CORE CURRICULUM OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT, AY 2011-2012
The Core Curriculum Oversight Committee (hereafter “the Committee”) held four meetings in AY 2011-12, three in the fall and one in the spring. At the first fall meeting (9/27/11), veteran committee members welcomed new appointees to the group. The members then voted to make LTC Scott Lucas chair for AY 2011-12. Lucas noted that in addition to the faculty appointees made by the Committee on Committees, the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee (CCOC) numbered among its members two non-voting participants: the chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee and an administrative liaison appointed by the Provost. LTC Lucas contacted the relevant parties and had them join the Committee for future meetings. In response to LTC Lucas’s request, the Provost’s Office designated LTC Tara McNealy, Associate Provost for Planning, Assessment, and Evaluation, as the administrative liaison to the CCOC. CPT Holly Bevsek was added as the Chair of Curriculum and Instruction.
The Committee voted to clarify the proper path of its recommendation and reports. As called for in its charter, Committee recommendations and reports were to be directed directly to Academic Board rather than to the Curriculum and Instruction committee. The CCOC followed that dictate in AY 2011-12; it did not always do so in past years.
Committee members then turned their attention to a request from Associate Provost Tara McNealy. Provost McNealy asked the CCOC to make a recommendation concerning her proposal to determine just which “student learning domains” faculty members believe to be most important to incorporate into the core curriculum. Committee members endorsed Provost McNealy’s view that a survey of the faculty to determine their learning-domain preferences was advisable. Nevertheless, members had reservations about elements of the “2011 General Education Skills Survey” that Provost McNealy proposed to send out to faculty members. Many observed that the unfamiliar terminology used in the survey was unclear to faculty members, and some proposed ways of assessing faculty preferences for learning domains other than the selection of 3-4 domain names from a list called for by the survey. Committee members therefore asked for LTC Lucas to compose a memo to LTC McNealy expressing the Committee’s questions and reservations, so that she might address them at a future meeting. Lucas did so.
At the October 18, 2011, meeting, LTC McNealy addressed Committee members’ questions about how best to gauge faculty wishes concerning learning domains that should be incorporated into the core curriculum. LTC McNealy distributed a revised version of the proposed faculty survey first introduced at the 9/27/11 CCOC meeting. After reviewing it, the Committee voted to have faculty members select 5 domains out of the 13 offered on the revised survey document and to rank each of those chosen domains from 1 to 5, with one being the highest. LTC McNealy agreed to send out the faculty survey and to forward to the CCOC the results she received.
The next meeting was on 11/15/11. LTC Tara McNealy opened the session with a report on the results of the faculty survey the Committee approved at its 10/18/11 meeting. This survey asked faculty members to select the five general-education skill domains they held to be most critical for inclusion in The Citadel’s core curriculum and to rank them from one to five. Out of the 13 choices, four skill domains stood above the rest in faculty preference, earning over a 3.0 on the 5.0 scale. These were critical thinking (3.73), written communication (3.45), ethical reasoning (3.32), and quantitative (3.21). (The numbers in parentheses represent each skill domain’s average rating by faculty.) After discussion, the Committee voted to recommend the four skill domains most highly ranked by the faculty as a whole: critical thinking, written communication, ethical reasoning, and quantitative skills. The CCOC voted to ask the Faculty Assessment and Analysis Team (FAAT) to create learning-outcome drafts for these skill domains, which will be a series of sentences stating desired learning outcomes for each of the recommended skills.
The final meeting of the CCOC was held on 4/3/12. LTC Tara McNealy distributed to committee members the learning-outcome statements developed by the Faculty Analysis and Assessment Team. Committee members reviewed the proposed learning-outcome statements, discussing them, reworking them, and then voting on each revised statement. In the end, the following statements were recommended to Academic Board by the Committee:
Written Communication Learning Outcome: Student can effectively communicate ideas in a logical sequence, demonstrating control of syntax and mechanics and the ability to integrate credible and relevant sources.
Quantitative Reasoning Learning Outcome: Student can use quantitative-reasoning skills to successfully make calculations, interpret data, communicate results, and evaluate an issue or solve a problem.
Critical Thinking Learning Outcome: Student can analyze complex issues that have varying positions and assumptions using information from credible sources. Student has the ability to state positions, create new positions, and acknowledge other positions including implications and consequences.
Ethical Reasoning Learning Outcome: Student can recognize ethical issues when presented in a complex, multilayered (gray) context, analyze cross-relationships among the issues, and evaluate ethical perspectives and concepts, including his or her own.
The meeting ended with further discussion of some of the possible venues for assessing core-curriculum learning outcomes. LTC Lucas agreed to create a memo