GE Minutes 9-24-2012

Snow College General Education Committee
September 24, 2012
In attendance: LaFaun Barnhurst, Richard Squire, Mel Jacobsen,
Rick White (ex officio), Vice President Smith (ex officio), Jeff
Carney (chair)


Richard moved, with Mel Jacobsen seconding, that the minutes of 9.17 be approved. The motion carried unanimously.


Jeff summarized the work Melanie has completed on her report of last year's writing assessment. It was noted that the report so far lacks a section describing a plan for improvements based on the results of the assessment. Jeff was certain that Melanie intended to add that soon, and indicated that he would remind Melanie to do so. Although appropriate data has been entered into Trac-Dat, we are still awaiting detailed reports from Math and Communications.


It was suggested that the writing of assessment reports would be facilitated by a template that outlines the committee's minimal expectations. The following list of items represents a partial discussion of such a template. It should be noted that the list is incomplete and tentative.
1. A narrative describing the assessment process;
2. Whenever possible, a copy of the assessment instrument itself: e.g., an exam, an essay prompt with grading rubric, instructions for giving a performance.
3. One or more samples of the kind of student work that proved to be helpful to the assessment process. Note that inferior work might be as helpful as average or superior work. It is expected that every assessment will be unique.


The GE Committee has been invited to meet with a member of the accreditation team next week. Rick White and Gary Smith offered a few comments on the kind of discussion me might expect.
1. When appropriate, we should connect our vision of the GE Program to Core Theme 1: A Tradition of Excellence.
2. We should be prepared to explain the Assessment Schedule. We should be able to discuss the overall GE Program as well as its more visible parts. Why does it exist (apart from Regents' mandate)? Why do we have a "cafeteria style" worksheet of courses to choose from? How does a course qualify to be on the worksheet? What criteria might cause a course to be dropped from the worksheet? What mechanism would instigate a drop? Jeff noted that one possible response to a Type 3 question would address the committee's decision to require all GE courses to instruct students in discipline-specific reading strategies. This decision was a result of our CAAP assessment in 2010-2011, which determined that Snow College students' reading scores are remarkably average compared to students nationwide. Since one of our core themes is excellence, average is not acceptable. Another response might discuss the creation of the GE Committee itself. Prior to 2010-2011, it was observed that the Curriculum Committee had not thought of GE as a program per se, and that outcomes had not been systematically assessed. Hence, an ad hoc committee was formed in 2010-2011 to study the matter and begin some sort of assessment process. After a successful year, it was decided to create a standing committee. A follow-up to that response might note that an AAS committee has now been formed that will operate in a manner analogous the GE Committee. It is expected that next week's meeting will continue this discussion.