General Education Task Force
Meeting Notes, February 13, 2004
- Approval of minutes: Minutes from the meeting of January 27, 2004, were discussed and approved.
- Participants for AAC&U Institute on General Education, May 21-26. We need to register a team of five people from St. Olaf by March 1. Those who have committed to attend: Solveig, Mary, Phyllis, Arnie. We need one more person.
Based on these documents:
a) 1989-90 documents on early planning for the new GE curriculum
b) June 6, 1996 document from Fred Ohles
c) Jo's list of resources and summary of NSSE results
- General Education is more than the curriculum; it includes co-curricular and off-campus work as well, according to the college's Mission Statement.
- Early discussions of general education do not make any references to departments, but now general education is clearly connected to specific departments. Examples: MAR, BST, NST.
- Originally GE credit was to be based on the quality of the syllabus, not the faculty member.
- With double-counting students spend less than 40% of their course work on GE requirements.
- GE requirements probably need to reflect the new emphasis on interdisciplinary work in the sciences.
- In some ways, the new curriculum has lost the integrative piece (such as team-taught or linked courses).
Brief summary of ways our current practice relates to the original intent of the new GE curriculum:
Areas in which we have "drifted":
a) GE described in terms of specific departments now
b) bibliographic instruction has not been specifically included
c) senior projects and capstone experiences have not been fully developed
d) originally just 2 WRI; now 4 required
e) overlap between GE and majors
f) insufficient attention has been paid to integration
g) improved coherence of sequencing
Areas that have been strengthened/implemented:
a) science literacy and math; no math requirement originally, and only one science.
b) broad definition of ORC
c) centralized mechanism for approving GE courses
Discussion in the last part of the hour focused on the tension between the desire to preserve opportunities for students to do what they want and the need to provide a program of general education that is integrated, coherent, and sequenced. One important question: is it necessarily negative if GE is not integrated? What is the proper locus of integration: the curriculum? The student?
4. Task for next meeting: Look at Jo's list of resources and think about what new data we need in order to continue our discussions.
5. Focus for next meeting: Discussion of data gathering needs, specifically how we might get more student feedback regarding the general education curriculum.
Recorder: Phyllis Larson