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DRAFT Subcommittee Charge and Questions/Issues Under Consideration

Subcommittee on Educational Offerings, and General Education  

Fundamental charge:  The University's educational offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels are the foundation for the University's teaching mission.  This subcommittee will examine the Educational Offerings of UAlbany for the 1) extent to which they support the University's mission and goals, 2) the appropriateness of their academic scope, content and rigor; 3) balance between the General Education requirements and the requirements of the undergraduate major/minor/interdisciplinary program, and 4) the level of support for current and potential educational offerings.

Charge Questions:

Part I - Educational Offerings

  1. How well do the current educational offerings, at the undergraduate and graduate level, support the mission and goals of the University?
  2. How does the University attempt to ensure that there is an appropriate number of qualified faculty so that students will be able to access the classes they need to complete their undergraduate or graduate degree in a timely manner, and how effective are these efforts?
  3. Are there sufficient numbers of qualified faculty to teach the current number of educational offerings?  Given University guidelines, how does the understanding of "qualified" faculty differ across disciplinary areas and departments, and is the University able to draw upon the expertise available in the larger external community?
  4. How clearly have the expected learning outcomes of each of the educational offerings been defined and made known to current and prospective students?
  5. How does the University assess the extent to which students are meeting the learning objectives?  How does it ensure that the measures are valid and reliable?  What mechanisms are in place to identify and ameliorate academic difficulties of students?
  6. How does the University support faculty and programs wishing to make instructional and/or curricular improvements, and how effective is such support?
  7. Are there quality opportunities for interdisciplinary study available to students, and how well are these opportunities supported by the institution?
  8. Do current degree programs contain sufficient content, rigor and depth, and is there a clear distinction between undergraduate and graduate education?
  9. To what extent do the educational offerings of undergraduate and graduate programs foster a coherent student learning experience?
  10. How effectively does the University provide knowledge, skills and tools, and physical resources to use available information, new technology, and media for study, teaching, and research?
  11. Are there sufficient learning resources such as library collections and facilities and information technology staffed by qualified professionals to support relevant academic activities at the graduate and undergraduate levels?
  12. How well do the institution's extra-curricular (out-of-class lectures, study abroad programs) and co-curricular (service-learning, out-of-class lectures) offerings contribute to the overall curriculum?  Are these opportunities widely available, well known, and valuable to students?
  13. How clear are the policies and procedures for comparing graduate and undergraduate academic credits from other institutions?
  14. How responsive are educational offerings to non-traditional students, adult learners, distance learners, and students with disabilities?
  15. How effective are processes intended to foster and support the development of innovative educational offerings to meet changing needs?

Part II - General Education

  1. To what degree are students provided with a well-rounded, quality, liberal arts education?
  2. How well does the General Education program support the mission and goals of the University?
  3. How sufficient are the number and variety of General Education courses to enable students to complete the requirements in a timely fashion?  If General Education requirements present barriers, what mechanisms are in place to overcome these barriers?
  4. Is there an appropriate number of qualified faculty to teach General Education Courses, and is the composition of that faculty (e.g., tenure-track, non-tenure track, teaching assistants, etc.) appropriate?
  5. What opportunities do students have to integrate their General Education program skills into their degree and certificate programs so that they can become more proficient in these skills within the context of their chosen fields, and are these opportunities sufficient?
  6. Is there an appropriate balance for students between general knowledge requirements of the General Education program and more specialized knowledge within chosen programs? How does the University measure that balance?
  7. How clearly have the expected learning outcomes of each of the educational offerings been defined and made known to current and prospective students?
  8. How has assessment been used to improve the General Education program?
  9. What are the mechanisms available to faculty and programs for introducing new courses or making instructional and/or curricular improvements to existing General Education courses, and do these mechanisms receive sufficient support?

Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. Are required and elective courses sufficiently available to allow students to graduate within the published program length?
  2. Is there reasonable, continuing student access to paper or electronic catalogs?  When catalogs are available only electronically, does the University's web page provide a guide or index to catalog information for each catalog available electronically, and are catalogs appropriately archived when sections or policies are updated?Data available: Basic data and reports to support the work of this subcommittee include items such as a roster of programs, by degree level, faculty headcounts by department or programmatic area, student/faculty ratios, departmental self-studies, and details about governance processes for addressing curricular matters.  The General Education assessment plan, as well as the University's plan for Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment (SCBA) will also be made available, as well reports from the Council on Academic Assessment's General Education Assessment Committee.

Methodologies: In addition to the initial data and reports to be made available to the subcommittee, the subcommittee will develop a listing of additional data and reports it requires to address the charge questions.  The subcommittee will also interview faculty and staff who have served on governance committees with purviews for curricular oversight and development, such as the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC) and the Graduate Academic Council (GAC),  the Council on Academic Assessment (CAA), and their committees, such as the General Education Committee, and/or the Academic Program Review Committee and the General Education Assessment Committee; as well as other University officials such as the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, as appropriate.

Please click to contact Dr. Karyn Loscocco, chair of this subcommitee, to provide input or comments.

Subcommittee Members
  • Karyn Loscocco (chair) - Professor, Sociology
  • Mary Applegate - Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management; Associate Dean, School of Public Health
  • Gregory Bobish - Senior Assistant Librarian, University Libraries
  • Gerald Burke - Bibliographer of Humanities, University Libraries
  • Bruce Dieffenbach - Associate Professor, Economics
  • Anne Hildreth - Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Trudi Jacobson - Head of User Education Programs
  • Richard Matyi - Professor, Nanoscience Constellation
  • Christopher Moore - Instructional Developer, Information Technology Services
  • Kellen Recquet - Student Association Representative
  • Anita Rua - Academic Advisor, Advisement Services Center
  • Gladys Santiago-Tosado - Senior Academic Counselor, Educational Opportunity Program
  • Helene Scheck - Associate Professor, Director of English and Medieval/Renaissance Undergraduate Studies Programs
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