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Fall 2009

Faculty Senate General Studies Committee
October 14, 2009  PL 360


Handouts:  Agenda, “General Education, a Self-Study Guide” (pdf, from AAC&U website).

Present:  Mark Segall, Dorothy Snozek, Alex Padilla, Andy Muldoon, Lunden MacDonald, Chris Jennings, Rudy García

Regrets:  Doug Petcoff, Jeff London

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.  We welcomed our new member, Chris Jennings.  Chris is the Senate Executive Committee nomination to this committee.  He also serves on the College General Studies Task Force, so he will be a valuable liaison between the two bodies.

II. Lunden MacDonald shared notes from her discussion with Sheila Thompson.  This was part of a follow-up effort regarding a request from the FSGSC to have Sheila attend some of our meetings and provide us with information regarding our task of assessing any future General Studies Program established at Metro, starting next year. 

Sheila said that we first need to establish an effective working vocabulary so that we can better discuss these issues.  We should use the terms “evaluation” for individual student learning experiences, “assessment” of student learning objectives at the course level, and “review” of program.

It is the program review piece that the FSGSC should concentrate on for next year.  We should look at establishing a review process that is systemic, periodic, and refers back to the framework of the program only.  This construction of this framework is what the General Studies Task Force is currently charged with, so this is where the connection between the efforts of our two committees lies.  Sheila also said that we should examine what may be applicable from our current program review process and use that in future efforts.

Discussion by our committee yielded the opinion that we do not really have any current program review process, so we are essentially starting tabula rasa.  We came to the conclusion that we do need to wait and see what kind of framework is established by the Task Force, but that in the meantime we can begin to investigate other review systems and processes used by schools who have had successful General Studies review and revision.  Some of the schools that were discussed were Charleston, James Madison, UNL, San José, Appalachian, and Miami Dade.  Lunden MacDonald committed to following up by finding names of other schools in the same category.  The committee decided to each take one school, investigate their system of program review, and report back to the FSGSC on November 11. 

We also decided that in order to provide the most complete review framework and process that we should look into other governing bodies and try to understand what their expectations for our future review might be.  The bodies suggested by the FSGSC were gtPathways, the HLC, the MSCD Board of Trustees, the President of MSCD, the First Year Success Program, the Multicultural studies stakeholders, and others.  Lunden MacDonald committed to following up with these programs and to doing preliminary research with regard to their potential desired outcomes for a General Studies review process.
The following are some questions that we thought would be applicable when we consider how other programs and their review processes work:

  • Who performs the program review?When is program review performed? 
  • How oftenWhat other programs does General Studies line up with internally?
  • And externally?
  • When was the last major overhaul or revision of the GS program?
  • What is the vision/focus/charge of the GS program?
  • What tools and processes are used to perform program review?
  • What is the role of faculty? 
  • Involvement, impact, etc.
  • How long does it take to perform the review?
  • How does the review coincide with the accrediting body and their expectations/parameters?

We agreed to do the research and prepare initial reports to share at our November 11 meeting.  Lunden agreed to follow up first by providing a list of other schools whose models we could investigate, and each member of our committee could choose from this list.

III. We established a tentative schedule for Fall Semester “contact” or “office” hours to be published and distributed to the entire College.  The point of this availability is to allow other faculty and staff members to ask questions, make comments, clarify confusion, etc.  The FSGSC will serve as liaison between the general population and the Task Force, carrying messages back and forth in order to maintain and promote transparency.  Lunden will follow up with the publication of this list of available times.  We will work on setting a Spring Semester schedule when people have their course and other obligations solidified.

IV. Chris Jennings provided a brief update on proceedings from the last meeting of the General Studies Task Force (9.17.09).  Dean Joan Foster’s notes from that meeting were discussed.  Chris informed us that the Task Force worked on the initial establishment of a connection between DRAFT General Studies goals, links to current General Studies goals, links to Fall 2008 Faculty Survey results, and links to gtPathways curriculum.  Chris reiterated the Task Force’s intention to publish the Draft Goals as soon as they are sufficiently developed, and to ask for faculty input before continuing on to the next stage in the program development process.

V. Alex Padilla quickly updated us on the progress of the website.  He reiterated that all information from past FSGSC’s, the current FSGSC, and the Task Force will be easily accessible, and that there will be a comment form attached to the site.  Alex will continue to work with Dean Foster and the IT team to hopefully develop the site by November 1.

It was discussed that the FSGSC may want some kind of internal technological platform for discussion among the members or our group.  Chris Jennings offered to set up a wiki or a blog for the committee, and we can develop and use it for further internal communication.

VI. Rudy García gave us an update on his ideas for “promoting” the developing General Studies Program.  He suggested that we get a calendar of events and have an informational/promotional booth at each of these events.  In the booth we can distribute information about the developing mission and charge of the General Studies Program, the role of the Task Force, the role of the FSGSC, committee members, website information, etc.  This material can be further developed by FSGSC members as the process evolves.  Rudy also suggested that we connect with the news media to publish some articles on the progress being made toward reviewing and revising the current General Studies Program.  Rudy committed to following up on the media aspect and discussing his findings with us at the October 28 meeting.

It was also suggested that the FSGSC do a workshop or make a presentation at the Center for Faculty Development-sponsored Spring Forum.  Lunden offered to write a draft proposal on behalf of the group.  We will discuss and revise that proposal at the October 28 meeting.

VII. We began initial discussion on the topic of FSGSC composition.  We talked about how we need to decide what we would like the committee to look like in the future in terms of number of members, representation of school and Senate by the members, etc.  Due to time constraints we did not elaborate the discussion.  Lunden MacDonald committed to following up by sending out a list of the current composition requirements.  She will also ask the Senate President, Lynn Kaersvang, and the Chair of the Faculty Senate Rules Committee, Lawrence Glatz, how to proceed with any changes we may wish to suggest.  This topic will be discussed at the October 28 meeting.

VIII. The article “General Education, a Self-Study Guide” was distributed by email prior to today’s meeting.  The intent was to discuss the article, but time did not permit this.  We will follow up on the article during a future meeting.

The meeting was adjourned and we set the next meeting time for Wednesday, October 28, PL 360, 9.00-10.00 a.m.





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