CAA to hold last meeting of semester

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

The Council on Academic Affairs will go forward with university learning goals as it wraps up for the semester at their meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 4440 of Booth Library.

Marita Gronnvoll, the CAA chair, said it is not unusual to have their final meeting a week before finals take place because of the dire need to add courses or revisions to the course catalog.

“There’s people who desperately need to have courses approved before the end of the semester, so we just got a rush of content,” Gronnvoll said.

However, as the year comes to end, Gronnvoll said the CAA did fairly well throughout the semester and got quite a bit of work done but did not finish what they started in some instances.

Although the CAA kept busy with course approvals and catalog requests, Gronnvoll said as a result of the budget impasse and staff layoffs, they were unable to accomplish several of the learning goals they originally established.

“We felt that with the layoffs that happened this year we really kind of drastically curtailed what we were going to be doing this year,” Gronnvoll said. “So the stuff with the learning goals and the (general education courses), we decided to wait a year on that since everyone was stretched so thin. But otherwise, I think we had a pretty great year.”

Gronnvoll said a few years ago, the CAA passed new university learning goals. The idea of the learning goals is to give students a measurable objective, so when a freshman starts at Eastern they can see where they should be at the end of four years.

There are five different learning goals students should have some mastery in. These goals are critical thinking, reading and writing, speaking and listening, quantitative reasoning and being able to function as responsible citizens.

Gronnvoll said in order for students to fully master the goals, courses need to be revised to make sure they address them so the CAA decided to infuse those goals into general education courses.

Gronnvoll said last year, the CAA made a big push to fully implement the goals by rewriting bylaws to ensure a standing subcommittee who would be responsible for reviewing the general education courses.

She said the objective with the university learning goals was intended as a five-year plan but was changed to a multi-year goal because of the budget situation and layoffs.

“We had intended to continue that this year, but the decision was made last summer since we knew the layoffs were coming,” Gronnvoll said.

Because so many people would be stretched thin, they decided to take a year to regroup, she said.

However, Gronnvoll said they are hoping to reignite the push toward implementing those learning goals in the fall.

“It’s very important,” Gronnvoll said. “It’s important for our accreditation, which isn’t threatened or anything, but if we want the Illinois Board of Higher Education to keep us in good standing, we want to be sure we are moving forward with these important learning goals.”

Gronnvoll said the courses that seek approval at Thursday’s meeting will be applied to the spring 2017 catalog with the exception of a cross-listed course between health studies and communication studies.

“That’s just a revision to offer it online,” Gronnvoll said.

Gronnvoll said there has been a big push to get more courses available online.

“I understand that this is the way of the future and we have to make a lot of our catalog available to distance learners,” Gronnvoll said.


 Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]