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Academic Innovation & Effectiveness

Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
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Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education

Action Project

Institution: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Submitted: 2006-12-20
Contact: Victoria Scott
Telephone: (618) 650-2640

Planned project kickoff date: 2007-01-01
Target completion date: 2008-12-31
Actual completion date:
A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:
Baccalaureate Reform through Integrated Design of General Education (BRIDGE)
B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
The project will begin with completing a design for general education reform and a plan for implementation. The second year will implement or begin implementing reform on a timetable dependent on the degree of change required in order to implement change.
C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:
Primary Category: Helping Students Learn
D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:
SIUE has engaged in the early phases of general education reform over the past three years. At this point, the decision and reform processes have developed to the point that the university can now commit to a schedule, making it appropriate for an Action Project. General Education reform has the support and backing of the Chancellor, Provost, and Faculty Senate.
E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:
Academic affairs: Provost Office, College of Arts and Sciences, Professional Schools, Registrar, Enrollment Management, Academic Counseling and Advising

Governance: Faculty Senate, Curriculum Council, General Education Committee, Committee on Assessment, Faculty Development Council.
F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:
The General Education Program curriculum is the central process that will be improved. All other processes affected will respond to the changes in the General Education Program. Other processes include transfer articulation, advising, scheduling,and budgeting.
G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):
Because significant preliminary work has been completed, the final phase can be planned and the schedule predicted. An all-faculty meeting has been scheduled for March 29, 2007. Paul Gaston, Provost, Kent State, has agreed to facilitate the meeting. Phase I of the design process has been completed. Phase II of the design process will be complete by the end of January 2007. The BRIDGE Committee is in place and has managed the first two phases of the process. The BRIDGE Committee has coordinated with the Faculty Senate to determine the nature and standing of a vote at the all-faculty meeting. Preliminary plans have begun to establish a follow-up, implementation process once the faculty and the Faculty Senate have selected and approved a particular reform to the curriculum.

The decision and selection of a reformed curriculum will be completed by the end of the 2006-07 year. The 2007-08 year will mark the beginning of implementation. The end date for the Action Project is the end of the calendar year. By that time, it is not expected that the changes in the curriculum will be completely implemented, but the plans for implementation will be completely in place. The actual timeline for implementation is expected to depend on which of the designs under consideration is selected for implementation.
H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:
The BRIDGE process is included in SIUE's strategic plan. Therefore, progress on BRIDGE will be monitored and reported to the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. The process also involves the Provost Office, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Faculty Senate on a continual basis.
I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:
The indicator of success is the completion of a reform plan and successful implementation.
J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):

K. Project Leader and contact person:

Contact Name:

David J. Sill, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs




Last Action Project Update:
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

The anticipated outcomes have been realized for the year. The three Phase II design proposals for general education reform were completed on time and presented to the campus community in January. The proposals were Integrated Core, Students' Integrated and Universal Essential Education, and Learning Communities. The All-Faculty Meeting was held on March 29, 2007, with Paul Gaston as the facilitator and with the leadership of the Faculty Senate. Following the meeting, the Rules and Procedures Council of the Faculty Senate conducted a faculty preferential vote and reported out the results. The faculty selected the distribution based proposal, Students' Integrated and Universal Essential Education, and provided feedback from round table discussions to guide Phase III. The BRIDGE Committee with consultation with the Faculty Senate and the Provost Office created a Phase III design team. That team has refined and prepared Students' Integrated and Universal Essential Education into a final proposal for Faculty Senate review and approval. The structure of the implementation committee was approved by the Faculty Senate and the Provost Office, and a chair for that committee has been appointed. The chair has participated in the proposal revision.

Review (09-03-07):

You are to be complemented and recognized for your on-time completion of the Phase II design proposals. This includes you presenting your progress to your faculty in a timely manner. The steps you are taking to complete this process are important and they serve as an example and model for other colleges and universities. Your usage of an all faculty meeting, the review by the Faculty Senate, and the roundtable process are very noteworthy! You appear to have significant momentum and direction as you continue with the Phase III design team; as well as with the Faculty Senate and provost review process and later implementation. This is a very important Action Project and it connects very well with Action Project Category 5 (Leading and Communicating) which would take stock of your institution's leadership and communication structures. This includes exploring how structures, networks, and processes guide your institution when setting priorities, making decisions, seeking future opportunities, and when building and/or sustaining a learning environment. It also addresses how to measure and analyze information for continuous improvement. Likewise, this Action Project is closely connected to Category 3 (Understanding Students' and Other Stakeholders' Needs) which examines what your institution does to understand the specific needs and requirements of the individuals and groups it serves.
B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

The 26 members of the Phase II design teams included faculty from all the schools, the college, and the library, staff, and students. The BRIDGE Committee managed the process and forwarded the proposals to the deans, the school and college curriculum committees, the Faculty Senate, and the Senate's General Education Committee and Curriculum Council. The proposals and comments that had been received were made available on the BRIDGE webpage for public review. A team of graduate students, which conducted focus groups of undergraduate students to review and evaluate the three proposals, presented their results at the All-Faculty Meeting. As the Phase II teams developed their designs, the teams met with all department chairs through the Fall Semester and held open forums, which were recorded and put on the BRIDGE website. The Phase III team includes representatives from all three Phase II teams under the joint leadership of one member from the selected design and the BRIDGE Committee Chair. Prior to Phase III, the BRIDGE Committee avoided direct involvement with designs. Following the preferential vote and the feedback from the All-Faculty Meeting, the BRIDGE Committee assumed the responsibility to become involved directly in preparing the final draft.

Review (09-03-07):

You have used a wide range of stakeholders from your college community in this process for review and eventual implementation. This includes your usage of a webpage for public review and the usage of graduate and undergraduate students. It is also noted that a specific committee has become responsible for preparing the final draft.
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

The Phase III team will present to the Faculty Senate a final proposal and a report that responds to all of the comments and concerns that have been received concerning the Phase II designs, particularly the responses that concern the selected design, Students' Integrated and Universal Essential Education. Through the General Education Committee and the Curriculum Council, the Faculty Senate will fully review the final design and report. The Faculty Senate has been involved in the BRIDGE process from the beginning, including managing the preferential vote, and has formally committed to honoring the preferential vote. While minor negotiated changes are expected, which will take time, the Faculty Senate is planning on completing its work by the end of Fall Semester 2007. The implementation committee will be formed by that time and can begin creating the systems and processes necessary to implement the new program so that the implementation plan can be in place by the time the program is approved. Over the Fall Semester, the responsibility for managing the process will shift from the BRIDGE Committee to the implementation committee.

Review (09-03-07):

It is noteworthy that you are preparing a report that responds to all of the comments and concerns presented about the Phase II designs. Also, it is very important that you are honoring the preferential vote and that the Faculty Senate plans to complete its work by the end of the 2007 fall semester! Shifting the process from the BRIDGE Committee to the implementation committee is also important and significant.
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

The BRIDGE process provides an example for all of the Principles of High Performance Organizations, but particularly Involvement and Collaboration. The approach to general education reform was derived from the reform efforts at smaller colleges and universities that had been reported at the Association of American Colleges and Universities General Education Institute.

Review (09-03-07):

The BRIDGE process is indeed a significant and important process. What you are completing will be a model and example for other institutions.
E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

The main challenges are: 1. to adequately assess the financial impact of implementation as well as 2. to ensure continuity of discussion and decision-making by the faculty. These challenges have been anticipated throughout the process, and a number of strategies have been implemented to minimize the risk of these two possible impediments to change. The Phase III design has adopted several modifications to economize and make the change reasonable and affordable. The decision-making challenge is unavoidable because the Faculty Senate's membership changes every year by up to one third. While two thirds of the Senators participated in the planning and preparation during 2006-07, one third of the membership is new. The key Faculty Senate leaders have been directly involved in the BRIDGE process because the incoming Faculty Senate President was an ad hoc member of the BRIDGE Committee, the Past President led the Senate through the planning processes as President, and the President Elect's graduate students are the ones who conducted the focus groups and presented the results at the All-Faculty Meeting.

Review (09-03-07):

It is very significant that you have recognized and anticipated potential challenges as well as having implemented strategies to address these challenges as you proceed through this process. In particular, is the usage of the same personnel who were part of the BRIDGE Committee and the Faculty Senate.
F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

Not needed.

Review (09-03-07):

This offer remains an option as you proceed in this process. Please feel free to contact the Higher Learning Commission regarding any questions or concerns that you may have.

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