December 2, 2011

Interim General Education Oversight Committee (GEOC)
Date of Meeting: 
Friday, December 2, 2011
Location of Meeting: 
Room 231 Student Center, 10 a.m. – Noon
Members Present Ex-Officio Present Guests Present
Jonathan Allison Bill Rayens Leah Simpson
Heather Bush Mike Shanks Chris Thuringer
Derek Lane Debra Sharp  
Roxanne Mountford    
Ben Withers    



        1.   The November 11th minutes were approved without change

2.  Rayens briefly discussed some of the difficulties with member recruitment and the Committee reflected on ways to potentially make this process easier.   Rayens also spoke very briefly about his upcoming December Senate visit.    He pointed out that he intended the visit to be largely a time to list for the Senate what had been accomplished.    It would not be a time to discuss controversial issues or plans for the future.

3.   Prior to offering the Consent Agenda, Rayens asked for time to remind the group that the “special topics” courses that were proposed for HON would be de facto treated like other special topics courses that fell under the policy that IGEOC proposed in the fall of 2010.  Namely, the expectation was that a generic syllabus would be submitted, one that was specific enough to be approved but general enough to allow for topic flexibility.    Once approved, it would be up to the Director of Honors to make sure that individual course offerings met the requirements of the generic syllabus and stayed consistent with the Core template for the appropriate Area.

A very intense discussion ensued with those speaking falling into two distinct categories.     One group spoke in favor of giving wide range to the Honors Program, asking for approval of the generic categories, with only a periodic follow up with the Director to make sure the courses being taught in those categories were Core compliant.    The other group, though happy with the specific course proposals submitted, were not satisfied with the generic syllabuses that had been submitted.  This group did not like the idea of allowing special freedom to Honors.

Although this issue was debated for over an hour, the group was unable to find a compromise that was satisfactory.   In fact, the discussion called into question the viability of the special-topics course policy in general, and raised the possibility that even if that policy could be enforced, that the within-topic-category variability  might  be much  greater  in HON than in a  typical  departmental special topics number.

The discussion ended with members asking Rayens to try and get an audience with either Associate Provost Mullen or Provost Subbaswamy so that the vision for Honors could be more clearly articulated to IGEOC.  This was requested not because the group wanted to weigh in on the vision, but so that members could better assess reasons for why or not Honors courses should be treated differently.

4.   ENG 181 was successfully cleared from the consent agenda and has now passed IGEOC in the Global Dynamics area.  HON 251 was removed because of the discussion in 3, and GEO 109 was removed because members had not had the required 48 hours to review the course prior to it being placed on Consent.

5.   The Committee gave Ms. Simpson and Mr. Thuringer permission to reconvene the original C&C and Citizenship rubric committees to consider ways in which the rubrics may need to be altered based on comments from the evaluators who just finished applying the rubrics to score multiple artifacts as part of the fall assessment plan.

         6.   The meeting was adjourned at noon, with other items on the original agenda unaddressed.

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