Millersville University, Faculty Senate
Meeting of the Faculty Senate
January 30, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 4:10 p.m. All departments were in attendance except Educational Foundations, Geography, History, Nursing and Physics. Members of GERC and other faculty were also in attendance.
I. Presentation by General Education Review Committee
The GERC proposal for General Education reform [see Attachment #1] was presented while a number of handouts were distributed. The presentation included the following:
- Purpose & Objectives (purple) presented by Fred Foster-Clark [see Attachment #1, pg. #2]
- General Education Structure (gold) presented by Marjorie Warmkessel [see Attachment #1, pg. #3]
- Freshman Year Perspective courses (green) presented by Perry Gemmill [see Attachment #1, Section #1, pg. #4]
- Liberal Arts presented by John Ward[see Attachment #1, Section #4, pg. #5]
- Writing courses presented by Caleb Corkery [see Attachment #1, Section #5, pg. #6]
- Diversity courses (blue) presented by Chris Hardy [see Attachment #1, Section #6, pg. #7]
- Timeline (white) presented by Fred Foster-Clark [see Attachment #2]
Dr. Warmkessel distributed the GERC Proposal for Revised General Education Curriculum and indicated that all related documents would be available to faculty on the GenEd website: http://muweb.millersville.edu/~gened/.
II. Discussion of General Education Reform Proposal
Discussion of the GenEd proposal included the following:
It was noted that Computer Science is not listed as part of the required 2 of 3 G2 courses. The response was that this is consistent with the current curriculum.
Comfort with the overall proposal was expressed. Flexibility in the D requirement and focus on the purpose and intention is appreciated. Students in D courses will hopefully be immersed in positive thinking, but grading such courses may be difficult.
The placement of Wellness in the Connections and Exploration component rather than Foundations for Lifelong Learning was questioned. The response was that several options were considered, but it was decided that Wellness fits into the holistic framework of this component. The Foundations courses reflect more academic fundamentals.
A question about departments internally requiring a Freshman Year Perspectives course was raised. The response was that these are meant to be independent of these departmental courses. However, it was noted that current departmental seminars could be transitioned to 3-credit courses that fit the described criteria.
It was pointed out that courses would need to meet the unique aspects laid out to be approved for the D designation. Current courses will need to go through the approval process and address the same criteria.
Dr. Scott Schaffer indicated that the PCCD will be developing D courses, including tools for assessment in these courses.
As noted in the presentation, there is published evidence that single courses can be effective in changing student perspectives on cultural diversity.
It was asked how students would determine whether or not they would take an FYP course. The response was that there are many possibilities, particularly as more seminar options are introduced. Departments might opt to specify certain FYP courses for their majors. It was pointed out that converting seminar credits in some majors to the GenEd curriculum could free up credits within the major.
The description of FYP courses as presented does not specify the current limit of 25 students in each section.
A question was raised about whether D courses would be currently offered courses or ones developed specifically based on the guidelines. The response was that both are possible. A follow up question addressed how courses will be monitored to ensure that a desired positive experience is provided considering that unstructured experiences with diversity may actually be detrimental. The response was that the guidelines being developed by the PCCD should help faculty meet the proposed criteria. Proposals for D courses should reflect appropriate teaching strategies and evidence of a positive environment for experiencing diversity.
Hopefully lists of D course options will include supporting information about the emphasis on inclusive attitudes.
A comment was made that UCPRC has reviewed some P courses for DL approval that no longer meet the initial objectives of P courses. A need for periodic review was suggested. The response was that there is still a sub-group working on implementation and administration issues for GenEd.
A reminder was made that the GenEd curriculum needs to be able to accommodate changes in certification requirements for education majors that are forthcoming from the state.
The language regarding enabling programs to meet demands of accrediting bodies was questioned. The response was that the electives within the Connections and Explorations component would provide a cushion for programs where it is difficult to meet both needs of the major and GenEd requirements. It was noted that these elective credits cannot be in the major but could be required related courses. Specifically, these elective courses do not have to carry any G designation. A question was raised about whether these could be other courses in the major department that are not required for a specific major.
A question was raised about whether all currently G designated courses would need to be reviewed for the new curriculum. The response was that G courses would not be reviewed but that W courses would undergo an expedited review process to address the revised guidelines for W courses. It was noted that a similar process might be relevant for P courses as well.
It was suggested that the W guideline specification that a major project should undergo review seems to proscribe a specific methodology for this process. The response was that the idea was to encourage a more meaningful revision process in general rather than a specific mechanism for that. Another comment made was that the separation of the review process from the 3500-word requirement produces ambiguity about the requirements.
It was noted that lab reports are listed under the types of writing not included in the 3500-word requirement even though these represent the most significant form of writing for science students. The response was that the intention was to separate analytical or persuasive writing from simply expressive or responsive writing and the specific examples listed in the guidelines may need to be revised to reflect this more accurately.
It was noted that there would need to be increased faculty complement to allow for offering enough FYP courses to accommodate increasing numbers of students.
A question was raised about the identification of approved courses in math. The response was that the math department would identify these, but they are expected to be current G2 courses.
The FYP courses were suggested as an appropriate place for introducing students to academic integrity and any honor code adopted.
The issue of a conflict between the requirement for an oral component and DL methodology was raised. The concern expressed was that accommodating student desires for limited social interchanges in traditional classrooms can shortchange opportunities for students to develop critical face-to-face communication skills. The response was that oral communication encompasses a variety of possibilities and that mechanisms exist for DL students to engage in verbal exchanges. A request was made for PCCD to discuss these issues.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:47 p.m.
Aimee L. Miller
Faculty Senate Secretary
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