FS GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE
May 24, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Dr. Dan Schierenbeck, Chair, with the following members present: Dr. Karen Bradley, Ms. Kelly Edmondson, Dr. Victoria Jackson, Dr. Qingxiong Ma, Dr. Carla Maltas, Ms. Joanne Reinke, Mr. Doug Short, Dr. Stefan Cairns, Chair, FS University Curriculum Committee liaison, Dr. Mike Grelle, FSUAC liaison, Dr. Peter Viscusi, ex-officio, and Ms. Traci Butler, Secretary. Dr. Nicholas Baeth and Ms. Rochelle Barabas were not present.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. Cairns moved to approve the minutes from the April 12, 2007 meeting. Ms. Reinke moved to amend the minutes because the college name was incorrect in the first sentence under Announcements. It should read, "Dr. Carla Maltas was elected to represent the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences," instead of "Services." Ms. Edmondson seconded the motion to approve the minutes as amended and the minutes were approved.
Introductions were made for the two new members, Dr. Carla Maltas from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Mr. Doug Short from an At-Large position.
Faculty Senate Update
Dr. Schierenbeck said he mentioned in the report to Faculty Senate that our committee met 16 times last year. Our motions were tabled at the Faculty Senate meeting on April 18, 2007. A small task force will be established to look at the procedures for an overhaul of the General Education Program. A larger committee will be appointed in the fall to suggest changes.
The FSUAC discussed a technological literacy test that would encompass managing information skills. Dr. Jackson said when ETS tested the base group of students she was involved with, only half of the questions were answered correctly. She felt it required a lot of critical thinking and interpretation and did not cover the basics of working with specific Microsoft Office programs such as Word or Excel. Dr. Grelle will work with Dr. Schierenbeck to set a date for our committee to review the test.
The FSUCC passed the Transfer Policy with minor modifications. Dr. Cairns is not sure how to get it initiated. Dr. Grelle suggested he email the Provost. Dr. Viscusi said the Provost has opinions on how it can be setup and put into a table. Not every substitution needs clarification. Academic Council tabled the discussion and will revisit it when they get direction. Dr. Cairns said the part dealing with 40 hour upper-level rule was a problem with a lot of programs.
They would like it lowered to 30 with all programs requiring 120 credit hours. FSUCC ended up with a set of minimums and they may try to separate them in the future. A decision also needs to be made on how to handle motions that were not passed. Dr. Viscusi said that he thought that a tabled item isnít dead, and it can be brought up during any future meeting.
Dr. Schierenbeck said we spent most of last year attempting to lower the required General Education credit hours down to 42, but now we are back to normal business. We need to start with course reviews from Div. I and Div. II, A & B. We will conduct workshops in the fall to try to make the process as easy as possible. He handed out ICAP/IGEN Evaluation Forms and an updated General Education Course Matrix for committee members to place in their FS General Education Committee Policy Manual binders.
We have a couple of new courses to review, Business Law and American Sign Language. Dr. Schierenbeck tried to track down courses waiting for General Education approval and he has contacted departments. Dr. Viscusi asked if he contacted last yearís chair, Dr. Yelton, about getting the list of outstanding reports. Ms. Edmondson noted that only 2 of the ICAP/IGEN courses were approved.
Dr. Schierenbeck said we will plan on meeting once a month, and he will create a timeline for course reviews. He would like to allow adequate time for departments to complete their reviews. Dr. Cairns asked if the committee wanted to address the criteria of the course evaluation forms before the workshops are held. If the workshops are held in early September, we could give departments two months.
Dr. Cairns said that Biology will have a new course, and he wondered if it will be able to be reviewed before the January 31 catalog deadline. Dr. Grelle suggested putting new course proposals on hold until we know what procedures the task force sets. Dr. Viscusi pointed out that considering the January 31 deadline; the task force procedures will not really be in place for 2 years.
Dr. Cairns said that BIOL 1111 is allowed as a General Education course even though it is not on the list. Dr. Viscusi believes there are over 200 specific course exceptions to General Education. Dr. Jackson noted that over half of the entry level Biology courses are not restricted to Biology majors. Dr. Cairns thinks if this committee approves transfer courses, that we should also approve course exceptions. Dr. Grelle said that we need definite answers on procedural issues and suggested that Dr. Viscusi ask the Provost for guidelines.
Dr. Bradley suggested an across the board decision to not allow exceptions. Dr. Viscusi said that department chairs did not like that because credit hours for their majors increased. We would not have this problem if we eliminated required minors, but the Faculty Senate did not approve that motion. Dr. Cairns suggests we keep being per sistent and try to make it happen. For clarification purposes, Dr. Ma wanted to make sure he understood that each department can have its own exceptions without it going through our committee. Dr. Grelle said that in the past changes made by the department go directly to the catalog. Dr. Cairns asked that since this committee has dealt with courses, not with programs, then should we approve course exceptions. Dr. Jackson believes students will think the course counts as General Education. Dr. Grelle suggested having 35 core hours and allowing departments to choose the remaining number. The worst case scenario is that departments can make an oral change.
Dr. Grelle mentioned that the Provost announced there would be a validation of class rosters beginning fall 2007 semester. All faculty will be required to take attendance on the first day of class. They are responsible for checking their email and voicemail to see if a student notifies them that they are not able to attend the first day. Students who do not notify the instructor and are not in class on the first day will be dropped from the class. The wait list will be extended throughout the first week of classes. The theory is, when a student signs up for a course, they bought that course. They will receive an automatic email if they are dropped from a course. Early Alert will still be in place.
In reference to the ICAP/IGEN Evaluation Form handouts, Dr. Jackson thought there was a separate form for ICAP and IGEN courses. Dr. Bradley wonders why there are 3-5 skill areas and thinks that if we are not clear on the guidelines, it feels haphazard. She would like to see clear criteria and an explanation of what we are looking for. Ms. Edmondson thinks it would be helpful for faculty to know the requirements to qualify for General Education as well as the logistics. She suggests sitting down with a new faculty member and see what doesnít make sense. Dr. Bradley thinks that setting the criteria will generate questions.
Dr. Schierenbeck asked who would be a good model to compare against and Dr. Viscusi suggested looking at the definitions from MU. Dr. Grelle says we focus on skill areas rather than content. If we have a definition of the content areas, that will be the criteria for General Education. Dr. Ma said that when the form was modified two years ago, the criteria was for outcomes. Dr. Schierenbeck thinks the difficulty in laying out criteria is we may have competencies and activities, but there is not a process of how to connect them. Dr. Bradley said if the criteria are not clear, then we need to articulate them, and if we want a limit in each category, then we need to say so. Ms. Edmondson noted that increased variety was the goal, so if there is a cap on the numbers allowed, then no one will get in again. Dr. Maltas asked if the questions could be asked with a survey builder. Since time has run out, the discussion will be continued at the next meeting.
Election of Chair
Dr. Schierenbeck opened the floor to the election for chair for next year. Dr. Bradley nominated Dr. Schierenbeck to be reappointed as chair, and Ms. Edmondson seconded the motion. There was no further discussion and the committee unanimously voted for Dr. Schierenbeck as the chair for the 2007-2008 year.
Time did not allow for discussion on the Overview/History of the General Education Program, the function of the General Education Committee, or review of Honors 3000/4000 courses.
The meeting was then adjourned.
Traci Butler, Secretary