Millersville University, Faculty Senate
General Education Curriculum
VI. Recommended Action Plan
During their more than two years of studying the General Education
curriculum, the committee members have repeatedly noticed a number of
deficiencies in the curriculum. We recommend that these deficiencies be
addressed and remedied as possible.
The first deficiency arose very early during the discussions of the
committee: the lack of an assessment strategy. Linked with this is the fact
that the goals of the general education curriculum themselves are not phrased
in terms that make them capable of assessment. Assessment is important for
1. It enables the university to determine if the curriculum is having
the desired effect.
2. It enables the university to show progress over the years.
3. It allows the university to ascertain the effect of changes that are
made and determine whether those changes are beneficial or detrimental.
4. It can make the curriculum more understandable to students,
prospective students, parents, and employers.
5. It enables faculty to see how what they are doing in a course fits
into the overall scheme of the general education curriculum.
We emphasize that the purpose of curriculum assessment is not to evaluate
individual faculty or departments, but rather to determine how the parts of
the curriculum work together.
The second deficiency became evident during detailed discussions this year.
With the exception of Writing and Perspective workshops, there has been
little retraining of the faculty to enable them to present the new
curriculum. The curriculum very much emphasizes the process of learning
rather than relying heavily on the content knowledge of individual courses.
Of the twelve goals of General Education, just three are knowledge oriented.
Yet students and many faculty observe that many courses continue to be
presentations of knowledge and neglect fostering the development of critical
thinking and life-long learning skills. Student surveys bear this out. The
faculty do a better job at teaching the concrete rather than the abstract.
Courses present knowledge better than they educate students how to learn.
The third deficiency is the lack of a champion of the curriculum. With the
possible exception of the members of the General Education Curriculum Review
Committee, no member or group of the faculty or the administration has
defended the provisions of the curriculum. No one has taken ongoing
responsibility for making the curriculum work and has stood up for its
requirements. In fact, all segments of the Millersville
community--faculty, students, and administration--have criticized various
aspects of the curriculum. There is no ongoing forum for discussion of the
features of the general education curriculum, a place where new ideas can be
advanced without seeming to be challenges of the curriculum. The committee
suggests the creation of various continuing forums at which General Education
will be discussed: brown bag informal conversations, internet sites for the
exchange of ideas, periodic meetings of faculty engaged in certain types of
Fourth, much of the burden of the change in the curriculum has been placed
upon the students. With a more rigorous curriculum, students should receive
more guidance in fulfilling requirements. Yet there has been little
improvement in academic advisement and there are few mechanisms to enable a
student to plan a program of study in general education. One recommendation
of an external consultant (Appendix D) is that
more carefully planned
programs of study be available. This coincides with the aspect of coherence
that is a characteristic of curricula at other institutions. But it also
requires a registration system that is more responsive to student needs than
is the current model.
Of course, all of these deficiencies are related. If the faculty had been
better prepared for a new curriculum that they could understand and assess,
they would be strong supporters of the curriculum, enabling students to
understand its ramifications and possibly removing the need to more than
rudimentary administrative guidance. Assessment would mean that challenges
could be recognized as substantive or frivolous.
I. Demand for and Reputation of
II. Quality of the Program
III. Costs of the Program
IV. Compliance with Board of Governors
V. Five-Year Plan for Major Resource
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