Snow College General Education Committee
November 05, 2012
In attendance: Richard Squire, Melanie Jenkins, Clinton King,
Mel Jacobsen, Rick Wheeler, Joseph Papenfuss, Susan Larsen, Rick
White, Gary Smith, Jeff Carney
Visitors: Larry Smith, Dan Black, Allan Stevens, Janalee Jeffery,
Melanie moved, with Richard seconding, that the minutes of 10.29 be approved. The motion was carried unanimously.
Rick Wheeler was introduced as the new representative from the Fine Arts and Communication Division.
Because a number of committee members have been replaced in recent weeks, it was thought prudent to seek a time more accommodating to all committee members. Monday mornings at 7:00 am will be our meeting time for the rest of the semester.
A variety of concerns have recently been raised about the way this committee schedules meetings, the committee's constitution, and several policies that have been made. The following addresses the specific concerns that were discussed during the meeting.
1. Meeting time. The Math and Science Division is concerned that their representative, Joseph Papenfuss, has been unable to attend meetings all semester because the meeting time conflicts with his schedule. Jeff reminded those in attendance that this committee has eight faculty members, instead of the usual five, and that finding a time suitable to all has proved frustrating from the start. Jeff also pointed out that in the past, and on multiple occasions, three divisions have replaced members to ensure that their divisions were represented. Jeff believes this is the most efficient remediation, and suggested that a statement to this effect might be written into the committee's by-laws.
2. Concern was raised that "Constitution" may be an inappropriate title for the committee's governing document. The committee agreed that if the Faculty Senate was likewise concerned about the name, no one would object to a change. Jeff indicated that he would bring the matter to the Senate's attention.
3. It was observed that if the Senate requires that this document be renamed to "Bylaws," then the reference to bylaws in Section 1.2.5 will have to be changed. Joseph moved, with Melanie seconding, that an appropriate change be made if such an event should come to pass. The title "operating rules" was generally agreed upon as a substitute.
4. Concern was raised that the "Resolution of Conflicts" section of the Constitution does not refer to the role of the Faculty Senate. Jeff and Kim assured those present that no subterfuge was intended, but that this committee and the Curriculum Committee assumed that a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee would be bound by the Curriculum Committee's own policies. It was generally agreed that clarification is a virtue. Mel Jacobsen made a motion, with Melanie seconding, that the following text be added to the Constitution:
4.3 A party who has addressed a conflict to the Curriculum Committee and still feels dissatisfied should seek further resolution according to Curriculum Committee policy. The motion passed unanimously. The amended document must be returned to the Curriculum Committee and the Senate for ratification.
5. Concern was raised that the GE Committee now has the power to approve Master Course Syllabi for GE courses. Kim Cajun, chair of the Curriculum Committee (and also a past chair), and Jeff (also a past chair of the Curriculum Committee) confirmed that this power has resided with the Curriculum Committee for more than 20 years. This means that the approval power under discussion has not been created ex nihilo, but has simply shifted its locus. This response seemed to be met with general satisfaction.
6. It was noted that the GE Committee is requiring stakeholders of each GE Outcome to write a short definition of that outcome. The definition of "stakeholder" was questioned. Jeff explained that a stakeholder is a person, generally a faculty member, who is involved in the instruction associated with an outcome. For example, in the case of the Math Outcome, the stakeholders are the instructors of MATH 1030, 1040, 1050, and 1080, the chair of the Math Department, and the Dean of the Math and Sciences Division. The term had not been defined in previous documentation because it is part of the vocabulary of assessment experts, and it is likely that the term will become Snow College vocabulary in a very short time. Jeff also explained that the committee is asking that the definitions be written to facilitate the process of approving GE courses and the process of assessing GE outcomes. The goal is to ensure, when courses are created and outcomes are assessed, that the results are consistent with the vision of the stakeholders. Ultimately, the definitions should be viewed as a check on the GE Committee's power, not as an arbitrary exercise of it. Concern was raised that the December 1 deadline for the definitions is too soon to be practical. Jeff suggested that the deadline be treated as a target rather than an absolute.