SLO Gen Ed Meeting Agenda for Friday, April 12, 2013
Location: WID, Fulwiler Rm., 303 B/H, 3:30-4:30PM
1) Overview of General Education Sustainability Wiki.
2) May Faculty Senate presentation: ideas, deadlines, etc.
3) Revisit Straw Man Learning Outcomes
The link below will take you to the draft outcomes that will be discussed during the meeting:
4) Learning outcomes assessment approaches in higher education

SLO Gen Ed Meeting Minutes for Friday, April 12

Overview of General Education Sustainability Wiki.
Wiki tool introduction – make sure all invited to be members…all contributions

Table of Contents for public audience

Project Background – Gen Ed initiative
What is Sustainability? – contribute to meaning at UVM; discuss substance, ambiguity and complexity, as well as dissent and alternative concepts
University curricula – put liberal education into context
Sustainability learning outcomes (SLOs) – draft outcomes from April 2011, operationalization and AASHE STARS
Assessing Sustainability - ideas about general assessment
Process for vetting them at UVM – ideas from writing and literacy at UVM and Faculty Senate process
Resource & Links Pages at bottom – could be expanded greatly

Double dashes/Divider – gets us to working pages
Committee contacts, agendas/minutes, advisory faculty
Working definitions and “straw man” to get started
3 circles – environment, social, economic – overlap and integration
Visual images from web

May Faculty Senate presentation (May 16 – 10 minutes): ideas, deadlines, etc.
Deane and Laura brainstorm – why do we need this? Argument for sustainability – educating future leaders to address problems
Faculty needs to face impending challenge
Julie’s comments about common push back at Fac Sen mtg
  • Adding to my workload?
  • Is it a check the box?
  • Professional programs
Stephanie mentions that there has to be efficiencies
Who are the representatives and advisory council?
Open it up to Faculty Senate-Missing? Additions?
Set deadline to have Faculty Senate vote

Comments about the meeting in May
Julie’s comment:
Greatest resistance will be from philosophical perspective, need substantive discussions from Senate

Deane wants to pay attention to this more difficult philosophical argument… about why do this—why sustainability?

Suggestion to focus on meeting learning outcomes rather than a focus on taking course(s)

Are there arguments that other institutions are embracing? (Christine)

Don’t have to reinvent the wheel (Laura)

Opening comments—make it obvious, flash the undergraduate statement, throw a lot of data at them—here are our outcomes. – 8-10 slides (Stephanie)

Arguments for SLOs:
Applies to many areas of study—like writing, this content is everywhere
Fellows in 29 or so departments
Make it more coherent across the university
Professional programs are already full of requirements, and this will be one/another. If go S1/S2, would facilitate meeting requirement
Accessible data—students enrolled in courses taught by Sustainability Faculty Fellows (SFF) – easy factor for “who has taken these classes?”
Academic units can be used for marketing (eg. Recruitment/retention) – what gets students excited, faculty are already doing it, we can have outreach because not one size fits all (Allan vetted to Associate Dean, RSENR, with a positive response, but wanted learning outcomes)

Possible format:
6 credits of content, writing has 3 credits of content, internship credit options (what if a 3-credit equivalent as gen ed requirement – half of what going on already)

Rather than let go of existing courses to create new courses – Deane suggested a Phase I, 3 credit requirement – different from diversity and writing, which are both 6 credits
Second option, Phase II, could be experientially- or application-based
What would be better ways to gather data?—by labeling courses?

Apply existing courses –eg. environmental engineering with sustainability themes already exist

Deane mentions that the D1/D2 model could work with some of the existing courses

Diversity requirement not yet part of Gen Ed – with structure and assessment

Writing and diversity requirements—processes are somewhat different – have learning “goals” and then courses vetted to see if meet that, never went through pilot, happened based on existing courses. Do we take this strategy?

Build on SFF, the professional development piece could be adapted; those that are accepted are those that went through Phase I and become the first courses
Stephanie mentions that we now have data on how many students are already taking these sustainability courses – now we just need to LABEL the course

Rycki is concerned about specific programs (e.g., nursing) and mentioned discipline-specific courses, e.g., Sustainability in Health Care course?

Tarah and OoS have worked on sustainability report – course requirements, wait for detail in fall, but indicate that we are looking into these courses
Tarah would follow up with Deane and Laura with numbers
Stephanie will send Sustainability Faculty Fellows report


Begin with SFF information, sets the table for Deane and Laura’s presentation
Do a draft powerpoint, what do we have, lay it out, packaged (here is the outcome and here are the assessment strategies)

Offer bullet points of evidence:
1) Students given the option to take classes that offer sustainability vs. those that don’t…they would select sustainability
2) student support data from SGA (Sam could recommend someone if not available – eg. Mikaela McDonald)
  1. 140+ new programs, majors, etc. in sustainability in the nation
  2. Students prefer colleges and universities with sustainability in the curriculum
  3. Sam and SGA put out a survey to undergrad community and will get info to us – student support is very important!
3) Existing “training/professional development program” = Sus Faculty Fellows program

Revisit Straw Man Learning Outcomes
The link below will take you to the draft outcomes that will be discussed during the meeting:

Learning outcomes assessment approaches in higher education - Karen
We can’t determine the assessment without learning outcomes, but…
  • woven thru existing courses
  • add another course
  • develop new courses across curricula
Assessment is difficult to find, lots of info about what is being done
But some commonalities that learning outcomes tend to hold – systems thinking, skills development, attitudes and behaviors modified by experience in courses

Learning outcomes and areas that should be assessed

How do we develop professionals who will= be citizens? Shift in perspective

Capacities/Competencies: Local to global, short term to long term, earth changes over time, critically reflect on knowledge and experience, questioning beliefs and values and adjusting themselves around these values
Holistic and systemic thinking – multidisciplinary, time and space
Skills emphasized e.g., problem-solving, critical thinking, becoming an effective change agent
Behaviors – Blooms hierarchy of development – pedagogies: discussion, debate, peer instruction, case studies
Assess in terms of higher order thinking

Mexican Univ with ethic courses addressing some of these – created course and assessed course

Authentic or performance based assessment: e-portfolios encourage reflection on the total learning experience – software systems for doing assessment

Moraine community college - sustainability rubric based on gen ed goals

Matrix of goals

Capstone course – working with professionals and practitioners - students learned interdisciplinary teamwork and professional skills
How did they assess? qualitative student interviews

Existing guidebook on sustainability through pre-test and opinion surveys, but what about post survey learning outcomes that measure competencies

Knowledge vs. skills/attitudes/competencies-based assessment must take different tactics

Shelburne Farms K-12 guidebook? What’s in this? Stephanie’s recommendation

Separating the learning outcome from the individual class – use another class to gauge the impact of sustainability

Variety of strategies and how costly is it?

This will take professional development – Sustainability Fellow can add a new module so the professional training includes this
Pushback includes how faculty will not want to do the professional development to learn about assessment
Sustainability literacy assessment (STARS) – 35 institutions – what the questions are and how they administered them; many are not doing this…a ton on the website

Surveys tend to be most common – for senate, there’s a whole movement, not reinventing wheel; along with bullet points that people have been thinking about

Education and professional schools

Writing pilot assessment: Honors College professional development; faculty takes course to assure teaching to outcomes
  1. surveyed students on their own writing
  2. sampling certain pieces of writing and compared students from instructors with prof-development to students from instructors with no professional development

AASHE has a credit on sustainability literacy assessment – look at institution by credit and content, can pull up assessment from various universities
  • Can Tarah forward this website to Deane to post on the wiki?

Assessment into course evaluations- not at this time

Next meeting: Meeting 26th of April, same date/time