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Meeting Notes

September 18, 2009

General Studies Taskforce
September 18, 2009

The Notes from the last meeting were reviewed.

  1. Implementation of General Studies Strategic Plan (enclosure):

  The General Studies Strategic Plan was written during winter 2009 with the participation of the Faculty Senate President (Lynn Kaersvang), Chair of the Faculty Senate General Studies Committee (Lunden MacDonald), Interim AVPAA (Rich Wagner),  Director of Assessment (Sheila Thompson), the Interim Provost (Linda Curran) and the 3 Deans (John Cochran, Sandra Haynes and Joan Laura Foster).  After receiving the letter from HLC regarding the focus visit on General Studies, an implementation plan was written to take the new instructions and timeline into consideration.  The implementation plan was discussed by the taskforce:
Obj 1A1:  Facilitate timely student achievement of basic skills of language, mathematics, communications and critical thought as describe by the General Studies Goals.

  1. Acuplacer test for Math, English and Reading will be required before students with lower ACT/SAT scores can register.  If they need remediation there are only a few Metro classes that they can take.  This objective also includes banner enforced prerequisites for Level I General Studies courses.

Obj 1A2:  Optimize student development of relevant skills as described by the current General Studies Goals…this work will be supported by the Center for Faculty Development (Mark Potter)
Obj 1B1:  Identify important educational goals.  This will be done by the taskforce in concert with the faculty.
Obj 1B2:  Gather data which contribute to conversations about the effectiveness of the current General Studies program and its stated goals.  Sheila Thompson worked with Cindy Carlson (Chair of English) to develop assessment for the ENG 1020 program. 
Obj 1B4:  Research approaches to general education modification/revision taken by other colleges.  Multiple handouts were provided to the taskforce.  In addition, AAC & U will have a great conference addressing this Feb 18-20.
Obj 1B5:  Discuss the need for General studies program modifications or revision and generate a proposal.  Being the catalyst for this discussion is one of the roles of the taskforce.

  1. Review of Models and Past Proposal

Taskforce discussed that our role is to develop, with lots of faculty interaction, program learning outcomes that can be assessed.  Communication to the faculty through the Faculty Senate, Chairs to departmental meetings, Faculty Senate General Studies Committee members will need to be bidirectional…ideas out from taskforce to college community, modification and new ideas back to the taskforce from the college committee.  The taskforce will develop a General Studies program assessment plan, but not necessarily the actual assessment tools. 

Examples of program assessment were provided:
English 1020:  They have done trial runs of graders using a rubric to grade 700 papers.  Each paper is scored by 2 graders and the scores compared.  The consistency in the scoring is remarkable (20 out of 700 had significant scoring variations) -attributed to a well developed scoring rubric.   The English Composition Committee is examining the results of this pilot program assessment to determine how to improve the Freshman Composition PROGRAM.  It is important to note that they are looking at the PROGRAM and not the individual faculty members. 
ENGLISH 1010 will be assessed this summer.

Speech 1010:  They are planning on doing video recordings of student speeches and then having judges score them.  They are also having the students perform peer evaluations to see how they match the faculty judges.  They are starting with 4 sections of SPE 1010.  They will also do pre and post tests.

Concerns were expressed regarding support of faculty doing the program assessment, especially in disciplines with larger class sizes such as History.  The faculty doing the assessment were given salary supplements for their work.  In addition, they were scheduled between semesters so that the program assessment work did not compete with teaching.

Long discussion about the program assessment and communication with all of the faculty regarding it.  The Taskforce believes that it is important to emphasize:
This is PROGRAM Assessment
            Not student grading
            Not for evaluating faculty performance
This is about improving the General Studies program and curriculum.  We need to demonstrate that we are assessing our learning outcomes and using the resulting data to improve the PROGRAM, where appropriate.
3.  Fall 2008 MSU Denver Faculty Survey on Educational Goals
The Taskforce examined the Faculty Survey of General Studies Educational Goals from Fall 2008.  This survey was completed by 194 faculty of all ranks (affiliate->tenured full professors) representing 26% of our faculty.  The Taskforce was charged with examining those that received 50% or above of being listed as “essential” and seeing how these goals match with learning outcomes from the AAC & U outcomes, the CORE proposal and 5 other General Education programs distributed to the Taskforce.  

4.  How to Write Student Learning Outcomes Was distributed.  The Taskforce was asked to review it before matching the faculty survey results to learning outcomes from the other proposals.

5.  Future Meetings:  The next meeting will be on October 2nd, in 2 weeks because half of the taskforce will be unavailable next Friday. 


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