Faculty Senate General Studies Committee
September 30, 2009 PL 360
Handouts: Agenda, General Studies Task Force notes from 9.17.09 meeting, copy of Lunden’s presentation to Senate 9.23.09, AAC&U bibliography information: General Education: A Self-Study Guide for Review and Assessment, AAC&U article: “Toward Intentionality and Transparency: Analysis and Reflection on the Process of General Education Reform,” Sheila Thompson’s “Articulating Student Learning Outcomes” language grid.
Present: Mark Segall, Dorothy Snozek, Alex Padilla, Andy Muldoon, Lunden MacDonald, Jeff London, Rudy García
Regrets: Doug Petcoff
I. The meeting was called to order at 9.00 a.m. We were still reviewing minutes so they were not accepted; plans to accept revisions or changes via email were made.
II. We welcomed our new member, Jeff London. Jeff is an elected member representing SPS. As a group, we also discussed our committee’s recommendation for the Senate Executive Committee nomination (a currently empty slot on our committee). We had three initial expressions of interest, and two complete follow-ups: Tom Davinroy and Chris Jennings. The committee was in agreement to further the name of Chris Jennings as our recommendation to the Senate Executive Committee. We will await the nomination at the EC meeting on 9.30 and make the new candidate public at that point.
Lunden reported that the Senate Executive Committee will be discussing the possibility of by-laws changes to alter the composition of standing committees. We discussed the possibility of altering the composition of the General Studies committee in order to include more people. This suggestion was made with an eye on inclusivity and representation, as well as with the intent to shore up our forces for the major task of course and curriculum review that will be awaiting the committee in the upcoming academic year.
III. A brief update on proceedings from the last meeting of the General Studies Task Force (9.17.09) was made. Dean Joan Foster’s notes from that meeting were distributed. Once again, the Task Force’s desire for clarity and transparency in communication was stressed. Lunden MacDonald also reported that the Task Force is in a reading or reviewing stage, going over the many notes and documents from past work done at the college in the area of General Studies.
IV. We briefly discussed the October Assessment Institute in Indianapolis. It was decided that Lunden MacDonald will represent our committee at this meeting. Alex Padilla expressed interest in representing the committee at the AAC&U meeting in February; this will be discussed further in the future.
V. Alex Padilla gave a quick presentation on his progress with regard to the General Studies website. He reiterated that the website will showcase past committee work, be a repository for new work done by the Task Force and the current Faculty Senate General Studies Committee, and also serve as a medium for communication among all stakeholders at Metro.
VI. Please see the following section for notes regarding our calendar of “available contact hours” with the FSGSC.
VII. The discussion turned to the task of future program assessment. Dorothy Snozek and Andy Muldoon inspired an in-depth conversation about the role of technology in the future General Studies Program, and we all discussed the role of assessment in the implementation of elements of technology in general studies across the curriculum. Andy made the suggestion that any kind of technological change must be based on solid communication that fosters systemic support of educational goals. We discussed what the inclusion of technology as an assessable learning outcome might look like, and we talked about inviting Ben Zastrocky of the Educational Technology Center to come talk to us about this topic.
We then decided that we were getting a little ahead of ourselves. Jeff London suggested that we adopt a “reductive” stance: that our solid goal should be to comply with HLC “demands,” and that our focus should be on concrete steps that can facilitate the completion of their request for an approved General Studies Program by next April 2010. To this end, Jeff suggested that we, as a committee, take a look at other HLC accredited programs that have been successful, in order to ascertain which models may work for us here. Then, we determined that we will need to work together with the Task Force to make this kind of programmatic change successful at Metro.
We discussed the possibility of having Sheila Thompson come talk to our committee about assessment, in order to see how we can be most efficient and have the most impact. We would also like to get a list of pre-identified programs that Sheila thinks are good and have effective means of program assessment. Finally, with Sheila’s direction we would like to look at the development of a rubric that would reflect the values we at Metro hold with regard to General Studies and show how the elements of different programs match up.
NOTE: Lunden committed to following up with Sheila about visiting our committee and talking about assessment. The AAC&U article distributed today gives a solid review of the program at University of Nebraska at Lincoln and can be used as a model for beginning this type of discussion.
A final topic of conversation during this period was brought up when Rudy García emphasized that “availability” is not the same as “promotion.” In other words, we on the FSGSC must not only be available to answer faculty and staff questions, but we must also actively promote and advocate the new developments that occur in the General Studies process. Rudy suggested that our committee have a presence at any campus event where other programs or departments are represented. Dorothy Snozek suggested that we work in concert with the Deans of our respective schools and ask that attendance at these types of events with the intent of gaining knowledge about General Studies at Metro be counted as a Service element in the annual evaluation or dossier process. Dorothy also suggested that Lunden and Alex send official “thank you” letters to each faculty or staff member that attends these events, and that the Deans and Chairs be included in this process so that they are all aware of efforts toward inclusivity and transparency.
Finally, Dorothy suggested that we all keep a log of our efforts, both in committee and among the general campus population, demonstrating to the HLC or any other assessing body that we have done extensive outreach.
NOTE: Rudy has agreed to follow up with this idea of “promotion” and report back to the committee at our next meeting. Lunden has committed to following up with the Deans and Chairs regarding the evaluation issue. Lunden and Alex committed to sending the thank you’s and to keeping a log for the FSGSC.
VIII. Senate communication: Lunden asked if we would like to reiterate the information that she gave orally at the last Faculty Senate meeting. The committee agreed that it would be helpful for everyone to have this information. We discussed the importance of distributing it via several mediums: distribution to Chairs, to faculty members, posting on the General Studies website, etc. It was agreed that this information needs to go out as soon as possible, and that to the extent possible we should solicit the participation of faculty representatives like Chairs and Senators in order to get the word out.
It was also agreed that we should ask to be invited to department meetings when they occur in order to talk about the process. At such presentations, it was suggested that we partner with a member of the Task Force in order to represent both committees.
NOTE: Lunden will follow up with this idea by distributing the talk she gave at Senate to all parties discussed above.
The meeting was adjourned and we set the next meeting time for Wednesday, October 14, PL 360, 9.00-10.00 a.m.