GE Minutes 10-22-2012

Snow College General Education Committee
October 22, 2012
In attendance: LaFaun Barnhurst, Richard Squire, Melanie Jenkins,
Clinton King, Mel Jacobsen, Susan Larsen (Advisement), Rick
White (ex officio), Jeff Carney (chair)


Clinton moved, with Richard seconding, that the minutes of 10.15 be approved. The motion was carried unanimously. Mel Jacobsen arrived late and did not vote.


In accordance with the committee's constitution, a member of the advisement staff was invited to join the Committee. Susan Larsen, Director of Advisement, will fill that role.


Jeff returned with a revision of the GE Assessment Report template. Rick White helped the committee identify those sections of the report that would naturally translate into TracDat data, and Jeff indicated he would make the appropriate notations in the document. No other concerns were raised about the draft. The committee discussed the need for a GE Assessment Proposal, and a corresponding template. This document, to be submitted to the committee before an assessment team begins an assessment, will ensure that assessment teams are on the right track before investing a lot of time an energy. The committee agreed that it should be short and simple, identifying three basic ideas: what will be studied, what kind of instrument will be used, and what sort of rubric or set of criteria will be used to evaluate student performance. Jeff said that he would draft a template of this document for next week.


President Wyatt and Vice President Smith have indicated that fora policy to be official, it must be approved by the Board ofTrustees. En route to the Board, a policy might also be approved by the College Council and other governing bodies. This approval requirement has always existed, but has rarely been used. As ofnow, it is expected that new policies will be approved in thismanner. Jeff drafted a short document, in the form of a memo to the College Council, outlining policies that have been approved or generally agreed upon by this committee. Discussion was favorable, and a few changes to the document were suggested. Melanie moved, with LaFaun seconding, that the policies be approved or re-approved. The motion carried unanimously. Mel Jacobsen moved, with Richard seconding, that the proposal document be approved, pending the revisions that were discussed. The motion was carried unanimously. Jeff said that he would bring the policy document to Curriculum Committee for its consent.


In addition to future action noted above, it was agreed that Richard would initiate communication the PE about the Fitness for Life Assessment. Jeff agreed that he would contact Fine Arts and Communications about theirs, and also Foreign Language about theirs.


The amended policy document, including a change suggested by the Curriculum Committee, is printed below. With the change, the CC did consent to the new policies. (The GE Committee Constitution is not attached to these minutes.) The following policy is submitted for approval:

1. The attached General Education Committee Constitution.
Effective: Immediately
Justification: In the past, General Education at Snow College has been administered with varying degrees of rigor and permissiveness that are inconsistent with other colleges and our own dedication to excellence. Because existing governing bodies on campus lack the resources to extend their own missions, the Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, and the Vice President for Academic affairs have agreed that a new body should oversee the General Education Committee. Since 2011, an ad hoc committee has acted in this capacity, contributing in part to our recent accreditation success. The General Education Committee Constitution will formalize this body. Assuming the General Education Committee Constitution is approved, the following additional policies are submitted for approval:

2. A document that generally defines an ideal course in each GE area (e.g., American Institutions, Math, Fine Arts) will be written by the appropriate stakeholders, subject to approval by the GE Committee. GE Definition Documents are reviewed every five years. GE courses will not be approved or re-approved until an appropriate definition has been approved. Exceptions will be granted on a course-by-course basis, and only when sufficient need has been demonstrated. Effective: As soon as possible, and no later than December 1, 2012. Justification: Consistency is essential to ensuring a quality program. In the absence of such a document, there can be no certainty that any two courses conveying the same GE credit are in any way commensurate. When the college certifies that a student has met a GE outcome, there must be reasonable assurance that the student has acquired a body of knowledge and set of skills that are on par with (which is not to say identical to) the knowledge and skills acquired by every other student who is likewise certified.

3. The General Education Committee approves new and revised Master Course Syllabi for courses that earn GE credit toward the AS and AA degrees. The GE Committee reviews existing GE courses to determine if they warrant a GE designation. Such reviews are undertaken in the open and in consultation with all appropriate stakeholders and with reference to the appropriate GE Definition documents. This process does not replace any other course approval process that may also be in place.
Effective: Immediately
Justification: General Education Committee is charged with ensuring the quality and coherence of the General Education Program. The most effective means by which this task can be accomplished is by ensuring the quality of the individual courses that make up the program.

4. A course that conveys GE credit teaches and assesses at least one course-specific or  discipline-specific reading strategy. Petitions to exclude a course from this policy will be considered by the GE Committee.
Effective: New and revised courses, upon approval; all others, March 1, 2014.
Justification: Recent assessments indicate that Snow College students have average reading skills. A core theme of the college is excellence; average does not constitute excellence.

5. A course that conveys GE credit teaches and assesses at least one course-specific or discipline-specific analytical, critical, or creative thinking skill. Petitions to exclude a course from this policy will be considered by the GE Committee.
Effective: New and revised courses, upon approval; all others, March 1, 2014.
Justification: National assessments, including interviews with corporate leaders, indicate that college graduates in general lack the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

6. A course that conveys GE credit introduces students, at a very basic level, to the methods by which knowledge is made in the discipline. Petitions to exclude a course from this policy will be considered by the GE Committee.
Effective: New and revised courses, upon approval; all others, March 1, 2014.
Justification: Knowledge does not come into existence on its own. A student who learns only course content without also knowing the basic methods with which content is made has an incomplete understanding of higher education.

7. The GE Committee establishes schedules by which assessments of individual GE outcomes are made, and by which initial reports and updates are submitted. The GE Committee establishes guidelines for writing the reports described above. The GE Committee expects that members of the faculty who have been tasked with assessing a GE outcome will do so on time and with reasonable care. The GE Committee publishes assessment schedules, notifies stakeholders of forthcoming assessments, and communicates with assessment teams frequently and whenever requested to do so.
Effective: Immediately
Justification: The GE Committee is charged with assessing the GE program on a  continuous basis. Research indicates that assessment of any learning outcome is best carried out by the faculty who hold a stake in it. Experience also indicates that faculty carry out tasks most efficiently, and are most willing to be held accountable for doing so, when timetables and expectations are as clear as possible. Adherence to rigorous schedules and consistent documentation also facilitates the accreditation process.