CAA to create new general education committee

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

The Council on Academics Affairs debated the establishment of a new committee on general education and learning goals on Thursday.

Stephen Lucas, chair of the council, said the purpose of the committee will be to develop expectations of how the five revised learning goals will be incorporated into general education courses as well as come up with resources to do so.

“We want to make sure we can systematically get learning goals into general education,” Lucas said.

The five revised university learning goals include critical thinking, writing and critical reading, speaking and listening, quantitative reasoning, and responsible citizenship.

The purpose of the goals is to help Eastern students learn strategies that help them reason and communicate clearly as responsible citizens, according to the Eastern website.

Lucas said establishing the learning goals is important for students in their first two years of college while they are taking their general education classes. Lucas’ proposal for the new committee included three subcommittees for the committee on general education and university learning goals.

These subcommittees will focus on establishing different things for the committee such as the expectations in general education courses proposals and policies that the CAA should recommend for these courses.

“We have a very big, black hole in general education in terms of understanding what is going on in its instruction practice and outcomes,” Lucas said.

Lucas said the goal is not to monitor everything about these courses but to have something that works.

“We need to start thinking of general education as a program that we accredit internally in some kind of process,” he said.

Lucas also proposed to recruit members from different areas including three CAA members, a faculty development member and a member from the Committee for the Assessment of Student Learning.

Rebecca Throneburg, a communication disorders and sciences professor, said making CAA members part of a learning group committee would be a good practice, but she questioned whether they would have enough time.

“Is that too big of an assumption, too many hours a week we are asking people to commit?” Throneburg asked.

Lucas stressed the importance of establishing the committee fully so the campus will take it seriously.

“I truly believe that unless something is not accessed in a quality way, it is very unlikely to actually have any change,” he said.

CAA will meet at 2 p.m. on Sept. 4 at the Booth Library Room 4440.

Debby Hernandez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].