General Education
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Letter to Faculty

Our accreditation body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, requires us to assess our General Education program and to show that our curricula “are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education…” (Middle States Characteristics of Excellence Standard 12, http://www.msche.org/publications/CHX06_Aug08REVMarch09.pdf, p. 47) With this mandate in mind, the General Education Committee will pilot an assessment of student learning this fall and invites all faculty to participate. The following paragraphs give a brief background and outline of the planned process.

BACKGROUND:

In the spring of 2013, the Faculty Senate approved the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes (http://www.aacu.org/leap/documents/EssentialOutcomes_Chart.pdf), four broad outcomes that will help students prepare themselves for continued study beyond their studies here and/or for careers. In fall 2013, the General Education Committee decided to see whether Bergen students nearing completion of their degrees (those with a minimum of 45 credits) can demonstrate proficiency in the LEAP goal of Intellectual and Practical Skills, specifically critical and creative thinking and/or written and oral communication.

DATA COLLECTION:

To help the General Education Committee gather data, we are asking for full-time and adjunct faculty to submit student artifacts (all artifacts from one ungraded assignment) that they believe are representative of critical and creative thinking and/or written and oral communication skills. These artifacts can be, but are not limited to, an exam, a paper, an oral presentation, or a visual production. Faculty, course, and student names (once it’s established that the student has a minimum of 45 credits) will be removed from the artifacts. This is an assessment of student learning, not of faculty or of quality of assignments.

In January 2014, a small group of faculty working with the CIE Fellows will use rubrics to examine the anonymous work to see if we meet our desired results. The group will also make any necessary revisions to the plan so that the assessment project can be repeated in the spring.

The attached documents – Process and Timeline for artifact submission and sample rubrics -- should clarify this project. The General Education Committee would like to thank you in advance for making this a truly faculty-driven assessment project. This project will allow us all to see strengths and weaknesses in our students’ learning and where we can make improvements. We look forward to sharing the results of this pilot project with everyone at the Spring 2014 Faculty Conference.

Sincerely,

General Education Committee
Gail Fernandez, Committee Chair

William Mullaney, Vice-President of Academic Affairs