General Education

Task Force on General Studies Review

I. APPOINTMENT AND ORGANIZATION OF THE TASK FORCE

The Task Force on General Studies Review was established in January of 1996. Seventeen persons were appointed to the Task Force by Dr. Barbara Haskew, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The group includes two students, ten faculty members from diverse disciplines, three department chairs, the Associate Dean of the College of Education, and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Included among the faculty members are the president-elect of the MTSU Faculty Senate and two persons who have recently chaired the university standing committee that oversees the general education program. The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research are ex officio members. A complete roster of members with their academic assignments is attached as Appendix A.

The initial meeting of the Task Force took place in February, 1996. Dr. Robert Jones, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, charged the group with pursuing these major goals:

  1. Organize and administer a thorough internal review of the quality of the general education program.

  2. Coordinate an external review of the general education program by appropriate higher education scholars from institutions outside the state of Tennessee.

  3. As part of the internal review, examine all relevant aspects of the general education program, including mission and purpose, course components, administration and organization, assessment, and use of assessment data for improvement.

  4. Provide to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs a written report, due in June of 1997, which summarizes the internal and external review conclusions, and provide any recommendations developed by the Task Force from those reviews.

To carry out its charge, the Task Force adopted and followed a working calendar with a schedule of monthly meetings and strategic agendas, gathered and reviewed a number of relevant documents relating to general education among Tennessee and out-of-state institutions, gathered and reviewed a number of publications dealing with general education issues, prepared and executed an extensive plan of data and opinion gathering among groups of diverse university constituents, facilitated a thorough review of the university's general education program by two nationally-prominent general education scholars, engaged in workshops and extensive group deliberations, encouraged campus-wide participation in and review of the overall process, and prepared this final report.

A copy of the Task Force's calendar is attached as Appendix B. Documents and publications reviewed by the group appear in Appendix C. Representatives of the Task Force conducted sixty focus groups with university freshmen, juniors and seniors, honors students, faculty from each academic department, general open faculty meetings, alumni, and mid-state employers of university graduates. From these meetings, the Task Force compiled a booklet summarizing the group responses regarding the nature and philosophy of general education, learning outcome expectations for a quality general education program, judgments about the quality of the current university general education program, judgments about the skills and knowledge demonstrated by recent university graduates, and suggestions for improving the university's current program. Information from the documents that were reviewed, responses from the focus groups, and the suggestions and conclusions provided by the outside reviewers were primary components in the Task Force's deliberations which led to the final conclusions in this report.


II. EXTERNAL REVIEW

The external review took place on November 14-16,1996, and was conducted by Dr. John Hinni, Dean of the School of University Studies at Southeast Missouri State University and recent president of the national Council for Administration of General and Liberal Studies; and Dr. Fred Hinson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Director of General Education at Western Carolina University. Following the review, Drs. Hinni and Hinson provided to the Task Force a narrative summary of their conclusions and recommendations, and completed the TBR Review of General Education - Evaluators' Summary Report. These two documents are attached as Appendices D and E.

Overall, the outside reviewers' conclusions about the university's general education program were extremely positive. On the Evaluators' Summary Report, they concluded that the university meets eighteen of the twenty program objectives including the summary objective which states that the "program meets or exceeds the minimum standards of good practice." The two program objectives where shortcomings were noted were the need to review the curriculum regularly and the need to review student learning outcomes regularly for planning. The narrative report was also very positive with particular emphasis on the overwhelming satisfaction expressed by students with the current program. However, the reviewers did use the narrative to provide a number of recommendations that in their judgment would improve the current program in some significant ways. Important suggestions for improvement included (1) create an ongoing review process; (2) use student learning outcome data in an ongoing review process; (3) inform students more effectively about the role of general education within the undergraduate curriculum; (4) create an administrative position so that someone will take charge of the program, create a campus-wide dialogue on general education and generally oversee the pursuit of a variety of improvements in general education review, evaluation, and planning; (5) develop an upper-level, interdisciplinary experience for students that would more effectively integrate knowledge and skills from several disciplines; and (6) improve the role and oversight activity of the university standing committee charged with coordination of the general education program.

III. TASK FORCE REVIEW (Internal Review)

General Overview

The MTSU General Studies Program is an effective general education curriculum following a traditional "distributive" approach that includes required and elective courses providing students with important skills and knowledge from a variety of disciplines. Developed in the 1970s, the program was initially well conceived and structured and has served the institution and its students effectively for more than two decades. Though perhaps not extremely innovative for the 1990s, the program is similar to approaches taken by many institutions across the country, particularly larger institutions; and the program is similar in many ways to programs offered at most TBR and UT institutions. Over the years faculty members appear to have been generally supportive of the program and few major changes have been proposed in the past. Likewise, students, when asked, have expressed general approval of the program. Recent surveys, ACT- COMP opinion data, and interviews with students and faculty indicate continued general support for the program. Those persons - primarily faculty - who do suggest changes usually support proposals that do not amount to major changes in the program's general approach or structure. Very significantly, the primary general education outcome measure used by the university - the ACT-COMP (a nationally -normed test designed specifically to measure general education learning) consistently yields positive data for the university's graduating seniors. All MTSU graduates must take the ACT-COMP and they consistently score above the national norm.

The General Studies Program mission is consistent with and flows clearly from the university mission. The program is presented clearly in the undergraduate catalog. The mission statement addresses appropriate skills and knowledge, and is implemented through a variety of diverse and broad course selections. Component courses were designed initially to be broad-based introductions to disciplines and to be taught to a general university population. However, judgments among Task Force members differ as to whether or not this continues to be the best approach in today's technologically-oriented, interdisciplinary world.

The review and evaluation of the component courses is currently left up to the host departments. This has the advantage of having faculty directly involved with each course responsible for its ongoing evaluation and updating. The disadvantage of this approach, however, is that there is no centralized perspective used to evaluate and update component courses and their content a weakness that appears to limit the university's ability to make overall program changes and improvements.

Although the program has not been significantly amended since the 1970s, several important new courses and course-options have been added. However, some of these changes came either from outside mandates or from non-policy based internal changes. There appears to be no clearly defined means of introducing new courses, deleting current courses, or making other needed changes. Indeed, even the question of what exactly constitutes a General Studies component course is one for which the university has no precise answer. As requirements for graduation from Tennessee secondary schools change and as the university's student population changes, the institution now and in the immediate future will need to address these important issues.

Though perhaps also accounting for some program weaknesses, much of the strength of the current General Studies Program is found in the decentralized nature of the structure. Academic departments and their faculties take great interest in their general education offerings, review their courses, evaluate instruction and instructors, participate in faculty and instructional development projects, and are generally committed to making general education a quality component of the undergraduate experience at MTSU. It is common to find many of the university's most dedicated and gifted teachers teaching General Studies courses. And the university rightly takes pride in its commitment to general education. However, the lack of a clearly defined, readily assessable and centrally governed general education philosophy and perspective tends to minimize communication among the host departments of component courses and to mitigate against a cohesive, integrated program.

The primary conclusion of the Task Force, similar to the conclusion of the outside reviewers, is that MTSU currently provides undergraduates with an appropriate, quality program in general education, but a program that is in need of some significant updating and improvement.

Recommendations for Improvement

Despite a favorable review of the General Studies Program and a positive conclusion about the program's overall quality, the Task Force concluded that there are, nevertheless, important ways that the current program could be significantly improved. To improve the program and to insure that its quality is maintained and enhanced, the Task Force unanimously presents the following ten recommendations:

1. The university should establish an administrative position with responsibility for general education. General Studies represents thirty-three percent of each student's undergraduate experience and is a major university priority. Because of these factors, general education needs a specific advocate who will take responsibility for the ongoing well-being of the program. This position would be responsible for maintaining an ongoing campus-wide dialogue on general education, communicating effectively with all campus constituencies - especially students - about the role and purpose of general education in the undergraduate curriculum, providing leadership in developing ongoing programs and structures for regular review of courses and student outcomes and for the use of outcome data for systematic improvement in the program, and providing leadership for program change and improvement as needed. Creating this administrative position is a foundational recommendation upon which the following additional recommendations are based.

2. The university should reestablish a committee devoted exclusively to the General Studies Program. This new, university standing committee should reflect broad representation for the entire university community. The standing committee together with the administrative director of the program should provide leadership that incorporates and takes advantage of the long-standing commitment to general education found in the contributing academic departments.

3. The director and the standing committee should establish an ongoing, structured program to review the general education mission statement, the mission statement goals, program courses, course syllabi, course learning outcomes, and the relationships among all of these program components.

4. The director and the standing committee should establish an ongoing, structured program to use review data, particularly student learning outcome data, for planning and improvement of the General Studies Program.

5. The director and the standing committee should establish a structure and policy that allows for orderly and efficient changes in the General Studies Program. Currently, there is no clear policy for amending, improving, or otherwise changing the program.

6. The director and the standing committee together with colleges and academic departments should explore the idea of developing an integrative and/or capstone experience as a part of the General Studies Program.

7. The General Studies Mission statement should be revised to provide greater clarity and to incorporate additional learning objectives. The Task Force presents the following example as a revised mission statement containing additional objectives:

General education experiences at MTSU should emphasize that which is common to all people, that which everyone should have in order to live as an aware and responsible member of a contemporary free society. All undergraduates should attain the following objectives:

  1. Proficiency in oral and written communications and in mathematical and problem-solving skills;
  2. Ability to test their attitudes, values, and ideas in a rational manner and to use various methods of inquiry to increase their own knowledge and understanding;
  3. Broad and integrated knowledge of the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and fine arts, and computer technology; and,
  4. Ability as responsible state, national, and global citizens to contribute positively to a culturally diverse society and to nurture effectively their own mental and physical well-being.

The general objectives in this - an alternative, revised mission statement - should be further developed where possible with very specific learning objectives which can be assessed. The goals in the mission statement and the more specific learning objectives should be the criteria used in evaluating regularly all component courses within the General Studies Program.

8. While retaining the mandated ACT-COMP test, the director, the standing committee, and the faculty from academic departments should search for and/or develop other assessment measures that will provide more meaningful and useful learning outcome data for planning and improving the program. In particular, the assessment instruments should be continuously applied on a routine basis, and be used to determine if component courses are satisfying general education course criteria. The results of these assessments should be provided to instructors and departments for course changes and improvements, and to determine if courses which no longer meet the criteria should be withdrawn. This ongoing procedure should allow the general education program to evolve naturally as the university and its student population changes.

9. As a part of a newly developed overall evaluation and assessment program, the General Studies director and standing committee should address a number of concerns cited by students, faculty, alumni, and or employers as potential weaknesses in the current program. Some of the concerns to be addressed are:

  • more challenging, "hands-on" instruction in computer technology;
  • more attention to effective oral and written communication, with a special concern about acceptable grammar;
  • more concern with personal ethics and responsibility;
  • more emphasis on wellness/fitness and less on current physical education activity courses;
  • more emphasis on critical thinking and problem- solving;
  • more instruction on personal financial management and other similar life skills;
  • more options for course selection, particularly among the natural and life sciences and in history;
  • and a greater emphasis on developing among students a global or multi-cultural perspective that would create within them a greater appreciation of domestic and international diversity.

10. A blue ribbon committee with broad representation from across the university, including representation from the current Task Force, should be formed to screen candidates and to recommend outstanding applicants for the director of General Studies. The blue ribbon committee should also oversee the implementation of the other structural changes recommended by the Task Force. Once the director, a new General Studies Committee, and a new structure for evaluation and change are in place, the blue ribbon committee should be dissolved, and the task of ongoing oversight should be left to the director and the standing committee.

Finally, while the Task Force believes that the current general education program at MTSU meets acceptable quality standards, it also believes that the program could be substantially improved. The recommendations should be adopted as soon as possible. It is also the position of the Task Force that these recommendations should become part of the university's academic master plan and that the addition of a director together with structural changes that will facilitate ongoing improvements in the program should be fully implemented by the year 2000.

APPENDIX A
TASK FORCE

Jim Brooks

Chair, Speech and Theatre

Gloria Bonner

Associate Dean, College of Education

David Carleton

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Patrice Caux

Assistant Professor, Foreign Languages and Literatures

Heather Hale

Undergraduate Student

Chris Haseleu

Professor, Recording Industry; President-Elect, Faculty Senate

Dovie Kimmins

Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences

David Lavery

Chair, Department of English

Phil Mathis

Professor, Biology

John McDaniel

Dean, College of Liberal Arts

Tim Michael

Assistant Professor, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Safety

Vic Montemayor

Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Marsha Smith

Assistant Professor, Business Education, Marketing Education, and Office Management

Thad Smith

Chair, Department of History

Judith Van Hein

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Chad White

Undergraduate Student

Ex Officio Members

Barbara S. Haskew

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Robert B. Jones

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Betty Dandridge Johnson

Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Research


APPENDIX B
Task Force Working Calendar


FEBRUARY 96

Organizational meeting
Review of General Studies at MTSU Review of Task Force charge
Approval of tentative list of issues to address


APRIL 96

Presentation and workshop by Dr. John Henni Discussion of tentative working calendar


MAY 96

Final approval of working calendar
Approve data gathering instruments
Circulate publication on trends and innovations in general education
Examine and discuss MTSU's General Studies program compared to other TBR & UT institutions' programs.
Identify Issues of Concern


JUNE - OCTOBER 96

Task Force members hold extensive data/opinion gathering meetings with incoming freshmen, upper division students, faculty and academic department chairs, and local/mid-state community members (employers, business persons, and alumni)


JUNE 96

Discuss & finalize plans for outside reviewers
Circulate publications on trends and innovations in general education
Examine & discuss MTSU mission statement, General Studies mission statement, five distribution areas, and component courses in each distribution area
Review all current assessment data
Discuss relationships among assessment instruments and the General Studies mission statement, the five component areas, and the component courses
Identify issues of Concern


JULY 96

Circulate publications on trends and innovations in general education Continue discussion from June meeting
Identify issues of Concern


SEPTEMBER 96

Circulate publications on trends and innovations in general education Continue discussion from June/July meetings
Identify issues of Concern


EARLYFALL 96

Outside Reviewers Visit Campus - Meet with Task Force, students, chairs, faculty, and academic officers


OCTOBER 96

Review the Role and Scope of the Committee on Admissions, Standards, and General Studies Review the Organization and Administration of the General Studies Program
Begin review of data from focus groups
Identify issues of Concern


NOVEMBER 96

Discuss the Report from outside reviewers Continue discussion of data from focus groups Identify issues of Concern


DECEMBER 96

Task Force summarizes Issues of Concern and Begins Deliberations on the Quality of the Current Program.


JANUARY 9

Discussions and Deliberations Continue


FEBRUARY 97

Deliberations are concluded and a Sub-Committee is assigned to prepare a first draft


MARCH 97

Deliberations on a Previously Circulated First Draft


APRIL 97

Deliberations are completed on a previously-circulated, revised draft. The revised draft is made available to the campus community.


MAY 97

Campus community response to the revised draft is considered.
Final revisions are approved.
Final draft is prepared for submission to Academic Affairs.



APPENDIX C
GENERAL STUDIES TASK FORCE
SELECTED MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO ALL MEMBERS

  • "A Brief History of General Education Requirements at MTSU Since 1950," unpublished document prepared by the Task Force on General Studies, 1996.
  • ACT-COMP. AGGREGATE REPORT OF RESULTS FOR MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY ON USE OF THE COMP OBJECTIVE TEST (FORM XI) 1994-1995. American College Testing Program, June 26, 1995.
  • American College Testing Program. COMP Guide - College Outcome Measures Program. American College Testing Program: Iowa City, Iowa, 1991. [available in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, 153 Jones Hall]
  • Association of American Colleges. Integrity in the College Curriculum. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges, 1985.
  • Association of American Colleges. Strong Foundations - Twelve Principles for Effective General Education Programs. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges, 1994.
  • Boyer, Ernest L. (President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). "Curriculum, Culture, and Social Cohesion." CELEBRATIONS. Austin, TX: The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, November, 1992.
  • Commencement for the Twenty-First Century: 1993-2003, Traditions - Realities - Opportunities. Middle Tennessee State University's 1993-1994 Institutional Self-Study, 1 December, 1994.
  • Florida Board of Regents. Survey on Credit Hours Required for Baccalaureate Degrees - National Public institutions. Florida Board of Regents, August 1995.
  • Forrest, Aubrey (ed.). Good Practices in General Education. The American College Testing Program, 1986.
  • Forrest, Aubrey and A Study Group on Portfolio Assessment, Time Will Tell - Portfolio-Assisted Assessment of General Education. Washington: D.C.: The AAHE Assessment Forum, American Association for Higher Education, 1990.
  • Gaff, Jerry G., James L. Ratcliff, and Associates. Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996.
  • Hutchings, Pat, Ted Marchese, and Barbara Wright. Assessment to Strengthen General Education. D.C.: The AAHEW Assessment Forum, American Association for Higher Education, 1991.
  • Magner, Denise K. "Standards in Free-Fall? Report documents shift away from general-education requirements at top colleges." The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 1996, on. A17-A19.
  • Meacham, Jack. Assessing General Education, A Questionnaire to initiate Campus Conversations. Washington, D.C.: Network for Academic Renewal, Association for American Colleges and Universities, no date.
  • McCash, June, et al. "Final Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to University Committee Structure," unpublished document prepared by an ad hoc faculty committee, 1982.
  • McMillan, Jill J. and George Cheney. "The Student As Consumer: The Implications and Limitations of a Metaphor." COMMUNICA TION EDUCA TION. January 1996, on. 1-15.
  • "MTSU General Studies Committee - Institutional Effectiveness," unpublished document prepared by the University General Studies Committee, 1993.
  • "MTSU General Studies Program: Assessment Data From Recent Questionnaires," unpublished document prepared by the Task Force On General Studies, 1996.
  • MTSU Office of the President, "General Guidelines - University Standing Committee," document published on campus, July, 1994.
  • National Association of Scholars. The Dissolution of General Education: 1914-1993. Princeton, NAS, 1996.
  • Nichols, Paul and Joe M. Steele. "Linking COMP Objective Test Scores With Student Perceptions of Growth." Seattle, Washington: American Evaluation Association Annual Meeting, November 5, 1992. [available in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 153 Jones Hall]
  • "Policy on Degree Requirements," Tennessee Board of Regents Policies Manual, 2:01:00:00.
  • "Results of Focus Groups and Outside Review," unpublished document prepared by the Task Force on General Studies, 1997.
  • Rosovsky, Henry. The University: An Owner's Manual. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990.
  • Task Group on General Education. A New Vitality in General Education - Planning, Teaching, and Supporting Effective Liberal Learning. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges, 1988.
  • Yarbrough, Donald. "Some Lessons To Be Learned From A Decade of General Education Outcomes Assessment With the ACT COMP Measures." San Francisco, CA: Paper Presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research, May 1991.
  • "Year-end Report of the Activities of the Admissions, Standards, and General Studies Committee for the 1994-95 Academic Year," unpublished committee report, 1995.
  • "Year-end Report of the Activities of the General Studies Committee for the 1993-94 Academic Year," unpublished committee report, 1994.


APPENDIX D
Narrative for Middle Tennessee Review

BACKGROUND

Dr. John Hinni, Dean, School of University Studies, Southeast Missouri State University and Dr. Fred Hinson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Director of General Education, Western Carolina University served as external reviewers of the General Studies Program at Middle Tennessee State University on 13-15 November 1996. Conditions of the visit included the following:

Wednesday, 13 November 1996: There was an initial meeting with Jim Brooks, Chair of the Task Force on General Studies Review and Betty D. Johnson, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research. This meeting reviewed the charge to the reviewers and the agenda of the visit. We had previously reviewed a total of fourteen documents related to the General Studies Program at Middle Tennessee State including the 1995-1997 undergraduate catalog.

Thursday, 14 November 1996: Meetings were held with the Provost and Academic Vice President, Dr. Barbara Haskew and Associate Vice President, Dr. Robert Jones, a total of seven task force members in three sessions, two faculty members not associated with the task force, and three college deans separately.

Friday, 15 November 1996: Meetings were conducted with the chair of the General Studies Committee, five task force members in two sessions, two student members of the task force, numerous spontaneously arranged conversations with students at random, and an exit meeting with the task force.

We noted from the written materials reviewed that the University had successfully completed a SACS evaluation in 1994, that the General Studies program was implemented in 1976 and has undergone very Little change since that time, that the goals of the program as listed on page 48 of the University Bulletin are appropriate and consistent with institutional mission, and that students report on ACT COMP that they are satisfied with their experiences at the University. Our interviews convinced us that administrators and some faculty believe that the General Studies program is strong and that only minor "tinkering" is in order. Other faculty believe that a major revision is in order. We believe that the objectives and goals of the program should be reviewed since the program is twenty years old. This would provide the opportunity to identify and address any problems.

RECOMMENDATIONS :

The enclosed Evaluator's Summary Report contains 19 items of review in five categories. As a result of our findings we agree that all but two items are adequately met by the General Studies program at Middle Tennessee State. Following are recommendations and comments resulting from our review and our utilization of the summary report.

I. Role and Scope:

We believe that the General Studies program at Middle Tennessee State University is consistent with institutional mission and that outcome objectives are clearly stated.

II. Curriculum:

We also believe that the curriculum is appropriate to the level of the program, that courses do go beyond basic skills and there is evidence that cocurricular enrichment opportunities exist. However, there is no evidence that the General Studies program is regularly reviewed. Accordingly, we recommend that an ongoing review process should be created.

III. Faculty:

We believe that faculty are well-prepared for the program as it presently exists, that SACS Criteria have been met, that development opportunities are available and utilized and that the student faculty ratio is appropriate.

IV. Teaching and Learning Environment:

We are of the opinion that instruction is regularly evaluated, that students make timely progress through the program, and that the opinions of every student and those of graduates are regularly collected. Further, ACT COMP summary data indicate overwhelming student satisfaction with their undergraduate experience. Library holdings appear to be adequate for general education, at least marginally. We also believe that Student Learning Outcomes are not reviewed, hence general education outcomes are not used in planning which coincides with the absence of a review process mentioned above. We recommend that general education objectives be reviewed in light of student learning outcomes. Further, there is little evidence of "connections" between and among courses in the program, hence General Studies at Middle Tennessee State is more a collection of courses rather than a program. Creating central objectives based upon student learning outcomes would serve to "connect" courses and provide a basis for assessing student learning outcomes in general education

We also found that classrooms, laboratories and other facilities are adequate to support the program and that students are appropriately served in terms of computer literacy.

V. Student Advisement:

We are of the opinion that general education requirements and objectives are clearly stated in the catalog, that students receive adequate advisement and since a degree audit program was recently implemented the academic progress of students is routinely monitored. We also believe that some means must be designed to inform students about the role of general education in the undergraduate curriculum. We were unable to find any student who knew what the program was about. Apparently the only way students learn about general education is through their own initiative reading the two pages devoted to the General Studies program in the catalog or during orientation when some deans describe the offerings briefly. The Freshmen Seminar which is not required of all students except Business could be used to introduce and explain the General Studies program. A separate General Studies handbook could be developed and distributed to all students. Interestingly, the students we interviewed indicated a high level of satisfaction with their undergraduate experience in spite of a lack of information about General Studies.

VI. Other:

In addition to the above, we further recommend that the institution create an administrative position with responsibility for general education. Having "someone in charge of general education" would solve a large number of problems at Middle Tennessee State. For example, an administrator could be responsible for the creation of a campus dialogue concerning general education which is essential to reduce the stresses associated with any future changes in the program, ensuring that this dialogue leads to systematic program evaluation, developing student learning outcomes in program objectives, creating course approval procedures designed to relate to program goals and objectives, ensuring that students have appropriate information about the program, monitoring student progress through the program, providing for appropriate cocurricular initiatives, and promulgating current national and regional general education information to the university community.

We also believe it is appropriate for the university to consider developing a capstone experience in general education for students, perhaps of an interdisciplinary nature. The present program lacks any integrative experience for students and is largely lower-level, hence students and faculty alike view General Studies as something to be "gotten out of the way," or as introductory to selected majors. Given the rate at which new information is created is seems hopeless to continue to pursue programs that in large measure introduce the subject matter of selected disciplines to the exclusion of others.

Faculty were confused about the role of the Task Force which reviews the merit and philosophy of general studies and the Admissions, Standards and General Studies Committee which reviews the program and proposed changes. The Admissions, Standards and General Studies Committee has not been very active overseeing the program. This committee should be very active to keep the program updated. All courses should be evaluated and reviewed periodically based on the objectives of the program and be related to student learning and outcomes. This will help keep the program current and viable.

There are several parts of the program that must be coordinated and addressed on a day-to-day basis. Therefore it is essential to have an administrative position with responsibility for the general studies program which is required of every student that graduates from Middle Tennessee State University.

Submitted by Dr. John Hinni and Dr. Fred Hinson



APPENDIX E

TENNESSEE BOARD OF REGENTS REVIEW OF GENERAL EDUCATION
Evaluators' Summary Report

Institution: Middle Tennessee State University

Met

Not Met

1. Role and Scope

a. The general education program is consistent with and furthers the approved mission of the institution

x

b. The program has clearly formulated outcome objectives

x

2. Curriculum

x

a. The curriculum is appropriate to the level and purpose of the program

x

b. The curriculum is reviewed regularly

x

c. General education courses go beyond basic skills and foster critical thinking, knowledge integration and transfer, and life-long learning habits

x

d. Students are provided with adequate enrichment opportunities to complement the courses (e.g., lecture series, symposia, exhibits)

x

3. Faculty

a. Faculty are well-prepared for the level of the program and all meet the Criteria OV) of the SACS

x

b. Faculty development opportunities are available and regularly utilized

x

c. The faculty is adequate in number to ensure the effectiveness of the program

x

4. Teaching and Learning Environment

a. The effectiveness of faculty teaching is regularly evaluated

x

b. Courses are offered regularly to ensure that students can make timely progress

x

c. Student and Alumni opinions on the quality of the program are regularly collected and used to plan improvements

x

d. Student Learning Outcomes are regularly reviewed and the information is used in planning

x

e. Library holdings are current and adequate to meet the needs of the program

x

f. Classrooms, laboratories, and other facilities are adequately furnished and equipped

x

g. All students have access to and effectively use computers and other technologies in the learning process

x

5. Student Advisement

a. General Education requirements and objectives are clearly stated in the institutional Catalog

x

b. Personalized advisement and guidance are regularly provided to students

x

c. Student progress toward satisfactory completion of the general education requirements is regularly monitored and students are advised of their status in a timely manner

x

6. Summary Evaluation

In the collective judgment of the review team, the program meets or exceeds the minimum standards of good practice.

Yes

x

No