FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE
April 12, 2007
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, Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio, and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary. Mr. Travis Bingham, SGA Representative, was not present.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. Cairns moved to approve the minutes from both the March 15, 2007 and March 29, 2007 meetings. Dr. Bradley seconded the motion and both sets of minutes were unanimously approved.
Dr. Carla Maltas was elected to represent the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Mr. Doug Short was elected to an At-Large position. Committee member terms are 3 years. The Faculty Senate extended Dr. Ma’s term until 2008. Since Dr. Ma has been on the committee since 2004, Dr. Schierenbeck will discuss the situation with Dr. Riley.
The meeting in May will be a transition meeting between committee members for the 2006-2007 term as well as the new members for the 2007-2008 term. Dr. Viscusi said he would try to provide lunch during the summer months. Please send your summer schedules to Ms. Butler so she can make the necessary arrangements.
Updates from Faculty Senate and Provost
Dr. Cairns and Dr. Schierenbeck met with the FS President and Vice President regarding our motions that were approved by the FSUCC. The motions will be discussed at the next Faculty Senate meeting on April 18, 2007, and they would like committee members to be present. There is also a motion on the agenda to establish a small task force whose task in the summer will be to establish a process for a larger committee in the fall to overhaul the General Education Program. Task force members will be comprised of the Provost and senior faculty members from each college. Teaching General Education courses is not a requirement to be on this task force. Dr. Jurkowski expressed a clear appreciation for our committee’s work this past year.
Dr. Schierenbeck and Dr. Viscusi met with Provost Wilson, and he expressed his appreciation as well for the committee’s work and wanted the committee to know that the creation of a task force is not a negative reflection on the committee. He felt we were given an impossible task and was surprised at how much we accomplished. It was unfair to our committee to deal with these difficult issues; however, the work done so far will be there for the task force to consider. He would like to continue the communication between the Provost Council and Academic Council. Dr. Viscusi pointed out that the task force will deal only with the General Education Program overall outcome process, not content, and how it should be handled in the future. Another group will be formed to carry out the plan.
The Transfer Policy motion is still under discussion at the FSUCC. Dr. Cairns said there has not been a motion made that requests college curriculum committee chairs be members of the FSUCC. Dr. Grelle would like to see that as a requirement for several committees across campus. Dr. Viscusi had a situation yesterday where a former department chair told a student to take a particular non-General Education course for General Education credit. Dr. Viscusi did not doubt the student was telling the truth. Dr. Viscusi discussed the course substitution with Dr. Schierenbeck, and they agreed to approve the course substitution because it was one of our own articulated courses. Unarticulated course substitutions will come before the committee.
Dr. Grelle noted the lines of authority are not clear and he believes this needs to be straightened out. Dr. Bradley thinks department chairs would rather make the decisions instead of the General Education Committee. Dr. Viscusi said the deans discussed this a year ago, and department chairs were to decide specific courses related only to majors.
Dr. Schierenbeck asked if the committee wants to go forward with motions on the F aculty Senate agenda, and they agreed they did. Dr. Cairns pointed out that the FSUCC also approved the motions, so he thinks we should let the process play out.
Dr. Schierenbeck said our review cycle is currently set up to go through each division within four years. We also need to review new courses and enter into the next cycle of review, which includes Division I and Division II, A and B. Dr. Viscusi agrees that we need to continue on with the course review process and not let the General Education Program drift while the task force completes the program overhaul process. Dr. Viscusi pointed that this will be the first time we have ever completed a full review of the General Education Program.
Dr. Schierenbeck said we are out of time to hold course review workshops this semester. Dr. Jackson thinks it would be better to wait until the new members join the committee and hold the workshops in the fall. Even if the task force decides to revamp the General Education Program, we need to continue with our reviews. Dr. Viscusi pointed out that it took around eight years the last time the program was overhauled, but they are anticipating this task force will complete the overhaul within 2 years. Dr. Grelle noted that the last time there were no set outcomes or state guidelines, so the process should not be as difficult this time, and the focus will be on outcomes as opposed to courses. Dr. Bradley thinks embedding outcomes into courses makes it difficult to review and hopes that is not repeated.
Dr. Schierenbeck wanted to get back to the question about committee membership. Dr. Cairns believes the problem is getting the information back to the colleges. Some departments feel they do not have a voice on the FSUCC, but department chairs typically do not attend since they are not allowed to vote. He suggested that instead of electing members, there could be a mandate stating the college curriculum committee chair is a voting member on the FSUCC. We also need to continue informing the Provost Council and Academic Council as to what the committee is doing. Dr. Grelle would like to see college Assessment Committee chairs or college designees be represented on the FSUAC but feels it needs to be procedural that designated people report on committee activities. Dr. Cairns pointed out that it is official that the FS General Education chair sits in on the FSUCC meetings and the chair of the FSUCC attends FS General Education meetings.
Dr. Viscusi mentioned that even though he and Dr. Grelle are on the Provost Council, he did not believe it appropriate for administrators to speak regarding faculty issues and he would like for the FS General Education committee chair to keep the Provost Council in the loop or send an email stating there is nothing to report. Dr. Grelle agreed and thinks department chairs are the most appropriate choice to be on committees, but workload is an issue.
Dr. Bradley expressed her frustration that administrators on this committee do a lot of the talking and faculty members rarely participate in the discussion. Dr. Grelle asked for suggestions on how to communicate information back to the departments. Dr. Jackson suggested a FS General Education representative be on the departmental curriculum committee. Dr. Cairns said the departmental representative can represent both and agrees we need to hear faculty speak. Dr. Grelle asked if colleges held regular discussions about General Education and Dr. Ma said it is not in his college, but they do discuss assessment. Dr. Boyd said her department chair does disseminate the information in her college. Dr. Cairns believes there should be a department representative on every college committee. Dr. Grelle pointed out that this is contingent on departments holding meetings on a frequent basis. Ms. Barabas noted there has not been any dialog at the departmental level in her college, and it previously was not standard protocol to go back and report to them. Dr. Cairns is looking for feedback regarding a two-way communication process between committees, departments, and colleges. He also would like to create a cohesive flow chart.
Ms. Edmondson asked about the CFD 1010 course proposal. Dr. Schierenbeck said he had a brief conversation with Dr. Chang and explained that we do not have courses in more than one category. Dr. Chang also had previous discussions with Dr. Boyd, Dr. Bradley, and Ms. Edmondson. Dr. Boyd feels the situation all came back to communication. Dr. Bradley thinks it could be because General Education has a bad reputation in general: it is not simply the committee’s fault, but trust is not there. Dr. Boyd believes a systemic change will help regarding transparency and flow of information. Dr. Schierenbeck understands the uncertainty of departments and faculty, but he wants to hold off on new proposals until the FS votes on our motions at their meeting next week.
The meeting was then adjourned.
Traci Butler, Secretary