November 2011 Minutes--Wednesday, November 9, 2011  

12 noon—1:30p.m. in RVAC106

Committee members in attendance: C. Pudlinski, M. Leake, J. Conway, M. Dischino, M. Levvis, P. Mihalek, and S. Mastrobattisto

1.       September minutes were approved

2.       Updates:

a.       Enrollment in Spring 2012 FYE classes

C. Pudlinski shared with the committee that CACE has started placing students in FYE classes.  23 students have been placed.  60 to 70 will need to be placed.  Students coming in with 15 credits or less are required to take a FYE class.  CACE will have advising sessions with incoming students in the spring. 

b.      Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society Induction

C. Pudlinski mentioned that 30 students attended the induction.  14 tables were filled with students and their families.   The Provost gave 15 minutes of remarks.  M. Leake suggested that students plan the events in the future.  P. Mihalek suggested we send pictures to University Relations.  C. Pudlinski will send pictures to M. Levvis to post on the website.  P. Mihalek mentioned that the pictures may help recruit new students for next year.      

3.       Review FYE Student Outcomes Assessment

C. Pudlinski asked the committee if there should be any changes to the current First-Year Experience Survey.  CACE has asked for some questions to be added.  They are particularly interested in the impact of the undecided student sections with CACE mentors embedded.  J. Conway suggested that an extra page be used in these sections for open-ended questions.  M. Leake agreed.  The Yes/ No section of the Survey would be a good place for the questions, “did you take one of the career surveys on Central Connections?” and “did you discuss your choices of major and/ or career with your academic advisor?”.  For the question “did you find the web tools and advisor helpful in planning and goal setting?”, the section that asks students to strongly agree or strongly disagree would work best.  P. Mihalek does not think question D will be helpful if it is not an open ended question.    C. Pudlinski suggested putting question D on a separate sheet of paper.  M. Leake thinks the survey is long enough and that CACE can get the information themselves by other means.  The committee decided to add 2 yes-no questions, but have question D available only to those students directly served by CACE mentors.  

4.        Discuss Proposed Revision to General Education

C. Pudlinski handed out the document “Draft Ideas for Revision of General Education” to the committee.  The proposal includes a critical inquiry seminar and description that would serve as the FYE requirement in General Education.  The proposed seminar would be a writing intensive course. 

J. Conway mentioned it would be a different kind of faculty who would want to teach a critical inquiry seminar rather than a FYE course.  M. Leake agreed, and added this would be a different commitment for faculty.  M. Leake commented, “I think this is a radical change.” 

M. Leake shared that it took SCSU a year to develop a critical inquiry FYE course.  C. Pudlinski stated that a good first year program needs to be flexible, challenging, and different.

M. Leake stated that the new proposal would change everything the FYE Steering Committee is doing; it would effectively replace the FYE program.  Leake added that critical thinking seminars should not take the place of the existing FYE program. The existing FYE program’s learning outcomes were developed by faculty and have been implemented and assessed all along.   However, the seminars are being proposed as a replacement.  P.  Mihalek mentioned it might be too early for something like this.  C. Pudlinski raised concerns about how something like this would be implemented. The logistics will take a great deal of time and coordination.  

M. Dischino pointed out that critical thinking is already in courses.  She also highlighted that students would miss out by not having a FYE course.  C. Pudlinski stated that without FYE courses students may be less connected to campus as this is one of the key learning outcomes of our existing FYE program.  P. Mihalek pointed out that all the goals of the critical thinking seminar will not be able to fit into a four credit course. 

The committee had concerns about replacing or combining FYE courses with a critical thinking seminar.   M. Leake stated that it is unlikely that the other learning outcomes of the current program would, or could, be accomplished in a critical thinking course model.  P. Mihalek pointed out that the purposes of a critical thinking seminar and our FYE program are different. 

The committee moved on to discussing “Plan B” of the “Draft Proposals for General Education.”  C. Pudlinski mentioned that plans could be mixed and matched, and that different components of each plan could be combined.

5.       To retreat or not retreat?

C. Pudlinski brought up the point that the committee has no money for a faculty retreat.  He went on to say that a retreat would be a good opportunity for faculty members to share with one another their experiences teaching a FYE course.  A retreat would also serve as a way to recruit new faculty.  M. Leake suggested doing something in May.  C. Pudlinski mentioned that training has been successful in May.  However, it is too late to be helpful for recruiting for the fall.  M. Leake suggested doing something during the university hour and that January might be a good time.  C. Pudlinski mentioned the Tuesday and Thursday of the third week of classes might be a good time.  P. Mihalek suggested skipping a year and encouraging current FYE faculty to recruit new FYE faculty. 

C. Pudlinski introduced a plan to push to get every department involved with the FYE program.  He wants to meet with departments that do not have a FYE section.  C. Pudlinski wants to recruit new faculty as they are coming in.  He wants to offer training to anyone who wants it.  M. Leake mentioned that she will work with the Provost to get more funds.  M.  Leake suggested connecting FYE and advising training, and having faculty development around advising.  Using different language may help the Provost to understand the situation better.  M. Leake said that we need to get faculty development funds back. 

P. Mihalek mentioned only a few faculty members will do training on a regular basis.  C. Pudlinski wants training to be open for more faculty members in May.  C. Pudlinski said the plan is to see what we can do in April for new and existing faculty. 

The committee discussed possible topics for future faculty training sessions.  M. Leake introduced the idea of a first year summer reading program.  S. Mastrobattisto is researching how other campus’ have implemented the common first year reader on their campuses.   

      

  

   

      

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