Minutes – October 23, 2017

Attendees: Rick Muma, Becky Nordyke, George Dehner, Amy Drassen Ham, Shirlene Small, Chris Broberg, Aaron Rife, , Kamran Rokhsaz, Kathy Delker, Steve Oare

Guests: Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn, Gina Crabree, Sally Fiscus.

1. Approval of minutes from the Sept. 25 meeting. Removal of name of no-longer member of gen ed committee. Minutes Passed.

2. Introduction of Dr. Kamran Rokhsaz, new College of Engineering representative on this committee who is expected to be confirmed by the Faculty Senate later this afternoon.

Freshman Seminar: Rick Muma—If the committee recommends later this fall or early next spring to make the First-Year Seminar pilot program a full fledged program, then the Faculty Senate will be voting on whether Freshman Seminar will be implemented. If passed, time will be given to create new classes, implement program across university—put in place Fall 2019

3. Consideration of request from the College of Fine Arts. Dr. Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn has been invited to give information and answer questions.

Charge from Dr. Shaw:
“The Faculty in the College of Fine Arts have requested that the stipulation in the General Education requirements that Courses within a student's major department shall not count toward fulfilling general education requirements be reviewed in consideration of the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) directive to reduce the hours for graduation to 120 hrs. Specifically, they would like this limitation waived for the Fine Arts credit in Gen Ed for their majors. Policy here (see footnote 4). I would suggest that you contact Aleks Sternfield-Dunn in Fine Arts and invite him to a meeting to provide more background. Rick is also quite familiar with the required hours toward graduation in different colleges. Should you need more information, please let me know and I will help as I am able. Whatever recommendation you make on this issue can be sent to the Executive Committee through me.”

Aleks: All degrees in fine arts are over 120 limit, except one. The last time we reduced credits was by removing electives. Now, we have to cut courses from curriculum. We don't want to cut general education requirements, but policy doesn't allow to use gen ed courses and major courses at the same time. We would like to have clause outlawing gen ed double-dipping removed. Or we would like to request an exception to the policy.

Question—clarify “double dipping.” The rule is you may not use courses in your major towards gen ed.

Music ed has a limit of 6 hours. Art ed—same situation. Asking for people to use own major courses toward gen ed.

Aleks: KU and K-State allow students to use major courses toward gen ed.

Amy: Can't we change title/course number to fit the requirement? Is this gaming the system?
Question/discussion about origin of the rule, where it came from—not clear agreement, may have been in place as long as current gen-ed program exists.

Kathy brings up issue from College of Engineering, decreasing general education requirements to a number lower than the current 42 hours. Rick brought up that all engineering programs in state have over 120 hour programs, so request to bring down gen ed hours will not affect them, as they will file for an exception regardless.

Rokhsaz: Still have to cut into engineering courses, we would still like to discuss gen ed hours.

4. Introduction of request from the College of Engineering.

Charge from Dr. Shaw:
“I would like to add one additional charge to the Gen Ed committee that is related to [the College of Fine Arts request]. At the most recently Faculty Senate meeting, the request below was made by the representative from the College of Engineering. This is a broad and ambitious request that may or may not merit action this year. Can the General Ed committee please consider the request and craft a response to it for the Executive Committee and Senate to consider? I’m not asking for you to re-work Gen Ed at this point, just consider the request and whether such a request should be acted on at this time. Whatever recommendation you make on this issue can be sent to the Executive Committee through me.”

Request from the College of Engineering:
“We believe that General Education, especially the ability to communicate effectively and to think critically, is important for our students
• We believe that our 42-credit hour university-wide General Education requirement is too high, especially in light of information that the national average is 30-credit hours
• Since all programs have been asked to review and reduce their total credit hours required for a degree, we believe it is important to review the university’s General Education requirements
• We believe a reduction in credit hours to the university General Education requirements should be considered over this academic year"

The Gen Ed Cmte makes recommendations regarding the Gen Ed Program to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. The Faculty Senate will discuss the recommendations and then call for a vote of the entire faculty.

Oare: KU and K-State seem to be doing less gen ed, we have a really high gen ed proportion of courses in our music ed program.

Drassen Ham: Question, are the programs asking for so many classes in order to pass exams/certification exams? Isn't that why you can ask for an exception, to meet certification?

Aleks: We are having to make cuts because gen ed clause. We are punishing ourselves?

Dehner: This is KBOR, right? 120 is arbitrary…

Muma: 120 is not arbitrary—15 hours a semester, 4 years.

Dehner: Okay, but it isn't that gen ed is holding us up, it is KBOR. Not gen ed hamstringing us, but what is gen ed for? Perhaps we should consider purpose of gen ed before we start cutting.

Oare: Not arguing important, but to what degree?

Aleks: We aren't looking to get people out of classes outside our area. We are looking to fill fine arts with fine arts courses.

Muma: About 120, that is from Higher Learning Commission

Delker: Shall we take a straw poll about whether we should take up proposition to review gen ed program—we agree we should review program this year.

Small—Aleks, when do you want exception to take place?

Aleks—Fall of 2018—for two (3?) classes—

Issue raised—if this is approved, why music but not others, because other majors will be asking for the same thing.

Aleks—we would like this for everyone, remove the clause and let any major fulfill Tier 2 Gen Ed requirement with courses in its major.

Students will flood university exceptions committee over this issue.

Muma: Have you looked at KU and K-State, are they at 120?

Aleks: Most have around 120, but they can use their majors as gen ed.

Rokhsaz: There is another issue, which we haven't discussed…

Discussion shifted to when changes implemented and when students will be affected by it.

Gina: This would affect students according to graduation date, possibly.

Sally: I cannot imagine how to make this work without going by catalog term.

Students will move up catalog terms, can't pick and choose. For example, education changed from 130 to 121 hours, have been moving students up.

Dehner: Timeline question—what is KBOR’s turnaround for exceptions? Turn in by March, but when do we find out answer? Thus, instead of exceptions issues and setting that precedent, maybe we should have precedent set.

Delker: Do you think Faculty Senate will/could look at whole gen ed program during this academic year and reach a decision? ()

Dehner: Yes, but they need info right away—so has time to think about and discuss issue, long before 1st and 2nd reading of policy change. (Then mentioned that he serves on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, which will probably enhance information flow both directions.)

Discussion that major changes to gen ed program would have to go to general faculty vote.

Muma: There would need to be meetings/opportunities for faculty to give feedback and thoughts to gen ed committee.

Dehner: Gen Ed committee will have to make a recommendation to faculty senate on this issue.

Discussion of process for looking into changing gen ed requirements versus removing major/gen ed ruling.

Sally: Why not waive this rule for everyone? It would benefit everyone but engineering

Rokhsaz: The problem is that gen ed requires number of classes, not hours. Engineering students take 49 credit hours to meet gen ed, when others take 42.

Discussion of Engineering programs across the state, gen ed requirements

What about allowing 6-9 credit hours from major (2-3 classes) to work as gen ed requirements.

Not sure this would get to the full faculty before March, but by end of Spring.

Delker: Sum up, Music asking for major courses (BMA, BA) to be used for gen ed classes.
George submits that we decline request because we want to re-evaluate/review/restructure gen ed program for the whole university. Therefore we recommend the College of Fine Arts request exception from KBOR, we work on gen ed program

Aleks: Can we change from denied to tabled? So we don't get stuck?

Dehner: Move to table discussion while committee explores what changes to make to gen ed program

Seconded and passed.

Discussion of language of email to Carolyn Shaw—per KBOR directive of 120 credit hour change.

5. Introduction of the “Math Pathway” request. If there is time, we may begin discussing this.

Charge from Dr. Shaw:
“The Regents are in the process of discussing a “Math Pathway” for students that would allow more flexibility in required math courses for different majors. Specifically, right now College Algebra (Math 111) is required for all students. The Regents think that for some degrees, Statistics might be a more useful math requirement than Algebra. Since Math 111 is part of the Foundational Courses in the Gen Ed requirements, any change along these lines would require a revision to Gen Ed. This could have some serious implications for the Math department, so I would suggest contacting Tom Delillo (Math Chair) to provide additional information on this issue. This probably doesn't require a formal plan at this point (KBOR has not issued any directive), but is more of an exploration of possibilities. A summary report on this can be sent to the Executive Committee through me.”

Delker: Do we address this in our next meeting? Or save for another time?

Small: We should address this issue, but probably not at next meeting.

Decision to wait on having Tom Delillo come.

Muma: If you want somebody who knows about Algebra/Math pathway stuff, should invite Steve Brady—he also helped create gen ed program.

Meeting adjourned.