Will departments still get to design the curriculum for General Studies courses they teach?
Departments proposing a course for inclusion in General Studies will continue to have the same academic freedom they have always had. However, each category in General Studies will have a set of learning outcomes that any course in that category must meet. How the course meets those learning outcomes is up to the faculty member teaching it. Additionally, each category will have common assessment instruments to ensure validity in assessment practices. Common learning outcomes and common assessment instruments are required by NCA. Training in learning outcomes and assessment instruments will be offered to faculty.
What if our department relies on enrollments in General Studies courses we teach?
In creating the proposed curriculum, the General Studies Council sought to comply with NCA requirements and provide a balanced, effective learning experience for students. The Portal and Capstone courses are two excellent opportunities for departments to offer courses in General Studies. Any course may be designated a Portal course, as long as it meets the outcomes and assesses using the common Portal assessment instrument. Similarly, departments can offer Capstone courses if they meet the learning outcomes and use the assessment instrument for the Capstone.
What help will departments have in preparing and submitting proposals for General Studies courses?
The General Studies Council will offer information seminars for faculty to help in preparing and submitting proposals.
Do departments need to be doing anything right now to prepare?
Faculty will participate widely as the whole campus considers the proposed outcomes, assessment instruments, and curriculum. When a renewed program is approved, departments will be able to submit course proposals, initially during the 2009-2010 year timeframe. The Council will then review and approve courses. All courses (including those in the current program) will need to be reviewed for their alignment with the new learning outcomes and assessment practices.