Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Attachment 1

Faculty Senate Meeting

5 May 1998


Millersville University

Objectives of the General Education Program

as presented by the

General Education Review Committee

Brief History: During the Fall of 97, the General Education Review Committee established nine different clusters of possible outcomes objectives, and a working group for each cluster. Each group was headed by a member of the committee except one, which was headed by a faculty volunteer. Each committee member was also a "second," or helper on a second working group. Faculty members from various departments were recruited to serve on the working groups, and ideas were circulated at meetings, through e-mail, and on the web site to obtain feedback at various stages of development.

We are still investigating means of assessment for some of these objectives. As only three to five objectives will be tested at any one time, we are most concerned immediately with specifying means of assessment for those objectives which are to be assessed first. This summer, we will be examining several nationally normed general education tests. If we find one that adequately tests a means of assessment for at least some objectives, and may administer it to a sample of our undergraduates as a sort of pilot program by the end of next year. (This was recommended to us by Nichols.) Available exams test students on math, critical thinking and writing skills as well as on knowledge in several subject areas.

In addition to national tests and course-embedded assessment, we also could create our own general education test. All students could be given a version of the test after they have completed 60 credits, though they would randomly be assigned to different parts of the test, and while most would take a scantron version, a small sample would have to actually write short essays, solve problems, etc. As part of motivating students, and to make it more useful, all students' advisors would be sent the results of the test for the purpose of advising students about their strengths and deficiencies, how to remedy deficiencies in the remainder of the students' educational career, and what the results imply for further education and career possibilities. Another possible means of assessment would involve interviewing graduating seniors, alumni, employers, and so on. All of these and more are being considered. We are very interested in getting as much feedback as possible on what you think is likely to work.

General education objectives are divided into three tiers, as follows:

Tier 1: Fundamental Skills - Six Objectives

Rationale: Students need these skills by the end of their first year of college. while we teach these in courses that fall under specific disciplines, at the fundamental level our main purposes of instruction are (1) their importance for success in higher level courses in a multitude of disciplines and (2) their general usefulness for a wide range of personal, civic, and career purposes.

1) Mathematical Reasoning: Students completing 30 credits at MU will demonstrate that they can:
a) formulate problems from the real world in the abstract language of mathematics;
b) select and perform mathematical procedures appropriate for solving such problems:
For a) and b), in particular assess:
i. Solving basic algebraic equations that model real world phenomena AND
ii. Understanding and interpreting statistical data
c) understand mathematical concepts and procedures appropriate for further learning.
For c), in particular assess:
i. Comprehension of basic geometric concepts AND
ii. Using calculators to solve mathematical problems

2) Critical Reasoning: Students completing 30 credits at MU will demonstrate that they can:
a) demonstrate an understanding of and ability to recognize, analyze, and appreciate arguments supporting theories and perspectives other than one's own;
b) provide reasoned support for their own beliefs;
c) fairly and competently compare and evaluate competing arguments.

3) Inquiry: Students completing 30 credits at MU will demonstrate that they can:
a) generate research questions/pose problems;
b) find reliable sources;
c) select relevant information;
d) integrate what they have learned into a final product.

Communicating using a variety of speaking and writing processes: Students completing 30 credits at MU will demonstrate that they can:
a) generate, draft and revise ideas;
b) take into account others' critique of their ideas;
c) present ideas publicly in spoken or written form;
d) reflect on their ability to work through these processes.

Communicating within different contexts: Students completing 30 credits at MU will demonstrate that, effectively and deliberately, they can:
a) use speaking and writing for a variety of purposes (e.g., for learning, pleasure, persuasion, exchange of inofmration);
b) target different audiences according to those purposes;
c) select appropriate written and spoken strategies (e.g., genre, conventions, style, vocabulary) for those audiences and purposes;
d) demonstrate awareness of their decisions.

Technology Literacy:

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