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Curriculum Committee Minutes 9/15/10


Minutes of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee

September 15, 2010



Committee members present:  Nancy Breen, Anthony Hollingsworth (chair), Hasan Khan, Jason Patch, Anthony Ruocco, Mark Sawoski, John Schlinke, Louis Swiczewicz, Minoo Tehrani, Dan Vilenski (ex officio)

Visitors:           Laura Niesen de Abruna, Executive Vice President and Provost

                        Douglas Koritz, Associate Provost for University Studies

                        Peter Deekle, Dean of University Library Services

Lorene Barry, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Vice President and Provost

                        Linda Beith, Director of Instructional Design                       


The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.


New Business:


General Education Proposal:


Douglas Koritz and Laura de Abruna presented the proposed General Education program

  • Learning outcomes are an expression of what the faculty agrees on as desired results
  • Learning outcomes provide standards for measurement
  • Learning outcomes support NEASC accreditation – 2006 visiting team found insufficient progress on assessment of student learning outcomes
  • Transdisciplinary nature of Gen Ed addresses connections, commonalities among disciplines
  • An overview of credit distribution and progression for the proposed General Education program was given
  • Courses with labs (4 credits) have been accommodated in foundational, intermediate, & advanced courses




Q: How does scaffolding work within the structure of students taking courses covering six out of seven houses at the intermediate and advanced levels?

A: The scaffolding is focused on the general education house outcomes rather than on discipline-based outcomes.  If a Gen Ed approved course has a pre-requisite related to a discipline, a student will be required to take that pre-requisite before taking the course.

Q: Will a student be able to complete all their general education courses within their departmental discipline?

A: There will be limitations on the number of “double-dipping” courses that count toward Gen Ed and toward a student’s major.  The Gen Ed curriculum is intended to broaden a student’s education beyond their discipline.

Q: Will it be possible for a student to avoid a lab science course?

A: Sciences will be represented in inquiry and systems thinking houses.  It is believed that most students will necessarily end up taking a laboratory science course.  Lab science courses for non-science majors will be encouraged to be developed for the Gen Ed curriculum.  It was suggested that historic preservation courses that include labs might fit within this category.

Q: Can courses be approved for multiple houses?

A: Courses cannot be approved for multiple houses, but can be approved to serve both Gen Ed and majors or minors requirements (double-dipping).

Q: Can the same course, but with different syllabi be approved for two different houses?

A: No, it is felt that approaching similar content from two different house approaches will yield two distinctive courses.  Course outcomes and topical outline will the parameters by which a course is approved for the Gen Ed curriculum.  Rubrics help to clarify how a course will be aligned or focused on a house.  Many existing courses naturally tend toward a specific house.

Q: Will Gen Ed courses be professor-based or syllabus-based?

A: Courses will be syllabus-based.  One course, one house – If courses have same/similar subject content, but different Gen Ed outcomes, they will be separate courses.  There will need to be an abbreviated approval process for new/different faculty teaching an approved Gen Ed qualified course.  This provision is one means to protect against curriculum “drift.”  Example given of an English course that changes course content but still fulfills Gen Ed outcomes.

Q: Can study abroad courses be approved for Gen Ed?

A: Yes.  If course offerings during a study-abroad experience do not afford sufficient Gen Ed course options, the student will need to take the appropriate Gen Ed courses in other semesters.


Due to time constraints, it was decided the presentation of the General Education curriculum will continue at the next Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee meeting.  The FSCC chair scheduled a special meeting for this purpose on Wednesday, September 29th at 3:00 p.m.  Location is to be determined.


The Provost announced the upcoming General Education Committee meeting scheduled for Friday, 9/17 and the two Faculty Caucuses to discuss the Gen Ed curriculum to be held 9/21 and 9/22.  All are encouraged to attend.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

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