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Office of General Education

Council on General Education approved updates to the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning rubric

On Friday, September 1st, operating within its scope of authority, the Council on General Education approved an update to the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning rubric.

Critical Reasoning was assessed for the first time in Summer 2021 by the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. Following that round of assessment, raters recommended reviewing and revising the rubric, which they found difficult to apply in many cases. A faculty-led committee was charged to review and revise the rubric over the summer.

Further review of the rubric found that although the learning outcome for Critical Reasoning is appropriate to the components (Students will demonstrate university-level critical reasoning proficiencies through written expression), the supporting skills emphasize writing and are nearly identical to the supporting skills for Academic Writing requirement, which has a different learning outcome (Students will develop competency, clarity, coherence, and organization in their writing). Plus, writing is assessed separately under the Academic Writing, Writing, and within the academic evaluation process.

The current design of the Critical Reasoning rubric has functioned as a barrier to the development of courses outside of the Writing and Reasoning Program (WRTR), mainly because of the primary focus on academic writing in the current iteration of the rubric. Therefore, efforts to revise the Critical Reasoning rubric have been joined with this effort to expand offerings in Critical Reasoning beyond WRTR 1313, WRTR 2304, and WRTR 2306.

Common Curriculum course proposal forms and the online rubrics were updated with the newly-approved rubric.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on April 21, 2023

The Council on General Education met on April 21, 2023. The meeting minutes for March 31, 2023 were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.

  1. Approval of Agenda for the April 21, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the March 31, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Previously Reviewed Proposals
    1. ITAL 2302-Breadth/CA
    2. WL 3311-Breadth/TAS, PREX/HD, PREX/GPS
    3. RUSS 3341-PREX/CIE, PREX/HD
    4. ADV 2343-PREX/GPS, PREX/HD
    5. ANTH 3314-PREX/HD
  4. New Proposal
    1. ADV 4399-PREX/OC
    2. ADV 3303-PREX/QA
    3. FILM 3352-Breadth/HC
    4. HIST 3365- Breadth/HC
    5. HIST 4388-Breadth/HC
    6. PLSC 4340-Breadth/SBS
    7. ENGL 2315-Breadth/LAI
    8. MATH 1340-FND/QR
  5. Activity Proposal
    1. Board Fellows Program- PREX/CE
  6. Office of General Education Updates

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on March 10, 2023

The Council on General Education met on March 10, 2023. The meeting minutes for January 27, 2023 were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.

  1. Approval of Agenda for the March 10, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the January 27, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Course Proposals
    1. Previously Reviewed & Revised
      1. DANC 3363-ES
    2. New Proposals
      1. ANTH 3370-ES
      2. ARHS 1305-CA
      3. ARHS 3321-CA
      4. ARHS 3347-CA
      5. ARHS 3390-CA
      6. RELI 3386-LAI
      7. ENGL 1362-LAI
      8. EMIS 2375-TAS and PREX/CIE
      9. ANTH 3314-PREX/HD
      10. FILM 3305-PREX/OC and PREX/QA
      11. RUSS 3341- PREX/CIE and PREX/HD
      12. WL 3323- PREX/HD
  1. Activity Proposals
    1. VITA-PREX/CE and PREX/HD
    2. Engage Dallas-PREX/CIE and PREX/OC (for student director and area coordinator peer leaders)
    3. Mustang PEP Talk-PREX/CIE and PREX/OC
  2. Office of General Education Updates

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on January 27, 2023

The Council on General Education met on January 27, 2023. The meeting minutes for December 2, 2022 were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.  

  1. Approval of Agenda for the January 27, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the December 2, 2022 Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Common Curriculum Cohort Progression Presentation
  4. Common Curriculum CIE/CE Graduation Requirement Discussion
  5. Common Curriculum CIE/CE Graduation Requirement Exception Proposal for F20; SP21 Admits
  6. Common Curriculum CIE/CE Proactive Plans to Ensure Progression
    • Encourage Course Proposals for CC Tags
    • Encourage Schools/College Participation in Community Engagement
    • CoGE Member visit SMU Community Engagement Council
    • Promote Engage Dallas Awareness Around Faculty/Schools/Colleges

7. Writing Board Membership (Cox & Meadows Representatives)

    • Meeting Dates: 2/24, 3/3, 4/21

8. Office of General Education Updates

    • New Supporting Statement Templates
    • Updated Common Curriculum Petitions in Deployment with Registrar
    • Student Outreach Event Schedule (Pop Ups & CC Workshops)

Meeting and Common Curriculum proposal reminders 

The Council on General Education invites course and approved activity proposals for Common Curriculum general education and graduation requirements 

The proposal deadline is March 22 (for review on 3/31). Literary Analysis and Interpretation (LAI) and Civics & Individual Ethics (CIE) are particularly interesting. Accepted proposals will be tagged at the course level and go into effect for summer 2023. 

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support. 

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Office of General Education

General Education recap and Graduation Requirement exemptions

February 15, 2023

Dear Faculty and Staff –

The Office of General Education would like to inform the campus community of updates and important reminders relating to the Common Curriculum, our solid foundation of a liberal arts education. Today’s reminders and updates fall into five categories: COVID-19 graduation requirement exemption, revised Common Curriculum rules, next steps related to Writing in the Major, AP credit automation, and Common Curriculum course proposal deadlines.

A one-time exception to two Common Curriculum Proficiencies & Experiences for COVID-19 cohorts

The Council on General Education reviewed a report on undergraduate student progress by admit cohort related to each Common Curriculum requirement. The report showed students are progressing well through general education requirements (Foundations and Breadths); however, the Council identified progress concerns within the Proficiency & Experience Graduation requirements.

Students who meet these requirements via course or individual activity by the conclusion of Spring 2023 will be documented as having satisfied the condition on their Degree Progress Report. If either CE or CIE is incomplete by the end of Spring 2023, it will appear waived for graduation. Learn more about this one-time exception.

The Council on General Education does not intend to make additional exceptions to the graduation requirements for future cohorts.

Revised Common Curriculum AP, IB, and Transfer Credit Policies for Fall 2023 Catalog

The concern was that current rules privilege high-credit transfer students to the disadvantage of first year and first-year transfer students. Modifications will be made in the Fall 2023 Catalog to regulations related to (a) Quantitative Reasoning, (b) Second Language, and (c) the ability to fulfill up to three Breadth requirements using external credit. Read more about the specific CC rule changes to the Fall 2023 Catalog.

In all cases where petitioning is required, no petition will be necessary if a direct equivalency has been established at SMU through the transfer process. The Council will monitor what percentage of undergraduate students use dual credit to satisfy requirements and what percentage of students satisfy requirements at SMU.

Reminder and next steps regarding Writing in the Major

Last semester, we shared that the Council on General Education changed how the Common Curriculum’s Writing in the Major (WiM) Proficiency and Experience was tracked on the Degree Progress Report (DPR) and replaced it with program-level Writing in the Major student learning outcome.

Instead of DPR level-tracking, each academic program will be required, via the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness program evaluation process, to write and assess one learning outcome that best represents the conventions of writing in their discipline.  If an academic department already has, as part of its annual program assessment, an undergraduate learning outcome for writing, no additional actions are needed. If your department does not have an undergraduate learning outcome for writing for your current undergraduate major(s), the department will need to develop one and report it as part of annual program assessment, starting in Summer 2023.  Departments may deliver the instructional content to support the Writing in the Major learning outcome in a single course, or the content may be delivered across multiple courses.  Departments may assess writing in their major through course-based assessment, or through end-of-program assessment at the end of the degree.  More information about learning outcomes and assessment for Writing in the Major will be given during faculty training on Planning, the new system we will use to report program assessment results.  This training will take place in March.  More information will be coming soon.

In addition to developing a learning outcome for writing in the major, departments must develop their own, major-specific rubrics that reflect the learning goals for writing in their major or discipline. There is no standard WiM rubric for program-level assessment, but departments are asked to develop their own discipline-based writing outcome. Departments may consider using the former WiM rubric as a starting point when developing these rubrics.

If you need assistance as you work to develop Writing in the Major outcomes for your program, please reach out to Dayna Oscherwitz, Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness.

Automation of AP credit to satisfy specific graduation requirements

Thanks to the Registrar’s Office, the Office of General Education has now automated AP credit (of scores 4 or 5) to satisfy particular Proficiency and Experience graduation requirements. Therefore, students admitted after fall 2020 need not complete individual petitions to meet applicable graduation requirements. Retroactive updates will be made to affected students; future students admitted for Fall 2023 beyond will receive this credit automatically. Read more about which AP credit satisfies particular Proficiencies and Experiences.

Common Curriculum course and activity proposal deadlines

The Council on General Education invites course and approved activity proposals for Common Curriculum general education and graduation requirements. Submissions are accepted twice a semester. The remaining spring 2023 deadline is March 22, 2023 (for review on March 31). Literary Analysis and Interpretation (LAI) and Civics & Individual Ethics (CIE) are particularly interesting. Accepted proposals will be tagged at the course level and go into effect for summer 2023. Don’t hesitate to contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

Thank you all for your investment and commitment to this shared responsibility of general education.

Sincerely,

Peter Kupfer

Chair, Council on General Education

 

Dustin Grabsch

Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success

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Office of General Education

Common Curriculum changes to WiM Proficiency and Experience

 

 

November 7, 2022

Dear Members of the SMU Community:

We are writing to you with important information about changes to the Writing in the Major (WiM) Proficiency of the Common Curriculum (CC) that were made to make it easier to administer and fulfill.

  1. We will be tracking student completion of the WiM Proficiency through program assessment, rather than through DPR tracking.
  2. DPR change will go into effect on November 11 with program assessment change effective Fall 2023.
  3. This change will make it easier for departments to administer and assess this Proficiency and for students to fulfill it.

On September 9, 2022, the Council on General Education approved a proposal to change how the Common Curriculum’s Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience is tracked on the Degree Progress Report and replace it with program-level Writing in the Major student learning outcome. Below we share the rationale for this forthcoming change, how it will impact CC students and academic programs moving forward, and support that will be offered through this process.

SMU faculty have consistently expressed concern about the challenges of isolating the teaching of Writing in the Major to a single course, since many programs distribute the teaching and practice of writing across a program. For the same reason, students on the Common Curriculum have struggled to find sufficient opportunities to satisfy the Writing in the Major requirement, even when they have spent several courses learning to write in accordance with the parameters of their discipline.  For this reason, effective Fall 2023, we will replace individual tracking of the Writing in the Major Proficiency through course-level tags, and we will instead track it through program learning outcomes and program-level assessment.

On October 21, 2022 the Council approved an implementation plan for this assessment and tracking change, and as a result of this plan, effective Fall 2023, the Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience graduation requirement be removed from the Degree Progress Report for student-level tracking.

In lieu of DPR level-tracking each academic program will be required, via the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness program evaluation process, to write and assess one learning outcome that best represents the conventions of writing in their discipline. This will require each program to develop assessments and measures appropriate to their disciplines – many of which can be used from WiM-tagged courses. In this way, students will receive the instruction they need regarding discipline-specific writing, and departments will be able to deliver discipline-specific writing instruction without having to confine that instruction to a single course.  Academic programs that distribute the teaching of writing across the program sequence (which is best practice) would no longer need to place the proficiency tag on every course that delivers writing instruction to ensure students receive the tag.   Instead, they can concentrate on developing student proficiency in discipline-specific writing in the way that makes the most sense for their program.

This approved change and implementation plan honors the true intent of the Writing in the Major Proficiency and values the tremendous work done by faculty to develop WiM-tagged courses, learning outcomes, and assessments. During the transition to this new method of tracking and assessing Writing in the Major, the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness will work closely with faculty and programs to write discipline-specific learning outcomes for Writing in the Major and to develop appropriate measures to assess this writing.

Questions related to this change can be directed to the Office of General Education at theccmail@smu.edu.

Sincerely,

Sheri Kunovich 

Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement & Success

Dayna Oscherwitz 

Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness

Dustin Grabsch 

Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success