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General Education Reform Update and Plan. Fall 2013 Members of the General Education Council Kim Barron ( Inst Accred /Assess), Dwight Brady, Mike Burgmeier , David Donovan, Jill Leonard (chair), Carolyn Lowe, Andrew Poe, Kim Rotundo (Registrar), Kristen Smith, Robert Winn (Assoc. Dean).

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general education reform update and plan

General Education Reform Update and Plan

Fall 2013

Members of the General Education Council

Kim Barron (InstAccred/Assess), Dwight Brady, Mike Burgmeier, David Donovan, Jill Leonard (chair), Carolyn Lowe, Andrew Poe, Kim Rotundo (Registrar), Kristen Smith, Robert Winn (Assoc. Dean)

  • Background for NMU General Education Reform
  • Discuss draft General Education Learning Outcomes
  • Assessment approaches
  • Impact on courses and divisions
  • Timetable and mechanisms for input
why a new general education program
Why a new General Education program?
  • Liberal Studies does not currently reflect clear linkages to assessable learning outcomes as is required by accreditation
    • Many of our current learning goals are not easily assessable
  • Accreditation (HLC) requires effective assessment of the general education program
  • Our Liberal Studies program has not been updated in a long time and it no longer reflects priorities for a 21st century educational experience.
path to gened reform
Path to GenEd Reform
  • Phase I – review of oversight and administration
    • Senate approved replacing Liberal Studies with new General Education Program
    • Created GEC
    • Created administrator position
  • Phase II – Gen Ed Action Project – learning outcome assessment; adoption of new learning outcomes and process to conduct and use assessment
  • Phase III – Review and revision of existing divisions and courses


general education best practices
General Education Best Practices
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) U.S. Dept. of Education
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities
    • Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)
      • A national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first century liberal education—for individuals and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality
      • Provides suggestions for common learning objectives, rubrics etc.
      • Oversees a process where institutions, and groups of institutions in states, can be LEAP certified
learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes

Definition: Learning Outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience.

- L. SuskieAssessing Student Learning, 2009

Institutional Learning Outcomes

(based on NMU Mission Statement)

Gen Ed Program Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Program Learning Outcomes

Extracurricular Learning Outcomes

Individual Gen Ed Course LO

Specific Activity LO

Individual Disciplinary Course LO

our information sources
Our information sources
  • Best practices (e.g. LEAP, HLC)
  • Other institutions (peers, etc.)
  • NMU Faculty survey
  • NMU Student input
  • Mapping by departments of current courses to draft objectives
  • State initiatives (course transferability)
draft nmu general education learning outcomes
DRAFT NMU General Education Learning Outcomes
  • Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking and Problem SolvingExplore and synthesize issues, ideas, artifacts or opinionsAnalyze optionsFormulate innovative or imaginative conclusions
  • Effective CommunicationFind and use relevant sources and evidence as supporting materialAccess and use information ethically and legallyContent development and organization Control of syntax and mechanicsExpress in ways relevant and appropriate to the audience, context, purpose or genre
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Competence in working with quantitative data to reason and solve problemsInterpret and analyze data Convey quantitative information in a variety of forms (use tables, graphs and mathematical equations)Evaluation of data source(s)
  • Ethical Reasoning and Consequences of Decision MakingStudents recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings and contextsAssess the consequences of choices made in different contexts
  • Intercultural Competence/Diverse WorldArticulate that the US & the world is a diverse and interrelated communityIdentify relationships of the individual to society and its culture and institutionsRecognize and respond to cultural biasesInterpret intercultural experiences from one’s own and others’ perspectives
  • Integrative LearningSynthesize and apply existing knowledge, past experiences, and other perspectives to new, complex situationsIndependently connect examples, facts or theories from more than one field of study or perspective
learning outcomes mapping results fall 2013
Learning Outcomes Mapping Results – Fall 2013

Course counts represent the number of courses that likely address the proposed Learning Outcomes as determined by their home departments.

  • Learning Outcomes assessment needed
    • For accreditation
    • For program improvement and consistency
  • Develop a rubric for each Learning Outcome that can be applied to all courses addressing that LO.
  • Develop process where courses are evaluated by GEC on a regular basis based on these rubrics.
ongoing course evaluation process
Ongoing Course Evaluation Process
  • Departments will work with the GEC to evaluate if a course is meeting its stated General Education Learning Outcomes.
    • Rubrics will be available ahead of time and departments will have time to make adjustments to courses, if needed.
    • Having a course included in the General Education program is an Opt-In system. Departments identify which courses they would like to propose for inclusion. These courses must meet the basic Learning Outcomes (some, not all; based on how each LO fits into the program).
estimated timeframe
Estimated Timeframe
  • Fall ’13
    • solicit input from campus
    • Trial run of assessment process for one potential LO (Quantitative Analysis) with several volunteer courses
  • 2014 (winter)
    • Finalize Learning Outcomes
    • Trial runs of assessment process for additional LOs
    • Training on assessment process for faculty
    • Establish protocols for assessment
    • Determine how LOs will be applied across General Education program (e.g. how will they mesh onto division structure)
  • AY 2014-15
    • Program is basically set up and departments can begin to adjust to it
    • Fine tuning of rubrics and assessment processes
  • Fall 2015
    • Program is fully implemented and appears in bulletin
current liberal studies program
Current Liberal Studies Program
  • The current Liberal Studies Program is still in effect and will be until the new Gen Ed program is official and implemented.
  • Currently, no new courses are being added to the Liberal Studies program
    • This is currently being discussed in Senate
  • Please be patient as we transition from Liberal Studies to General Education!
we need you
We need you!
  • Input now (Questions? Comments?)
  • Input as we go along
  • Other ways to send us information/comments/questions
    • Email…
      • Chair: Jill Leonard (
      • ANY of the other council members –
        • Kim Barron (InstAccred/Assess)
        • Dwight Brady (CAPS)
        • Mike Burgmeier (AIS)
        • David Donovan (Physics)
        • Carolyn Lowe (Educ)
        • Andrew Poe (Math/CS)
        • Kim Rotundo (Registrar)
        • Kristen Smith (Nursing)
        • Robert Winn (Assoc. Dean)
nmu institutional learning outcomes
NMU Institutional Learning Outcomes
  • Think independently and critically
  • Develop lifelong learning habits
  • Acquire career skills
  • Embrace diversity
  • Productive citizens and leaders in regional and global community
results of winter 2013 nmu faculty survey on learning outcomes
Results of Winter 2013 NMU Faculty Survey on Learning Outcomes

All the choices most important to faculty appear in our draft LO, but in many cases they are combined. Some additional elements are included based on best practices.

gec charge from the senate
GEC Charge from the Senate

What are the General Education Council responsibilities?

  • Develop and implement an assessment plan of General Education Program learning outcomes (assessment training will be provided, as needed).
  • Develop and review division outcome goals and criteria for general education and world cultures courses and make recommendations to the Academic Senate.
  • Implement the addition and removal of courses from the General Education Program based on established division outcome goals and corresponding assessment data.
  • Review and evaluate all courses taught for general education credit on an ongoing basis (3-5 year cycle).
  • Report recommendations to the Associate Dean of General Education and Retention.
  • Annually, elect a Chair and provide a report to the Academic Senate.

What will the General Education Council do the first few years?

  • The focus in Year 1 is on General Education Learning Outcomes and Assessment – an AQIP Action Project to review and reframe the general education learning outcomes, adopt or develop assessment methods and create a new process and procedure for conducting the assessment of those learning outcomes and using the results. Implementation is needed before a Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation visit in 2015-16.This Action Project does not include review or revision of existing general education divisions.
  • The focus in Years 2-3 will review the program structure, division objectives and courses.