The curriculum in degree programs remains vibrant and alive because faculty members constantly attend to it. They debate what is essential and what is optional to a degree program; they assess how the character of individual courses contributes to the whole; and they consider whether courses are properly sequenced relative to one another. If a general education curriculum is to avoid almost instant ossification, it requires a similar level of faculty involvement and on-going attention. Given the responsibilities of the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee, it is unreasonable to expect this body to be directly responsible for General Education other than at the policy level that is its charge.
General Education Requirements will be overseen by a General Education Oversight Committee (GEOC), a faculty group appointed by the Senate and representative of the Schools and Colleges. The Committee also will have an undergraduate and a graduate student representative. The GEOC shall be a subcommittee of the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee whose chair will serve as a non-voting member of GEOC. Representatives, either the Director or the Associate Director, of each of the W and Q Centers, will also be given non-voting appointments to GEOC. When Q or W Center Directors or Associate Directors are GEOC subcommittee chairs, and are members of the University faculty, they shall retain voting rights in the GEOC. The GEOC will monitor the General Education curriculum. The creation of a Senate-appointed committee recognizes the policy control of the Senate in matters relating to undergraduate education. This Committee will work in association with the Office of Undergraduate Education and Instruction because this office has University-wide responsibility for the health of undergraduate education and the fiscal resources to address emerging issues. Financial support for the activity of the GEOC will come from the Office of the Provost.
B.1. GEOC charge
The GEOC will be charged with:
- proposing to the Senate goals and objectives of the Content Areas and Competencies;
- proposing policy regarding the University-wide General Education program;
- reviewing proposals for including, revising, deleting, and offering in intensive sessions of four weeks or less, courses that are in the General Education Curriculum;
- reporting on enrollment in courses in the General Education Curriculum and how the courses are staffed;
- monitoring courses in the General Education Curriculum to ensure that they continue to meet curricular goals and objectives approved by the Senate, and recommending removal of courses from the General Education Curriculum that no longer meet these criteria; and,
- reviewing the General Education Curriculum to ensure that its goals and objectives are aligned with the academic plan of the University.
The membership of the GEOC shall be representative of the Faculty of all of the Schools and Colleges and members shall be appointed following current Senate Nominating Committee practice. While the members and chair shall be proposed by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Senate, the process of consultation shall include the Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration. Because the GEOC is a subcommittee of a Senate committee, the chair need not be a Senator.
Terms of appointment to the GEOC shall be two years, except in the case of the student members where a one-year term is appropriate. In addition, one half of the first group of GEOC members shall be appointed for one year to ensure some overlap in membership from year to year. Normally, no member shall serve more than two consecutive terms of two years each without leaving the committee for at least two years. The chair shall serve one three-year term and shall not be re-appointed.
The chair of the GEOC shall be responsible for the management of the General Education course proposal review process and the continued oversight of the curriculum. Because of the unusually demanding nature of this position, the chair will be given 50% release time and be provided with administrative support.
Faculty members involved in General Education have different pedagogical challenges from those facing instructors in major or graduate courses. These faculty members should be brought together on a regular basis to collaborate on issues concerning the delivery of these courses. This can be accomplished by the chair of the GEOC, who will organize their regular meetings. These meetings will provide the kind of on-going discussion necessary to keep this part of the curriculum vibrant and vital.
- The GEOC shall establish and appoint members to four Content Area subcommittees. Each subcommittee will establish the criteria for all courses to be approved for its respective Area. Each of these subcommittees shall have broad representation from the Schools and Colleges and should be limited to a workable number.
- The GEOC shall establish and appoint members to five Competency subcommittees. Each subcommittee will establish and continue to review entrance and exit expectations for its respective Area. Each of these subcommittees shall have broad representation from the Schools and Colleges and should be limited to a workable number.
- Any new or revised criteria for the Content Areas that are accepted by the GEOC must be submitted to the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee and then to the Senate for final approval.
- Any new or revised University-wide criteria for the Competency Areas that are accepted by the GEOC must be submitted to the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee and then to the Senate for final approval.
- Courses that are proposed for General Education Content Areas or Competencies are reviewed by the GEOC and are then submitted to the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee for its approval. Content Area course proposals are then submitted to the Senate for its final approval. Competency course approvals are communicated to the Senate for its information.
- Proposals to revise a course that has been previously approved for a Content Area or Competency will be subject to similar review as new course proposals. Proposals of new 3000- and 4000-level courses that are offered in two forms, with and without the W competency designation, or proposals to revise such courses, may be handled conditionally: the course omitting the W competency can be implemented as soon as all needed approvals have been obtained by the accrediting school or college, while the course that includes the W competency is still under review by GEOC and the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee.