer be able to attend Central Missouri State University.
The questions that are sent out to the departments should be looked at and possibly reworded for clarification purposes. There might need to be something inserted into the questions asking for specific numbers of competencies. The committee recommended inserting “…no one course can contain all competencies; they should contain three to five…” to questions four and five. There was much discussion on the placement and order of the questions, but no decisions were made to change them. Dr. Viscusi pointed out that in number 13 it should read “e.g.” and not “i.e.”
The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, September 21, 2006 from 8:00 am to 9:15 pm, in James C. Kirkpatrick Library 2405.
The meeting was adjourned.
Amy Chester, Secretary
FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE
September 21, 2006
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. Mike Grelle, Faculty Senate University Assessment Council liaison, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary. Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee, and Dr. Y.T. Shah, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs were also present.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. Schierenbeck asked the committee to approve the minutes of the meeting held on September 7, 2006. Ms. Edmondson made a motion to approve the minutes, Ms. Reinke seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved as written.
Dr. Schierenbeck reported that the General Education Committee Resolution that everyone received via Email on September 13, 2006 passed unanimously.
Dr. Schierenbeck is working with Dr. Yelton to determine the status of some of the IGEN courses. Dr. Jackson suggested re-sending a letter to all department chairs, and Dr. Ma suggested putting the documents on the website for departments to retrieve as needed. Dr. Schierenbeck said we should be considering various options for communicating. Dr. Viscusi thinks it is best that the materials come from the Undergraduate Studies office, and he recommended sending a hard copy as well as GroupWise Email notification. Dr. Bradley suggested the Email could be sent as a short announcement letting the chairs know they will be receiving a letter in campus mail.
Dr. Viscusi was asked to give an update on Assessment. He said Student Affairs and Enrollment Management seemed to be worried about setting a completion deadline for passing C-Base because they thought students might choose going to a school that does not have such a requirement instead of Central Missouri. Even though the state mandates universities have some kind of assessment, some schools are dragging their feet.
Provost Shah said there were a couple of things he would like to address. He said that changes in the curriculum have an impact on both students and faculty. He wondered why the average student takes 142 credit hours to graduate when the requirement is only 124. Biology was used as an example. If a student has a major in Biology with a minor in Microbiology, the department decides how many additional credit hours are needed to get the degree. He believes the minor should be optional and that we need to streamline the curriculum. Transfer student credit hours are understandably large. He will challenge departments, who require large numbers of credit hours in their majors, to justify such numbers of courses. He believes the average teaching load should be 9 credit hours because we need to give faculty time to do scholarship. We need either to streamline or add more faculty while making sure we do not discourage the students. He pointed out that his information at this point is anecdotal.
President Podolefsky raised a question about General Education because transfer students are complaining that the General Education requirements are too rigid and our transfer student population has dropped from 89% to 74%. The quality of what they learn and how they feel about us raises 3 issues: finances, content and rigor.
Dr. Shah wants to make sure General Education does not keep expanding but is finely balanced. He feels some competencies can be included in other courses instead of adding more courses. He would like to see the curriculum user friendly without giving up quality control. He would like to know the committee’s perspective. He is mindful of the fact that the Enrollment Management side needs to be balanced with our General Education requirements.
Dr. Viscusi said there is a push for more enrollment but that the academic side is trying to maintain standards and gave the example of the recent assessment resolution. Students should expect certain requirements if they want a degree from a 4-year institution. Dr. Shah said we need to look for the middle ground. The example of BIOL 1003, 1004 and 1005 were given, and the committee feels there is enough flexibility. Dr. Grelle asked if the major requirements are the real issue and not the requirements for General Education. Dr. Shah asked if a major could require certain classes in General Education and he was informed that students are advised of that when they are admitted to the University.
Dr. Shah then asked how the curriculum for a major is structured. Dr. Viscusi explained that if a department requirement also happens to be a General Education requirement, these should not add to the overall credit hours required of the student if the student plans correctly. Often, students keep changing their degrees or just make poor choices. Dr. Jackson thinks students try to figure out their 4-year plans without talking to the department advisor.
Dr. Shah agrees that transfer students should be required to take X number of credit hours here. He will ask Dr. Melvin in Enrollment Management to provide written documentation to the committee regarding their specific issues. Dr. Grelle thinks the main issue is a Functional Major with a Minor. There is a 20 credit hour minimum for a Minor. Dr. Bradley feels that General Education creates extra exposure to another field of interdisciplinary study and has replaced the purpose of a Minor. Dr. Shah knows that statistics cannot tell whether students want to take multiple Minors or additional credit hours, but he just does not want us to impose it upon them.
Dr. Grelle will discuss articulation and course equivalencies with Dr. Viscusi.
Dr. Shah said that students take more courses at Community Colleges because it is cheaper, but then they come here with 90 hours and find out they still have to take more. He agrees we need certain standards of quality. Dr. Viscusi, Dr. Grelle and Dr. Shah will meet with Dr. Melvin to discuss this further.
Dr. Grelle pointed out that even if a student transferred a course from a big 12 school that does not mean the course will meet our General Education outcomes and the student might still have to take our required course. In addition to content, we also need writing as an outcome. Dr. Viscusi said our academic advisors try to accommodate the transfer student in transferring courses but our native students need to follow Central Missouri’s General Education requirements.
Dr. Shah asked what is it exactly that we want to emphasize more. Ms. Edmonson recently learned that there are 10 different ways a student can get enrolled at the University and that this can lead to advisement issues. Dr. Shah said Community Colleges want to offer more courses and tell the students that all courses will count when they transfer. We need to set our own standards. Requirements must be met, but we also have to be a little more flexible with General Education’s written pedagogy. If certain standards are allowed for transfer students, we also need to accommodate the current students. Pedagogy is very important, but we need to determine a range of flexibility. We have to decide if it is a curriculum or an advising issue.
We do not want to over react to the transfer drop rate, but it does need to be evaluated. Dr. Bradley mentioned that it would also be helpful to look at the transfer rate across the whole state. Dr. Shah said we need to determine the real issue why they are not coming here. Ms. Reinke pointed out that the average full-time student cost at State Fair Community College is $12,000 compared to our cost of $13,000. Dr. Grelle noted that A+ students do not have to pay at community colleges.
Dr. Shah summarized that he will ask Dr. Melvin to write down the specific issues and then Dr. Viscusi and Dr. Grelle will review the information. He suggested we have more dialogue to see if we can come to some sort of resolution. He wants the committee to know that he appreciates their efforts and their hard work. Dr. Shah then left the meeting.
Dr. Schierenbeck said we will carry forward the Old Business and New Business on today’s agenda for the next meeting. Dr. Bradley thinks there is a lot of ambiguity in the checklist that is sent to chairs because questions are not connected to specific criteria. It was pointed out that department chairs received the competencies and the Statement of Philosophy and Goals.
Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee will be added to the FS General Education Committee E-mail list.
Below are the upcoming scheduled meeting dates for the remainder of the semester, all of which will be held in LIB 2405 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.:
September 21, October 5, October 19, November 2, November 30, December 7, December 14, 2006
The meeting was then adjourned.
Traci Butler, Secretary