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ASCRC Minutes 9/18/07

 

Members Present: J. Cox, L. Economides, S. Gauthier, E. Henderson, S. Lodmell,  J. Luckowski, P. Muench, K. Nalty, M. Nielsen, H. Thompson, G. Weix

Members Absent/Excused: I. Crummy, J. Graham, T. Hunter, P. Silverman, L. Tangedahl

 

Ex-Officio Present: M. Hoell, D. Micus, A. Walker-Andrews

Guest: Samantha Hines and Sue Samson- Mansfield Library, Alden Wright- Computer Science, J. Tompkins


Chair Thompson called the meeting to order at 2:20 p.m.

The minutes from 9/11/07 were amended and approved.  

Communications:

 

  • Associate Provost Walker-Andrews spoke briefly about the Freshman Course Initiatives. Faculty were asked to think about offering experimental seminars that combined two or more disciplines. Another request was for Creative Adventure Course for winter session that would be paid extra to load. One of the difficulties with this idea is that there would be an expense for travel, accommodation, and etc. There will likely not be any courses approved because of logistical problems. The committee will meet next week to determine what courses to approve. There will likely be 2 or 3 Freshmen 14 seminars. The initiative is still in the experimental stage.
  • Chair Thompson gave an update regarding the General Education discussion at the Faculty Senate meeting. It was agreed that ASCRC would discuss ways to incorporate the Provost's points and others made at the meeting into the structure before the open faculty meeting on October 3rd. The Provost recommended that 1) information literacy be addressed in a deliberate way; 2) students must complete the fundamental skills in the first year; 3) students should be exposed to issues that require an interdisciplinary approach to address; and 4) there should be connections to the students major and the various general education components.
  • The Provost will attend the September 25th meeting.

Business Items:

Strategy for including the Provost's recommendations into the general education framework

  • 1) Information Literacy
    Professor Samson provided the committee with a handout that included information about the Library's Information Literacy Instruction Program and a specific recommendation of how Information Literacy can be included in the general education framework. It proposes that information literacy be integrated into Group I: English Writing Skills courses and will be designed and developed in collaboration with faculty librarians. Information literacy is defined as how to find, evaluate, and use information effectively.

    Adding information literacy into the general education program will formalize the requirement. It would also be helpful if training on plagiarism and intellectual property rights could be included in the program. Another approach would be to include Information Literacy in all general education courses, but there was concern that this could become redundant for students and resented by faculty. Another concern was that upper-division information literacy is very specialized and should be taught by experts in the field. The requirement wouldn't necessarily be a trip to the library for instruction from the librarian, but would be integrated into the curriculum with possible assistance from a library liaison.

    The number of students not comfortable with computers is declining, however fluency in information technology is also an area that should be recognized and could be tied to this requirement. It is the opinion of faculty in Computer Science that there are skills in using a search engine that most students don't know.

    It was decided that the Writing Committee should be charged with incorporating the requirement into objectives and details of Group I.


2)  Early completion of fundamental skills

There are over 700 juniors that have not taken the math literacy course.  Studies show that the longer you have a break from math, the more likely you are to do poorly.  There is a committee working on this issue that is considering the Boise State Model-every student must take math and composition in the first semester.   There are a range of opinions regarding the problem and the Committee is exploring different strategies.  These will be shared with the Provost.

Discussions are also taking place with the Registrar Micus in terms of mechanisms for enforcing pre-requisites or possible holds on registration.  He discourages any process that would delay a student's registration.  A better approach is through orientation and advising.  Students need to be given the information and persuaded to make the decision that is in their best interest.

The committee agreed that this issue was not something it could resolve and is outside the realm of the framework, but would look at proposals as they come forward.

3)  Exposure to current big issues facing the world and nation that require an interdisciplinary approach to understand and resolve

The current framework does not preclude this from happening. Incentives from Academic Affairs would encourage faculty to develop a course that would meet the objectives of the groups.  The subcommittee could conceive of ideas that incorporate interdisciplinary, linked courses, or bundles of courses that deal with real word problems. 

This will have to be communicated to the subcommittees working on the objectives of the groups.

4)  Connections to student majors and an understanding of the goals of general education

Again this is something that could be made explicit in the criteria, outcomes, and assessment of the courses.  Faculty should be expected to make clear to students why it is important to have exposure to the perspective, theories, and etc. taught in the course.


Strategy for consideration of upper-division credit requirement increase

The committee agreed that Camie should send a communication to department chairs asking for how an increase in upper-division credits would impact their majors.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.