Faculty retreat advances revision process

The proposed new framework for UCCS General Education requirements involves Gateway and Capstone courses to upgrade and improve the four-year student experience.

UCCS faculty met at an April 20 retreat to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing plan to revise general education requirements. A PowerPoint presentation offering an overview of the most popular ideas highlighted the all-morning session while the final hour after a lunch break focused on wrapping up the proceedings.

The retreat was an opportunity to review the activities of the General Education Task Force since the Nov. 2011 retreat, share input and provide feedback. It was also a showcase for a new general education structure with sub-teams elaborating on specific components, and it offered plans for upcoming summer and fall sessions.

Eventually, the broad proposals will become specific and fluid concepts will become concrete, said David Moon, senior associate vice chancellor, Academic Affairs. The retreat was a major part of this effort.

In the simplest of terms, the general education program goals focus on three interrelated learning areas: evaluate and create; know and explore; and act and interact. UCCS faculty approved this concept in Nov. 2010, beginning Phase I of the revision process.

Phase I involved ideas, feedback, discussion and much thought across the university, for faculty and the GE task force. Phase II, initiated in Feb. 2011, involves creating a structured plan that implements the new GE goals through a university-wide general education curriculum and allows faculty governance of that new curriculum.

Currently, each college sets its own general education requirements. Classes that teach necessary basic skills and provide breadth of study make up 22 credit hours common to all of the colleges. For example, a nursing degree includes 53 or 54 credit hours, an engineering degree 31 and a degree in elementary education 49; 22 come from a de facto campus wide GE curriculum and the rest are decided by each college.

The revision proposal calls for 24 credit hours in GE curriculum with 2 less of the total decided by each college. It also calls for a year-by year plan for how students receive the GE curriculum, incorporating high impact practices. These include making Freshman Seminar a mandatory, revised Gateway course; adding a Capstone Experience course as part of the student’s major; and 1-3 Writing Intensive courses.

“The committee’s ideas seemed generally well-received, but we are still actively reviewing the large amount of feedback we received, so it is too soon to draw conclusions about what we learned,” said Moon.

“There will be a faculty survey in the coming weeks, work by sub-teams on specific ideas over the summer, and discussions with individual colleges and/or departments this fall,” he said. “In the fall, we’ll begin serious discussions about the resource and practical implications of implementing these ideas.”

Details about core GE goals may be found at http://www.uccs.edu/provost/general-education/core-goals-for-general-education.html.

The website link for General Education is http://www.uccs.edu/provost/general-education.html.

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