Millersville University, Faculty Senate
Attachment #4
Faculty Senate Minutes
April 18, 2006

GERC Updated Progress Report
April 17th, 2006

Results / Interpretation of April 4th Senate meeting:

Interpretation of the meeting process:

  1. The meeting was highly productive. Several issues that were previously unresolved were clarified. There is now a much clearer direction for the overall proposal.
  2. The quality of discussion was high. A large number of people participated in the discussion, the discussion was focused, and various viewpoints were expressed.
  3. Several factors contributed to the quality of discussion and should be used again in future meetings devoted to shaping a proposal. An introduction from the Provost, time limits and a method for extending time for discussion, focused questions, straw votes, and the room itself all contributed to the quality of discussion.

Overall interpretation of discussion and votes:

  1. The strong vote in favor of elective / exploratory courses was taken as an endorsement for continuation of the reform process. At each major milestone of this process, straw votes have indicated substantial support for changes that are significant and that warrant a thoughtful, thorough approach to reform.
  2. This vote reinforced earlier findings from Task Force focus groups, the Fall Senate meeting, and the survey that simplicity and flexibility are key concerns of faculty.
  3. At the same time, there was strong endorsement of the value of General Education. While the previous survey indicated strong support for Freshman Seminars, concerns were raised about giving majors free reign in creating seminars in the major that count toward Gen Ed. Likewise, despite the pressures from accreditation groups, there was a strong endorsement of Perspective courses.

Specific Issues
1.A. Should all forms of Freshman Seminar count toward Gen Ed? (straw vote, 10 yes, 15 no). Discussion about the piloted "Passion" seminars was positive. Most of the discussion focused on the very broad nature of the straw vote question and concerns that Freshman Seminars that count for Gen Ed should clearly meet Gen Ed goals. A clear set of criteria should be developed by GERC for approval by Senate. Seminar proposals seeking Gen Ed credit should be required to demonstrate how the criteria are met. In addition, concerns were raised that seminars offered in majors might meet criteria on paper, but after implementation might change into courses with weak relation to Gen Ed. This concern indicates a need for periodic review of major seminars that seek Gen Ed credit from an outside committee such as the Freshman Seminar committee, GERC, or UCPRC.

1.B. Should we have one or more elective courses? (straw vote, 20 yes, 4 no, 2 abstentions) and 1.C. should we move to a 3-3-3 G-Block with Math as an additional Foundations course? (16 yes, 6 no, 2 abstentions). The vote was taken as a strong endorsement of the general concept. There are still many issues related to implementation that must be developed. These issues are highly related to other issues and ultimately must be revisited as the proposal is further developed and refined.

2. Should we allow capstone courses to count in place of perspectives? (vote 3 yes, 23 no). This was an extremely strong re-endorsement of the current Perspectives requirement. The overall theme of the discussion was perhaps captured best by the statement that Perspective courses are designed to broaden perspective, while capstone courses are meant to deepen perspective.

3. Should we change the number of credits required for Gen Ed from 51 to 48? (straw vote 13 yes, 12 no). This vote was too close to set a clear direction. In addition, this issue is highly related to the first issue and GERC's interpretation is that many of the votes on both sides were difficult for Senators to make without seeing how decisions on other issues would combine with this one. With that said, the discussion indicated that there is a need, especially in some departments, for relief from 120 restrictions, but at the same time, there is strong sentiment for maintaining the strength of Gen Ed and not reducing credits. Overall, this issue will need to be revisited as the proposal develops further.

4. Should Wellness be required for all students? (straw vote 16 yes, 4 no, 4 abstentions). This vote was a strong endorsement of a 3-credit Wellness course. Discussion indicated support not only for a Wellness requirement in general, but also for the current conceptualization of a course that integrates mind - body - spirit in a single course, as opposed to other models such as 1-credit sports courses.

GERC's Recommendations for Next Steps in the Process
Progress to date:
Last spring, Senate, GERC, and the General Education Task Force sponsored a ballot focusing on the goals and objectives of General Education with curriculum decisions to be made at a later date. The ballot was withdrawn partially because of concerns that once goals and objectives were agreed to, a curriculum that faculty did not support would be pre-determined. The process this year has focused primarily on the broad outlines of the curriculum. GERC believes that the broad outlines of the proposed curriculum are approaching clarity and that it is now time to begin development of a full proposal

Recommended Next steps:

  1. Decision-making on key issues should be centered in Senate. GERC, working with Senate, should continue to facilitate campus-wide discussion of key issues.
  2. Begin the in-depth development of a full proposal with greatest emphasis next on development of goals and objectives. {Summer 06, Fall 06}
  3. After objectives are agreed upon, final decisions about the curriculum will need to be made. {Fall 06}
  4. Potential Faculty Ballot: {Spring 07}

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