Progress Report 2019/2020

In the 2019/2020 Academic Year, we worked with our liaison members, OIRA, and with various student groups to determine several facets of GE and the taskforce’s work:

  • A GET Mission Statement
  • A Set of GET Guiding Principles
  • Student Learning Objectives (prefatory to defining Student Learning Outcomes)
  • Current UA Course Offerings (academic and experiential)
  • Student Opinion of GE at UA

Working with our Liaison members, we wrote a working version of our Mission Statement, Guiding Principles, and a set of Learning Objectives:

Mission Statement:

The University of Alabama’s General Education program empowers undergraduate students to be socially conscious, ethical, and well-rounded leaders with the knowledge and skills to live productive, responsible, and rewarding lives in a diverse and rapidly-changing world.  

The program challenges students to develop their logical and creative capacities by providing transformational and integrative learning experiences that complement the undergraduate major.

Guiding Principles:

  • Be learner-centered, accessible, inclusive, and equitable
  • Span the undergraduate experience
  • Focus on shared student-learning outcomes
  • Include curricular and co-curricular experiences
  • Encourage involvement and participation throughout the faculty and staff
  • Employ best practices in teaching and learning
  • Encourage exploration and student ownership of general education
  • Accommodate non-traditional, transfer, and high-credit entry students
  • Meet all accreditation requirements

Learning Objectives:

In completing the requirements of The University of Alabama General Education program, all undergraduates should demonstrate the fundamental skills, abilities, and behaviors that readily identify them as: 

  • Critical and Ethical Thinkers
  • Effective Communicators
  • Problem Solvers
  • Individually and Socially Responsible Citizens
  • Culturally Competent Individuals

The Mission Statement, Guiding Principles and Learning Objectives were validated by a Spring 2020 Faculty Senate Vote, with 67 respondents: 65/67 ‘Yes’ Votes and 2/67 ‘No’ Votes.

In the Spring of 2020, Dr. Johnny Tice stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Haley Townsend.  

Over the course of the spring semester, we worked with OIRA to determine current UA course offerings, both academic and experiential.  We worked with consultants (AAC&U) to understand various General Education models from around the country.  And we gathered information on student opinion of GE from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE – OIRA), 4 Focus Groups, and a GBA300 class (see GBA300-001 report_SP2020).  A synthesis of wider community opinion (UA faculty, staff, and students along with UA Employer Reporting) showed the desire for students who demonstrate:

  • Improved citizenship, including an ability to work well with others
  • Greater cultural awareness
  • Better communication skills (written and oral)
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Finally, GET worked in teams to build three different possible models for GE at UA (see PPT: 6.2.2020).

Projection for 2020/2021

Using the research gathered from 2018-2020, the Mission Statement, Guiding Principles, and Learning Objectives generated by GET and their liaison members, and the three models built by GET, in the Fall of 2020, we will be working with sub-committees to define Student Learning Outcomes.  We will then refine the models against the newly-defined SLO’s.

Progress Report Spring/Summer 2019

This is the second semester report from the General Education Taskforce (GET).  Dr. Fred Whiting (Blount) stepped down as co-chair.  He was replaced by Dr. Richard Richards (Philosophy).  Dr. Frankie Lanaan (Education) stepped down from the committee.  He was replaced by Dr. Lane McLelland (Crossroads).  GET met nine times during the Spring 2019 semester, for a total of 27 hours.  Committee work at these meetings consisted of discussions that centered around:

  • benchmarking other institutions that have undergone core curriculum revision
  • administering a campus-wide survey
  • holding listening session
  • generating a preliminary vision statement and a list of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

During the Spring 2019 semester, we met with:

  • The Deans and Department Chairs of all undergraduate degree-granting programs to solicit their feedback and expectations for the University’s general education curriculum
  • The Council of Assistant and Associate Deans (CAAD) to update them on our progress
  • The Core Curriculum Oversight Committee to discuss the initiative
  • A taskforce looking into UA foreign language learning / study abroad (all members of CAAD)

We also held two public listening sessions:

  • March 19, 2019 3-4 Heritage Room, Ferguson Center
  • March 29, 2019 3-4 205 Gorgas Library

In February, three members of the GET Taskforce (Chapman Greer, Lane McLelland, and Kristin Maki) attended an AAC&U Conference on General Education reform, held in San Francisco. In June, five members of the initiative (Chapman Greer, Richard Richards, Kristin Maki, Ginger Bishop, and Louheng Han) attended an AAC&U Institute (VT), where we worked to refine our understanding of Gen Ed Reform.  Five of us (Chapman Greer, Richard Richards, and Ginger Bishop, along with Adam Sterritt and Roger Sidje) also attended an AAC&U High-Impact Practices (HIPs) Institute (PA), where we learned best practices for meshing HIPs with Gen Ed Reform.

In the Fall of 2019, Dr. Richard Richards stepped down as co-chair.  Dr. André Denham (College of Education) and Dr. Erik Peterson (College of Arts & Sciences) became co-chairs with Dr. Chapman Greer (Culverhouse College of Business).  During the Fall, we will be working with our liaison members to refine the SLOs at the committee level, after which we will disseminate our product to the Faculty Senate, UA Faculty, and UA Community at large, for input and revision.  We will be working with students, to determine their understanding of GE.  And we will be examining what’s currently happening on campus vis a vis core classes offered / # of students per core class / high-impact practices, etc.

Please check back regularly for future progress reports and announcements

 

Progress Report Fall 2018

This is the first in what will be semesterly reports from the General Education Taskforce (GET) to keep the University of Alabama community apprised of Taskforce operations.  The GET was constituted in September of 2018 and met six times during the Fall 2018 semester, for a total of twelve hours.  Committee work at these meetings consisted in the following activities.

  • Identified the Taskforce operations requisite to fulfilling its charge and established an outline and a timeline for the committee’s operations
  • Compiled and reviewed a comprehensive general education bibliography
  • Generated a framework for identifying the relevant UA constituencies and stakeholders.
  • Designed preliminary poll to solicit feedback from UA faculty, staff, and students

We will be contacting the various UA constituencies throughout the spring semester of 2019 to solicit feedback about their experiences of and expectations for the University’s general education curriculum.  Please check back regularly for future progress reports and announcements.