The General Education Revision Task Force has been working on a new General Education Plan for UNCG students. Our charge is to present a proposed Gen Ed plan to the Faculty Senate and Provost’s Office on March 1, 2019. Informed by our review of the current GEC program during 2017-18, the Task Force spent Fall Semester 2018 presenting and discussing possible model Gen Ed programs with the campus community. Based on these discussions and feedback, as well as our research into the best practices in General Education, we are now pleased to present a draft General Education plan to the Campus community. The Task Force has done its very best to consider all aspects of General Education, weigh the consequences of each detail, and to formulate the best program possible for UNCG.

Draft Plan, Upcoming Forums, and Survey

At this time, we invite faculty, staff, and others who have a stake in General Education to review the working draft and supplement and offer commentary in upcoming forums.

There will be upcoming forums to discuss the draft General Education plan:

  • Monday, February 11 at 2 pm – Open Forum in the Virginia Dare Room (Completed)
  • Wednesday, February 20 from 3-5pm – Faculty Senate Forum in the Virginia Dare Room
  • Thursday, February 21 from 2-4pm – Open Forum in the Faculty Center

You may also submit any comments to the committee through the survey by February 24.

Sincerely,
General Education Revision Task Force
Alice Haddy and Chuck Bolton, Co-Chairs


Background on the Process

In spring 2017, the UNCG Faculty Senate and the UNCG General Education Council approved a call for a task force of UNCG faculty to conduct a self-study of the UNCG General Education Program.  The last study of the UNCG General Education Program was conducted in the 2005-2006 academic year.  That study produced the framework for the current General Education Program at UNCG, building on the AULER system that was in place earlier.  Part of that framework included the creation of the General Education Council, which has since overseen the establishment of new General Education courses, the recertification of existing General Education courses, and the assessment of the General Education Program.  Since that last study, the undergraduate student body at UNCG has grown more diverse, and UNCG is now a Minority-Serving Institution.  There has also been substantial overall growth in the UNCG student body, including increasing numbers of transfer students.  In addition, over the last decade, there have been significant changes in the national expectations concerning the conceptualization and delivery of General Education as part of a University education.  For the complete charge from the UNCG Faculty Senate and the UNCG General Education Council, see Appendix A of the report.

The task force created to conduct this self-study was composed of nine UNCG faculty, with voting representatives from all the academic units on campus, a non-voting faculty chair, and non-voting members from various non-academic units on campus.


General Education Revision Task Force Membership:

Co-Chair, Chuck Bolton, Associate Dean, Professor of History, ccbolton@uncg.edu
Co-Chair, Alice Haddy, Professor, Chemistry, aehaddy@uncg.edu
Kwasi Amoako-Gyampah, Professor, Department of ISSCM, k_amoako@uncg.edu
Ian Beatty, Associate Professor, Physics & Astronomy, idbeatty@uncg.edu
Frances Bottenberg, Lecturer, Philosophy, f_botten@uncg.edu
David Carlone, Associate Professor, Communication Studies, dacarlon@uncg.edu
Kay Cowen, Professor, School of Nursing, kjcowen@uncg.edu
Jenny Dale, Reference Librarian and First Year Instruction Coordinator, jedale2@uncg.edu
Lauren Haldeman, Associate Professor, Nutrition, lahaldem@uncg.edu
Amy Harris Houk, Head, Research, Outreach, and Instruction, University Libraries, a_harri2@uncg.edu
Lisa O’Connor, Department Chair, Associate Professor, LIS, lgoconno@uncg.edu
Sunny Spillane, Assistant Professor, Art, srspilla@uncg.edu
Linda Stine, Associate Professor of Anthropology, lfstine@uncg.edu
Larry Taube, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Programs Director, ISSCM, lrtaube@uncg.edu
Aaron Terranova, AP Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, KIN, abterran@uncg.edu

Ex-Officio (without vote)

Angela Bolte, Assistant Dean, Lloyd International Honors College, akbolte@uncg.edu
Lisa Henline, Associate University Registrar, lmhenlin@uncg.edu
Jodi Pettazzoni, Associate Vice Provost and Director Office of Assessment, Accreditation and Academic Program Planning, jepettaz@uncg.edu
Dana Saunders, Director, Students First Office, Division of Enrollment Management, dfsaunde@uncg.edu
Julia Smith, Professor of Psychology, Chancellor’s Fellow for Campus Climate, jlmendez@uncg.edu
Jennifer Stephens, Associate Director, UTLC, Jennifer.stephens@uncg.edu

Administrative Support

Lynn Wyrick, Office of Assessment, Accreditation, and Academic Program Planning, plwyrick@uncg.edu


FAQs

In the campus conversations of Fall Semester 2018, what groups did the Task Force consult with and what were the general areas of consensus?

Please see the document linked here.

What are some of the primary issues that program revision is intended to address?

Based on the Self-Study carried out in 2017-18, the complexity of the program is the primary issue of concern. This issue includes the difficulty of pinning down exactly how many credit hours the program requires to complete and the degree to which students can easily grasp the objectives of the program. Our second important area of concern involves determining whether and how the program could help students build meaningful connections across their Gen Ed coursework. A third issue was to consider how the curriculum currently meets the needs of our students and the mission/strategic direction for the university.

Why does the proposed program eliminate the Marker classification system (WI, SI, GL/GN)?

The current Marker system causes undue complexity and opaqueness for the program and its users. Marker courses, although required, do not necessarily contribute credit toward the General Education total unless the Marker course is also a Category course. Many Marker courses exist separate from the Category course system. It is therefore difficult to know how many credits are actually taken by students beyond the stated total for Gen Ed. The proposed program aims to establish a clear number of required hours for Gen Ed and to also preserve the enrichment intended by the Marker system without the difficulty in understanding the requirements.

What is the rationale behind the Diversity and Equity Competency and the Health/Wellness Disciplinary Area?

A focus on Diversity and on Health/Wellness was suggested or endorsed by a robust cross-section of stakeholders whose survey responses or forum remarks contributed to the Self-Study Report in 2017-18. They were further supported during the campus conversations of Fall Semester, 2018. They also directly tie into the University’s mission statement and the Chancellor’s vision.

How would the assessment process for General Education courses change?

Assessment is currently based on the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) associated with the course Categories. In the proposed program, SLOs would be associated with the Competencies. Because there would be fewer Competencies than there are now Categories, the assessment process would be streamlined.

Would students continue to be able to “double-dip” on courses, using a single course to satisfy two or more requirements?

In the proposed program, a General Education course that is required for the major will also count toward the appropriate Gen Ed requirement. However, a department or unit may not require a specific course to satisfy a Gen Ed requirement.

As we transition to a new General Education program, will the old and new programs co-exist for a few years?

Yes, having a few transitional years in which the old and new programs coexist via grandfathering clauses is common practice. Students generally follow the program that corresponds to their year of admission to the university.

The AAC&U recommends that Gen Ed courses be “foundational.” Traditionally, they carry no prerequisites, except for other Gen Ed courses. Thus, 100-200 level courses form most of the Gen Ed offerings on campus. Will revisions change this policy?

The Task Force has not made a recommendation on this question, though it seems reasonable to continue a policy that allows new college students to take any course labeled Gen Ed.

What will the process be for deciding which current General Education courses transfer into the new system?

Courses will need to be recertified for the new Gen Ed program. However, it stands to reason that many currently certified Gen Ed courses would remain so, pending appropriate updates or alterations.

Will the Associate’s (AA/AS) degree still transfer in the same way?

We must accept General Education programs completed at NC Community Colleges, as outlined in the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement. With this in mind, the requirements of the proposed program are expected to correlate well with Community College programs. The Thematic Seminar course may be designed to include special sections for transfer students.

What body or office will be involved in implementing the changes and overseeing the transition?

The Self-Study report made several recommendations on this point, which Provost Dunn voiced support for. The details of any administrative restructuring will wait until the proposed program has been accepted. The Provost’s Office has recently initiated a search for a new Associate Vice Provost for Student Success / Dean of Undergraduate Studies, who will be involved in the overseeing the transition.

How will the new program affect FTEs?

While this Task Force can consider overall credit hours to be assigned to General Education, how departments would fare under the different models is not part of its charge.