Snow College General Education Committee
November 19, 2012
In attendance: Richard Squire, Melanie Jenkins, Clinton King,
Mel Jacobsen, Joseph Papenfuss, Susan Larsen, LaFaun Barnhurst,
Melanie moved, with Clinton seconding, that the minutes of 11.05 be approved. The motion was carried unanimously.
Although the academic areas have already been asked to define GE in their areas, this committee continues to discuss exactly how those definitions should be written. Melanie shared with the group a similar document from the University of Utah. Melanie and Jeff noted that the definition addresses the GE area only and not the individual departments that have courses earning credit in the areas. Clinton noted that the U's definition addresses content more than outcomes. It was the spirit of the group that Snow College may want to use a shorter definition, omitting references to individual departments, but that an outcomes-oriented definition was a better idea and more consistent with the committee's previous work. Joseph briefly discussed a draft definition for the Life Sciences area. The committee observed that since only Biology courses earn GE credit in the Life Sciences area, it is fitting that an area definition for the life sciences will essentially be a definition of biology. The committee reaffirmed its belief that area definitions should be written honestly, as Melanie phrased it. Specifically, this means writing the definition as logically as possible, and not writing with the intent of including all courses that currently earn GE credit in an area.
From time to time courses that are hosted by departments outside a GE area do in fact confer GE credit in that area. Examples include business courses that earn credit in Oral Communication. The committee agreed that this is a natural aspect of general education and should not be discouraged. On the other hand, it was also agreed that the integrity of our course offerings must be predicted. Under the current system (and with the exception of the Scientific Inquiry area) a single division dean must approve a course for GE credit in a GE area. The committee proposes that for a course from outside an area to earn GE credit within an area, it must be approved for GE credit by:
1. the chair of the course's "home" department;
2. the dean who supervises the course's home department;
3. and the dean who supervises the GE area.
Concern was raised that the current course approval process makes it possible for a single decision maker, such as a division dean, to exclude a course from an area in circumstances where common sense would allow it to be included. The committee proposes that when such conflicts arise, aggrieved parties may appeal to this committee for mediation. Mediation would begin with a cordial discussion of the issues among the principal stakeholders, with this committee acting as moderators and sources of information. Every attempt will be made to help the stakeholders reach a agreement. If such attempts fail, the committee will make a ruling, and that ruling shall be binding. (It should be remembered that committee rulings can be appealed to the Curriculum Committee.)
From time to time courses are cross-listed in more than one GE area. Examples include courses that confer GE credit for the Humanities or the Fine Arts. The committee proposes that for such a course to be approved, it must fully satisfy the requirements for every area in which it can confer GE credit.