NEW UPPER DIVISION COMPONENT - ISSUES
Can 100/200 level courses be in the upper-division component?
Can a student fulfill the upper division requirement in transfer?
What are the Upper Division Categories?
How will the new GE 400-level Seminar work?
If we drop from 3 to 2 courses in the upper division component of GE, is that enough exposure to the issue?
If students can take courses from more than one Issue, why should we even have categories?
Will the students have the disciplinary knowledge to effectively represent the guiding principles of their discipline?
How will a department know how many sections of a Issues courses to schedule?
Can Issues courses have prerequisites?
Can a Issues course double dip in the Foundations? What about the Cultures?
Can a Issues course count in the major?
Will students have enough expertise to represent their discipline's approach to a problem?
How does an interdisciplinary major fit into a disciplinary perspective?
Do you really expect students to "solve" problems?

THEMES
What will happen to Themes?
What will happen to my Theme Course?
What will be the process to get a course into the upper-division component?

ASSESSMENT
Do we know if students are achieving the current goals?
How do we change GE category content goals?
Will each GE Category have to achieve all of the existing and proposed goals?
How will the Foundation and Cultures courses demonstrate how they will meet the new goals?
How will GE assessment change for Foundations and Cultures courses?
How will we teach and assess some of the skills goals in large classes?
How will GE assessment change for Theme courses?

GOALS
What do you mean by Collaboration?
What do you mean by Problem Solving?
What do you mean by civic responsibility?
What do you mean by Ethical Reasoning?
What do you mean by Integration?
Background information on the GE proposed goals: AAC&U's Shared Future: Global Learning and Liberal Education
AAC&U's College Learning for the New Global Century

TIMELINE

TRANSITION PLAN

CONNECTION WITH MAJORS
Our major teaches some of the General Education goals. How is that factored in?
Do majors have to also teach the GE goals?

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
Can students use life experience in lieu of a GE requirement?
Can students test out of a GE requirement through a departmental proficiency exam?
Can we restrict Foundation courses to our major?

PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS
Can the professional schools get more of their required course/cognates into the Foundations?
Some professional schools dont "see" their majors until the Junior or Senior year. How do we get them "connected" to the major early?
Some professional schools dont take the GE Foundations until their junior or senior year. Is there a way to create some more "advanced" Foundation courses (at the 300/400 level)?

WRITING
What courses will be included in the new "Writing" Foundations category?
Will WRT 305 go away?
How does SWS factor into the GE changes?

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GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Can students use " life experiences" as a way of meeting a GE requirement? No
Can students test out of a GE requirement through a departmental proficiency exam? No.
Can a Department restrict Foundation courses to students in our major?
No. You can require a GE course for a certain major or set of majors, but you cannot restrict access to a GE course. RETURN TO TOP

PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS

Can the professional schools get more of their required course/cognates into the Foundations?
Yes. You need to show how the skill and content goals will be met. The unit needs to complete the on-line curriculum process. Foundation courses need to have few, if any, prerequisites, so that it is available many/most students.

Some professional schools dont "see" their majors until the Junior or Senior year. How do we get them "connected" to the major early?
Departments or colleges may want to create learning communities where students in a major take a series of GE courses together.

Some professional schools dont take the GE Foundations until their junior or senior year. Is there a way to create some more "advanced" Foundation courses (at the 300/400 level)?
Yes. It is up to units to develop these courses. RETURN TO TOP

CONNECTION WITH MAJORS
Our major teaches some of the General Education goals. How is that factored in?
At the Foundations level, GE goals serve as an introduction to the skill and knowledge goals that students need. The goals are reinforced and contextualized in the major, the co-curriculum, and in the upper-level GE program. Do majors have to also teach the GE goals?
No. Courses in the major are not required to teach the GE goals, but many courses teach these goals as well. RETURN TO TOP

ASSESSMENT

Do we know if students are achieving the current goals?
Overall, students at GVSU are achieving the skill and content goals in the GE program. Each course in General Education assesses student learning for each of the skill and content goals. Go to www.gvsu.edu/gened for the current results.

How do we change GE category content goals?
Any faculty member can email GE ( gened@gvsu.edu), asking us to convene a meeting with instructors of courses in any category. These members can propose adding, deleting, or changing the content goals. One person will fill out the form asking for the change in wording. The GE office will have each Unit Head sign the change and the form will go to the GE Committee and UCC for approval. At that point the language in the GE Handbook will be changed and all courses in that category will teach and assess the new content goals.

Will each GE Category have to achieve all of the existing and proposed goals?
No, they will have to meet only the goals assigned to their category. After consulting with faculty about the most natural fit for teaching and assessing goals in their course, the final GE Proposal will detail which goals a category needs to meet. Of course faculty can teach goals that their category is not assigned.

How will the Foundation and Cultures courses demonstrate how they will meet the new goals?
Each Foundation and Cultures course will submit a new Course Assessment Plan (CAP) to be approved by the GEC. The CAP will show how the course intends to meet the new goals. If the new CAP is not approved by April 1, 2012, the course will be dropped from the GE Program beginning with the Fall 2013 catalog.

How will GE assessment change for Foundations and Cultures courses?
Currently, courses in each Foundations and Cultures category are responsible for teaching and assessing three skills goals (writing or speaking, critical and creative thinking, and information literacy). We are proposing to add skills goals but distribute them through the program so that courses in each Foundations and Cultures category are responsible for teaching and assessing two skills goals. See the distribution plan outlined in the proposal at the GE website.

How will we teach and assess some of the skills goals in large classes?
There are a variety of pedagogies that can be used to effectively teach and assess learning in large classes. The GEC and the FTLC will offer workshops to help with the transition. In some cases, course size may need to be adjusted.

How will GE assessment change for Theme courses?
Currently, courses in each Theme category are responsible for teaching and assessing five skills goals (writing, speaking, critical and creative thinking, information literacy, and integration). We are proposing that all upper-level courses in the new Issues categories be responsible for teaching and assessing three skills goals: integration, collaboration, and problem solving. RETURN TO TOP


WRITING

Which courses will be included in the new "Writing" Foundations category?
GVSUs freshman writing requirement is not changing. WRT 150, a course that introduces students to college-level writing strategies, academic research, academic genres, and citation and documentation methods, will be the only course in the Writing category so that all students will continue to take the course. If other courses are proposed for the category, they will have to meet the content and skills goals of the category and submit a Course Assessment Plan.

Will WRT 305 go away?
No. Only the junior-level writing requirement is being eliminated. WRT 305 will still exist as a course, and the Writing department will offer sections of the course to meet demand. If you are interested in discipline-specific versions of WRT 305 (Writing in the Disciplines) or WRT 350 (Business Communication), contact the Writing department.

How does SWS factor into the GE changes?
The SWS Program is outside the purview of the GE Program. It is an all-university writing across the curriculum requirement administered by the University Writing Skills committee. It is a valuable way to develop student writing by providing writing intensive courses taught in the disciplines by disciplinary faculty with special attention on state-of-the-art pedagogical methods. RETURN TO TOP

THEMES

What will happen to Themes?
The upper-division GE component will be fulfilled by Issues courses instead of Themes beginning with the incoming class of 2014.

What will happen to my Theme Course?
It will be up to each department if they would like to propose courses for the new upper division component. Each course will need to demonstrate a connection to one of the proposed Issues and show how it will meet the integration,collaboration, and problem solving goals.

What will be the process to get a course into the upper-division component?
All courses will need to do a Course Change or a New Course Proposal and the General Education Form, including a Course Assessment Plan. The proposal will follow the on-line curricular process (unit head, college curriculum committee, Dean, GE Committee, UCC, Provost). We are developing a streamlined version of this process to accommodate the number of proposals we are likely to see in 2012-13 and 2013-14. RETURN TO TOP

THE NEW UPPER DIVISION COMPONENT - ISSUES

Can 100/200 level courses be in the upper-division component?
No. All courses must be at the 300/400 level.

Can a student fulfill the upper division requirement in transfer?
No. Because the upper-division component courses will have a significant focus on developing the skills of integration, collaboration, and problem-solving and less of a focus on content, transfer courses will not be used to satisfy the upper-division requirement.

What are the Upper Division Issues?
The focus of the upper-division component is on big contemporary issues that potentially affect the entire world. Courses with a historical focus will need to demonstrate a connection to current issues.

The GE Committee is proposing seven topical areas:

1. Globalizationincluding issues related to capitalism, economic justice, migration and immigration, communication, borders, education, etc.

2. Healthincluding issues related to equity, disparities, health systems, finance, ethics, access, quality of care, safety, happiness, human development, genetics, etc.

3. Human Rightsincluding issues related to political systems, power, war, peace, violence, terrorism, wealth, poverty, religion, gender, women, children, disabilities, labor, aging, incarceration, torture, etc.

4. Identityincluding issues related to gender, sexuality, religion, culture, race, class, family, community, difference, education, etc.

5. Information, Innovation, and Technologyincluding issues related to media, privacy, access, transparency, intellectual property, ethics, economics, creativity, education, politics, etc.

6. Sustainabilityincluding issues related to the environment, population, natural resources, economic development, social justice, energy, etc.

7. Study Abroad

All of these focus on large issues with global impact. All courses in the category must also focus on achieving integration, collaboration and problem solving.

How will the new GE 400-level Seminar work?
The GEC will create a new 400-level course, each with a GE prefix, for each Issues category. Faculty can then propose specific sections of the course that will in some way address the Issue. In the Sustainability category, for example, a faculty member might propose a course focusing on water. The course can be similar to a government commission convened to address a specific problem. Students from multiple disciplines will come together to analyze a problem and propose a solution that integrates ideas from several disciplines into a solution.

If we drop from 3 to 2 courses in the upper division component of GE, is that enough exposure to the issue?
The proposed revision focuses more on developing the skills of integration, collaboration, and problem solving than on developing content expertise. The course content and issues provide a platform for practicing the skills. The idea is to give students practice at integrating previous knowledge with new knowledge and working with others to address problems that go beyond any one field of study.

If students can take courses from more than one Issue, why should we even have categories?
The categories help students determine which courses are more closely aligned with their interest. The categories also help faculty develop or modify their course to best prepare students to "shape their lives, their profession, and their societies."

Will the students have the disciplinary knowledge to effectively represent the guiding principles of their discipline?
One reason the Issues courses are at the upper division is that juniors and seniors will have taken more courses in their major. Part of the goal of the upper-level component is to give students practice drawing upon what they have learned and applying it to a new situation. That said, students disciplinary knowledge is just one of the items that inform their perspectives. We expect students to bring all of their perspectives to the group.

How will a department know how many sections of a Issues courses to schedule?
We dont know how many sections will be needed of any particular course. Because the incoming freshmen in 2014 wont be enrolled in Issues until 2016, we will begin to get a sense for student interest in the Issues as the students enrolled in Themes also have the opportunity to take Issues course.

Can Issues courses have prerequisites?
Like current Themes courses, these courses can have limited prerequisites. All courses should be accessible to a variety of majors. All courses will have Junior-level standing as a prerequisite.

Can a Issues course double dip in the Foundations? What about the Cultures?
Issues courses wont double-dip in the Foundations, but like Theme courses they will be able to double-dip with either Cultures category (U.S. Diversity or World Perspectives).

Can a Issues course count in the major?
That decision is up to the Unit.

Will students have enough expertise to represent their discipline's approach to a problem?
All Issues courses are offered at the 300 or 400 level to ensure that students have an appropriate level of intellectual maturity. By their junior year, most students will have taken a significant amount of course work both in and outside of their major.

How does an interdisciplinary major fit into a disciplinary perspective?
To the extent that a student is in a major, we're typically referring to the major as a discipline. It could also be defined as a field, or even as a perspective. Some majors are by definition interdisciplinary while others are to a lesser extent. We're recognizing that faculty and students fall into departments that offer majors, so that discipline is a shorthand definition that works for most people. Students will not be required to "represent" a broad discipline; they will be asked to identify their own field or fields of interest and explore ways in which people in the field address the issue associated with the course. Naturally, students will also develop some expertise in the disciplinary work and perspectives of the course itself. The "integration" will occur as students combine perspectives from multiple fields or disciplines and add new knowledge to previous knowledge.

Do you really expect students to "solve" problems?
Perhaps we should say "tackle" a problem, or "address" a problem, instead of solve. Students will learn to identify a problem, conduct the necessary research to inform them of what has already been done to address the problem, and then work in a group to contribute to the problem's solution. RETURN TO TOP


TIMELINE

2012
Feb 24 Call for proposals for the First round of Issues courses Apr. 2 Deadline to apply for First round of Issues courses May 24 or 30 FTLC training for First round of Issues courses Aug. 5 Deadline for First round of Issues courses to be submitted to the on-line Curriculum process Sept. Dec. Training for Foundation and Cultures faculty about teaching and assessing new student learning outcomes Oct. 15 Governance approved First round of Issues put in the 2013-14 Schedule 2013 Jan. 1 Call for proposals for the Second round of Issues courses Mar. 1 Deadline to apply for Second round of Issues courses May FTLC training for Second round of Issues courses Aug. Deadline for First round of Issues courses to be submitted to the on-line Curriculum process Aug. First round of Issues courses offered Oct. 15 Governance approved Second round of Issues put in the 2014-15 Schedule 2014 August All new transfer students and freshman required to take Issues courses 2016 August 2014 Freshman are Juniors, Issues need to be brought to scale

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TRANSITION PLAN

When governance approval is received for the new GE Program, the following will happen:

1. To meet their General Education requirements, students will have three ways to fulfill their Theme requirement beginning in 2013-14:

  • Take any 2 Theme courses (these may be from different Themes, but they must be from two different disciplines and only ONE course can be at the 100/200 level)
  • Take 2 Issues courses (from two different disciplines)
  • Take 1 Issue course and 1 Theme course

2. In Fall 2014, incoming freshmen and transfer students:

  • wil only be able to take Issues courses
  • will take Foundations and Cultures courses from the revised list (courses that have approved new CAPs demonstrating how theyll meet the new category skills goals)

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