Gen Ed Sustainability Learning Outcomes Committee
5/10/13
Meeting Agenda:
1) Co-chairs share draft presentation of SLOs for Faculty Senate (scheduled for 5/16) for feedback
2) Matching learning outcomes with assessment

GenEd SLO Committee Meeting May 10, 2013
Meeting Minutes
In attendance: Deane, Laura Webb, Lisa Natkin, Sandy Wurthman, Christine Vatovec, Allan Strong, Karen Nordstrom, Stephanie Kaza, Laura Hill-Birmingham

Faculty Senate presentation (Laura and Deane)
All Gen Ed committees there together – unified group moving forward together
Start with Gen Ed Learning Outcomes
Julie Roberts to introduce them and indicate communication among committees

Message: Its up to Faculty Senate to let us know if they would like a more formal umbrella structure for outcomes
Have already informally started the process

Update from Char and Susanmarie (Writing and Info Literacy)
They’re working on pilot for the fall
Deane: First year pilot, this year. Next year we’re going to start.
Vote on 3-credit requirement
Not sure whether Eileen will be there to represent Diversity

We go last to talk about who we are
Deane put this presentation together and Laura to be presenter
Wise for Laura to introduce herself and introduce the committee
List of Committee membership – fully represented and additionally represented by Office of Sustainability; every school and college represented

Background – what we’ve been doing – Faculty Senate endorced Gen Ed in May 2011 – first meeting at end of Fall 2012 by Julie Roberts
Deane and Laura agreed to co-chair SLO
Learned from Susanmarie and Char – following their model with WIL
Recently met with Brian Reed and Eileen to talk about what they’ve been doing and to have a more unified meeting of Chairs.

Updates for Faculty Senate
Deane developed Wiki – will be presented at end of session
Work plan – where we are headed
Drafts for requirement have been developed
Advisory committee is in the works

Framed presentation around wanting to have bigger context, slide needs work –Main point: as faculty and students are posed with big problems in future, things rapidly changing, and the system we’ve built is unsustainable…
Students will be ones who will need to work with big, complex problems and we’ll provide training (refer to National Academies reports about deep trouble)

Sandy: 3 pillars (envt, economy, society) as context, punch in the goals…here are three agenda items, shadow of population growth in background

Stephanie: back off from any message that ALL of our students need this, that pushes the preaching button; even if in lightest possible way; refer to National Council report, to grab quotes – data of 140 + new programs (extract language)

Laura W: Moving from Sustainability to Higher Ed context – what a lot of colleges and U’s are doing; becoming part of academic programs
Here, Sullivan approved participation in STARS; will provide ranking info
Also the DANS network for sustainability – the message that this is where Higher Ed is going

Stephanie: Make 2nd bullet stronger – using language from Office of Sustainability - carbon assessment and education piece – not just a vague goal – have to crunch the numbers, supposed to be same level of commitment
Longest commitment, and STARS relatively new

Slide representing DANS associations, shows interdisciplinarity, with associations –array of programs/disciplines
Chemistry, psychology, biology

This is a theme being adopted
This is a systems problem
There are many disciplines that are committed
Have joined because they want to commit to promoting sustainability
Laura W: There’s a home for sustainability-related coursework across the spectrum of disciplines across UVM
Sandy: try to encourage people to adopt it, endorse the fact that its useful, but beware of excuses
Home for sustainability across diversity of disciplines
Sandy: buy-in; American chemical society example – one sector selling crude oil, other academic
DANS site – support higher education policies and practices that promote sustainability
Deane: but the message is across disciplines and addresses tenure policy

UVM context
2010 – undergraduate student SGA Resolution – see language; recent survey by SGA regarding perceptions of UVM success in educating for sustainability
Message: already doing this – doing a pretty good job – students want it and are getting it to some extent—make it official and improve upon it (~200/ small %)

Deane: Student survey – what they want to do for Gen Ed
Just Sustainability and Diversity addressed in this survey

Christine: skeptics, so we’re already doing this, but need to do it better

D: easy transition to Gen Ed, since supposed to do it anyway, this is how close already are

Laura: better assessment, better professional development

Stephanie: Both of you should be up there to answer questions

Laura HB: strong sustainability curriculum with numbers (61 courses and 7500 students) over 4 years
Breakdown of schools and colleges – majority from CAS, with professional programs (Nursing and Health Sciences and College of Medicine) represented
Laura: Good to show – doesn’t represent students in those programs

Deane: Affiliation of students, not department through which took course

Stephanie: Data is from students who took a given course, but didn’t know exactly what major they are; change title to say these units have sustainability courses in their units

Laura HB: Sustainability courses per unit and # of students per unit
Stephanie: Good because CAS will see that their students were affected so to speak

Busy graph slide – didn’t make big claims, but showing what the data means
Backup slide

SFF Sustainability Courses – long list – could be organized or jump to pie chart

Allan: on this slide, have yellow highlights over sampling of diverse types of courses – social work, art, religion, petrology…same things as emphasized through DANS slide

Stephanie: Like an animation thing
You might have thought only in these types of courses, but actually…rich slide
Shows a lot of courses

Have diverse courses on one slide and then have entire list at the end

To end with big conclusions – student interest, strength of university, already reaching students, Sustainability Faculty Fellows program for professional development has been growing over last few years – and committee and structure for implementation by Fall 2014

Stephanie: Change title to update, progress report, rationale

No learning outcomes in this one – not even a few samples – considering these examples

Sandy: Call these strategies.
Deane: What about summary? That’s what we’re doing.
Might show our work, if showing draft outcomes – or if we don’t show them what they are, we let them know they’re in progress.

Sandy: I fit under X umbrella - having brackets makes people feel like they’re integrated into the idea

Laura HB: Will include bracket

Laura W: One course might meet all 3 requirements.

Laura HB: Question if should include structure of what this might look like -
Agreement that it should be included
Stephanie: Include “co-curricular” activities instead of “student” activities, include RLCs in parentheses

Laura HB: What is the flow of ideas?
We wanted to go big picture, to focus on UVM, what we’ve already done/are doing, where we’re headed…

Stephanie: May need to be prepared- if only 15 minutes instead of 20
Actually only 10 minutes, can you give it in 5?.
3 minutes would be tough.

Julie had presented common concerns that should be addressed – eg. Why sustainability?

End with something for them to reference/follow up to…Wiki…links to website – keep it up while taking questions

Global, local, projected ideas – 3 sectors in circle – cite visualizing sustainability website…reference it – so don’t get caught in defending sustainability

In discussion – have back up for “Why Sustainability?”

Tom Hudspeth would be supportive – send it to him in advance
Softball question – he’ll get the ball rolling.

Deane: Most useful thinking…work plan for fall. Work on learning outcomes and pair them with assessment process. Mid-semester – work with advisory committee – here’s plan, with assessment, where are our problems? Get their input mid-fall, revise through end of fall, and think about following semester – presentation to Faculty Senate to seek formal approval to do a pilot.

Commitments – AASHE Stars have firm assessment – wanting to know what their scoring system – so that we design assessment to meet recording requirements

Stephanie: It’s self-reporting- so we can look that up to see how others have been ranked.

Deane: Are all students on your campus required to do something sustainability-related on campus? (That’s one of their questions.) – We get STARS points for that.

Laura: Were these things assessed and how? It would be good to review this.

Lisa: Goes into how to determine sustainability-related or –focused.

Stephanie: Use intro as related and focused as “core.”

Deane: If we buy into the slide about what this looks like – there would be an option to take a course that fits into SLOs, syllabi would then need to be reviewed to determine if it would meet that requirement.

As a process – we’re moving in that direction?

Deane: Yes, put it on the table – Department could invent a mechanism, RLC could…or students follow a mechanism (eg. Study abroad)

3 credit course – Tier 1, if incorporate Tier 2 could be 6 credits—start with 3 credits as pilot

Individual units – optional but recognized – parallel to WID
Deane: first 3-credits is foundational writing course. Then, second part is writing in the disciplines (chem/psych) – and those Departments create standards for their Departments.
Some units yes, there are specific sustainability things that they do – Departmentally-driven and more optional
Identification as process, X number of courses have Tier I…too complicated for this presentation

Stephanie: Good to hear multiple times from this committee in the fall
When need a vote, send the info ahead of time.

For us, what kind of assessment?
Typical kinds – surveys, can NSSE (National Study of Student Engagement) evaluate them? Optional component that could be added by university, can some of the objectives be embedded into the assessment?

Deane: Some are self-reporting questions – evaluative questions

Focus group processes

Writing folks are using portfolio process – using writing students have completed
Gets evaluated by writing professionals to see if meets standard
Fair amount of work for portfolios

We could write our own survey and give to a sample
What will be UVMs approach to assessing if meeting Los?

Lisa: would you sample entire student body?
Deane: This is done at level of student body – finishing students; you want to evaluate the extent to which they achieved outcomes
Possibly to do pre/post (entering/leaving UVM)

Laura HB: Interviews – Target when they’re getting the information and when personal change took place.

Deane: Provosts office could need financial office to have assessment of student learning. They sample students and do reports. They haven’t made that decision.

Clear from Faculty Senate that we don’t want to have process that doesn’t include assessment.

Stephanie: documenting effectiveness and part of implementation

Lisa: I would love to work there. There are creative ways to ask follow-up questions.

D: makes it difficult to navigate without financial commitment to process; institutional barriers

Allan: Pre/post – worthwhile – to show that something happens while here

Christine: pre-assessment attributes to high school

Deane: from institutional perspective – just to make sure they have this info…if there are failures, have to track data to know if went through self-directed program, particular department, etc.

Laura: How establish questions? Breadth of knowledge or assessment at classroom-level? Did you meet the objectives this course set out to do?

Next meeting scheduled for May 24. The Friday before Memorial Day.
Do we meet again before fall?

Faculty meeting next Thurs. 16th, 4-5:30pm

Meet Friday, 17th, debrief meeting? – Send email to check.