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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Gen Ed Reform Task Force

General education represents a major component of our students' education, a large portion of our university budget, and a major component of our faculty's workload. Over the past several years, we have heard numerous criticisms of our general education program and we have been disheartened by the results of our assessment of our students' general education learning outcomes. Our governance bodies have considered several proposals for general education reform - some proposing changes on a grand scale, others proposing only modest changes.  None, however, has won the support of the campus community. As a result, we continue with a general education program that has changed little over the years. It is often confusing to students, difficult to administer, and hard to defend in terms of our learning outcomes assessment results.

The charge to the Task Force is as follows:

  1.  Familiarize yourselves with national scholarship, trends, models, and best practices with respect to general education. My office will provide funding for your professional development in this area.
  2.  Develop a clear problem statement regarding general education at UW-Green Bay.  This clear identification of and agreement as to the definition of "the problem" is a necessary step before we move forward toward identifying solutions or proposals.  Without a shared agreement as to "the problem," we talk past each other and have no shared basis on which to evaluate options or proposals.
  3. Review our current general education program and offer recommendations for reform. Your recommendations should be feasible, informed by evidence, and connected to current scholarship and thinking on general education.
  4. Keep the campus community and governance groups informed of your deliberations and discussions throughout the process. Share issues and key decision points throughout the process so that each phase of your work does not "slide back to Square One."
  5. Finally, do not rush to a "solution." Complex problems require significant study, thought, debate, and attention to evidence. They may require experimentation and evaluation. This work will likely take some years, well beyond the time frame associated with our usual committee assignments. Your membership on the Task Force will be expected to continue for up to 5 years in order to enable you to successfully complete this assignment.

Finally, general education is too massive to be a curricular "orphan" without administrative responsibility and accountability. During discussions with consultant Michael Dolence, our academic leadership agreed that the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the position of the University best suited to be administratively responsible and accountable for the delivery and quality of this program. The General Education Council, of course, will retain its traditional responsibility for course approvals, advice, and recommendations to the Provost or the Senate.

 Members

  • Scott Furlong (Chair), Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Cliff Abbott, Information and Computing Sciences
  • Lucy Arendt, Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies, Business Administration
  • Kevin Collins, Music
  • Susan Cooper, Education
  • Heidi Fencl, Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Debbie Furlong, Director, Institutional Research
  • Regan Gurung, Human Development
  • Ray Hutchison, Urban and Regional Studies
  • Andrew Kersten, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Susan Lepak-Gallagher, Nursing
  • Sue Mattison, Dean of Professional Studies
  • Donna Ritch, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Human Biology
  • John Stoll, Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Bryan Vescio, Humanistic Studies
  • Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges, Human Development

Purpose & Mission

The UWGB General Education Program supports the University's Select Mission by providing an interdisciplinary, problem-focused educational experience that prepares students to think critically and address complex issues in a multicultural and evolving world.

To that end, the UWGB General Education Program will help to develop liberally educated students and facilitate their living in an ever changing world by:

Introducing students to interdisciplinary education

This goal relates most directly to the primary mission of UWGB and ensures that students have an introduction to interdisciplinarity and its importance early in their career.

Providing knowledge that includes disciplinary breadth

Students must have adequate breadth of knowledge and course work that is representative of distinct ways of thinking.

Working with students to develop an understanding of critical social problems

In order to have an appropriate understanding of problems and issues (e.g., sustainability) regardless of their eventual major, students must have background and/or a variety of experiences from global and multicultural perspectives. In addition, UWGB's select mission recognizes the importance of a university education to promote engaged citizens. The general education program will help foster these elements of a student's education.

Supporting the development of important academic skills including communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and quantitative and information literacy

Certain skills are critical for any liberally educated individual in order to promote life-long learning and understand the complexity of the issues and problems of our world.

It is important that a number of the elements above are considered "essential learning outcomes" by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and supported by their research related to Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP). These outcomes are:

  • Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world
  • Intellectual and practical skills
  • Personal and social responsibility
  • Integrative learning

An implementation plan will follow.

Minutes

Survey Results

Download results of the general education survey administered by the Task Force Fall 2010

**Notes about the survey:
Percentages of disagree and agree responses do not add up to 100% because neutral responses were not included.

The total number of participants was 115 representing a board range of years of service at UW-Green Bay:  73% were faculty, 16% were instructional academic staff, and 11% were non-instructional academic staff (e.g. advisors).

The following are links to PDF files of the General Education Task Force meeting minutes by date. Any questions should be directed to the Task Force Chair, Dean Scott Furlong.

 

Resources

Web resources that the Task Force has utilized:

 

Final Report of General Ed Reform Task Force

The General Education Reform Task Force concluded its work during the 2012-2013 academic year with Faculty Senate approval of the new General Education Reform Plan.  The plan is part of a final report issued by the Task Force.