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Meeting Notes

October 2, 2009



General Studies Taskforce
Notes
October 2, 2009
10:30-12:00 WC 260B

1. Notes from last meeting were reviewed, no changes or corrections

2. Discussion

What is the purpose of a general education program?
- develop intellectual and practical skills
- foundational, integrative, summative...laying the foundation, integrate the major
- common knowledge that all students are exposed to
- foundational knowledge with practical skills
- civic engagement, global education
- integrate skills and understanding

Foundation skills should teach basic concepts and scientific methods; common knowledge.

Skills and knowledge of a college educated person. What is a college education supposed to provide? What is society’s perception of a college education?

We need to make the distinction between common knowledge and foundational knowledge.

What would serve the students best?
Can we be a preeminent institution before being adequate?

Foundational skills: learn how to write, speak and do math.

Do we need a narrower core selection?

Should students be allowed to test out of general education courses?
Should they have to take courses that are mostly a repeat of what they’ve already learned?

Level I courses prioritize skills learned.
Level II courses prioritize knowledge gained.

Have the basic skills courses been taken? Can they be integrated with other classes? Do skills have basic standards competency levels?

The committee agrees that the current program is too broad. This prevents faculty from expecting specific knowledge and building on it.
There is a need for better initial testing and advising.

Suggestion: There is a need to trim some classes and to steer students into the courses they need. Students would get a choice of A or B or test out and take a different course. For example, if they test out of American History, then they would take World History.

Conclusions
We need:
More focused content that will require cutting down and establishing courses that people need in today’s society.

Strong advising and ability to test out of courses and the advising support to steer them into other courses.

Establish, with clarity, what is a general studies course. Need a more focused content with basic knowledge that all departments can develop from.

What is the role of the general studies committee of the Faculty Senate?
They are tasked with getting word out and to convey information to the faculty. Also, in bringing concerns and information from the faculty to this taskforce.

Learning Outcomes. When we develop learning outcomes it will become evident that General Studies needs to be (or not) more focused.

What is needed for the major?

The results of the survey completed by the faculty last Fall indicates the top 10, which are skills. Is a survey needed to determine what faculty consider to be common knowledge we should be teaching the students?

What information and when do we give information out to the faculty?
Concern: How much information do we give to the faculty and when?
Suggestions: Let them know that the taskforce is looking at the survey results and working on the learning outcomes that address these.

Draft email to send to faculty:
Based on what we have learned from the survey, we are working on developing a draft of learning outcomes to send to you for feedback. These are questions this committee has been grappling with.

Attach the names of the Faculty Senate General Studies Committee and the General Studies Taskforce Committee.
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