Senate Charge to the GEOC
On May 12, 2003, the University Senate charged the GEOC with, among other things:
“monitoring periodically courses that satisfy General Education Requirements to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria adopted by the Senate; and reviewing the University-wide General Education program to ensure that its goals are being met and recommending changes to the Senate Curricula and Course Committee when appropriate.”
[for the full charge, see the University Senate By-Laws and the General Education Guidelines]
Course Alignment Purpose and Goals
Many of the courses in the General Education Curriculum were reviewed by the GEOC and approved between Spring 2004 and Spring 2005, in advance of implementation of the revised General Education Requirements in Fall 2005. With the support of the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee, the GEOC reviews the status of those courses in the curriculum to ensure that they continue to meet the general education goals for which they were approved.
The goals of this process include:
- To ensure that each student’s general education experience meets the goals set out by the University Senate;
- To verify that courses continue to satisfy general education guidelines as originally intended;
- To encourage departments to engage with their general education courses.
Administration of the Course Alignment process
The GEOC understands the staffing and resource pressures that academic departments face. As such, the alignment process uses a sampling approach rather than a review of all courses in the curriculum.
In order to effectively manage the process:
- The Course Alignment project will be evenly spread out over a 5 year cycle (each year within the cycle referred to as a round);
- Courses in the General Education Curriculum will be grouped by academic department;
- Academic departments with courses in the General Education Curriculum will be on the Course Alignment schedule once in the 5 year cycle;
- Only those courses that have not been reviewed by the GEOC in the previous 5 academic years will be in each department’s pool of courses to be reviewed (e.g. in AY14-15, only those courses last approved by GEOC prior to AY09-10 will be in the academic department’s sampling pool);
- For each academic unit, only one course per Content Area or Competency will be reviewed;
- Where possible, GEOC will randomly pre-select two courses from each Content Area or Competency represented by an academic department and will allow that department to choose one from each group;
- For each academic unit, the largest enrollment course in an academic year will automatically be reviewed; and
- Where possible, at least one course reviewed for each academic unit will be offered at a regional campus.
5-Year Course Alignment Schedule
A 5-year schedule that includes all departments with courses in the General Education Curriculum has been developed. This schedule attempts to strike a balance in the number of courses to be reviewed by each Content Area and Competency subcommittee each year as well as to spread large departments across the 5 year schedule. This schedule allows for each subcommittee to work with academic departments throughout the Course Alignment process.
As noted in the Administration section above, only those courses that have not been reviewed in the previous 5 academic years will be in the sampling pool for each department.
To see the 5-Year Course Alignment Schedule, please click here (pdf).
Other Alignment Guidelines and Protocols
1. Each Department Head will be asked to identify a liaison who will communicate with the GEOC Program Assistant and make alignment-related decisions. The Department Head may choose to select him or herself as liaison. Department liaisons will be responsible for:
- Selecting courses for alignment from those identified by the GEOC as eligible;
- Communicating with course instructors about deadlines and responsibilities and conveying any information sent by the GEOC;
- Ensuring that the instructors of the selected courses submit the alignment forms completely and on time;
- Following up with the GEOC Program Assistant regarding any questions or issues with the course alignment project.
2. Once selected for alignment, a course may only be removed from consideration for the following reasons:
- The course was approved but never taught. (Departments should consider deleting courses that have been dormant like this for more than three years unless it appears likely they may be taught in the near future);
- The only instructor who teachers the course is on sabbatical or has recently left the university. (Department representatives may be asked to select a replacement course if this is the case);
- It is discovered that the course has undergone review by the GEOC within the last five academic years.
3. In cases where a course may be taught by several instructors, department liaisons should select one instructor to complete the alignment form. This instructor is responsible for collecting up to five syllabi from other instructors to submit with the form. (i.e. If there are three sections of a course normally offered, the selected instructor will submit all three syllabi. On the other hand, if there are 12 sections of a course normally offered, the selected instructor will collect and submit five syllabi. The selected instructor may also wish to solicit feedback from other instructors during completion of the form.)
Course Alignment Form
Applicable forms will be emailed in Word document format to instructors who are selected to participate. Any instructor who does not receive these forms should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced Information Literacy
The GEOC has been tasked with oversight and review of efforts to ensure that all our graduates are proficient in finding, evaluating, and ethically using information (Information Literacy).
Contemporary Internet technology has changed the way we find and use information. Finding and using information from the Internet is not the same as using the printed journals and books in the library. With the increase of user-generated content on the Internet (e.g., Wikipedia), there is a strong need for developing digital media and quantitative literacies as well. Students need to learn the fundamental skills of “new literacies” to locate, evaluate, contribute to, and benefit from the use of information that they retrieve from both offline and online sources.
Through the Course Alignment process, the GEOC compiles and reviews approaches that departments and instructors are using to meet the requirement for instructing undergraduates in the wise use of information and data. IL competencies are expected to vary with discipline, major and program.
The University of Connecticut has 12 Information Literacy exit expectations:
- 1. Define and articulate information needs.
- 2. Compare and contrast information resources across a variety of formats (e.g., journal, book, website, database).
- 3. Identify and use primary sources of information.
- 4. Describe the procedures for using sources of information in the major field of study.
- 5. Select effective approaches for accessing information.
- 6. Implement an efficient and effective search strategy.
- 7. Develop expertise working with a variety of information sources.
- 8. Evaluate information for consistency, accuracy, credibility, objectivity, innovation, timeliness, and cultural sensitivity.
- 9. Synthesize main ideas to construct new concepts.
- 10. Ethically and legally acknowledge information sources, following discipline guidelines.
- 11. Incorporate the information in the planning and creation of a product or performance.
- 12. Use a variety of information technology applications to effectively communicate project outcomes.
You can learn more about Information Literacy by:
- Reading the definition on the Association of Colleges & Research Libraries (ACRL) website
- Reading this research report (pdf)
ACRL Information Literacy Standards:
- Standard One: Know (determines the nature and extent of the information needed)
- Standard Two: Access (accesses needed information effectively and efficiently)
- Standard Three: Evaluate (evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system)
- Standard Four: Use (individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose)
- Standard Five: Ethical/Legal (understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally)