GENERAL EDUCATION Members:– Rick Davis (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, CVPA, July-Dec, 2011), Janette Muir (AP-UG Chair, beginning January 2012).  Mack Holt (CHSS), Rick Diecchio (COS),  Kim Eby (Associate Provost/Center for Teaching Excellence), Douglas Eyman (CHSS), Frank Allen Philpot (SOM), Kamaljeet Sanghera (VSE), Hugh Sockett (CHSS), Cliff Sutton (VSE), Carol Urban (CHHS), and Peter Winant (CVPA).  General Education Coordinator: Marcy Glover.


 April 15, 2012

The University General Education Committee continued to work vigorously this academic year on the following items:

·         strategic thinking about the future of general education, both at Mason and in a national context of comparable universities.

·         considering new course proposals for inclusion in the general education inventory

What follows will expand a bit on each of the bullets above, but first there are a couple of compulsory reporting points included in our committee’s charge from the Senate.

1. Proficiency/placement exams: Statistics are characteristically incomplete as of this date; we will submit an addendum early in the fall semester with these data.  We expect to receive ENGH 101/302 by June.

2. Changes in the criteria for general education: There were no substantive changes in overall criteria; however we will be looking at these issues more carefully in the next year.

Gen Ed learning outcomes, and assessment process:

The College of Science completed their discussion/revision of the SLOs in the Natural Science area.  The committee thanks Rick Diecchio and the COS faculty for taking on this difficult task.  A portfolio review of this category is scheduled for Fall 2012.  Discussions continue regarding the assessment of SLOs and for the Quantitative Reasoning, Written Comm, and Oral Comm categories.  

The Board of Visitors has requested that the committee re-evaluate the Global Understanding category. It is currently under review and will be further assessed in 2013.

Course Proposals:

The committee considered 15 and approved 10 new courses for the general education inventory, with the others being sent back for revision or clarification.  We expect resubmission of the majority of the returned courses. 

Areas to be considered in the 12-13 Academic year:

NCLC Cornerstones courses – two still under review.

Student Learning Outcomes for general education as whole.

Ways to slightly restructure General Education so that students make better, more intentional choices about the courses they select to fulfill these requirements.

Continue/sustained discussion about the new critical thinking rubric and how to include/use in/with the general education curriculum.

CEIE agreement - This is a 3 credit waiver for CEIE majors due to an increase in their major requirements.  The waiver will be for either Arts, Global Understanding or Western Civilization.  So far very few students have needed the waiver.

Change in committee structure to reflect term limits.

Final Highlights:

Mason was awarded the 2011 Exemplary Program AGLS Award for Improving General Education.  Drs. Rick Davis, Karen Gentemann, and Ying Zhou presented a panel discussion at the annual meeting to discuss our assessment process, for which we earned the award.

Mason’s General Education assessment process is attracting national interest. To date, three different institutions have contacted the Undergraduate Education Office to enquire about general education and the portfolio assessment process.