WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
COMMITTEE TO OVERSEE GENERAL EDUCATION
Minutes of 8 October 2008
Members present: Roberta Allen, José Brandão, Elen Cutrim, Marcia Fetters, Keith Hearit, and Robin McKinney. Member absent: Mary-Louise Totton. Liaisons present: Margaret Hamilton, Kevin Knutson, and David Reinhold. Also present: Janice Anderson, Faculty Senate Office.
David Ede, the chair of COGE, passed away unexpectedly on 13 September. In addition to his service on COGE, Ede was a long time WMU faculty member in the Department of Comparative Religion and had recently assumed the chairmanship of his department. As they remembered Ede, COGE members spoke of his passion for his students, his department, and as a proponent of general education. A campus-wide memorial for Ede will be held in late October.
Acceptance of the Agenda
Approval of the Minutes of 10 September 2008
Cutrim moved and Fetters seconded acceptance of the agenda. Motion carried. Brandão moved and Fetters seconded approval of the minutes of 10 September. Motion carried.
Election of Chair
The committee approved its selection of officers. José Brandão agreed to serve as chair with Marcia Fetters serving as vice chair. Brandão inquired if the meeting time could be changed but members were unable to accommodate a time change. The COGE membership agreed that if they were unable to attend a meeting, it was important to line up a substitute designee who would attend on their behalf.
Hearit said Tracy Pattock, director of Institutional Research, was working to document when all general education courses offered were last taught, their area and enrollment, in preparation for a comprehensive review of general education.
Curriculum Proposal from the Haworth College of Business, Department of Finance and Commercial Law
This curriculum proposal had been tabled at the 10 September COGE meeting. The course was proposed as a survey course designed to provide students with an overview of personal finance issues. COGE members did not feel the course fit into Area V.
Action: It was moved and seconded not to approve FIN 1010 Personal Finance for general education in Area V Social and Behavioral Sciences. Motion carried.
The attempts to fill two membership vacancies – one from Arts and Sciences Humanities and one from Engineering and Applied Sciences - were brought to the attention of COGE. Potential faculty for nomination were suggested.
Discussion on a request from Scott Garrison, associate dean for public services and technology, University Libraries, that had been postponed at the last meeting was discussed. Garrison requested a representative from the Libraries be added to the COGE membership. Since the number of library faculty is so small, members weren’t clear on why this was being requested. Reinhold said he would contact Garrison and ask him to prepare a written rationale for COGE to review at its next meeting.
Report from David Reinhold
Reinhold reviewed a previous report he made to COGE on the Voluntary System of Accountability and the assessment tool – Collegiate Learning Assessment – selected by the committee (chaired by Marcia Fetters.) This is the year WMU is required to pilot the CLA. Reinhold shared plans for that.
Reinhold reported on the comprehensive review of general education courses mentioned by Hearit. The review is not to revamp general education at WMU but to make the University’s general education goals clearer and be able to provide concrete data to the Higher Learning Commission. The review will be completed by the combined membership of COGE and the Undergraduate Studies Council.
Reinhold is reviewing general education at other universities for comparison and envisions developing a curriculum map which clearly states WMU’s general education goals, which are now hidden in the catalog. The review will include:
It was suggested a member of the General Education Policy and Assessment Committee serve on the review committee. Also, there was discussion of continuing faculty confusion over the terms evaluation and assessment.
Report from Kevin Knutson
Knutson informed members of an error in the 2008-09 WMU University and General Education Requirements. AFS 2350, Black Majorities in the Caribbean and Latin America is under Distribution Area III: The United States: Cultures and Issues and Distribution Area IV: Other Cultures and Civilizations. It should not be listed under Area III, only Area IV. Should a situation arise because of that, COGE members recommended students taking AFS 2350 as a general education course in Area III during 2008-09 not be penalized for the error and be allowed credit in Area III for the course.
Knutson suggested COGE request the final spring draft of the WMU University and General Education Requirements from Michele McLaughlin, catalog editor, for final review and approval each year. It should be requested in April as it is printed in May. COGE members agreed.
The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Faculty Senate Office