UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE FACULTY SENATE
COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
February 16, 2000
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. 127 Memorial Hall
Judy Van Name:
What do you think, should we start? Okay. If I could have your attention I think we will begin. I'd like to welcome you to this special meeting for the presentation of a proposal on General Education. I am Judy Van Name, Chair of the Coordinating Committee on Education; and I am here along with the other members of the Coordinating Committee; Vice Provost Bobby Gempesaw, Marcia Peoples Halio, Jeff Jordan, Jim Richards, Joann Browning, Beth Haslett, Alicia Glatfelter, Cara Spiro, Karren Helsel-Spry, and Rita Girardi. Bob Brown is also on the committee and Carol Denson and they are also in class right now. While this proposal comes from our entire committee, we also had a subcommittee made up of Bobby, Jeff, Jim and I who worked on the details and Mark Huddleston also provided valuable input.
We are pleased to present to you a proposal for General Education at the University of Delaware. Does everyone have a copy? We tried to put one at each place so that it would save us time. As you know we distributed copies to everyone early last
According to George Watson there have been six institutes transforming undergraduate education to date and about one fourth of the faculty here at the University have participated. According to Judy Green, 37 faculty participated in the first pathways institute the week of January 24, 2000. However, 57 faculty have been listed as potential participants as primary, team, or guest lecturers in 19 proposed courses. The second pathways workshop will be at the end of May and it will include faculty and teaching assistants. In addition to the continuing process of updating course content, we are fortunate to have the methodological and technical support necessary to keep our courses current, as well as the opportunity to create courses that link subject matter in exciting new ways. Students and faculty will benefit from participating in the "freshman year experience." We currently have an active freshman learning community through the Honors Program, which is offering 3 potential pathways courses this semester. "Technologies of Cultural Memory" is being offered by Ann Ardis, Vera Kaminski, Devon Miller-Duggan and Mary Ruth Warner. "Mapping America's Future" is being taught by Professors Pfaelzer, Brueckner, Jenkins and Varnes. "Silicon, Circuitry and Digital Revolution" is being offered by George Watson in Physics. Another example of a potential pathways course is "Science and Religion", which has been offered twice by Jeff Jordan and Harry Shipman. Gary May and Joe Pika are planning to teach a course on "Leadership" this fall. Other courses or other examples include a course by Larry Peterson and Lois Potter on Othello, which will involve guest lecturers such as Joann Browning. "Gender Work and Play" by Barbara Kelley and Ann McNeil in Health and Exercise Sciences and Beth Haslett in Communication is being developed.
With a greater emphasis in the curricula on basic skills, undergraduates should progress more rapidly to higher levels of learning. As always good advisement is essential to maximize opportunities for students. Discovery Learning Experiences come in many packages including: thesis, research or creative projects; internships; study abroad; service learning; and fieldwork. Undergraduates should be given opportunities for discovery learning experiences. These experiences are often instrumental in confirming career decisions, whether they chose the right field or they need to consider alternatives. Their value can be significant. Likewise a capstone course provides a final opportunity to be sure the ten goals for undergraduate education have been achieved.
The new Committee on General Education shall oversee a three year pilot implementation of the various components of the General Education program beginning this Fall, 2000. It will be responsible for setting guidelines, standards and academic policies for the General Education Program. It will gather data relevant to the implementation of the General Education Program and submit a report to the Faculty Senate by September 1, 2003, and that report will evaluate all components of the program and make recommendations regarding the University's General Education Program.
The Coordinating Committee firmly believes this proposal will further strengthen undergraduate education at the University of Delaware. Due to the diversity of undergraduate programs offered at our University, there are a number of details that will need to be worked out by the individual departments and the standing committee on General Education. We have designed a reasonable structure that we believe is workable. And we would like your commitment for the implementation of General Education at the University of Delaware.
According to Vice Provost Gempesaw our freshmen retention rate is already higher than many other institutions. We believe this program will help us maintain our competitive edge with other institutions and allow us to continue to attract outstanding students.Al Fanjoy
Al Fanjoy in Special Sessions. It's a wonderful proposal in my opinion. I was expecting that there would be a point at which beyond strongly encouraged there would either be a requirement or some statement of how it fulfills current requirements that are already embedded in the various degrees. Is there a point at which a student wanting to pursue something like this can be assured that it either does apply or does substitute for the things that they already need to do to get their degree?Judy Van Name
I believe this will need to be left up to the department in the first year. You know we have to realize how many people are involved. While it appears that many people are taking the initiative to develop these new courses . . . I think it will have to be left up to the department. And only if the department is unwilling to accept something as a general ed. requirement could it, you know, I guess, become a problem. With this committee being set up effective fall, then it will need to approve what courses would actually become pathways courses. So we'll really, kind of, be in a transition year just because of the fact that it takes time to get something up and going. I don't know if that answered your question adequately…Al Fanjoy
Most of the courses would find some application in say an Arts and Science group requirement, but for the next year at least, maybe for the next three you don't anticipate it having the stature of say a multicultural requirement, that there be a general education requirement?Judy Van Name
Oh I believe that our committee feels that the new General Education Committee will be able to get up and running very quickly in the fall and begin determining what courses will, you know, become certain pathway courses. And correct me if I'm wrong on that interpretation . . .Al Fanjoy
But at this point pathways course is not a requirement…it might become one in a few years?Judy Van Name
That's right. Okay…we received a report from the Undergraduate Studies Committee in mid October and so we worked pretty hard on this and I guess we felt that this was about as quickly as we could move in these past few months. As you know it's been worked on for a long long time and I've enjoyed working with this committee to get it to this stage. But they really deserve the credit for this. I think we felt that you can't rush something too much. And also most courses are offered experimentally the first time, I believe, because we do need to, kind of, get the kinks out. So in a way, perhaps this first year although it will be a transition year, it will not be all that bad because we have to give people a chance to develop these courses. It effects work load, and shifting of workloads and things like that. And it seems like the University has been most responsive . . . the Center for Teaching Effectiveness has been very helpful in sharing all the wonderful ideas that are coming out of this opportunity. And of course this will all be passed on to the new General Education Committee as they establish certain guidelines for what actually become pathways courses…okay? Yes…Janice Selekman
I have a question…I'm Janice Selekman from Nursing. A question regarding on course and how it may be adapted, or certainly need to be adapted as to how it will count these courses that we're calling pathways courses, yet in many of the curricula it may be a free elective or in Arts and Sciences, I assume, they have to be listed as a particular category. How will we know how those courses have been so designated so for those of us who may have a second writing requirement…well it's going to be a freshmen course so it wouldn't count as that, but if it's a restricted elective…if you have to pick something from humanities, how do we know how it's being listed since it's coming as an experimental course and therefore to be counted on course as one of those courses?
I'm just sort of thinking out loud here, but it would seem like it would be important for the individuals creating these courses to give us that kind of information.
Well, give you that information…how are the rest of the departments going to know that information as faculty advise students what to take for new student orientation in the summer. Somehow those of us doing that orientation need to know how these courses are to be identified so we know what we're checking off on their list. There's a piece that's missing that's helping us as faculty.
Bobby Gempesaw, Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Planning. If you recall when we publish our fall and spring catalog, the first few pages state the new and experimental course description. So any student or faculty who would like to check what kind of courses of this new type are available they should check there first.Janice Selekman
That's the new courses, but that's not going help us know what categories it may fall under.Mark Huddleston
Mark Huddleston, Political Science. My suggestion has been that the Arts and Science Committee that handles that, the Arts and Science Senate should, this spring, look at the pathways courses that are being proposed in the fall as heard by them so that when they come out in the catalog that they fall naturally into one of those categories. Otherwise the incentives for the students to take these are going to be missed, they won't fill. But if they do fill one of these groups, that is a relatively easy thing to do.Judy Van Name
Okay, alright, and I guess I could remind everyone that the proposal will go to the Senate Executive Committee next who can make additions or revisions before it comes to the Senate. Let's see I saw a hand in the back…yes.Jama Allegretto
Jama Allegretto, University Honors Program. Just to kind of second that, what we're finding in the Honors Program is that one of our pathways courses was not initially approved as a requirement and the attendance in that pathways has been hard to sell to freshmen honors students. I mean we've been fortunate to be able to put students into the course. But, if these courses are not approved as general education requirements, you know, you really have to see…I mean, you have to understand that students, particularly freshmen students, because they're very concerned about filling requirements. They don't want to take…electives, to them, don't mean anything at this point and time. So they really need to see that it's going to do something for them even though they may change majors etc. etc. But they still want to know initially. The other thing I would say is that one of the things with that course is that this is something that will need to be addressed in the future as well. Pathways courses, by nature, are interdisciplinary and there has been great difficulty with trying to figure out something fits neatly into a category when it is interdisciplinary in nature. So I would really, you know, charge that the faculty on committees that have the power to do that really strongly try and fit those things. It's not as easy as it sounds, but I certainly understand, the difficulty is that classes just will not fill without that.Judy Van Name
Okay, thank you. Yes.
Lisa Griffiths, Ag and Natural Resources. I agree with what's been said that I think also given that these courses are multidisciplinary and I think that we have to begin to broaden our description of the word category. We need to look beyond…even simple categories for Arts and Sciences where we might be meeting group requirements within our own colleges. And when we start talking multidisciplinary and all the different facets of that, I think we really have to begin to look outside the box of the various specific definitions for a group requirement let alone individual, perhaps, department requirements for general education.
Okay, thank you. Cara.Cara Spiro
Cara Spiro, undergraduate representative to the Coordinating Committee on Education. I was just curious, but couldn't they possible be cross listed? Where maybe you need a philosophy, like a humanities, and then also a social science. Whatever a student needs necessarily so you'll have a higher turnout into the class. I know if I needed a social science requirement and there was a pathways course offered I'd possibly take it and have it fit into that, but if I didn't necessarily need that, I wouldn't be willing to take it if it didn't fulfill one of my requirements. I don't know why it couldn't possibly…if it's interdisciplinary it's filling different types of requirements. But why couldn't it help a student if it didn't necessarily fall under the category needed?Judy Van Name
Okay…that's a good thought. Okay yes.Dan Boulet
Dan Boulet, Engineering. One way that I've found helpful that's used by the Honors Program that little booklet, because each of our colleges classifies things slightly differently. Honors goes out each semester with their proposed colloquia out to the colleges and says "how do you classify this?" We tell them and then they put it in their little books. And when you pick up the little honors book you have a chart, which says each college, how it's classified. Now perhaps that would work here, and it's something we have in NSO and the student who has it can tell…Engineering classifies it as this, Business & Economics classifies it as such and such. And that seems to work and there is a description of each course in the little booklet so you can read it and tell what it's about.Judy Van Name
Okay. That's a good suggestion. Yes.Ann Ardis
Ann Ardis, Director of the Honors Program. Let me just piggy back on that. It works, but we have a very small number of courses that we do that with every semester. Many of which repeat. Now if we're talking about 80 courses a semester it could create…you know, logistical problems become more complicated. But, I think the bigger issue, back to what Jama was saying, we are now living in a system where you've got A,B,C,D boxes for Arts and Science and a different set of boxes for all the other colleges. I would really support what Lisa was suggesting. If we were living in the same boxes in all six undergraduate colleges it would simplify that process. And then to speak to your point with cross listing, it's going to be a nightmare to have a course count more than one way. You can't…the online computer system will not…it's not that intelligent.Cara Spiro
When I went to have my honors colloquia fall under a category it fell under one category and someone in my class needed another category and it fell under that one..it did I'm not…Ann Ardis
If that student were in another college and the college had approved it for…to designate it differently, but it's very complicated and it requires doing it every single semester.Judy Van Name
Right, okay, yes.Mary Jo Higgins
Mary Jo Higgins, Registrars Office. We have a strategy…we've developed one that will accommodate if a course fulfills one or more groups. So we've worked out a way that that will work. All I need is for colleges to decide where the courses…where they will allow the courses to go and then I can fix it so it'll go there. But it can be…Judy Van Name
Okay, yes.Jerry Beasley
I'm Jerry Beasley, Chair of English and former member of the General Education Committee along with lots of people in this room. I'd like to underscore what Ann was saying, partly because I happen to agree that this would help tremendously to solve very large logistical problems. But, also as a member of that committee I know that time and time again we raised amongst ourselves the issue that has been raised here today. And if we could have had all our druthers and done everything we had wanted to do in the course of those almost three years was it Carol? Two and a half or something… we would have taken things that far and argued, even proposed, which is something that we backed off from doing, we would have proposed that this be the kind of thing that Ann was describing be done comprehensively. But, we felt that was a Senate responsibility not that committee's responsibility. It absolutely will be a nightmare if there are all of these different sets of requirements from college to college to college and they're all trying to come to terms with what…how a particular pathways course actually counts. It would be so much simpler and, I think, pedagogically much sounder to do it comprehensively across the entire campus. This introduces, I know, another very long process, but I think it's something that's going to have to happen anyway.Janice Selekman
I'd like to bounce off of your comment about across campus. Number 1 is what percent of freshman are in dormitories…I keep hearing this thing about involving Residence Life. And so I don't understand how that fits into the academic piece when there are some majors that have a very small percentage in dorms. Second of all we've decided that for some majors, mine included, we have a tremendous amount of transfer students that come in and we would not require these pathways courses for anyone who entered in the sophomore year, which is causing a major headache for you on course in terms of having them meet this or didn't meet this and what transfers in as this. So I have a lot of those types of questions that have not been addressed. But I hear how creative we should be and I don't understand how that's going to fit into a course in terms of what's happening with non-academic situations.Judy Van Name
Okay. Let's see, I'll go back here and then…Al Fanjoy
Well as we get deeper and deeper into trying to figure out how the general education courses fit into specific categories, aren't we wondering what the general education requirement would be? It's not supposed to be categorized. Science and Philosophy is not supposed to be chosen to be either science or philosophy. Again I hope that there will eventually be a point at which there is something University wide, not because everybody agrees this one is going to be science and that one's going to be philosophy, but because we all agree that it's going to be a general education requirement. And though it might be desirable, clearly desirable to start it as early as possible, and that means the freshmen year, I don't know why it wouldn't be a requirement that just needs to be satisfied by the time you're done. Much as English 110 is expected to be done in the freshmen year, but simply must be done by the time you get your degree.Judy Van Name
Thank you Al. Let's see, Mark.Mark Huddleston
Mark Huddleston, Political Science. Two quick points…one, I'd make a distinction between things that we might want to do in the long term and make gen. ed. fit someplace long term with the curricula of various colleges. Which is important to talk about. We don't need to do it this semester. What we need to do this semester is try to figure out how to get kids in those seats next fall. And the way to do that is to make those courses count, it seems to me from . . . distribution of requirements. Second point, nobody is being required to take a pathways course, nobody's being required to take a "LIFE" section, nobody's being required to live in a dormitory, nobody's being required to do anything according to this resolution. This is a three-year pilot project in which opportunities will be made available to students who may or may not avail themselves of them. We'll see how it works. That's the burden of this resolution.Judy Van Name
Okay, thank you Mark. Yes.Cynthia Cummings
Cynthia Cummings, Director of Residence Life. And I can speak to the question about The residence halls. I would say that about 97 percent of freshmen live on campus. Freshmen are required to live on campus unless they live at home with a parent or guardian. So the vast majority of freshmen are on campus. They drop off after that in the sophomore year. We are working with all the various groups who are putting together pathways courses, the "LIFE" program, that's now being proposed, to really work to develop small groups of students who are clustered in the same general education courses as well as the same residence hall environment. So not only would they be taking classes together, they would be living together. And that would allow us to facilitate the type of learning experience that we don't currently have, but has proven to be quite effective on a number of other campuses.Judy Van Name Okay,
Thank you Cynthia. Beth.Beth Haslett
Beth Haslett, member of the original Gen. Ed Committee and also member of Coordinating Committee. I just wanted to point out that the intent of the Coordinating Committee that pathways committee or the Committee on General Education that is being formed will be another tier of review above and beyond all of the steps that we have now in place so that all of the decisions about where courses fit, for example, we'll already be taking care of that process. And then if you desire, for example, when you're a faculty member and you want to develop a pathways course you go through departments, college, Faculty Senate approval. And then you take this other step, which is a pathways designation at that point. So you are going through all of the steps of review. Now ultimately how those pathway courses may count substantively either for a general education requirement of some sort or to meet, you know, one of the ten goals, or even what groups it falls into is going to be, I think as Mark pointed out, a transition period. We'll just have to see how it works out. And again the reason…although it would be better if we were all working in the same boxes. As you can remember Jerry, when we discussed that there was an awful lot of variation in terms of how much discretion there is across colleges so you're getting responses from say, Nursing, Business, from Engineering. Our folks are already overloaded. If you're talking seriously about requiring an extra course, you're going to create some real problems for us in terms of, again this demand not to make our educational process five or six years, but you know, some sort of meaningful credit way. But these issues have been discussed and again I think Mark’s comments very valid that we're in a transition period.Judy Van Name
Thanks for explaining about the new committee and where it fits. I appreciate that. Marcia.Marcia Halio
Marcia Halio, English Department. Along with Beth, I was also on the Ad Hoc Gen. Ed. Committee originally as well as on this committee. And many many of the issues that have come up, so far, in the discussion also came up in the Ad Hoc committee. And, I think, what we arrived at, after 2 1/2 years of discussion, was that we wanted to build….we wanted to bring forth a program that would be both exciting and interesting to students. So exciting and interesting that it would attract them. But, we backed away from many different kinds of rigidity. Rigidity of requirement, rigidity of where one lives and so forth and so on because, for example, we were imagining scenarios. We had some people from residence life come in and speak. Maybe, Cynthia, you were there I don't quite remember at this point, but we could envision situations where a freshman enrolls for a pathways simply because he or she wants to live in the same dorm as his or her friend who is already taking the course, they drop that pathways course, take another one then do they have to move to another dorm? You know, it just becomes sort of crazy. But, someone has mentioned E110 and it's a course I worked with for 12 years and thinking about changing that course over a 12 year period, for example, back in 1985 when we first started thinking of that and computers to that course. We didn't do it with 70 or 80 sections, we did it with six the first year, evaluated that, and then got students’ suggestions, students comments. And then the second year it doubled or tripled or whatever the number. So within a period 3 or 4 years eventually you do the math, we had all 70 to 80 sections using computers for some various parts of the E110. Someone said, you know, when you're working with your own course it's sort of like you're in a sailboat and you just trim the sails the way you want to go. When you're working with a big requirement for everyone, it's like, you're sort of on an ocean liner and you can't turn an ocean liner that fast. You've got to, kind of, go slowly and carefully. You don't want the passengers to list too much to one side if you try to turn too quickly.Judy Van Name
So you're saying that we've tried to come up with, we believe that we've come up with a proposal that will help us get started gradually along with all the great ideas that are out there that are being developed. Okay, other questions, comments, observations? We've worked on this quite hard and I appreciate all the efforts of the Coordinating Committee. We will reconvene based upon your input today and then pass this along to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and it will be coming to the Faculty Senate. So if there aren't any other questions, comments, or observations then I want to thank you for coming and also remind you that the Faculty Senate is always open for your ideas. Just because you didn't mention it right here don't hesitate to drop us an e-mail or send something to us over at 164 S. College. Or to direct it to Rita Girardi, rgirardi and we'll be happy to respond. Thank you all for coming.