CAA shows support for proposal on general education committee

Chrissy Miller, News Editor

With assistant education professor Dawn Paulson unable to serve on the Council for Academic Affairs and the Academic Achievement and Contributions Selection Committee, the CAA now has two vacant seats and must choose a delegate to replace Paulson.

Her CAA position will be added to the Faculty Senate special elections this fall.

Karla Sanders, executive director of the Center for Academic Support and Assessment, presented a temporary solution to the general education committee requirement in the CAA’s bylaws.

Sanders said using the committee on assessment for student learning to serve as a temporary general education committee for a year would provide the CAA with time to come up with a more permanent solution, while still getting a start on the work it needs to accomplish.

“It occurred to me that we might be able to use CASL as the gen ed committee this year, because one of the next things we need to do with learning goals is figure out how we’re going to assess those learning goals as we infuse the general education with more learning goal material,” Sanders said. “So, CASL need to work this year to get that up and running.”

As well as having goals aligned with the general education committee, Sanders said CASL is similar in structure.

“That’s my idea. So, I bounced it off of Stacey and I bounced it off the provost, and neither of them told me to shut up about it,” Sanders said. “I did talk to CASL; CASL met for the first time on Monday, and we had three new members there who didn’t know enough to tell me no.”

CAA member Greg Aydt said he saw no reason not to be in support of this plan.

“I think any time you can take a committee that already exists and give them the opportunity to build on something that’s kind of related to what they’re already doing, it sounds like a good plan to me,” Aydt said.

Rebecca Throneburg, a communication disorders and sciences professor, said something that needs to be clearly stated in the final proposal is where to draw the line between general education classes and classes involving the learning goals.

Last year, Throneburg said professors came through with proposals involving classes becoming general education classes that had nothing to do with the learning goals. Under the proposed system, she said she is curious as to what process those classes would go through.

“Would those go over to (CAA) too, or just CASL/ the gen ed committee would be taking care of the revised internal learning goals timeline and anything else related to the gen ed would still come through normal processes?” Throneburg said. “I would be more in favor of that.”

Throneburg said after serving six years in CAA, she intends to run again in the special elections.

Sanders said the goal of all the work being done with the general education committee and learning goals is to ensure the learning goals are being taught more intentionally, which she said has been a problem in the past. Sanders said this process started in 2011.

“We discovered that some of the undergraduate learning goals were not being taught consistently across our general education, that our general education was more introduction to the disciplines and to these fields than really teaching students how to be critical thinkers,” Sanders said.

CAA Chair Stacey Ruholl said now that the CAA has shown its support for the plan, a detailed proposal will be created by Sanders.

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].