GE Report: Process and Timeline
In response to the need for regular and meaningful evaluation of the GE program, Dean Michael Feltner established a new Associate Dean Position at Seaver College, which took effect in fall 2018. In addition to duties related to curriculum, the Associate Dean of Curriculum and General Education chairs the General Education Review Committee. The primary task of this committee is to review the current GE program and generate a report, taking into account the unique character of Seaver College, the strengths of our faculty, and the needs of our students. If necessary, this report is intended to lead to General Education revision.
The GE Review Committee (GERC) consists of nine faculty members and the Associate Dean for Curriculum and General Education. Each division has one distinguished representative with an additional representative from Great Books. Representatives are chosen at the divisional level and voted on by the faculty. Current committee members are:
- Lauren Amaro
- Fiona M. Stewart
- Mason Marshall
- Tuan Hoang
- Bryan Givens
- Rob Shearer
- Tim Lucas, co-chair
- Paul Begin, co-chair, ex officio
By April 2019, the GERC had been elected. This committee began meeting in May. From June 2 to June 5, 2019, members of the Committee attended the AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education in Burlington, Vermont. AAC&U puts on this institute every summer to assist universities in identifying and implementing a plan for general education review and reform tailored to those respective institutions. While the summer institute did offer workshops and coaching, each group was afforded ample time to collaborate on their plan. The GERC created a plan and agenda for the review to take place during the 2019–2020 academic year.
The fall 2019 semester was dedicated to developing a student learning profile - the knowledge and skills that a Seaver undergraduate student should develop via the general education program. Best practices recommend that a robust general education review begin with collaboratively constructing a student profile. As Professor Paul Hanstedt from the AAC&U Summer Institute suggested, educators should begin a GE assessment by focusing on the measure of the student rather than a particular curricular model.4
From August to September, several college units, including the eight academic divisions, campus life, and the career center met to develop their respective drafts of the Seaver Student Profile. Among questions they considered were:
- What do we expect of Seaver College graduates?
- Which attributes should they possess?
- Which values and virtues might they evince?
- How do we want our graduates to engage the world?
- Which habits of mind or spiritual disciplines should they practice?
During the month of October, members of the GERC facilitated four forums to collaborate on the student profile theme across divisions and other units of the college. The GERC met three times during the fall semester to disseminate the extensive feedback on the student profile and distill that information into broader thematic categories. These are:
- Ethical and Skilled Communication
- Intercultural Knowledge and Competency
- Creative Imagination & Critical Reasoning
- Quantitative and Scientific Reasoning
- Christian Heritage and Life
Based on the student profile developed by the faculty and distilled by the GERC, the committee set about to review how the current general education program develops students along the lines of our ideal student profile. The following resources were consulted:
- alignment of current GE courses with goals that we have identified for our students
- current GE learning outcomes for specific courses
- most recent GE Program and course reviews
- alumni surveys
- data from peer and aspirational schools
From here the committee drafted a working document with preliminary findings and questions. The purpose of this report is to provide preliminary findings, ask questions about the current program, and make some general recommendations. The recommendations in this report are not binding; they are meant to be a catalyst for revision to the general education curriculum.
4. Paul Hanstedt, General Education Essentials. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012.