CANs List

Curriculum Action Notice


Academic Affairs Committee


March 23, 2006

This is a bulletin from the Academic Affairs Committee concerning proposed curricular actions. Please forward any comments or concerns in the next 10 days to the AAC chair, Jannis Floyd, Retan Center 208-D, ext. 4795,

AAC has approved the following proposal from the General Education Sub-Committee.  A copy of the General Education Assessment Plan of 2002 is attached as a reference.
Revision in the Method of Data Collection for the Assessment of General Education
On September 15, 2005 the Academic Affairs Committee charged the General Education Subcommittee (GES) with the identifying alternatives to the current General Education Assessment Plan.  GES believes that the assessment process could be improved substantially by moving from a student driven artifact collection process to a process driven by faculty who are teaching general education courses. 
A plan utilizing student portfolios was developed in the 2002 Gen Ed Assessment plan and rolled out to students in the Fall of 2003.  Two years of experience with the General Education Portfolio Assessment plan have identified two challenges:

  1. Very few general education course syllabi identify learning outcomes associated with the general education program or artifacts that could be used to assess student learning.
  2. Students, for the most part, have not been building their general education portfolios.
General Education Portfolio
Collection of artifacts from general education courses is primarily student driven.  A student takes a general education course, is told by the instructor about the artifact from the class that reflects a general education skill, the syllabus also clearly identifies the artifact.  Student receives the assignment back from the professor, obtains a general education artifact cover sheet, asks the instructor to sign off on it and then places the artifact with coversheet into his or her portfolio.  Advisors and Gen Ed instructors are expected to play a minor role in ensuring that the portfolios are created.  The portfolio is then given to the Provost before graduation.
Given that students lack clarity about what to do and Gen Ed Faculty are not facilitating the process, GES recommends that we suspend having students assemble and submit Gen Ed portfolios.

Continue using the ENG 3313 Composition Paper and Entry Level English Placement Essay as indicated in the University Undergraduate Catalogs (2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2005/2006 and the General Education Assessment Plan   of 2002.  ENG 3313 instructors will submit these artifacts to the provost's office for inclusion in the student Gen Ed portfolios.  The General Education Assessment Plan of 2002 outlines the method to be used for these artifacts.

Assess samples of artifacts drawn from courses included in the Gen Ed groups or blocks.  On a rotating annual basis (see below), each Gen Ed block will be requested by GES to provide by January (for Fall courses) and May (for Spring courses) a sampling of artifacts that represent the General Education Student Learning Outcomes.
Programs within Blocks would be required to document how each Gen Ed course meets the goals of the Gen Ed program.  GES will review course syllabi and other information to identify which course meet Gen Ed status using Gen Ed criteria set forth in the GENERAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT PLAN OF 2002.
Tentative schedule:

Spring 2006: Humanities
Spring 2007: Mathematics
Spring 2008: Social Sciences
Spring 2009: Humanities, Languages and Literature
Spring 2010: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Spring 2011: Social Sciences


Instructors of capstone and senior seminar courses will be asked to submit artifacts that can be used to assess Gen Ed skills.  Although capstone courses are not a part of the Gen Ed curriculum, students will take these courses after completing all or most of their Gen Ed courses, so capstone work can be used in combination with other methods to assess Gen Ed. Capstone artifacts may also help us to enrich our assessment of discipline-specific learning outcomes.
Artifacts would be assessed by the methods outlined in the GENERAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT PLAN of 2002 or other methods decided upon by GES in consultation with the Assessment Committee to be more appropriate/effective for same   purpose.

Survey graduating seniors about their satisfaction with learning associated with the general education curriculum as well as the importance they place on various aspects of general education studies.  Use relevant questions on the annual senior survey.  Results    could be tabulated and summarized by several campus groups: IR, Assessment Committee and then shared with GES.

Use standardized assessment of students’ information literacy skills at the senior level.  Implemented through Project SAILS: Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills.  The assessment will be administered to classroom samples of Mansfield University seniors by library faculty.  Results are tabulated by the SAILS administrator. GES, Assessment Committee and library faculty interpret the results in terms of relevance to Gen Ed program goals.
GES had planned to start a pilot Gen Ed portfolio assessment in the summer of 2005.  Since portfolios were not being created, the pilot assessment never materialized.  GES feels that it is crucial to attempt an assessment of Gen Ed during the summer of 2006.  Thus, the new methods reported above should be discussed and approved as soon as possible so that preparations can be made.  If the assessment process is delayed another year, Gen Ed Assessment will probably occur at the earliest in 2007 and, as a consequence, Mansfield University might not have anything solid to report in its interim Middle States report which is due around the spring of 2007.


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