GE Minutes 10-29-2012

Snow College General Education Committee
October 29, 2012
In attendance: Richard Squire, Melanie Jenkins, Clinton King,
Mel Jacobsen, Susan Larsen (Advisement), Jeff Carney (chair)


Communication with Richfield was not working, so Rick White and LaFaun did not participate.


Clinton moved, with Melanie seconding, that the minutes of 10.22 be approved. The motion was carried unanimously.


Jeff reported that the Curriculum Committee had given its blessing to the proposed policies appended to last week's minutes, with the proviso that the following text be added to what (was) Item 3: "This process does not replace any other course approval process that may also be in place." Mel Jacobsen moved to amend the policy to include that text. Richard seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously. Jeff mentioned that a policy had been omitted from list of proposed policies that he believed should be added. He believed that the committee was already operating as if the policy were in place. The policy is as follows: "The General Education Committee determines General Education Outcomes and General Education distribution requirements." Clinton moved, with Richard seconding, that the policy be approved. The motion was carried. This is now Policy Item 2. The amended policy document is appended to these minutes.


Jeff reported that immediately prior to this meeting he had met with the Deans' Council to discuss the proposed policies and to alert the deans that all GE Area Stakeholders are expected to draft a GE Definition Document before breaking for Christmas. As the GE Committee is not administratively linked to the Deans' Council, this was an informational meeting only. Jeff said that although the discussion was generally favorable, Dan Black (Math  and Science) and Sue Dalley (Social and Behavioral Science) indicated that they had a few reservations, and that they would express them in the future.


During the course of the week, it was decided via email that the time of this meeting would be changed to 7:00 AM on Mondays to accommodate Joseph Papenfuss and Rick Wheeler; Rick is the new representative from Fine Arts and Communication.


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 laxity 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. The General Education Committee determines General Education Outcomes and
General Education distribution requirements.
Effective: Immediately
Justification: The Curriculum Committee used to be responsible for these tasks. Since the responsibility for assessing the effectiveness for the GE Program has shifted to the GE Committee, it is fitting that the responsibility for determining the outcomes and content of the program should belong to the GE Committee as well.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.