General Education Committee Meeting (Minutes)

Attendees: Kathy Delker, Chair (KD), Shirlene Small (SS), Becky Nordyke (BN), Aaron Rife (AR), Shelby Rowell, Student Representative (SR) Gina Crabtree, Registrar’s Office (GC), Chris Broberg (CB), Sally Fiscus, Registrar’s Office (SF), Rick Muma, Interim Provost (RM), George Dehner (GD), Steve Oare (SO), Amy Drassen Ham (ADH), Reporter, David Wright, Chief Data Officer, Guest, Kim Sandlin, Office of Student Success, Guest.

I. Approval of Minutes for 2-12-18

A. Minutes unanimously approved

II. Review FYS course learning outcomes (approved by Senate 12/7/15)

A. David Wright provided retention information “Fall 2016 FYS Report on Persistence and GPA Performance”

i. David Wright: general results = good retention in FYS, low variance across all courses

ii. David Wright: examination of academic outcomes for end of fall 2016 = GPA performance and % in university housing were the most significant and meaningful differences in the data

iii. David Wright: noted selection bias when comparing general student populations and those in the FYS courses in terms of retention

  1. George Dehner: students may be making a conscious decision in their area of interest by selecting courses earlier and in a more proactive manner
  2. Kim Sandlin: students select courses by title

iv. David Wright: FYS has a correlation with overall performance, including GPA, for students who participate in FYS

III. Discussion about recommendations to require First-Year Seminar (FYS) program for freshmen beginning Fall 2019

A. Carolyn Shaw, Senate President, confirmed we may include recommended changes to the FYS pilot program

B. Becky Nordyke provided an anecdotal qualitative survey of students from her FYS course

C. Aaron Rife: universities have been promoting FYS for many years across the country and we must determine if WSU’s FYS meet our need

D. Steve Oare: student impressions are generally positive, but concern with mandating FYS program

E. Shelby Rowell: her FYS experience was valuable education and important for the WSU campus due to our size (having smaller class size for FYS creates stronger sense of community)

F. Rick Muma: a primary benefit of FYS vs WSU 101 is that FYS can be taken towards degree programs (counts as one of the Tier 2 Gen Ed requirements) and Kim Sandlin added the addition of an academic component to FYS created additional value

G. George Dehner: his original concern with requiring FYS in lieu of more General Education content and his ongoing concern is to have faculty involved with FYS going forward with money for overload – this also could pull fulltime faculty away from their major course load, including general education courses. His fear is FYS will become the responsibility of adjuncts because we cannot hire more faculty to regularly include these courses in our curriculum lineup.

H. Chris Broberg: what would be wrong with adjunct teaching an FYS

i. George Dehner: goal is to connect students with faculty and to get them connected with the University

I. Kathy Delker: concerned with 1200+ freshman waiting to take FYS will have limited options with fall enrollment

i. Rick Muma: students will have additional options in the spring and even in summer (a few sections)

J. Rick Muma: in the big picture – do we care enough about the student experience to commit to getting students off to a good start at the University

K. Shirlene Small: concern with smaller departments where the only way to offer FYS is as an overload

i. Rick Muma: some departments will be responsive and others may not be able to offer FYS each semester

L. Kathy Delker: reminder that Carolyn Shaw pointed out that some faculty just don't relate to freshman and may not want to teach FYS

i. Rick Muma: we are in the business of educating students!

ii. Kathy Delker: who typically would teach the FYS in departments across the University?

iii. George Dehner: History has structured to commit to senior faculty teaching incoming students as well as students in the major and grad students, so if someone is willing to teach FYS then fitting that into the schedule will impact their program at a cost of reducing senior faculty available to teach introductory courses in History

iv. Kathy Delker: Can introductory courses be structured into FYS?

v. George Dehner: no (echoed by Aaron Rife) – subject content in introductory courses would have to be reduced to add in student success content, and that is undesirable

vi. Aaron Rife: concern with decay of the program without additional funding to sustain quality in FYS

vii. Rick Muma: opportunity for Departments to assess and evaluate unneeded content/courses to adjust to allow for FYS

viii. Kathy Delker: some courses were flagged due to low enrollment (experience with program assessment at Friends University) and WSU could consider a similar process of prioritization

ix. Aaron Rife: some courses are still necessary with a low enrollment – e.g., six students

M. Aaron Rife: there is already too much pressure on programs and faculty. Concerned that making FYS mandatory will increase the pressure

IV. Recommendations about the FYS program

A. Kathy Delker: not ready to take a vote today and waiting on additional reports from David Wright

B. George Dehner: request that David Wright include comparisons of fall 2016 through fall 2017 who still are here spring 2018 at 20th day

V. As May Arise

A. Steve Oare: curiosity of support for proposal for a one-hour choir course counting as General Education requirement over three semesters – deferred to General Education restructuring task force

VI. Meeting was adjourned at 1:59 pm