Attachment, October 2, 2003
The strategic plan for the General Studies program includes:
- Maintenance of a faculty governance system for the program that reaffirms faculty ownership of the program and provides means treview, publicly discuss, and possibly change it.
- Maintenance and development of the academic integrity of the program sthat it is a valuable experience for all UNK students
- Maintenance of the stability and viability of the program sthat all UNK students can complete it in a reasonable amount of time.
- Development and execution of a workable program of student outcomes assessment that connects tthe review of programmatic changes
Analysis of Successes and Concerns:
The most recent academic program review of the General Studies program described the successes and concerns for the General Studies Program. Generally speaking, the program is academically sound and uniform for all UNK students, regardless of their major. The governance issues have been addressed since the 2001 academic program review and form the process by which other structural concerns can be addressed.
- Provides students with a broad introduction tliberal studies in support of the UNK mission statement “an extensive general studies curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts.”
- The structure of the program is well balanced with regard ttraditional liberal arts areas.
- The WI and CD requirements, though not a part of the General Studies program per se, show a commitment tthese aspects of a student’s education.
- Have thus far maintained a common General Education program for all UNK students, regardless of their major. This has proven tbe a distinctive feature of UNK within the University system.
- Within the broad General Studies requirements, Colleges can specify specific courses tsupport their majors and minors.
- The University should develop and publicize a more comprehensive rationale for the General Studies Program structure, purpose, and student learning outcomes.
- The University should make several immediate modifications tthe General Studies Program that will enhance student learning.
- requiring students tcomplete English 101 and 102 during the first twyears.
- adding foreign language as a strand of the Humanities category.
- encouraging departments tlimit the size of their classes
- adding upper level courses tthe GSP.
- encouraging faculty tmake connections between their GSP courses and classes in other academic disciplines.
- resolving the future of Category VIII: Capstone Course.
- The University should engage in a dialogue tconsider several elements of the General Studies Program.
- Is a liberal education best achieved via a small number of courses focusing on the most fundamental aspects of academic disciplines? Or is a liberal education more likely tbe realized by offering students multiple options tmeet the individual GSP requirements?
- Why is philosophy the sole discipline within the Humanities category that students may avoid? Students are currently required tcomplete Humanities’ course work in literature, aesthetics, and history -- but not in philosophy. What are the justifications for marginalizing philosophy in this manner?
- Why is economics the sole discipline within the Social and Behavioral Sciences category that students may not avoid?
- Why are the structures of the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences categories different? On a related note tpoints #2 and 3 above, why are choices in Humanities prescribed, but not sin the Social and Behavioral Sciences category?
- Why are most of the GSP categories arranged according t“perspectives,” but the Natural Sciences category is structured by “department?”
- Why is the historical perspective considered part of the Humanities category when the Department of History is housed in the College of Natural and Social Sciences?
- Why are some areas of the GSP under the control of a specific department while others are not?
- Governance of the GSP
- Appoint a Director of General Studies
- Restructure and General Studies Council in order tprovide a larger faculty voice in the development of the program
- Clarify the approval processes for structural changes.
- The University should design a plan tassess the General Studies Program. Secondly, the University should identify and implement specific instruments by which it will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the General Studies Program.
- The University should emphasize the importance of advising in the General Studies Program.