General Education Initiative Task Force:

Minutes of Meeting - April 8, 1998

Members Attending:

Greg Cashman, Mike Garner, Ben Greene, Fred Kundell, Jim Lackie, Charles Long, Robert Long, Chapman McGrew, Patty Plaskon, Pat Richards, Fatollah Saliman, Kathleen Shannon, Sarah Sharbach, Robert Smith, Debra Thatcher, Gail Welsh, Arlene White, George Whitehead, Bill Zak

Members Not Attending:

Phil Creighton, Jane Dané, Tom Erskine, Steve Hetzler, Victoria Hutchinson, Ross Leisten.

Minutes for previous meeting were approved.

Discussion on input received from university community via E-Mail. It is fine to distribute among the committee, but do not distribute E-Mail comments externally. If you wish to distribute something received, get the author's permission first. This is not a secret committee, but we must respect individual's right to privacy.

Conference announcement - St. Louis on Oct. 15-17, 1998 for the Association for General Education and Liberal Studies. Proposals are due the end of May if you wish to attend. The topic is the over arching principles and construction/deconstruction of the principles of general education within higher ed. Let Pat know if you are interested.

Subcommittee Chairs are:

Assessment = Steve Hetzler

Attributes Matrix = Mike Garner

Models = Chapman McGrew

Teaching = Robert Smith

Logistics = Jane Dané

Not much has been done within subcommittees yet, but they must meet to initialize and brief the Asheville 2 Team before they depart this summer. Target May 13 for subcommittee briefing.

Models and Logistics: Please look at peer institutions of our size and type to see what models that they are using. Probably best to focus on those outside of Maryland.

Teaching : Please look at foreign language options, issues and topics.

Attributes Matrix and Assessment: Arrange attributes based on survey input.

April 22nd will be a subcommittee working meeting. Note change of venue is Montgomery Room in the Commons.

- A request was made to the Provost for providing of summer stipends for committee members who wish to dedicate some time to Gen Ed. Provost will respond by 4/22.

-Asheville Team 2 has been selected: Creighton, Kundell, Welsh, Whitehead, Richards. Main goals are:

Revision of time line

Comparison of models to attributes

Assessment issues - suggestions for broader faculty involvement.

Farmer comments on attributes:

Draft looks good

Assume that bulleted items are learning goals and

* items are assessment items.

Seems as if there are a lot of learning goals.

Further attribute work:

Seek agreement on the attributes

Have each department rank attributes - state which goals are being met

Ideally link faculty compensation to developing courses that fill the gap between attributes and those not being met

Most people want to know how to assess.

People are trying to understand how much can be accomplished.

Ben Green summarized Delphic survey responses. That information was distributed.

Synopsis: Not much variation was seen among General Learning outcomes, only negatively weighted item was Foreign Language.

They tended to fall into clusters of Verbal/Cognitive, broader community dispositions, math/scientific ability, and individual dispositions.

Where do we take this now? Is it too controversial? Is additional input required before spending more time on it? The true Delphic approach drops out bottom items, adds new ones and re-votes.

Comments on Attributes and process:

The Attributes assist us in deciding how things should be in the 21st century, not how to maintain the status quo.

Feedback of people involved is important to be included in the process.

Gen Ed addresses our future trajectory.

We need to educate people on Gen Ed.

Right now we are the ones being educated on Gen Ed

Polling alumni, seniors and employers may provide insight as to what Gen Ed means in tangible terms.

Consensus doesn't always make the most creative, innovative or successful change.

Implementing Gen Ed changes should be done in segments to get better acceptance and integration.

Should input be weighted? Whose input is more important?

General Ed is a faculty prerogative. Faculty opinion matters most, so changes need to be done so that the faculty will agree to the changes.

Pilot areas should look closely at the assessment attributes.

Each assessable attribute is a level of outcome. Each outcome with have detail level with associated competency levels, and proficiency ratings.

Foreign language was discussed. 4 semesters seems to be hard for some to accept. consider other options. Just because HS may require foreign language, college foreign language is very different.

Need to deal with the direction of assessment. Possible Pre/Post ACT Tools or imbedded assessment tools within matrix of gen ed courses.

Issue of assessment - do you assess the individual or assess the program or both?

No definitive response until we get more precise and definitive levels of exposure.

Suggestion for a broader base of objectives that each student individualizes.

Perhaps the committee should develop a rationale statement for each attribute.

External input was read:

Goals should be merged - more cumulated learning goals should collapse to 5 to 8 goals. They are complex and interconnected. Gen Ed is more than reading 100 good books or taking survey courses. What we are creating for SSU is unique and special.

Focus should not be on facts and opinions but rather Data/ information and theory/interpretation.

There are many themes which present many challenges. Each student should be expected to be challenged, and each student will find a different Gen Ed component challenging - whether phys ed, math, foreign language.

Focus of the committee should be on what we have and entertaining alternatives.

Where does Gen Ed get voted on - Faculty Senate? We need to persuade not educate. In formation from students, alumni and employers is irrelevant - only faculty have the right to make these recommendations.

Our attributes should be a guiding set of principles.

Work of the attributes, don't offer rationales, attributes will become weighted within programs.

Debate will arise again.

Refine our written document - look at our program, look at models.

It is possible that we can define our attributes in a series of questions rather than statements. Some are hesitant to clarify the points.

It could be another year before a rough measure of Gen Ed can be undertaken. If it is too rough, we must further define it.