Proposed Timeline with Checkpoints

Based on our review of the timelines used in other general education reform efforts, we propose the following timeline for Common Curriculum revisions at CSB/SJU [Note: The previous two years are included in the timeline so readers can have a sense for the progression of activities]:

2013-2014: Prequel (CCPR)

  • Review assessment data on the Common Curriculum
  • Host faculty forums to generate feedback on the Common Curriculum
  • Begin research on trends in general education
  • Work with OARCA to review reform strategies

2014-2015: Year One (CCVC)

  • Plan and organize the Fall Faculty Workshop on liberal learning
  • Work with consultant/speaker Dr. Lee Knefelkamp on strategies for reform
  • Solicit feedback from faculty at fall workshop on the aims of a liberal education at CSB/SJU
  • Work with faculty leadership to include liberal learning on Joint Faculty Senate agenda
  • Work with faculty leadership to generate feedback on liberal learning themes for SD2020
  • Work with the Strategic Directions Council to incorporate general education revision into the strategic plan
  • Continue review of national scholarship and trends in general education reform
  • Establish Moodle page and post documents
  • Meet with departments and programs to discuss their roles in the general education program
  • Attend the AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education & Assessment
  • Draft a report with process recommendations based on a review of the literature

2015-2016: Year Two

Fall Semester 2015:

Current Committee:

  • Present preview of report at the Fall Faculty Workshop
  • Make report and supporting documents publicly available
  • Present final report to the Joint Faculty Senate
  • Secure a new charge from the Joint Faculty Senate
  • Joint Faculty Senate Endorsement of process principles, vision & design principles and the timeline

New committee:

  • Expand membership of CCVC to 20-30 members (In addition to current members and additional faculty who wish to serve we recommend that this committee also include a member of the Common Curriculum Committee, APSAC, APBC, and additional individuals from multiple disciplines who have an interest in general education reform. The committee should also include CSB and SJU students, as well as representatives from Student Development, Academic Affairs, Academic Advising, the Registrar's Office, the Libraries, the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement, and the Office of Education Abroad)
  • Develop steering committee, and subcommittees (Model Development and Communication & Outreach) and assign members to subcommittees.
  • Public discussion of the report and principles for general education at CSB/SJU, as well as a working, provisional vision statement for general education.
  • Begin public discussion of learning outcomes (forums, reading clubs, town hall meetings, etc. may be necessary during the fall semester and early spring semester to evaluate, modify, and adjust the Essential Learning Outcomes. These discussions will include invitations to all faculty, academic administration, and additional stakeholders. Guided by faculty feedback and the literature, the CCVC will shepherd discussions to allow for transparent and faculty-wide agreement on the design principles, essential learning outcomes and vision for general education reform)

Spring semester 2016:

  • Continue public discussion of learning outcomes (reading groups, workshops, sessions)
  • Endorsement by the Joint Faculty Senate of a set of Essential Learning Outcomes
  • CCVC and interested faculty attend the AAC&U conference on "General Education & Assessment: From My Work to Our Work" (February 18-20, 2016)
  • Following the endorsement of essential learning outcomes, The committee will invite colleagues to submit "targeted suggestions" for curricular reform, and also invite colleagues to design and submit proposals for a revised general education curriculum (either as individuals or as teams).

Typically, general education task forces work in isolation and are expected to draft a revised curriculum and present it to the faculty. But this approach can end in failure, especially when the rest of the community has not participated in the curriculum design process. During our research, and in consultation with experts at the AAC&U 2015 Summer Institute on General Education and Assessment, we learned about another approach: the task force can guide the community through the reform process while it invites both "targeted suggestions" and "curriculum proposals" from individuals and teams at large.

With targeted suggestions, individual faculty members can submit design ideas without having to draft an entire curriculum. This encourages broader participation in the process and allows campus participants to submit ideas related to their areas of expertise. These ideas can be collected and presented to design teams for consideration as they craft proposals. These targeted suggestions can be collected into one document and presented to the faculty as a whole for further discussion.

The general education task force can place a call to the entire community for curriculum design proposals, which are guided by the design principles and learning outcomes endorsed by the Joint Faculty Senate. The general education task force manages the process and holds a variety of workshops, brown bag lunches, and other events to promote campus conversations and provide teams with the training and resources to develop sound proposals. Design teams can present proposals to the faculty to receive additional feedback. (If the Joint Faculty Senate approves the proposed timeline in this report, CCVC will send a call for targeted suggestions following the adoption of revised learning outcomes, as well as an invitation for campus curriculum design teams to form. The specific details of the process will be announced at that time.)

CCVC team members who attended the AAC&U 2015 Summer Institute on General Education and Assessment met individually with experts Dr. Paul Gaston, Dr. Lee Knefelkamp, and Dr. Debra Humphreys to discuss this idea. In addition, peers from other campuses vetted and approved this approach in a session at the Institute where the CSB/SJU team presented a proposed reform plan. Finally, this approach is documented in the scholarship on general education reform (for example, Stephanie Roach provides details in her article, "No One Should Go It Alone: Engaging Constituents in General Education Reform"). CCVC believes a similar process can engage the campus community at CSB/SJU and culminate with innovative proposals.

By the end of spring semester 2016, the CCVC will ask for a statement of intent by those who plan to develop a curriculum model. This will allow the CCVC to monitor and help those involved in model development, and to ensure that teams encounter multiple points of view from the beginning of the design process. The groups will have until November/December of 2016 to construct a model based on the vision, essential learning outcomes, and guiding principles as supported by the Joint Faculty Senate. Should individuals not want to design an entire curriculum but have ideas for particular aspects of or changes to the curriculum, targeted suggestions will allow individuals or groups to submit suggestions for those developing models. These suggestions will be due at the beginning of the fall semester 2016 but early submissions are encouraged to allow for potential inclusion in models as teams develop them. [Note: Timeline can be adjusted if additional work is required to revise the learning outcomes]

CCVC and interested faculty attend the "Illuminating the Liberal Arts" conference at CSB (Summer 2016) if it is helpful to the work required in designing models.

2016-2017: Year Three

Fall semester 2016:

  • All targeted suggestions are posted on website and made available to teams.
  • CCVC hosts workshops on curriculum model development.
  • Initial presentation of draft models. (It is expected that the working teams will present their models in November/December of 2016 to the campus community. CCVC will conduct surveys and discussions to collect feedback by the faculty and additional stakeholders.)
  • APBC will conduct cost analysis of the models.
  • The Registrar's Office will review feasibility of programming and scheduling any new requirements or changes to existing requirements.
  • CCVC will guide model development and work with model developers to ensure that the models being designed are supporting the guiding principles and learning outcomes.

Spring semester 2017:

  • Model revision (As a result of feedback and sharing of ideas, revision of the models will be likely. It is also predicted that some models may even merge due to similarities.)
  • Model presentation and faculty vote (It is anticipated that the final models will be presented and voted on by the end of the spring semester 2017).
  • CSB/SJU sends a team to the AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education & Assessment to focus on implementation strategies.

2017-2019: Year Four and Five: Curricular Development

This involves the transition from faculty vote to implementation of a revised general education curriculum. The details would be developed by a second CSB/SJU team to attend the AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education & Assessment, likely during the summer of 2017. Items that would need to be considered include:

  • By this point, hire a Director or Dean of General Education.
  • Create a general education implementation steering team responsible for planning, directing and monitoring implementation of the revised general education curriculum. All academic units whose function relate to the delivery of general education will be included.
  • Continued conversations between curriculum designers, general education implementation steering team, and the Common Curriculum Committee to ensure community understanding of the new general education program.
  • Development of the requisite courses, focusing at first on those needed for incoming students in fall 2019.
  • Faculty development to assist with course revision, the creation of new courses, and the clustering of existing courses.
  • Training programs and workshops to facilitate pedagogy and course development during the transition.
  • Develop approval process so Common Curriculum Committee is not inundated with work.
  • Assessment plans are integrated into the planning process.
  • APBC will assist in determining transition costs.
  • Work with appropriate offices, such as Communications & Marketing, on public relations related to the new curriculum.

2019-2020: Year Six: First Year of Revised General Education Curriculum

If this timeline is followed, a new general education curriculum will be in place prior to the goal of 2020 set in the strategic plan. We realize that it takes time to agree on a vision, revise learning outcomes, and design a new general education curriculum. Our research into the experience of other colleges and universities who have successfully adopted general education reforms reveals that it is a multi-year process. For example, the revision process took six years at Montana State University, which replaced a cafeteria-style core curriculum with a curriculum focused on student learning, inquiry, and research. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln spent four years from initial research to the beginning of implementation. Susan M. Awbrey writes in The Journal of General Education, "It is estimated that successful, deep-level systemic change takes three to five years. Nevertheless, it is this deeper change that fosters future growth and development, and can open the institution to continuous learning and development" (2005, p. 18). We have outlined a somewhat aggressive timeline above, but feel it is feasible given the groundwork already established by this committee. The Joint Faculty Senate can decide to modify the timeline if certain aspects (such as revision of the learning goals) require more time, or if other events (such as the Provost's search or the implementation of other features of the strategic plan) demand faculty attention and time. However, CCVC would not recommend too many delays, since it is also important to maintain momentum on this important task.