General Education Review FAQs

The following FAQs are intended to update faculty and staff on the General Education Review Task Force process as of January 12, 2016.

What is going on right now? Where are we in the process?

Currently, the General Education Review Task Force (GERTF) is reviewing the feedback received during fall term 2015 from academic departments and the six Essential Student Learning Outcomes (ESLO) committees. The GERTF met on December 11, 2015 to generate ideas on how to improve the working model based on the valuable input received.  On January 5, the GERTF issued the following charge to the ESLO committees through the General Education Advisory Council (GEAC):

  1. Develop criteria for course approval based on outcome and level.
  2. Work with Gen Ed departments to examine the alignment of current course offerings with the ESLOs and the working model.
  3. Identify potential impacts of current recommendations (e.g., departments, transfer, students).

The GERTF will continue to hold weekly meetings through winter term 2016 and has begun drafting a final report. The GERTF Broadcasting and Marketing subcommittee is working on the most intuitive naming of components of the model and will be holding focus groups with students later this term.

If I’m concerned about something, how do I get my input heard?

The GERTF is very interested in your input. You can continue to provide feedback through various channels: GEAC, ESLO committees, and the GERTF. Contact members of these committees to share your concerns and ideas.

Based on the last round of input, what has changed?

The GERTF met for a retreat, attempted to identify strong themes in the feedback, explored ways of addressing the most significant problems identified, and determined that additional work (see What is going on right now?) was necessary before suggesting further changes. The model is still based on achievement of the six ESLOs and three levels of development. 

What problems and/or concerns were identified?

  • Most programs identified additional credits needed based on mapping their current curriculum to the working model.
  • Specific courses required at the foundation level cause workload and transfer issues that need to be addressed.
  • There is a tradeoff between intentionality, which up to now has been the focus of the model development, and flexibility necessary for our wide variety of programs and transfer students; both are important.
  • Faculty have told us they can’t move forward and fully identify impacts on programs, without course lists and criteria for each outcome and level.
  • The Growth and Exploration category does not seem to be achieving the intended need which was poorly understood and ill defined.
  • The Essential Studies Synthesis Experience needed further definition, approach to implementation, and articulated goals.
  • Resource needs resulting from various model components were a common concern.
  • Program faculty have expressed concerns about sequencing problems that may occur from required prerequisites for program-integrated practice level courses.

How are transfer issues being addressed in the process?

The GERTF has been aware of the issues surrounding transfer since the initial stages of the review and understand the implications of changes to general education on articulation agreements. Transfer processes will remain much the same. The implementation plan will include work with community colleges, the Office of Academic Agreements, and the Registrar’s Office to update articulation agreements and course equivalencies where necessary. 

What are the next steps in the process including decisions that will be made?

The next steps are to carefully consider the diverse feedback we received from ESLO committees and academic departments in the fall and determine the specific requirements for general education.

Based on the input from GEAC and ESLO committees working with general education departments this term, we will

  1. Establish criteria for courses at each level
  2. Initiate the course approval process
  3. Refine general education requirements
  4. Develop an implementation plan.

What is the timeline? (Should I be panicking today?)

No, you should never panic! As identified in the original charge to the General Education Review Task Force, our work is scheduled to culminate at the end of winter term 2016. This group will submit a final report in early spring term, based on its review and include recommendations for changes to the general education program, as well as a plan for implementation. It is projected that an updated general education program will appear in the catalog no sooner than fall 2017 and include a plan for students currently in the pipeline.