Draft Plan to Reconsider and Redesign the General Education Program

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

August 15, 2004

History and Background:

During May 2004, a team from SIUE participated in AAC&U's General Education (GE) Institute. The team included David Sill, Associate Provost, Joel Hardman, incoming Faculty Senate President, Carl Springer, Associate Dean CAS, Kathleen Tunney, Faculty Senate President Elect, Susan Yager, Assistant Professor CMIS, and Oktay Alkin, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering.. The following draft process plan was prepared by the GE Institute team for consideration by the Faculty Senate and Academic Affairs. The plan is designed to engage the faculty in addressing the four broad concerns (integration, information, application, and communication) identified in SIUE's Objectives Steering Committee Report and to bring the General Education Program into line with the refined Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree. After returning to SIUE the team completed the draft process plan, discussed the plan with Chancellor Vandegrift, and will submit it to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate at its first meeting fall semester on August 26, 2004. The plan is intended to work within the current Faculty Senate infrastructure and existing Provost and Faculty Senate initiatives, including AQIP, as much as possible. It will supplement the existing governance infrastructure (committees, offices, funds, personnel) through the addition of a general education renewal steering committee, Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education (BRIDGE).

The continued review and revision of the General Education Program builds on the work started with the January 2003 appointment of the Objectives Steering Committee and the subsequent work of that committee during 2003. The Objectives Steering Committee involved the faculty widely in reconsidering the currency and appropriateness of the Statement of Objectives for General Education and the Baccalaureate Degree . The report from that committee provides a resource and a framework for continuing work on General Education and forms the starting point for this plan.


The 1982 Proposal for General Education was approved and adopted in 1984 and implemented in Summer Quarter 1986. The program was modified when SIUE converted from quarters to semesters in 1993 and modified again to coordinate with the Illinois Articulation Initiative in 1999. While the original design of the General Education Program is still in place, the program has drifted over time and new requirements have been layered on top of the existing program as the faculty has identified new goals for General Education. Between the modifications in 1993 and 1999 and the added requirements, the program has become complex and confusing. There is general agreement among the faculty that there is need for streamlining and simplifying the structure, and this agreed upon need is the first motivation for reform.

In addition to the need for streamlining and simplifying, there is a second motivation for reform that relates to faculty ownership. While there is certainly ownership for individual parts of general education, there is very little sense of overall responsibility for the conceptualization, design, and implementation of the program. Much of this may be due to the recent turnover in the faculty. Most of the university's original faculty who came to the university at or soon after the time the opening of the Edwardsville campus in 1965 have retired and been replaced by a new generation. Those who created the General Education Program are no longer on the faculty. Recent turnover has been dramatic. SIUE has hired approximately 400 new full-time faculty in the last decade. Over 60% of SIUE's full time instructional faculty has been on campus for less than a decade, and over 33% for four years or less. Of the five team members, only one was a faculty member before 1986 and taught in General Studies, the predecessor to the General Education Program. Because of this changeover in the faculty, the Provost's Office and the Faculty Senate initiated a process in 2003 for re-engaging the faculty in the design of General Education.

The Objectives Steering Committee Final Report included the following recommendation:

Therefore, the committee specifically recommends that the Faculty Senate address the question, “How well are the design and execution of the current General Education program meeting the Statement of Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree?” (p. 6)

In response to the question of whether there was a need to rethink the curriculum in light of the proposed Statement of Objectives for the Baccalaureate Degree, the Objectives Committee answered, “Yes,” and identified four areas of emerging concerns. First is in the area of information. What do students need to know? What are the basic areas of knowledge, values, and skills that students need to succeed in the 21st century world? Second is in the area of integration. How do we link one area of knowledge with another?  How do we link students to each other, to faculty, and to the community and the world?  How do we integrate students' learning experiences from admission through graduation? The third concern is in the area of application. Can students use what they know, in cooperation with others, to improve the world as we know it? And the fourth concern is in the area of communication. Can students read, write, think, speak, listen, and compute?

Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education (BRIDGE)

This draft plan proposes a process to reconsider and redesign the General Education Program. In order to implement the recommendations from the Objectives Steering Committee Report , it is proposed that the Faculty Senate and the Provost office appoint a general education renewal steering committee, named BRIDGE, with the charge to involve the faculty widely in modifying or redesigning the General Education Program. The committee shall work within the organizational structure described below.

Proposed BRIDGE Membership

1 Senior Faculty Member, Chair

4 One faculty member from Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing

2 Two faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences

1 Representative from the Curriculum Council

1 Associate Dean of CAS

1 One student

1 One adviser (CAS)

1 Community representative

1 Librarian

1 IAI representative

1 Representative from Instructional Services

1 Representative of Provost's office ( ex officio )

_ __________ ____


2 NON-VOTING (CHAIR and ex officio )



Tentative Timeline:

Fall 2004 Interim working group surveys faculty, visits departments, sponsors all-faculty discussions, collects existing models, and develops ongoing planning structure with coordination and formal support of Faculty Senate

Fall 2004 Faculty Senate Review for approval draft process plan

Sep 2, 2004 Faculty Senate Meeting. Discussion of process for considering the process plan

Oct 7, 2004 Faculty Senate Approval of a final process plan

Nov 4, 2004 Faculty Senate endorsement of chair appointment

Dec 2, 2004 Faculty Senate endorsement of committee slate

Jan 2005 BRIDGE begins work

Feb 2005 BRIDGE retreat with Paul Gaston. Formulate basic principles for design

Mar 2005 All-Faculty meeting with Lee Knefelkamp

May 2005 Institute on General Education

Sp-Fall 2005 Sponsor Faculty Conversations on Information, Integration, Application, and Communication

Sp-Su 2005 Formation of four design teams--solicit change models from faculty

Summer 2005 Design teams submit proposals for consideration

Fall 2005 Discuss models, decide on best model, vote

Dec 2005 Complete implementation plan

Spring 2006 Begin implementation phase