Draft of advisement guidelines
Issues that GERC has yet to complete work on
- Development of a Mission statement (we have several working drafts)
- Finalize language of goals
- Finish work on objectives
- There are several issues that we are still considering, but have not concluded work on:
- Should we recommend a change from 4 to 3 required W courses along with a recommendation that W courses have a maximum of 25 students and reinstate the requirement that W courses must include writing with revision?
- Should we recommend pass / no-credit for Explore classes?
- How will we address the issue of technology? Should we recommend changing the name of the Science and Math G block to Math, Science, and Technology?
Draft: Goals & Objectives
"Students, working with advisors, and taking into consideration prior-knowledge and experience, purposefully select courses in the Gen Ed curriculum that together with required courses, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and major areas of study help students:
- Think, speak, and write clearly. Specifically, Millersville students should demonstrate college level proficiency in the following areas:
- Oral and written communication
- Scientific and quantitative reasoning
- Critical analysis and reasoning
- Technological competency
- Information literacy
- Develop an understanding of the applications, usefulness, and limitations of different ways of knowing developed in the traditions of math, science, social science, and the humanities.
- Grow in their understanding of people that are separated by differing beliefs, values, power, wealth, and cultures.
- Develop civic and social responsibility.
- Gain personal enrichment by fostering wellness values, and through the study of literature, music, art, and other interests that can be developed and enjoyed throughout a lifetime."
Explanation of Goals & objectives: The second sentence and subpoints of the first goal use Middle States language. The second goal provides a rationale for distributional credits that applies to all students regardless of the selection students make. The third through fifth goals reflect the university mission and Gen Ed Task force findings about what faculty believe Gen Ed should accomplish. We are currently working on a proposal to develop a set of objectives with more specific criteria that would parallel these broad goals. The purpose of the broad goals would be to give clarity to the purpose of Gen Ed; they should be used in freshman orientation, Freshman Seminars, and during advisement. The parallel set of objectives still under development would use measurable criteria and would be meant primarily for assessment of our progress toward these goals.
Outline of Curriculum Proposal
Foundations - 9 credits
Explore and More 15 credits
- 9 credits "Explore"
- First Year Seminars (FYS) are strongly encouraged and can count for up to 3 of these 9 credits. FYS include 1 credit FYE, 3 credit "passion" courses, 1, 2, or 3 credit Major-based seminars, and new forms that develop and are typically integrated into a Learning Community. Maximum 25 students for most seminar formats.
- Except for Freshman Seminars, all Explore credits must come from programs outside the student's major. BSE students may not count required education courses as Explore courses.
- All Wellness courses count toward Explore credits. All types of Wellness courses should count, including 1-credit sports courses.
- Recommendation under consideration: Students who have earned 30 credits may elect to take Explore courses pass / no credit up to the 12th week of class. Students must earn a grade of C- or better to earn a passing grade.
- Advanced writing - encourage English to develop discipline specific sections linked with major courses.
- Perspectives and / or Capstone (can be taken in the major). Criteria for capstones has not been finalized.
Liberal Arts - 27 credits minimum
- 3 courses in Math / Science (1 lab science). Proposal under consideration: change this block to Math, Science, and Technology
- 3 courses in Social Studies
- 3 courses in Humanities
Skills across the curriculum:
- The W course system would be maintained, but we are still considering a proposal to move to 3 required W courses with a maximum 25 students and moving back to the old requirement that a W course must include writing with revision.
- D courses. It is vital for our students to grow in their understanding of diversity. It is important that this occurs in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, as well as in coursework. We recommend the creation of a D designation for courses and recommend that advisors and students use this designation during the advisement process. We do not recommend requiring a specific number of D courses. Because "diversity" has many different meanings, we recommend requiring a short statement about what the D designation means for each course. We have not finished work on a recommendation for how courses would receive a D designation.
Eliminate: the current requirement that 2 courses in the G blocks must be taken within the same department. We are still considering the issue of whether courses must come from at least 2 departments.
Advisement recommendations - There are many important goals for Gen Ed that are not represented by a specific course. Instead we recommend the development of advisement guidelines to help students and faculty make decisions that best meet these goals for each student. One draft of such guidelines would be:
"Please consider each student's individual needs, interests, and skills when making the following recommendations. Most students at Millersville should:
- Take multiple challenging courses. Although this may include several 300 level courses outside the major, course numbering is not always the best indicator of challenge.
- Be encouraged to take sequenced courses outside the major.
- Take a course with a significant wellness / physical fitness component. Examples of courses may be 1 credit sports courses, the current 3 credit "Wellness" courses, or other courses such as coaching or nutrition.
- A variety of courses that emphasize diversity in its many forms. Development of foreign language competency should be considered as one component of diversity.
- Take courses that emphasize information literacy, critical thinking, and the meaningful use of technology.
- Take courses that include a major speaking with feedback component. These courses should build upon Comm. 100, but they can also include other communication courses and other Gen Ed and major courses.
- Courses (especially those that involve service learning) and/or co-curricular and extracurricular activities that encourage civic engagement.
- Students and advisors should consider courses in literature, music, art and other areas that may help broaden the student's areas of interest."
- [Explore courses] GERC unanimously recommends the creation of Explore courses. Undergraduate students need truly free electives if we (advisors) are to encourage them to explore potential majors, to seek depth as well as breadth in a secondary field, or to taste academic offerings that are outside their comfort range. The "explore" category should be open to any course offered on campus, limited only by the restriction that the courses may not be in the students' major (including required education courses for BSE majors).
All of the course offerings at the university have academic integrity and all of the course offerings - even those in "applied" fields such as business, education, wellness and sport science, social work, industry and technology, etc. - bring liberal arts and sciences to bear on human experience. Service learning and internship experiences enrich a students' education immeasurably but are not always easily slotted into a general education requirement. Travel experiences, especially the semester abroad, have an unquestioned impact on students' education but some interested students opt out because going abroad extends their stay at MU. Experimental courses and programs often have difficulty attracting students because the students realize, despite personal interest, that the course doesn't fill a slot.
The value of this proposed feature of general education is rooted in encouraging students to try more than they might normally try, to take on upper level courses in a field beyond the introductory course taken for a G block, and to test their interest in multiple fields that are not included in the liberal arts core. The proposed free electives extend a liberal arts education by respecting student and advisor choice and encouraging new experiences.
There are practical advantages for students as well, of course. Students with already full academic programs (e.g.., all BSE majors and BFA students) may be able to complete a minor without staying in school longer than four years. Students who start one major outside the limits of the G blocks may be able to change majors without extending their stay at MU because of credits that don't "count." Students who come to the university truly undecided will have "breathing room" to test several directions before settling on a major.
This feature provides needed flexibility for students and faculty while maintaining the "liberating" spirit of general education.
- [Foundations] We considered only 3 courses to be generative in the sense that they developed skills that could be used throughout a student's academic work and that can only be taught in a required course: composition, math, and speech. There was a minority opinion favoring a course in quantitative reasoning instead of a specific requirement for a Math course. There were strong minority opinions on speech. A strong minority of GERC felt that we could develop an S system, similar to the current W system. For those who favor S courses, there was a divide on whether S courses must be required or whether they could be part of advisement guidelines.
- [Courses representing Values embedded in the Goals] The results of the Senate survey show that faculty clearly reject any option for creating more curricular requirements than we currently have - namely they rejected requirements for a diversity course, a civics course, a literature course, and Foreign Language. We did not read this as a rejection of the importance of these courses or the values listed in the current Mission Statement. Instead, we believe faculty passionately believe in these values, but don't want to create a more complex system. In addition, we believe that many faculty are saying that mandating courses may create resistance to learning in students and in the end may be counter productive. Our solution was to reject the notion that the only way to advance a specific curriculum goal is to require a specific course associated with the goal. Instead, we believe that we should provide greater flexibility and at the same time encourage specific choices through advisement guidelines. Though advisement guidelines may be the most concrete manifestation, there are other means to achieve Gen Ed goals and to further encourage the type of student learning we envision. This might include faculty development efforts, more visibility and discussion across campus in the goals of liberal education, better integration and use of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
- [Intellectual Strength] There was strong sentiment (with one member of GERC disagreeing) that we should get rid of the requirement for two courses in a major for G blocks. We also discussed the possibility of requiring more 200 and 300 level courses. There was a split on this issue. On the one hand we strongly believe that this is an important goal; on the other hand, we felt that adding this requirement would further complicate the system. We also discussed the fact that the 300 level designation does not have a consistent meaning across campus. Some 300 level courses require multiple prerequisites; others do not have prerequisites. We also felt that requiring more 200 and 300 level courses could cause an artificial renumbering of courses by departments scrambling to meet the requirement. Again, an alternative to making a requirement is to provide advisement guidelines that encourage taking sequenced courses and higher-level courses.
- We are working on 4 specific changes to increase coherence and connections with the major:
- Allow Freshman Seminars sponsored by the major to count toward Gen Ed including 1, 2, 3 credit options - including "Passion" courses, and 1 credit courses for undecided students. We should encourage these seminars to integrate content and community. One way of doing this is to link Seminars to learning communities.
- We encourage English to develop discipline specific sections of advanced writing and offer them in combination with major courses where possible.
- Allow capstones to substitute for Perspectives. Steve Centola explained that the original intention of Perspectives was to create a capstone. In addition, many programs attempting to meet the 120 rule have made temporary moves to eliminate perspectives. This has been a cumbersome process and has created different rules for different majors. Allowing a capstone to substitute for perspectives would create more flexibility for all programs, including BSE programs, and would honor the original intent of Perspectives.
- The inclusion of 9 credits of exploratory courses provides an opening for future flexibility. Our proposal does not provide any new ideas to address the needs of sophomores, but it does provide an opening for future innovations.
- [Writing] One of the strongest areas of support on the survey was for maintaining, but improving the W system. The improvement that is needed is to decrease class size so that the original intent of revised writing with feedback can be reestablished. We know that we are under a mandate not to increase the cost of the Gen Ed system; however, this is one area where we felt it was important to put the learning needs of our students first. The proposal under discussion is to limit class size in W courses to 25, reestablish the original requirements for revised writing, and to only require 3 W courses. We feel 3 "true" W courses are better than 4 courses with possibly very high enrollment where little feedback is possible. We believe the budgetary impact of this proposal is mitigated by the fact that we are reducing the number to 3. Twenty-five students is not an unrealistically low number - in fact it is very close to the student-faculty ratio the university wants to maintain, and is the maximum that should be allowed in a writing intensive course.
- [Simplicity and Flexibility]
- There is one relatively painless change that can be made to increase flexibility: eliminate the requirement that two courses be taken in a single major within the G1, G2, and G3 blocks. It is true that this requirement is meant to increase depth, but in practice most students do not take two sequenced courses. This requirement is further complicated by the fact that the courses selected by a student and the advisor may not be available. The result is a system with the feel of taking courses to check off another requirement rather than purposefully selecting courses to provide depth outside of the major.
- There is one relatively simple change that can be made to relieve some pressure from the combined requirements of the state system and various accreditation groups: allow capstones to substitute for Perspectives (discussed above).
- In addition to these two changes, GERC is proposing more significant changes that will clearly be the focus of discussion by Senate before a full ballot is developed for faculty. It is the hope of the GERC that any amendments to this proposal will be made not only in light of the merit of the amendment, but also with full consideration of the effect on the overall flexibility and simplicity of the Gen Ed curriculum as a whole.
Significant Alternatives to this Proposal
||Effect of the alternative on the overall proposal
|Modify the G1, G2, G3 blocks by moving Math to foundations, and reducing the number of courses in each block from 4 to 3.
||This move provides more flexibility by creating "free elective" credits. These electives allow students to explore more areas of interest, make it easier for students to minor, allow students to more easily count credit for study abroad, and in general create more openings for innovative programming.
||Keep the current requirements for 4 courses in each of the G Blocks.
||If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be reduced by 2.
||Reduce all G Blocks to 3 courses, but don't move math to foundations because the proposal seems unfairly tilted to Math and Science.
||If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be increased by 1.
Yes, the proposal does "protect" the credits for Math and Science, but in the end we believe that the great majority of students would not choose to use free electives for extra Math and Science courses. Humanities and Social Sciences would get the bulk of offerings from the 9 exploratory credits. Moving to a 3-3-3 system including a required math course would most likely reduce science Gen Ed by one third to one half (keep in mind that BSE students must take 2 math courses).
|Freshman seminar to count (including 1, 2, 3 credit options and those sponsored by majors) as Exploratory credit
||There is a growing body of evidence that Freshman seminars increase retention. There are several successful models that have been implemented on campus - each with a different purpose and serving a different student group. We don't need a one size fits all model, but we do need to count these credits toward Gen Ed.
||Only allow 3 credit courses with significant content outside the major to count.
Count these seminars in the G1, G2, G3 blocks.
Require all students to take a Freshman Seminar (strong minority opinion in GERC).
|Current seminars offered for undecided students and seminars offered by the majors wouldn't count anywhere in the Gen Ed system or in the major.
Requiring that seminars count toward the G1, G2, G3 distribution would take away from Humanities and Social Science if the 3-3-3 G distribution model is adopted.
The majority sentiment was that if we require all students to take a Freshman Seminar, some departments may be forced to develop seminars that they don't really believe in. Requiring seminars would likely decrease their effectiveness.
|Change Wellness from a required course. Count it within Exploratory credits. Encourage students to take Wellness through advisement.
||GERC was split on whether Wellness is an essential course that should be required for all students. Some argued that other areas such as Music, Art, Literature, and Diversity are just as important to a well-rounded education, yet are not required. Others saw Wellness as unique in that none of these other areas deal with physical wellness in the same way. In the end, we concluded that a more flexible system would meet the objective for Wellness. The current 3-credit model is not the only appropriate choice for all students. Several members of the group felt that 1-credit sports courses would benefit students. Wellness has a variety of courses that should count toward Gen Ed. In addition, providing 3 electives would allow students more flexibility to minor in Wellness.
||Keep the current Wellness course as is.
||It would take away from choice in Wellness offerings and would take away from the ability to minor in Wellness. If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be reduced by 1.
||Require all students take a Wellness course, but allow more options such as other Wellness courses or 1-credit sports courses.
||This choice would guarantee that all students take wellness, and would increase options. If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be reduced by 1.
|Keep Comm. 100 as a required course; link where possible to learning communities.
||Oral communication is a required element of Middle States and in may ways is similar in importance to writing. [There was a strong minority opinion in favor of S courses (with Comm. 100 being one of many S courses). There is disagreement on GERC on the value of single course compared with a speaking across the curriculum approach. In particular, student teachers receive extensive experience in public speaking with an authentic audience and with feedback from both a supervisor and a cooperating teacher.]
||A strong minority supported developing S courses similar to W courses and encourage students to take these courses through advisement.
||If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be increased by 1.
||A strong minority of GERC supported developing S courses similar to W writing courses and requiring all students to take 2 S courses.
||This choice would take away from the simplicity of the proposal, by creating a new designation that must be overseen in some way. If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be increased by 1.
|Allow students to take Exploratory courses pass / no credit up to the 12th week of class after they have earned 30 credits.
||Increasing the number of pass/fail options was rejected my most departments in the Senate Survey. This use of Pass / No Credit was not represented in the survey and we are still considering whether to include a recommendation of this more limited use of the idea - noting that it would not apply to G1, G2, G3 distributional courses.
||Keep the current pass/fail policy.
||This change could be adopted or rejected without affecting other parts of the proposal.
|Keep the total number of Gen Ed credits at 51.
||This was a unanimous choice. The proposal provides some of the breathing room that the 120 rule requires by allowing capstones to substitute for Perspectives and by allowing Freshman Seminars in the major to count.
||Decrease the credits to 48 (the minimum allowed by SSHE).
||If this choice is made the number of Exploratory courses would be reduced by 1.
General discussion from Special Education Department
Our vision of the purpose of gen ed
- Useful need liberal arts to be literate
- Understanding of our culture
- To be a good citizen, learner, reader
- Goal should be to establish better connectors with what students do in life and with their major
- Background knowledge to establish our mission
- Connection to overall well rounded individual
- To know content well enough to be able to adapt instruction
- Do we have gen ed connected to the major or broader (nothing to do with major)?
- How do we work critically thinking? How do we develop a person who connects general knowledge to major content
- Concern is can we make the connection?
- Protecting borders is counter productive, empire building, department focus
THEMES WE OBSERVED
- "Evergreen model" focuses faculty to engage. Plus high level can work together with evergreen model; don't trust process, exclusive NEED MORE INFORMATION
- Faculty Largely supported 3rd option, some 2nd option- no one supported 1st option (no change)- wanted to give more freedom to student and advisor- 2nd option "minor options" our favorite, WANT MORE AUTONOMY
- Unanimous yes- Based on interest and need and not faculty and time
- Mixed opinions stronger on the "no" - different view points -two pronged, upper level- between the lines, empire building- concern, upper division integrated courses
- They restrict student, less curricular freedom- suspicious- discussion between, yes/both and optional- we were inconsistent- strong feeling about civics- we agree that all courses should have higher order thinking and all students need that focus- is this a student or faculty issue- all departments need a coherent mission and model- divided
- Don't want one specific course, want many- must be clear about what diversity means- mixed, yes/no- diversity not defined- rebuttal, if there is a "D" course, objectives in each course will drop the focus on inclusion in each class- if we say yes, we sign a blank check, no control- setting a policy on diversity is scary-no
- Very mixed- 120 credit influences, restricts us- minor opinion
- The rules aren't followed- quality is in question- do no change, but honor INTENT, PROMOTE ACCOUNTABILITY
- Second option favored
- Because we succumb to 120, we lower our standards, sneaky minor/ double majors to increase number of credits allowed- most chose option 3, similar to "among schools"- also strong opinions against 1st option- divided on language; 2nd option/ 3rd option
- Could have exposure- a cultural class should be exposure- proficiency is in question- option 2, decided separately for each
- Both should be required
- None- unanimous
- The university needs policies and procedures that creates decision making processes which include continual discussion and improvement [This is painful and positive]
- Flexibility and autonomy )_ are assurance of breadth and depth Generalist plus specialization )
- Degree programs and schools should offer both curricula flexibility and discipline diversity
- All departments need a conceptual framework and departmental mission statement that call coherency of model to develop students to discipline competency, AND, knowledge of and participation in learning activities that give meaning and understanding of higher order values and social norms. [less liberal arts and more trade school.
- "Benefits micro culture not macro culture". There is obvious departmental influence in the general education recommendation. Departmental control as an unduling unconscious institutional variable. Institutional restraints control our decision. The hint of turf is evident.
- The department was split on this one because the question is asking about the theme courses and learning communities. The department voted a unanimous no on theme courses citing the potential for confusion and the dislike of the themes being required. The department voted yes on increasing learning communities with the caveat that they remain optional. The vote was not unanimous with the faculty expressing concern that students may avoid thinking for themselves in the community atmosphere and scheduling.
- Though the original vote was close, after discussion the vote became unanimous that the distributional requirements should NOT be changed. This is not quite true, however, since the department did welcome small changes that could justify and/or add to the list of the courses available to the students (ex. Allowing students to take any courses from departments within the three blocks instead of only those with G1, G2 or G3 designation).
- Though the department recognized this as an interesting idea that has worked in at least one faculty's experience, the department did NOT support increasing the role of demand scheduling. Faculty cited concern over what they may be assigned to teach, the potential for chaos, and the perceived need for a very long time frame from when students would choose their courses to when they would actually take them (considering that faculty schedules must be determined a year in advance of teaching).
- The biology department thought this plan too complicated for something that should be happening already in the most introductory and advanced courses: critical thinking. It was difficult to think of a course whose content was "critical thinking." So the department voted against this.
- The department assumed that "civics" courses and "civic engagement" involved service oriented courses. Though the faculty believes service is certainly something to be encouraged, it feared that if it was required, the students would find it displeasing and not want to do it again. No one showed enthusiasm for requirement of literature courses. Overall, increasing the number (and variety) of hoops a student has to jump through to graduate was of concern to the faculty, so it was voted for the course to be optional.
- The department strongly agreed that diversity should be incorporated into courses at every opportunity, but expressed concern that "diversity" might become yet another "hoop" for the students to jump through; hence, demeaning the very nature of this value. The department voted NO to having a specific course(s) in diversity.
- The department wanted as many options as possible for the students so it chose that they could choose either type of diversity.
- If it addresses the issues, the department didn't see why the course couldn't be less than 3 credits, so it voted for a variety of freshman seminar formats.
- The department would like to see an increase in writing skills integrated into major's courses; so that more responsible in teaching writing is given to the specific departments to help their own majors. The department voted for the third choice of reducing W courses and the purposeful integration of writing with the proviso the integration mostly occurs in major's courses. Faculty senate seemed unsure of what is being taught in Engl 110.
- The department debated this question at length (along with the W course question above), and finally a close vote decided that we keep the advanced Writing requirements as they now exist. A good proportion of the department, however thought the second choice of major specific AW sections would be beneficial.
- No significant discussion on this question.
- With some debate, the department voted strongly that foreign languages should not be a gen ed requirement. It was discussed that foreign languages should be encouraged as the can offer more avenue for issues of diversity and cultural learning. How much culture is taught in foreign languages was debated, however.
- Some faculty related anecdotal stories of how student have benefited or could have benefited from a speech class; if speech were not required, then it was likely that the very students who needed it would not be the ones to take it. The encouragement of physical activity was considered important to the overall welfare and education of the students. In fact the faculty expressed regret that the wellness component no longer includes courses designated toward specific physical activities (i.e., the 0.5 credit courses in tennis, swimming, weight lifting, aerobics, etc.) The faculty therefore believes that both courses should be required for students as they are now.
- The department expressed great concern over the impact of requiring (?) or allowing courses to be taken pass/fail (though it has no problem with the current rules that will allow a student to take a course pass/fail). The department, citing impracticality and potential reduction in academic standards, voted strongly against having any credits be pass/fail.
- As with the diversity course, the department did not embrace the idea of there being a course designated "critical thinking". The department does agree, however, that as long as it does not lead to a required course(s) in the skills, there should be an increased emphasis on critical thinking and inquiry (the subject of interdisciplinary questions etc., was not really discussed.)
- First, the department expressed concern about the biased nature of the question. With words like scrutiny and cumbersome, anyone might be tempted to vote "yes" on this. The department is satisfied that the proposal process has enough checks and balances- no more are needed. It is not convinced, however, that the question is specific enough to guarantee that any "innovative approaches" would not reduce standards. Thus, the department votes no for working on approaches to change approval process, but does want to encourage any appropriate stream lining without reduction in standards.
- The department was not comfortable with the undefined nature of "broader range of qualified faculty", so it voted NO.
- Thematic courses are nice as long as a student option. Loosely-structured learning communities could be beneficial, and minors in fields outside the 'home' block should be encouraged. However, we fear that defining specific themes and creating coordinated sets of classes will make gen ed too prescriptive.
- There needs to be some definition of standard block requirements and the current system allows flexibility in creating breadth in their courses. However, ways to reduce the overall number of gen ed credits should be considered. This could possible be done through requiring fewer credits in a student's 'home' block or redefining some G4 courses. Several suggestions for reorganizing the G4 block were mentioned. One would be development of Freshmen Seminars that incorporate aspects of Wellness and Speech, allowing a reduction in these required credits. Another would be to define a group of courses in the language, civics, diversity, wellness, and literature areas and that students take any two from these.
- Use of pre-registration as a way to inform departments about potential course needs is good. However, it cannot be used as a way to dictate what courses a department must offer. Students strongly wanting to take a specific gen ed course can enroll in them when they register first as upperclassmen
- The design of the current gen ed curriculum already considers development issues. Implementation of more defined structure could narrow the range of gen ed courses that students take or make it more difficult to complete them in a timely fashion.
- These topics are already part of the options available to students in the current block system. If freshmen seminars are reworked as part of gen ed, these topics could be included in that content.
- We feel that diversity need to be experiential to be meaningful and fear that requiring specific courses won't adequately achieve this goal. We would like to see students required to participate in experiences that challenge their concepts of cultures.
- We feel that all students should be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking at all levels. Any requirement for diversity should combine awareness of US and global issues.
- We currently offer a departmental freshmen seminar because we feel it is important for incoming students to get acclimated to college demands. How these courses should count in gen ed would depend on how freshmen seminars are incorporated into the overall curriculum.
- We would like to see cooperation between English and individual departments to create parallels in the approach to advanced writing particularly as it may be unique to specific fields.
- Gen ed requirements should be adjusted so they are compatible with all degree programs. Having AW and P courses within the major helps alleviate credit students to change their courses of study and still be on track.
- We support the idea that all students know or be exposed to foreign languages. However, we feel the effectiveness of one or two introductory language courses does not warrant its inclusion in gen ed.
- Ideally, we feel that speaking experiences should be included in a variety of courses throughout any major. This allows students to acquire these skills in ways relevant to their content areas and would make it possible to drop speech as a specific gen ed requirement. But we also feel that wellness is not necessary as a separate gen ed requirement but could be effectively incorporated into alternate formats such as freshmen seminars.
- Modify current policy to allow Pass/ No credit for gen ed courses and relax conditions to lower total credit hours and QPA so that students are encouraged to explore new content.
- Do not change the current approach to course approval across the board. However, a streamlined process could be used to adapt approved 'shell' courses (i.e. freshmen seminar or perspectives) with new content that meets the same overall goals. This type of new content should be still reviewed at the department level as well as somewhere else.
10. How do English faculty assess scientific content? Learning community
13. Wellness courses should be reviewed to ensure they foster wellness.
12. F.L. should be one way of satisfying the diversity requirement.
14. The bigger issue is the time of semester the choice is make, we think it should be the 1st week of class.
14. In a subsequent "spirited" departmental discussion we expressed the consensus that the current pass/ fail policy should be retained.
[note - these answers were included in the tally of results]
The department reached near-consensus on several points:
2. The question is confusing.
9. In favor of keeping W courses.
14. Strongly against introducing the P/F option.
15. Critical thinking etc. very important
15-17. "Shell" courses confusing to implement.
On other topics, there was a mixed response.
In addition, the department, in discussing the survey and the Gen Ed reform process as a whole, arrived at a sense that the reform process would be easier to discuss if the "big-picture" goals of reform were more clearly defined. For example, we noted that in the "Principles" and "Characteristics" guiding Gen Ed reform, there is a good emphasis on process and on getting people involved. However, a clearer definition of what the faculty believe in, and what the purpose of Gen Ed should be, would be useful. If we could decide in general terms what we want to communicate to students (possibly thinking in terms of a core Liberal Arts curriculum), then it would be easier to work out the details. As the survey now stands, and as the scheduled Senate discussions seem to be structured, many details from individual proposals will be discussed, but we may risk getting lost in the details.
[note - these answers were included in the tally of results]
Comments: Yes provided students take 2 courses the first semester.
- Majority for third option "We should consider…".
- Every student should take a Literature course.
- Students should have the option to choose either type of diversity.
- First option: "A variety of Freshman Seminars formats…"
- Second option: "We should keep W courses…"
Comments: classes of 20 students maximum
Production of a minimum of 10 pages of revised prose
- Second option: "As much as possible, Advanced…"
- There should be a single set of requirements for all programs.
- YES, for all students.
- Third option: "Both of these courses should become electives"
Comments: opinions are divided about Speech.
[note: these results were not available at the time the tally was completed]
- Yes = 7 votes
- third box...we should consider alternative approaches...7 votes
- Yes= 7 votes
- Yes = 7 votes
- fourth box these types of courses should be optional 7 votes
- No =7
- two votes for US diversity only; 5 votes for "students should have options"
- A Variety....7 votes
- to votes for first box "we should not change..." and 5 votes for ..."we should reduce"
- 5 votes for "as much as possible" and 2 votes for allow programs to embed.
- 5 votes for The system should allow for some differences in requirements for degree programs and 2 votes for "allow for some differences in gen ed requirements among majors
- 6 votes for yes for all students; 1 vote for "this should be an option
- 1 vote for Wellness should become an elective course; 6 votes for "both of these courses should become electives.
- 2 votes for "none" and 5 votes for 3 courses.
- 7 votes yes
- 7 votes yes
- 7 votes yes
||Do you support the idea of increasing the number of thematically organized courses and learning communities?
||What role should distributional requirements play in a revised system?
||Distributional requirements should not be changed. 5
||There should be minor reductions in distributional requirements to provide more flexibility 11
||We should consider alternative approaches to the G Block system 4
||Would you support increasing the role of demand scheduling?
||Do you support a "developmental" approach?
||Should we require literature and civics courses as part of distributional requirements?
||Civics Yes 3
||Literature Yes 3
||Yes to both 1
||Both should be optional 12
||Should diversity be intentionally designed into requirements of the Gen Ed system?
||If a diversity requirement is included, how should that requirement be focused?
||On U.S. diversity only.
||On Global diversity only. 1
||Both U.S. and global diversity should be required. 4
||Students should have option 12
||In what way should credit for freshman seminars count in Gen Ed?
||A variety of Freshman Seminars formats should count toward Gen Ed credit 16
||Only count 3 credit courses that are offered outside the student's major toward Gen Ed. 1
||What should we do with the W system?
||We should not change the current W system. 3
||We should keep W courses and look into ways to increase the effectiveness of the current approach even further. 17
||We should reduce the number of W courses and instead integrate writing into a variety of Gen Ed / major courses 2
||In what way should advanced writing be represented in Gen Ed?
||The present requirements for Advanced Writing should be maintained. 5
||As much as possible, Advanced Writing should be offered in sections designed specifically for majors in certain fields. 9
||Allow programs to embedded advanced writing skills in other advanced Gen Ed / capstone courses 3
||Should Gen Ed reform allow for flexibility between degrees, schools or even majors?
||There should be a single set of requirements for all programs 12
||The system should allow for some differences in Gen Ed requirements among degree programs 2
||The system should allow for some differences in Gen Ed requirements among schools 1
||The system should allow for some differences in Gen Ed requirements among majors 5
||Should there be a foreign language requirement?
||Yes, for all students. 5
||This should be an option that is decided separately for each school 4
||Foreign Language should not be a Gen Ed requirement. 10
||Do you support making either of these reductions?
||Wellness should become an elective course 5
||Speech should become an elective course
||Both of these courses should become electives 5
||Both courses should be required for all students 9
||How many Gen Ed credits should a student be allowed to designate "pass / no credit" under these rules?
||2 courses 8
||3 courses 1
||4 courses 1
||Need to increase emphasis on critical thinking in foundational courses?
||Should we work on innovative approaches to make the current course approval process less cumbersome?
||Should a broader range of qualified faculty be considered?
Return to Faculty Senate Home
Return to MU Home Page