September 24, 2010

Interim General Education Oversight Committee (GEOC)
Date of Meeting: 
Friday, September 24, 2010
Location of Meeting: 
Members Present Ex-Officio Present Guests Present
Ruth Beattie    
Heather Bush    
Derek Lane    
Karen Petrone    
Bill Rayens    
David Royster    
Mike Shanks    
Leah Simpson    
Ben Withers    
Ernie Yanarella    



Routine Business

1.   Discussed Improving Vetting Process

The question arose about the role of the Area Expert (AE) if reviewers requested more information about a submission or requested minor changes be made so that the process could go forward. Considerable discussion ensued with points being made relative to the amount of additional work that might be inherited by the AEs, as well as that inherited by the Undergraduate Council representative (currently Ruth Beattie).

There was general agreement that the AE should contact the faculty member if needed. While not everyone on the Committee agreed on what should happen next, the general sentiment was as follows:

•    Committee should develop a “facilitator” form for the AE to use

•    If a proposal is accepted without need further revision then the facilitator form, along with the reviewer‐completed course review forms, and the accepted PDF packet will be re‐ bundled as a single PDF file and placed in a new Document Folder on the Sharepoint (SP) site. This Folder has not been created but will be named something to indicate that the next step for the packet is the Undergraduate Council (UC). The AE will be responsible for creating this final packet and posting it on the SP site in the new folder.

•    If a proposal is accepted needing only a minor revision then there would be no need to have the faculty or College involve resubmit the entire packet. Rather, the facilitator form, along with the reviewer‐completed course review forms, the original PDF packet, and evidence of the minor change having been made, would all be re‐bundled as a single PDF file and placed in the new folder on the SP site.

2.   Committee members invited to take a looks at Gen Ed website and Sharepoint site, both having evolved much in the last few weeks.

3.   Reminded of meeting with Vice President Ray on October 1st

4.   Courses approved to be moved to Undergraduate Council

•    MA 113

•    MA 137

•    LA 111

•    TA 130

5.   TA 300 was tabled because it is a course with subtitles.  See discussion of subtitles below.  Dr. Withers agreed to contact the architects of TA 300 and request a syllabus for the course that was not specific to a particular subtitle, as per the discussion below. So TA 300 will be reconsidered when it is resubmitted with this more general syllabus. Discussion was also had about the potential difficulties associated with a course (such as TA 300) that requires auditions, portfolios or special consideration to enter.

Discussion Items

6.   A lengthy discussion was had about how to deal with submissions that ask for a k‐course sequence, k >1, to satisfy a particular Gen Ed area.  PSY 215 and PSY 216 were explicitly discussed since this sequence was approved in the last round of vetting as content appropriate, as a pair, for the Statistical Inferential Reasoning Area.  A k‐course sequence was seen as manageable at the Advising level and, provided students were kept very aware of what their options were, the advice of the Committee was:

•    To recommend acceptance of k‐course sequences provided the sequence met the appropriate Area template requirements as a group.

•    To recommend that departments be required, when submitting such a request, to complete curricular maps detailing how the outcomes of those k courses map to the Area Outcomes.

7.   Update on CHE 105 and CHE 111 – CHE 105 had initially been submitted with a specific discussion‐ structure format and paired with CHE 111 (laboratory) for approval as an Inquiry in the Natural, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences course. The first round of vetting (prior to IGEOC) approved the sequence. Subsequently, it was determined by Arts and Sciences that there was not sufficient resources to support the TA structure needed for discussion format for CHE 105.  CHE had informally proposed keeping the pairing with CHE 111 and moving the discussion into the lab. GEOC voted to request that a CHE formally resubmit their entire packet, being sure to articulate how the discussion will take place in the laboratory context. Committee reiterated that its primary duty is to evaluate intentionality and how well a course maps to the outcomes, and not to evaluate instructional strategies.

8.   The issue of how to handle topics courses and courses requiring subtitles was discussed at length.

Many options were considered and debated, but in the end the following policy was recommended:

•    Departments should submit a single syllabus for each topics course, or course requiring a subtitle.  This syllabus should make the case for how subtitled courses that are offered consistent with the overall organizing principle for that course category address the same set of learning outcomes, which can in turn be mapped to the Area outcomes.

•    Once the overarching generic syllabus has been approved for Gen Ed, courses with different subtitles can be offered as Gen Ed within that category for a period of four years without separate syllabi having to be submitted.

•    That it become the responsibility of the submitting department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies to monitor the learning outcomes for courses with varying subtitles, as they arise, to make sure those courses can be mapped to the outcomes on the approved syllabus which was, in turn, mapped to the Area outcomes.

•    Every four years such departments submit to the Office of Undergraduate Education an accounting of actual courses offered as subtitles or topical courses under the approved, generic syllabus, with a summary of the justifications for how each mapped to the approved syllabus outcomes.  Upon successful review in UE the approved syllabus would become Gen Ed approved for another four years. An unsuccessful review would lead to temporary suspension of the approval of the course (and all subtitles and topics) for General Education credit.

9.   Finally, the Committee offered a collective opinion on whether a course that was approved for Gen Ed had to be open to all students, or could practice some form of restrictive enrollment. The Committee’s position was that courses could be restricted as Department’s saw fit (say to majors).

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