Jun 21, 2021  
2020-21 University Handbook 
    
2020-21 University Handbook

Chapter 7 - Academic Programs and Curriculum


Section 1 - Academic Program Proposals

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 2 - Assessment

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 3 - Department Review

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 4 - Articulation Agreement

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 5 - Grade Review Subcommittee

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 6 - General Education Program: Overview

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 7 was deleted

Section 8 - Reorganizing Academic Units

(To see who has authority to approve changes to this section, please see the Approval of Changes  page).

Section 9 was deleted
Section 10 - Deleting Majors, Minors, and Certificates (Program Discontinuance)

CHAPTER 7 ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND CURRICULUM

SECTION 1:  ACADEMIC PROGRAM PROPOSALS

(New and Revised, including delete, renumber, rename, and re-prefix)

Departments and others wishing to submit undergraduate proposals for consideration by the Curriculum Committee or graduate proposals for consideration by the Graduate Council shall prepare the proposals in detail according to the process outlined on the Common Council website under “Committees” (Curriculum Committe, Graduate Council).  Carefully prepared proposals will enable the Curriculum Committee, Graduate Council, Common Council and the administration to review and reach a sound decision on the relative merits of the proposal.

Email undergraduate proposals to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee at curriculum.committee@uwsp.edu, the Dean(s) of any College(s) concerned, and the Chair(s) of any department(s) that could be affected by the proposal.  Submit graduate proposals to the Graduate Council chair and the Dean(s) of the College(s) concerned.

In order to assure sufficient time for consideration by the appropriate committee or council, proposals should be submitted as far in advance as possible.

NEW AND REVISED UNDERGRADUATE AND/OR GRADUATE COURSES

Proposals for new or revised (including delete, renumber, rename, and re-prefix) undergraduate or graduate courses shall be prepared according to the Course Revision Form on the Common Council website.

NOTES:

  1. No unapproved courses shall be listed in the University Timetable unless the proposed course has been submitted to the proper committees before April 1 for the following spring semester and November 1 for the following fall semester.
  2. In the case of a slash course, the curriculum committee must have acted on the undergraduate course prior to the submission of the course proposal to the Graduate Council.
    PLEASE NOTE: Slash course proposals will automatically be forwarded to the Graduate Council by the Curriculum Committee Secretary once approved by the Curriculum Committee.

UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS AND MINORS

NEW MAJORS

Proposed new majors should be prepared using the UW System Guidelines for Academic Program Planning and Approval, found later in this Section.

REVISED MAJORS AND MINORS

Proposals to revise undergraduate majors and minors shall be prepared according to the Program Revision Form

NEW MINORS

Proposals to create new minors shall be prepared according to the Program Revision Form

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

NEW PROGRAMS

Proposed new graduate programs should be prepared using the UW System Guidelines for Academic Program Planning and Approval, found later in this Section.

REVISED PROGRAMS

Proposals to revise graduate programs shall show the existing program, then the new program, and clearly point out the proposed revisions and rationale and justification for such revisions. 

NEW COURSES INCLUDED IN NEW OR REVISED PROGRAMS

New courses being proposed in conjunction with a new or revised program should be fully explained as though the course was being introduced independently.  In such cases, the Graduate Council will consider the course additions and/or changes first and then consider the proposed and/or revised program.

PROCEDURE IN GRADUATE COUNCIL CONSIDERATION

The Graduate Council will rely basically upon the written documents submitted for its determination of the rationale and justification for the proposed change; however, the requesting department shall be expected to have a representative at the meeting to answer any questions which might arise.

REFERRAL BACK TO DEPARTMENT                     

Any proposals submitted in a format different from that described above will be rejected and will be returned to the department or individual proposing the change until submitted in proper form.

GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM COURSE PROPOSALS

The General Education Committee oversees all components of the university-wide General Education Program.  A major function of the committee is screening courses for inclusion among those that may be used to fulfill general education requirements.  No existing or new course will be accepted automatically as fulfilling a general education requirement.

Proposals to add or revise a General Education Program designation to a course shall be prepared according to the General Education Program (GEP) Course Application Form.

UW SYSTEM GUIDELINES FOR ACADEMIC PROGRAM PLANNING AND APPROVAL

Departments considering the development of a new academic program should discuss the proposed program with the dean and the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. UW System policies related to program planning, delivery, review, and reporting are detailed in UW System Administrative Policy 102. Specifically, UW System Administrative Policy 102, Section 2 outlines the approval process for developing and implementing new academic degree programs. Additional information including the UW Board of Regents Program Authorization Guide and program budget templates are available at: https://www.wisconsin.edu/program-planning/.

Once UW System approval is obtained, proposals for new undergraduate majors shoud be prepared according to the instructions on the Program Revision Form.
 

SECTION 2:  ASSESSMENT

UWSP will assess student learning within both the General Education Program and the various department-level academic programs.  The purpose of assessment is to ensure the continuous improvement of student learning by informing all choices related to the curricular and instructional changes, programs, and policies that contribute to student success.  In this way, assessment is intended to provide the foundation for academic planning and decision making.

THE ASSESSMENT PLAN

The evaluation of student learning will move beyond the purely anecdotal and personal experiences of individual faculty or departments to study the undergraduate experience as a whole.  In this way, assessment will provide information to use in decision making related to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning, department review, and other key institutional outcomes.  Intentional coordination of efforts is the key to the assessment plan, with each effort centered on a model of continuous improvement with student learning as the focus.  Program-level assessment will be carried out by academic departments that submit reports to the Assessment Subcommittee; the assessment of general education will be the responsibility of the General Education Committee; and institutional-level assessment (which will inform the work of both the Assessment Subcommittee and the General Education Committee) will be administered by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

The assessment of undergraduate programs at UWSP will have four components:

  1. an analysis of new student attributes and prior experiences;
  2. an evaluation of learning within the general education curriculum
  3. an evaluation of learning within department-level academic programs; and
  4. institutional-level measures, including surveys of student perceptions and a value-added measurement of student learning from the freshman to senior years.

ANALYSIS OF NEW STUDENT ABILITIES

The knowledge, skills and perspectives outlined previously need to be analyzed first among our new students, primarily the incoming freshmen.  The regent-mandated placement tests of verbal and quantitative skills already help place students in the most appropriate English, math and foreign language courses as well as identify students in need of remedial work.  The placement test results are integrated as a second component of a freshman profile in the larger assessment program.  Finally, an inventory administered to new freshmen helps identify our new students’ values and perspectives.  These components help us understand freshman knowledge, skills and perspectives.

GENERAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT

The assessment of student learning in the General Education curriculum will be the responsibility of the General Education Committee.  Assessment within the General Education Program is intended to be a formal process of inquiry into student learning.  More than simply an exercise in documenting the level of student achievement within the program, assessment is an exploration of how and why students learn, or fail to learn, within a particular curricular and pedagogical context.  It explores both the outcomes that students achieve as well as the processes through which they learn.  In this way, assessment should be viewed as an open-ended scholarly activity, a collaborative action research project aimed at the improvement of teaching and learning.  (For a detailed explanation of the theory underpinning this approach to assessment, see Peggy Maki, Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution, Second Edition (2010), 123-153.)

The evaluation of student learning in the General Education curriculum will be the responsibility of the General Education Committee (GEC).  The role of the committee in this regard shall be to:

  1. recommend policies and procedures for the General Education assessment to the Common Council;
  2. facilitate the process by which General Education assessment data is gathered, evaluated, and communicated;
  1. assist departments and faculty to identify, develop and utilize course-level assessment measures;
  2. identify, develop, and utilize institutional level measures in concert with the Assessment Subcommittee and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness;
  1. make recommendations to Common Council regarding improvements to the General Educational Program;
  2. support instructional development and curricular improvements;
  3. review and update the General Education assessment process regularly.

Assessment of student learning within the General Education curriculum will take place on a five-year cycle.  The first four years of the cycle will be focused on courses in the four levels of the curriculum.  In addition, during each of the first four years, information will be gathered related to one of the four General Education Program Outcomes from courses in the Investigation Level.  Based on these results, the fifth year of the Assessment Cycle will be devoted to a comprehensive review of the General Education Program and Assessment Plan.

Year 1:
  • Foundation-Level Courses (First Year Seminar, Written and Oral Communication, Quantitative Literacy, and Wellness)
  • Program Outcome 1 (Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative and communication skill necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing global society)
Year 2:
  • Investigation-Level Courses (Arts, Humanities, Historical Perspectives, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences)
  • Program Outcome 2 (Demonstrate broad knowledge of the physical, social, and cultural worlds as well as the methods by which this knowledge is produced.
Year 3:
  • Cultural and Environmental Awareness-Level Courses (Global Awareness, U.S. Diversity, and Environmental Responsibility)
  • Program Outcome 3 (Recognize that responsible global citizenship involves personal accountability, social equity, and environmental sustainability)
Year 4:
  • Integration-Level Courses (Interdisciplinary Studies, Experiential Learning, Communication in the Major, and Capstone Experience in the Major)
  • Program Outcome 4 (Apply their knowledge and skills, working in the interdisciplinary ways to solve problems)
Year 5:
  • Comprehensive Review of General Education Program and Assessment Plan

Evidence of student achievement will be collected along three dimensions: (a) course-based measurements for each GEP level utilizing course portfolios compiled by instructors, (b) institutional-level measurements conducted through periodic standardized tests and surveys administered by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and (c) course-based measurements for each of the four GE Program Outcomes, potentially utilizing course portfolios and departmental assessment. Each year, this information will be reviewed and evaluated by faculty learning communities under the direction of the GEC, the Director of General Education, and the Assessment Coordinator. In turn, the GEC will annually report these results and its recommendations for improving the General Education Program to the Common Council, the Provost, the Deans, and others.

Course-Based Measurements

The GEC will regularly gather course-level information on student learning through the collection of course portfolios. A course portfolio is a selection of materials from a given course-including the syllabus and relevant examples of student work-along with reflective statements written by the instructor that explore how the course structures and assessment strategies contributed to student learning. Faculty members teaching designated General Education courses will be required to prepare a course portfolio according to the five-year cycle noted above. Departments are responsible for developing a plan to assess all courses bearing the GEP designation at least once during the cycle year corresponding to the GEP Level. The GEC and AS are available to provide input on such a plan specifying in which semester and which section(s) will be assessed. The departments are granted latitude to determine a sufficient representative sample of sections in multi-section courses to adequately capture student achievement of the GEP learning outcomes. An assessment portfolio must be submitted for all GEP designated courses. Each course portfolio will contain the following elements:

  1. Course Information:

  1. A syllabus, including an explanation of how the intended learning outcomes of the course align with those of the General Education Program category.
  2. A brief narrative describing how the relevant General Education learning outcomes will be met by students through course experiences, assignments, and/or activities.
  1. Assessment Information:

  1. A discipline-appropriate evaluation of student attainment of at least one learning outcome, including a brief explanation of how student learning was assessed. (Note: Although courses should be designed to meet all the approved learning outcomes in a particular category, the actual assessment can and should focus on a smaller subset of these outcomes.)
  2. Examples of student work related to the evaluation above showing a range of student achievement.
  3. The specific criteria or rubric that was used to evaluate student work.
  4. Results of any other feedback mechanisms used in the course that explore student perceptions of course assignments and their alignment with the general education learning outcomes.
  5. A brief statement explaining how assessment results will be used to improve learning in the course in the future.
The General Education Assessment Process

The annual process of evaluating student learning within the General Education curriculum will have the following steps:

  1. At the beginning of each academic year, the GEC will establish faculty learning communities for each area of the curriculum being assessed during that year. Each faculty learning community will include 4-6 faculty members teaching courses in the categories under review and includes the Assessment Coordinator and a member of the GEC representing the particular GEP category. The faculty learning community will coordinate with faculty across campus to ensure the body of course portfolios will provide adequate evidence of student learning for each of the learning outcomes in the GEP category.
  2. Instructors teaching courses in areas under review in the fall semester will prepare and submit course portfolios to the Assessment Coordinator by February 1
  3. Each faculty learning community will review course portfolios provided by the Assessment Coordinator and provide feedback to instructors. This feedback will only be shared with the instructor.
  4. The Assessment Coordinator will collaborate with the faculty learning communities to aggregate findings from the course portfolios, along with data from the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, and prepare a report for the General Education Committee by October 1. No information identifying instructors, students or specific courses shall be included in the report.
  5. The GEC will report to the Common Council on its assessment of student learning, including any recommendations to improve the curriculum. The report may also recommend further action research projects to investigate particular aspects of student learning or to explore the impact of particular changes to the curriculum.  The report must be submitted to the Common Council by December 1. This report will be shared with the Provost, the Deans, and the department chairs. In addition, it will be posted online to be available to the campus community and others.
Institutional-Level Measurements

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will regularly administer standardized tests and student surveys in an effort to measure student learning and experiences on campus. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will work with the GEC, the Director of General Education, and the Assessment Coordinator to share results that are applicable and useful for assessment within the General Education Program. These tests will include those institutional-level assessments required for external accountability or reporting.

Given that such measurements provide an institutional snapshot of student learning; the results will be utilized by the GEC in concert with other data gathered through course-based assessment.

The Use of Assessment Results

Assessment results are intended for two purposes: 1) to provide feedback to individual instructors to assist in their efforts to improve student learning within their courses; and 2) to make judgments about the effectiveness of the General Education Program and to inform recommendations for its improvement. To achieve these aims, assessment results will be shared in the following manner:

  1. Each instructor submitting a course portfolio will receive individual feedback from the faculty learning community, including an evaluation of the assessment method utilized in the course and recommendations for the improvement of student learning. This evaluation will include the rubric used by the faculty learning community in forming its opinions. This information will be provided only to the instructors themselves and will not be shared with departments, Deans, the Provost, or the GEC.
  2. Working in concert with the faculty learning communities, the Assessment Coordinator will compile reports on student learning for the GEC, removing references to specific courses and instructors. The GEC’s final report will contain:
  1. A summary of student attainment of the learning outcomes in the relevant General Education areas.
  2. Recommendations based on these assessment results for the improvement of the General Education curriculum. These recommendations may include proposals for further action research projects related to particular courses, GEP categories, GE Program Outcomes, or specific groups of students.
  1. The GEC will report annually to the Common Council sharing its evaluation and recommendations with the Provost, the Deans, and the department chairs. The report will also be posted online to be available to the campus community and others.
  2. In conjunction with the Director of General Education and the Assessment Coordinator, the GEC will work with various units on campus in order to provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. In this manner, the GEC will help to “close the loop” by allowing assessment of student learning lead to curricular and pedagogical improvements. Such professional development opportunities might include:
  1. Workshops on effective assessment of student learning in the General Education curriculum.
  2. Instructional development necessitated by Common Council-approved changes to the curriculum or learning outcomes.
  3. Action research projects intended to provide further information on student learning within the curriculum.

DEPARTMENT-LEVEL PROGRAM ASSESSMENT

Each department* has the responsibility to assess student learning within its undergraduate and graduate programs** and to analyze and use the results to modify the program outcomes or curriculum where necessary to ensure the continuous improvement of student learning.

*Here, “department” is defined to include departments, divisions, and schools depending on the college involved, or in some cases, interdisciplinary programs.  In the case of the College of Natural Resources, “department” refers to the entire college excluding the Department of Paper Science and Chemical Engineering.

**And “programs” refers to curricula of study, e.g., majors, minors, certificates.

Departments shall determine the methods of assessment and the instruments to be used that best meet assessment needs.  These must provide information that can be used to identify both curricular and instructional strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Oversight of department-level program assessment will be the responsibility of the Assessment Subcommittee, a permanent subcommittee of the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC).  The role of the subcommittee will be to:

  1. develop the policies and procedures for academic program assessment;
  2. assist departments in selecting and developing appropriate assessment techniques, including direct measures;
  3. in concert with the general education committee and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness select, develop, and administer institutional level assessment procedures and instruments consonant with UWSP’s Mission;
  4. oversee compilation of department assessment data;
  5. assist departments as they update and review their assessment efforts;
  6. address deficiencies in the assessment process; and
  7. promote assessment through activities such as sponsoring workshops and forums, developing a web-site, publicizing assessment activities and results, and meeting with administrators.

The subcommittee will NOT

  1. conduct department reviews;
  2. evaluate departments or courses;
  3. assess the worth of departments or programs on the basis of assessment data submitted.
The Department-Level Program Assessment Process

At this time, the majors in each department are the only programs to be reviewed by the Assessment Subcommittee (i.e., not minors and certificates).

Each department will keep on file with the Assessment Subcommittee a current five-year Assessment Plan denoting year-by-year how the department will gather and utilize assessment information.  The plan should include the learning outcomes for each major within the department; a curriculum map illustrating how courses within the program align with these outcomes; and an explanation of the assessment techniques or strategies that will be used to evaluate student learning within the program.

In addition, each department will be required to report to the Assessment Subcommittee on its evaluation of student learning and process improvement for (at least) one learning outcome (hereafter, focal learning outcome) for each program in each academic year. Each program learning outcome should be evaluated in turn before being evaluated again, as part of a program-specific cycle. This reporting of assessment results is intended to be a collegial and formative process and will have the following steps:

  1. The department will evaluate student learning in a written assessment report for each program using the format described below. (During years in which the entire department is under review, annual assessment reports will be summarized in the larger Department Self-Study Report. See UWSP Handbook, Chapter 7, Section 3.) The department must send copies of the assessment report as a PDF-formatted file to the chair of the Assessment Subcommittee.
  2. The Assessment Subcommittee will provide the department with written feedback of its assessment report outlining the subcommittee’s conclusions and recommendations. This feedback will include the rubric used by the subcommittee in forming its opinions. This feedback will be delivered only to the department.

Department assessment reports are intended to be campus resources and will be available to anyone who requests them.  The Assessment Subcommittee is the custodian of all department assessment reports, and the reports, along with the department assessment plans, will be maintained in the Common Council files.

Responses To Delinquent Assessment Reports

Because each department assessment report is intended to provide the foundation for decision making within the unit, it is important that the reports be completed in a timely fashion.  When a department fails to complete its annual assessment report according to the program-specific cycle of the department’s five-year assessment plan, the provost will hold all staffing and budgeting decisions for the delinquent department in abeyance.  Extenuating circumstances can relax this policy, at the discretion of the provost, if they are communicated by the dean to the provost and Assessment Subcommittee.

Content of the Assessment Report

An updated five-year assessment plan will accompany the annual assessment report. Each annual report should be submitted to the Assessment Subcommittee by the third Thursday in October of each year and have the following parts:

  1. Program Learning Outcomes: List all program learning outcomes, specifically indicating the knowledge, skills, and dispositions students will develop. The focal program learning outcome being assessed should be indicated.
  2. Current Curriculum Map: Include the program curriculum map depicting the ways in which courses, activities and requirements support all program learning outcomes.
  3. Summary of Previous Results: If the focal learning outcome has been assessed previously, provide a brief (<250 words) abstract of those results.
  4. Brief Description of Departmental Improvements and Changes as related to assessment: If the focal learning outcome has been assessed previously, describe specific changes that have been made (to curriculum, assessment methods, etc.), based on that previous assessment.
  5.  Assessment Strategies/Measures/Techniques/Methods: Include brief descriptions of assessment methods used in the program to assess student learning. Examples of assessment methods include exams, portfolios, pre- and post-­ tests, direct observation of performance, surveys (current students, alumni, employers), focus groups, and national exams.
  6.  Assessment Results/Findings/Interpretation: Describe specifically what the assessment results reveal about student learning in the context of the stated focal program learning outcome.
  7.  Implications: Describe how results will be used by the department to enhance student learning, including changes to the curriculum, assessment techniques, and/or learning outcomes.
  8. Dissemination of Findings: Describe how the findings of the departmental assessment work will be disseminated, to whom, and for what purpose.

INSTITUTIONAL-LEVEL MEASURES

Institutional-level measures (where the university is the “unit of analysis”) will be an essential component of the assessment program at UWSP in that they can supplement other measures of student learning and provide some triangulation of data.

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness administers standardized instruments and student engagement surveys, among others that are required for assessing institutional performance or improvement activities. Institutional-level measures can be mapped to university outcomes (for example, general education learning outcomes}, which increases potential applications of the institutional data and maximizes resources.

The university will use standardized testing of freshman and seniors at regular intervals to provide a “value-added” measurement of student learning, particularly in the domains of critical thinking and writing. The measurement of these domains fulfills external requirements for accountability and also can contribute to the assessment of general education. To accomplish the latter, the standardized measures can be mapped to the general education program learning outcomes related to reading, critical thinking, writing, and mathematics. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will disseminate results and collaborate with the General Education Committee on the interpretation of the data for use in their assessment of general education.

Additionally, UWSP will participate at regular intervals in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) of freshmen and seniors. This, too, is used partially to fulfill requirements for accountability, and has the potential to inform the assessment of student learning. For example, items from NSSE can be mapped to the general education learning outcomes to provide additional measures of progress and evidence of outcome achievement.

EVALUATING THE ASSESSMENT PLAN

Evaluation of the assessment plan outlined above is a task of both the General Education Committee and the Assessment Subcommittee.  This evaluation will be ongoing, and faculty members have the right at any time to convey concerns and suggestions to both committees. In addition, a formal and complete evaluation of General Education assessment and department-level program assessment will be scheduled every five years, according to a schedule determined by the General Education Committee and the Assessment Subcommittee, respectively.

SECTION 3:  DEPARTMENT REVIEW

The effective evaluation of student learning within department program(s) should provide the foundation for decision making within a department, serving to identify strengths and challenges, inform requests for additional resources (such as FTE positions; classroom, lab space, and other facilities; library material, or computing equipment), and guide planning efforts.  Consequently, the process of department review will build upon the on-going program assessment process

Department review will be an integral part of faculty governance through the Department Review Subcommittee (DRS), a permanent subcommittee of the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) responsible for conducting all local department* reviews.  The purposes of department reviews are 1) to provide each department a formal mechanism to evaluate and communicate to appropriate decision makers the department’s strengths, challenges and needs; 2) to garner collegial support and perspective for meeting the department’s needs; and 3) to evoke a commitment from administration concerning continuation of the department’s program(s) and/or intent to address the identified needs.  The goal will be to review the programs within each department every ten years according to the “Reporting Cycle for Assessment and Department Review” drafted by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Teaching, Learning, and Strategic Planning and approved by the AAC.

*Here, “department” is defined to include departments, divisions, and schools depending on the college involved, or in some cases, interdisciplinary programs.  In the case of the College of Natural Resources, “department” refers to the entire college excluding the Department of Paper Science and Chemical Engineering

THE DEPARTMENT REVIEW PROCESS

Department review is intended to be a collegial and formative process that will take place in the following steps:

  1. The faculty and staff of the department under review engage in critical analysis of the department’s activities.  This “self-study” is an evaluation of the department’s activities, strengths, challenges and needs.  The department communicates its findings in a written Self-Study Report, using the format described below.  The department must send copies of the Self-Study Report as an electronic file to its dean, the provost, the chair of the DRS, and the chair of the Assessment Subcommittee.
  2. The department prepares a list of five candidates from other institutions who have credentials sufficient for a tenured appointment in the department to review the Self-Study Report and conduct a site visit to evaluate the department.  The dean, in consultation with the provost, will select at least two of these five candidates to comprise the Site Visit Team.  One of the Site Visit Team members must be from a UW System Institution and one must be from outside of the UW System.  The dean will formally invite the team to campus, arrange travel, and facilitate an appropriate honorarium.  Travel costs and honoraria will be paid by the provost’s office.
  3. The department sends the Self-Study Report to the approved Site Visit Team members and, in consultation with the dean, will arrange a schedule for a one- or two-day site visit.  The Site Visit Team will be given at least the following instructions:
  1. They are to review the Self-Study Report document carefully before the site visit.  They may use any other sources of information the deem appropriate and collegial in their review of the department; their final report must list all sources used in the review, including names of individuals with whom the team has materially conferred.
  2. Their goal is to help the department improve its programs and its academic stature.  They are specifically to evaluate the department’s efficiencies in discharging its stated mission, the currency of the curricula for departmental programs, and the appropriateness of the scholarship and service of the personnel.
  3. While on campus, the will meet with appropriate administrators, as requested by the dean.  They must submit a single written report to the dean that evaluates the department’s strengths and weaknesses and its ability to meet its mission.  The report should make specific recommendations to campus decision makers concerning ongoing support to the department.
  4. The Site Visit Team should orally report their preliminary findings to the department before leaving campus.  The written report is to be submitted within two weeks of concluding the site visit.
  1. Upon receipt of the report, the dean will immediately forward copies to the department and the DRS.  The department will write a response to the Site Visit Team’s report.  The departmental response may include corrections of fact, rebuttals to conclusions, or simple concurrence and elaborations.  The deans will also comment on the department’s Self-Study Report and the Site Visit Team report.  Both the departmental response and the dean’s comments must be submitted to the DRS within two weeks of receipt of the Site Visit Team report.
  2. The DRS will review the Departmental Self-Study Report, the report of the Site Visit Team, the department response, and the dean’s comments and write an evaluation that includes its recommendations to the department and the administration.  The evaluation should also address the quality of the faculty, the curriculum, students, library and other educational resources and facilities, and the academic reputation of the program among its peers.  The committee will compile this material together into a single Summary Report to be submitted to the department, the dean, and the provost.
  3. A meeting of the provost, the dean, department chair, and chair of the DRS will be the final formal discussion of the DRS Summary Report.  The provost will then provide a written comment on the department review, to be appended to the DRS Summary Report.  The dean will have the option of appending a second response to the Summary Report as well.
  4. The DRS will then forward the final Summary Report to the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC).  The AAC will verify that all procedures of this section have been properly followed and the committee minutes will specifically note any delinquencies or irregularities in the review.  Following acceptance by the Common Council of the AAC minutes, the provost will write a second response to the departmental review, which will include a final decision regarding the continued support of the department and each degree program offered under the department’s auspices.  This will conclude the review of the department.

USES OF DEPARTMENT REVIEW

Department review is intended to provide the primary source of information for administrative decisions regarding the department.  All decisions related to structure, budget, and personnel must specifically reference the most recent report.  In only rare cases is a decision sufficiently exigent to warrant proceeding without a current department review.  A department review is current if the review was completed within the preceding ten years.  The reports are intended to be campus resources and will be available to anyone who requests them.  The DRS is the custodian of the reports and the reports will be maintained in the Common Council files.

RESPONSES TO DELINQUENT REVIEWS

The department review reports are important planning documents that inform decisions throughout the campus.  It is therefore important that the reviews and reporting be completed in a timely fashion.  When a department fails to complete its self-study according to the “Reporting Cycle for Assessment and Department Review,” it makes such decision making difficult.  Therefore, the provost will hold all staffing and budgeting decisions for the delinquent department in abeyance.  Extenuating circumstances can relax this policy, at the discretion of the provost, if they are communicated by the dean to the provost and DRS.

THE UWSP DEPARTMENT REVIEW SELF-STUDY REPORT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

As a component of the department review process, each department’s self-study should consist of the following sections.  Departments that undergo professional accreditation may use their most recent accreditation self-studies with the agency reports as the basis for their Self-Study Reports.  The department must augment the accreditation report to include the content of this section.  Questions regarding completeness of each response should be directed to the chair of the UWSP Department Review Subcommittee.

The Narrative.  In this section, the department under review presents information addressing the following areas. As appropriate, appendices I-IV may also be referenced in this section. Page lengths are strictly enforced.

  1. Overview of department mission (1/2 page)

  • The mission and values statement(s) of the department, if such statements have been formally adopted by the department
  • A statement explaining how the department advances the mission and values of the college and the university
  1. Overview of major achievements and relevant trends over the last 10 years (2-3 pages)

  • Review of successes in accomplishing the goals identified in the previous department review
  • A discussion of relevant trends not anticipated or discussed in previous department review (e.g., impact of GEP implementation)
  • Summary of assessment results (from Appendix III below) and their implications for the department.
  1. Discussion of the most important strengths and challenges related to the following categories:  (5-6 pages)

  • The quality of the faculty
  • The adequacy of the curriculum (including information about Diversity Education and if applicable, General Education, Graduate education, and online offerings)
  • The success of the students before and after graduation
  • The structure and effectiveness of academic advising
  • The adequacy of physical facilities (classroom or lab space, equipment, library resources, etc.)
  1. Goals and plans for the next 10 years, in light of the self-study process. (~1 page)  

Appendix I - Department-Specific Information
  • Evidence of faculty and staff participation in the department review process, including departmental minutes related to the formal acceptance of the Self-Study Report
  • A list or table of personnel in the department during the review period that provides the following information:
  • University Staff: title and dates of hire and departure, as appropriate
  • Faculty and Academic Staff: title with rank; dates of hire and departure, as appropriate; all promotions, tenure, or indefinite appointments.
  • Other significant information in support of the narrative above, such as faculty research and awards; student research and/or other accomplishments; or results from student, faculty, and/or alumni surveys.
Appendix II - Department Planning Profile
  • Provided to departments by the UWSP Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
  • Includes data on enrollment, credit production, resources, degrees granted, and other variables as approved by the Department Review Subcommittee in consultation with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
Appendix III - Assessment Reports from the 10-Year Period Under Review
Appendix IV - Outside Accreditation reports (if applicable) and External Reviewer comments

 

SECTION 4:  ARTICULATION AGREEMENTS

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND SHARED GOVERNANCE

The submission of a cooperative agreement with another institution, either domestic or foreign, indicates not only commitment of the project coordinator, but of the university.  These agreements, if successful, can result in a significant impact on the university.  Therefore, UWSP has a vested interest in the agreement since the university is ultimately accountable to insure that the conditions as outlined are fulfilled.  Each inter-institutional agreement must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate administrative personnel and shared governance bodies before it is formally submitted to another institution.

The official UWSP Permission to Develop an Articulation/Inter-institutional Agreement form (available from the Office of Academic Affairs) is designed to facilitate this process.  Please attach a draft copy of the proposed agreement plus any other appropriate supporting materials to this permission form.  Agreements which involve more than one department, school, college or UW System unit must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate officials of each unit, appropriate shared governance bodies, and ultimately the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  The purpose of this approval process is not to question the professional skill or approaches of the project coordinator, but rather to give assurance that the university supports the plans for the project, and that these plans are consistent with the activities, priorities, and mission of the university.  The opportunity that this formal approval process presents to inform the campus of the proposed activities is important to the faculty member as well as the shared governance bodies and administrators.  The responsibilities of the administrative staff in this approval process are as follows:

  • The Department Chair or Director will: 
  1. review the agreement to assure that faculty and support staff time commitments are reasonable and compatible with departmental workloads, present and planned,
  2. determine that the percentage of time and salaries are accurate, and
  3. agree that the space, facility, and service requirements are within the department’s present or planned resource capability if not specifically provided for in the proposal.
  • The Dean or Line Officer will review the proposal for completeness and confirm that: 
  1. space, service and support requirements are adequately provided for
  2. responsibility is accepted for assuring the availability of local in-kind funds promised in the proposal, and
  3. that the agreement’s budget, salary rates, job titles and classifications are reasonable, appropriate, and consistent with UWSP policy. 
  4. In addition, the Dean/Director should ascertain to what degree the agreement will commit the college/school or unit to long-term support of project personnel or a program which may evolve from the agreement.

The Provost and Vice Chancellor will review the proposal to ensure that it conforms to UWSP and Board of Regents’ policies and state laws; that it is in proper form for submission to the potential collaborators; that it is conducive to the university’s mission by promoting the best academic interests of the university and that implied or definite university commitment of funds, space, and personnel can be met; and that the commitments for matching funds can be met by the university.

Faculty and staff should allow sufficient time for on-campus processing of the proposals to develop a cooperative agreement.  The review responsibilities assigned to administrative personnel and shared governance bodies are of such a nature and extent that “walking a proposal through channels” in a brief period of time is difficult.

Articulation agreements are specific credit transfer agreements between our institution and one or more Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institutions. Prior to seeking shared governance action on an articulation agreement with a WTCS partner, the agreement should be forwarded to the Transfer Counselor in the Admissions Office for review.

After permission is gained from the appropriate administrative and shared governance bodies, the agreement coordinator is then responsible for drafting the formal articulation agreement for signatures. The formal agreement needs to be formatted in compliance with UW System Administrative Policy 140 (formerly UWS ACIS 6.2). The formal agreement is routed by the agreement coordinator for signatures of those authorized to enter into these agreements on behalf of UWSP and other non-UWSP partners.  Once the formal articulation agreement is signed by all required signatories, the agreement is then forwarded to UW System to be added to the listing of UW System articulation agreements.

 

SECTION 5:  GRADE REVIEW SUBCOMMITTEE

MEMBERSHIP

  1. The subcommittee shall consist of the following voting members:
  1. Three faculty members representing three distinct academic departments, with the Chairperson appointed by the Academic Affairs Committee, one member elected by the Student Government Association, and one temporary member for each case, appointed by the chairperson of the department of the instructor whose grade is under review.
  2. An alternate faculty member shall be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Common Council to serve whenever it is necessary to maintain the condition of three faculty members representing three distinct academic departments, but in no case shall there be more than one member from the department of the instructor whose grade is under appeal.
  3. Two student members shall be selected by the Student Government Association.  (Two graduate students will be selected by the Student Government Association for appeals brought by graduate students.)
  1. The term of office, except for the temporary member, shall be one year.  Members shall take office at the beginning of the fall semester.  The Chairperson of the Grade Review Subcommittee  shall expedite the formulation of the committee, which shall be complete no later than the third week of the fall semester.
  2. The Office of the Provost/Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs shall designate a Coordinator to review grade appeals and assure continuity and consistency in the screening of grade appeals.  The Coordinator will work with the Chairperson of the Grade Review subcommittee throughout the appeal process.

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL

Grounds for a grade appeal shall ordinarily be as follows:

  1. The alleged failure of the instructor to provide to the students, not later than the end of the second week of classes, a written statement of how grades will be determined.
  2. The alleged failure of the instructor to assign grades according to the manner described.

PROCEDURES

  1. Before a student may initiate an appeal of a grade, the student is required to consult with the instructor concerned.  However, if the Coordinator for Grade Review determines that such consultation would place undue burden or stress on the student or the instructor or both, the Coordinator shall have the authority to waive this consultation requirement.  If the Coordinator waives this consultation requirement, the Coordinator shall inform both the student and the instructor of this action.

After the student and the instructor have consulted, or after a waiver of the consultation requirement has been authorized, if the student wishes to initiate an appeal, he/she must present, in writing, a request to the Coordinator for Grade Review in the Academic and Career Advising Center no later than the end of the fourth week of classes of the subsequent regular academic year semester.

  1. The Coordinator for Grade Review shall, upon receipt of a written request for grade review, take the following steps:
  1. Meet with the student and discuss the grounds for appeal, the appeal process, and the options available to the Grade Review Subcommittee if the appeal is sustained.
  2. Provide a copy of the student’s allegations or grievances to the instructor concerned and solicit a written statement of explanation from the instructor.
  3. The instructor shall have twenty working days to respond.  Once the Coordinator has received the written response from the professor he/she has up to five working days to send a copy of this response to the student.
  4. After receiving the response, or at the end of the twenty working days, if no response is received, the Coordinator shall evaluate the allegations and make a determination as to the validity of the appeal.
  5. If the Coordinator, on the basis of preliminary evaluation and investigation, concludes that any kind of grade change may possibly be warranted, or if the instructor has failed to respond in writing, s/he shall forward all relevant data to the Subcommittee for Grade Review, with a directive that the allegations be investigated and a determination as to its validity made.
  6. If the student wishes to appeal the decision of the Coordinator, a second appeal may be made to the Chairperson of the Grade Review Subcommittee.  The Coordinator shall notify the professor of this action.  If further investigation is warranted, the Chairperson will act accordingly.  A rejection of an appeal by the Chairperson is final and may not be further appealed within the Faculty governance system.  If the Chairperson has a personal conflict with a case the Chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee will appoint an acting Chairperson.
  1. Under ordinary circumstances (i.e., with all parties on campus), the Grade Review Subcommittee shall adhere to a deadline of the end of the semester in which the appeal was initiated to complete its deliberations and decide on the appeal.
  2. If the Subcommittee for Grade Review determines that a valid evaluation of grievance requires special academic expertise, or at the request of the instructor concerned, the Subcommittee shall solicit an independent evaluation in writing from a body of three impartial experts appointed by the Chairperson of the instructor’s department, in consultation with the instructor and the Subcommittee Chairperson.  The Subcommittee for Grade Review shall accept the evaluation and recommendations of the impartial body of experts on matters of academic content when such evaluation and recommendation are solicited.

After its investigation, the Subcommittee for Grade Review shall inform both the student and the instructor of its decision in writing.  In the event that the Subcommittee finds that a change of grade is warranted, it shall in addition recommend to the instructor the appropriate grade change.  If the instructor refuses to make the recommended grade change within ten school days of the Subcommittee notification, the Subcommittee shall take one or more of the following steps to protect the student’s interest:

  1. attach to the student’s transcript a statement of the recommended change of grade and the reasons for not changing the grade;
  2. exempt the challenged grade from any calculation in the student’s grade point average, unless the student wishes the grade to be included;
  3. authorize the student’s graduation minus the credit hours represented by the challenged grade in the event that the original grade was an F.
  1. Decisions made by the Grade Review Subcommittee may not be appealed further in the faculty governance system.

 

SECTION 6:  UWSP GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Mission Statement

The General Education Program (GEP) provides the framework of a liberal education, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to facilitate intellectual and personal growth, pursue their advanced studies, and improve the world in which they live.

At UW-Stevens Point (UWSP), we believe that a liberal education is essential to living in today’s global society. We also believe that global citizenship must begin at home with individuals learning to see the world from perspectives other than their own. Some of these perspectives are cultural and develop from the study of other languages, ethnicities, and beliefs. Some perspectives come from honing new intellectual skills, by learning math and science, for example, or cultivating an understanding of the past and an appreciation of the arts and literature. And some perspectives are the products of unique experiences such as getting involved in a community or studying abroad.

Ultimately, the more students are encouraged to step outside their familiar habits and beliefs, the more they gain the wisdom to see connections between themselves and the world around them, the generosity to empathize with the differences they encounter, and the willingness to place their newfound abilities in the service of a larger community. In this way, a liberal education at UWSP prepares students to be responsible global citizens.

GEP Learning Outcomes

The GEP seeks to develop these qualities of global citizenship in four distinct ways. After completing the general education curriculum, students will:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing global society.
  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of the physical, social, and cultural worlds as well as the methods by which this knowledge is produced.
  • Recognize that responsible global citizenship involves personal accountability, social equity, and environmental sustainability.
  • Apply their knowledge and skills, working in interdisciplinary ways to solve problems.

Model & Relationship to Degree Types

The GEP applies to all Baccalaureate degree types. See the Degree Types section of the Catalog.

Procedure for Waivers and Substitutions for GEP Requirements

A request for a waiver of substitution for a GEP requirement should begin during a meeting of the student with his/her advisor. Such a request should not be regarded as routine but made in response to a specific situation faced by the individual student-typically, as a remedy when fulfilling the requirement through ordinary means would delay the student’s imminent graduation. A statement explaining why the student and advisor believe the waiver/substitution is justified must be part of the request.

The Authorization to Adjust GEP Requirements form must be signed by the advisor, the Chair/Head of the department (or equivalent unit) of the student’s major, the Dean of the student’s college or his/her designee, and finally the Associate Dean of General Education and Honors.

In a doubtful case, the Associate Dean will contact the Dean, Chair, advisor, and/or instructor of the course before deciding to approve or deny the request.

The completed form, with all required signatures, is submitted to Office of the Registrar.

Notes:

  • Waivers or substitutions under the 2014 to 2020 GEP requirements that are embedded in the major (Capstone and Communication in the Major requirements) are handled like any other exception for major requirements (typically, authorized by the department chair).
  • Students under the pre-2014 general degree requirements (GDRs) should use the “Authorization to Adjust General Degree Requirements” form, which does not require Director of General Education approval.
  • Transfer courses that have not been identified as equivalent to a specific UWSP course will be evaluated for GEP credit by the transfer credit admissions advisor in consultation with the Associate Dean of General Education and Honors.

Course Criteria

GENERAL CRITERIA

  1. These criteria apply to the Foundational Skills and Dispositions, Human Cultures and the Sciences, Social and Environmental Responsibility levels of the GEP.
  2. All courses to be considered for the GEP must be proposed by an academic department or functional equivalent.
  3. All courses to be considered for the GEP must be approved by the General Education Committee through the submission of a course proposal. The proposal will typically include:
  1. Basic course information, including course number, title, credits, and catalog description.
  2. A representative course syllabus, including learning outcomes aligned with those of the GEP.
  3. A narrative describing how student learning will be assessed.
  1. All courses must address the approved learning outcomes in the category in which they are taught.
  2. All courses will be taught by an instructor with teaching, research, or professional expertise in an appropriate area of study in order to satisfy the relevant learning outcomes in each category.

Criteria for instructor qualifications for teaching courses in the Quantitative Literacy category: A master’s degree, or 18 graduate credits, in one or more disciplines that feature mathematical applications or statistical analysis. Such disciplines include, but are not limited to, Mathematics, Statistics, Social Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

Criteria for instructor qualifications for teaching courses in the Environmental Responsibility, United States Diversity, Global Awareness, and Wellness categories:

  • Instructor holds a terminal degree or a master’s degree in a discipline or field appropriate to the GEP category of the course

or

  • Instructor has completed some combination of 18 hours of graduate coursework, comprehensive examination work, and/or graduate thesis work on topic(s) relevant to the GEP category of the course
  • Faculty seeking to teach in a General Education category for which they have not been previously approved must have their graduate school transcripts reviewed by the Associate Dean of General Education and Honors in order to determine if they are qualified as per the requirements of the Higher Learning Commission. The process is as follows:
  • If the faculty member is determined to be qualified to teach in the requested category, the faculty member will submit the completed GEP Course Application to the General Education Committee chair.
  • If the Associate Dean of General Education and Honors determines that the faculty member is not qualified to teach in the requested category, that faculty member can request a second review by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Teaching, Learning, and Strategic Planning, who will make a final determination as to whether the faculty member is qualified to teach in the General Education category in question.
  1. No course in the Foundational Skills and Dispositions may satisfy more than one general education requirement. Courses in the Human Cultures and the Sciences category may be paired with one of the following categories: Global Awareness, U.S. Diversity, or Environmental Responsibility.
  2. Courses that exceed the GEP credit requirements satisfy the requirement.

FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS AND DISPOSITIONS

Written Communication
  1. The Written Communication outcomes will be satisfied by English 101: Freshman English and English 202: Sophomore English.
  2. English 150: Advanced Freshman English may be substituted for English 101/202, with the appropriate placement.
  3. English 101 should be taken during the student’s freshman year.
  4. English 202 should be taken during the student’s sophomore year and will have a prerequisite of English 101.
  5. Written Communication courses should have sufficiently small enrollments so that students will receive appropriate individual feedback.
Critical Thinking
  1. Courses designated with the Critical Thinking GEP designation serve all students regardless of major; such courses should not presume academic or disciplinary preparation. Ordinarily, Critical Thinking courses, as with any General Education course, should not require prerequisites. Departments must provide a rationale when proposing General Education courses with prerequisites
  2. All faculty and staff teaching Critical Thinking General Education courses must complete the Critical Thinking training overseen by the Director of UWSP’s Critical Thinking Center.
Quantitative Literacy
  1. All Quantitative Literacy courses will have a prerequisite of Math 90 or higher.
Wellness
  1. Wellness is a one-credit requirement that may be satisfied by a one-, two-, or three-credit course.

HUMAN CULTURES AND THE SCIENCES

  1. All courses in Human Cultures and the Sciences should be designed to serve all students regardless of major; such courses do not presume academic or disciplinary preparation. Ordinarily, courses in Human Cultures and the Sciences will not have prerequisites beyond Foundational Skills and Dispositions. Departments must provide a rationale when proposing General Education courses with prerequisites.
  2. A single course may not be designated for more than one Human Cultures and the Sciences category.

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

  1. Courses offered in this area can fulfill one other requirement in the General Education curriculum at the same time, but only in Human Cultures and the Sciences.
  2. A single course may not be designated for more than one Social and Environmental Responsibility category.

GENERAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT

The assessment of student learning in the General Education curriculum will be the responsibility of the General Education Committee. Assessment within the GEP is intended to be a formal process of inquiry into student learning.  More than simply an exercise in documenting the level of student achievement within the program, assessment is an exploration of how and why students learn, or fail to learn, within a particular curricular and pedagogical context. It explores both the outcomes that students achieve as well as the processes through which they learn. In this way, assessment should be viewed as an open-ended scholarly activity, a collaborative action research project aimed at the improvement of teaching and learning. (For a detailed explanation of the theory underpinning this approach to assessment, see Peggy Maki, Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution, Second Edition (2010), 123-153.)

The evaluation of student learning in the General Education curriculum will be the responsibility of the General Education Committee (GEC).  The role of the committee in this regard shall be to:

  1. recommend policies and procedures for General Education assessment to the Common Council;
  2. facilitate the process by which General Education assessment data is gathered, evaluated, and communicated;
  1. assist departments and faculty to identify, develop, and utilize course-level assessment measures;
  2. identify, develop, and utilize institutional level measures in concert with the Assessment Subcommittee and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness;
  1. make recommendations to Common Council regarding improvements to the GEP;
  2. support instructional development and curricular improvements;
  3. review and update the General Education assessment process regularly.

Assessment of student learning within the General Education curriculum will take place on a five-year cycle. The first four years of the cycle will be focused on courses in the four levels of the curriculum. In addition, during each of the first four years, information will be gathered related to one of the four GEP Outcomes from courses in the Investigation Level.  Based on these results, the fifth year of the Assessment Cycle will be devoted to a comprehensive review of the GEP and Assessment Plan.

Year 1:
  • Foundation-Level Courses (Written Communication, Critical Thinking, Quantitative Literacy, and Wellness)
  • Program Outcome 1 (Demonstrate critical thinking, quantitative, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing global society)
Year 2:
  • Investigation-Level Courses (Arts, Humanities, Historical Perspectives, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences) Program Outcome 2 (Demonstrate broad knowledge of the physical, social, and cultural worlds as well as the methods by which this knowledge is produced)
Year 3:
  • Cultural and Environmental Awareness-Level Courses (Global Awareness, U.S. Diversity, and Environmental Responsibility)
  • Program Outcome 3 (Recognize that responsible global citizenship involves personal accountability, social equity, and environmental sustainability)
Year 4:
  • Integration-Level Courses (Interdisciplinary Studies, Experiential Learning, Communication in the Major, and Capstone Experience in the Major)
  • Program Outcome 4 (Apply their knowledge and skills, working in interdisciplinary ways to solve problems)
Year 5:
  • Comprehensive Review of GEP and Assessment Plan

Evidence of student achievement will be collected along three dimensions: (a) course-based measurements for each GEP level utilizing course portfolios compiled by instructors, (b) institutional- level measurements conducted through periodic standardized tests and surveys administered by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and (c) course-based measurements for each of the four GE Program Outcomes, potentially utilizing course portfolios and departmental assessment. Each year, this information will be reviewed and evaluated by faculty learning communities under the direction of the GEC, the Director of General Education, and the Assessment Coordinator. In turn, the GEC will annually report these results and its recommendations for improving the GEP to the Common Council, the Provost, the Deans, and others.

Course-Based Measurements

The GEC will regularly gather course-level information on student learning through the collection of course portfolios. A course portfolio is a selection of materials from a given course-including the syllabus and relevant examples of student work-along with reflective statements written by the instructor that explore how the course structures and assessment strategies contributed to student learning. Faculty members teaching designated General Education courses will be required to prepare a course portfolio according to the five-year cycle noted above. (Note: the GEC will consult with departments offering multiple sections of the same GEP course to establish a plan for assessment; such a plan will specify a subset of instructors/sections who will submit course portfolios.) Each course portfolio will contain the following elements:

  1. Course Information:
  1. A syllabus, including an explanation of how the intended learning outcomes of the course align with those of the GEP category.
  2. A brief narrative describing how the relevant General Education learning outcomes will be met by students through course experiences, assignments, and/or activities.
  1. Assessment Information:
  1. A discipline-appropriate evaluation of student attainment of at least one learning outcome, including a brief explanation of how student learning was assessed. (Note: Although courses should be designed to meet all the approved learning outcomes in a particular category, the actual assessment can and should focus on a smaller subset of these outcomes.)
  2. Examples of student work related to the evaluation above showing a range of student achievement.
  3. The specific criteria or rubric that was used to evaluate student work.
  4. Results of any other feedback mechanisms used in the course that explore student perceptions of course assignments and their alignment with the general education learning outcomes.
  5. A brief statement explaining how assessment results will be used to improve learning in the course in the future.

The General Education Assessment Process

The annual process of evaluating student learning within the General Education curriculum will have the following steps:

  1. At the beginning of each academic year, the GEC will establish faculty learning communities for each area of the curriculum being assessed during that year. Each faculty learning community will include 4-6 faculty members teaching courses in the categories under review and includes the Assessment Coordinator and a member of the GEC representing the particular GEP category. The faculty learning community will coordinate with faculty across campus to ensure the body of course portfolios will provide adequate evidence of student learning for each of the learning outcomes in the GEP category.
  2. Instructors teaching courses in areas under review in the fall semester will prepare and submit course portfolios to the Assessment Coordinator by February 1
  3. Each faculty learning community will review course portfolios provided by the Assessment Coordinator and provide feedback to instructors. This feedback will only be shared with the instructor.
  4. The Assessment Coordinator will collaborate with the faculty learning communities to aggregate findings from the course portfolios, along with data from the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, and prepare a report for the GEC by May 1. No information identifying instructors, students or specific courses shall be included in the report.
  5. At the beginning of the next academic year, the GEC will report to the Common Council on its assessment of student learning, including any recommendations to improve the curriculum. The report may also recommend further action research projects to investigate particular aspects of student learning or to explore the impact of particular changes to the curriculum. The report must be submitted to the Senate by November 1. This report will be shared with the Provost, the Deans, and the department chairs. In addition, it will be posted online to be available to the campus community and others.

Institutional-Level Measurements

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will regularly administer standardized tests and student surveys in an effort to measure student learning and experiences on campus. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will work with the GEC, the Director of General Education, and the Assessment Coordinator to share results that are applicable and useful for assessment within the GEP. These tests will include those institutional-level assessments required for external accountability or reporting.

Given that such measurements provide an institutional snapshot of student learning, the results will be utilized by the GEC in concert with other data gathered through course-based assessment.

The Use of Assessment Results

Assessment results are intended for two purposes: 1) to provide feedback to individual instructors to assist in their efforts to improve student learning within their courses; and 2) to make judgments about the effectiveness of the GEP and to inform recommendations for its improvement.  To achieve these aims, assessment results will be shared in the following manner:

  1. Each instructor submitting a course portfolio will receive individual feedback from the faculty learning community, including an evaluation of the assessment method utilized in the course and recommendations for the improvement of student learning. This evaluation will include the rubric used by the faculty learning community in forming its opinions. This information will be provided only to the instructors themselves and will not be shared with departments, Deans, the Provost, or the GEC.
  2. Working in concert with the faculty learning communities, the Assessment Coordinator will compile reports on student learning for the GEC, removing references to specific courses and instructors.  The GEC’s final report will contain:
  1. A summary of student attainment of the learning outcomes in the relevant General Education areas.
  2. Recommendations based on these assessment results for the improvement of the General Education curriculum. These recommendations may include proposals for further action research projects related to particular courses, GEP categories, GE Program Outcomes, or specific groups of students.
  1. The GEC will report annually to the Common Council sharing its evaluation and recommendations with the Provost, the Deans, and the department chairs. The report will also be posted online to be available to the campus community and others.
  2. In conjunction with the Director of General Education and the Assessment Coordinator, the GEC will work with various units on campus in order to provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. In this manner, the GEC will help to “close the loop” by allowing assessment of student learning lead to curricular and pedagogical improvements. Such professional development opportunities might include:
  1. Workshops on effective assessment of student learning in the General Education curriculum.
  2. Instructional development necessitated by Common Council-approved changes to the curriculum or learning outcomes.
  3. Action research projects intended to provide further information on student learning within the curriculum.

Procedure in the event that, as a result of reviewing course portfolios, a course or program prompts concerns about alignment with the learning outcomes in its current GEP category:

Step 1:

The Chair of the department offering the course/program is invited to meet with the Chair of the GEC, the Assessment Coordinator, and the Director of General Education, along with other members of that department the chair deems appropriate.  This could be the instructor(s) of the course(s) in question, the department’s Curriculum Committee, or the entire department.

All parties will attempt to agree on the appropriate next step, which could be one of the following:

  1. The department will propose moving the course from one GEP category to another; or
  2. The department will plan to revise the course/program to better align with the learning outcomes for the GEP category; or
  3. The department will request to have the GEP designation removed from the course/program.
  4. In the event that the department does not pursue any of the above options, and if there are still significant concerns about the alignment of the course/program with the GEP learning outcomes, the Assessment Coordinator, Director of General Education, and Chair of the GEC will bring the matter to the GEC for consideration and possible removal of the GEP designation.
Step 2a:

If the department decides to pursue option (a) above, then the department will complete the paperwork necessary to request a new GEP category designation for the course.  If approved, the course will then be assessed at the appropriate time in the GEP assessment cycle.

Step 2b:

If the department decides to pursue option (b) above, then the department will revise the course and submit a course portfolio the next time the course is offered (which may be outside the normal assessment cycle).  The Assessment Coordinator, Director of General Education, and the Chair of the GEC will evaluate the course portfolio and provide feedback to the department and instructor.  If the course revision appears to be successful, the course can proceed and will not be re-assessed until the next assessment cycle.  If the course portfolio for the revised course is still not aligning with the GEP learning outcomes, then the Assessment Coordinator, Director of General Education, and Chair of the GEC will bring the matter to the GEC for consideration and possible removal of the GEP designation.

Step 2c:

If the department decides to pursue option (c) above, the department will submit a memorandum to the GEC requesting that the GEP designation be removed from the course.

 

SECTION 7

(Section 7 was deleted from the Handbook)

 

SECTION 8: REORGANIZING ACADEMIC UNITS

PROCEDURES FOR REORGANIZING ACADEMIC UNITS

(Departments, Divisions, Schools, Colleges, or Equivalent Units)

  1. Any academic unit as defined above, or a line administrator may initiate a proposal/plan for reorganization at UW-Stevens Point.
  2. A final proposal/plan for reorganization that changes reporting lines from academic units to dean and beyond must be submitted to the Executive Committee of the Common Council for its consideration.
  3. The Executive Committee of the Common Council shall submit proposals and plans for re-organization to the Common Council with sufficient time for the Senate to deliberate and make a recommendation to the Chancellor prior to the proposed date of implementation.
  4. The written proposal/plan for reorganization is expected to address the following items:
  1. A description of the proposed/planned reorganization, including appropriate organizational charts.
  2. A list of job responsibilities for new or modified administrative positions.
  3. A rationale which explains and supports the recommended organizational changes.
  4. A statement of support or opposition from any and/or all university employees affected by the proposed/planned reorganization.

PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED IN DEVELOPING THE PROPOSAL/PLAN

  1. All meetings should be conducted in accordance with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. In particular,
  1. all meetings should be publicly announced in advance, and
  2. minutes that include the action items approved in those meetings should be kept.
  1. All staff members whose units are directly affected by the proposed/planned reorganization should be consulted and their input sought throughout the planning process.

PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE COMMON COUNCIL AFTER RECEIVING THE PROPOSAL/PLAN FOR REORGANIZATION

  1. The proposal/plan will be distributed to the campus community and the Common Council will invite written input regarding the plan from any individual or unit on campus.
  2. The above input will be collated and appended to the proposal/plan.
  3. The plan/ proposal will be placed on the agenda for a meeting of the Common Council.

 

SECTION 9

(Section 9 was deleted from the Handbook)

SECTION 10: DELETING MAJORS, MINORS, AND CERTIFICATES (PROGRAM DISCONTINUANCE)

Discontinuing an academic program directly affects curriculum, students, faculty, staff, budget and planning processes. Decisions of program discontinuance should be made based on careful planning rather than a reaction to an immediate or temporary economic crisis or situation. Any decision to discontinue a program should be data informed, and should reflect a long-range judgment that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by program discontinuance. This includes the reallocation of resources to other programs with higher priority based on educational considerations. Such long-range judgments generally will involve the analysis of financial resources and the needs, value and quality of the program and any related college or school. Budget considerations should not be the primary reason for program discontinuance.

If an academic program is being considered for discontinuance, decision makers should ensure that students are not unfairly impacted by program discontinuance or restructuring.

Academic programs may be deleted in three ways:

  1. A proposal to discontinue a major program due to educational considerations that will result in faculty layoff pursuant to Regent Policy Document 20-24 must follow the procedure laid out in Chapter UWSP 5 (found in Chapter 4A, Section 2 of the UWSP handbook).
  2. A proposal that will not result in faculty layoff will use the following process: may be initiated by the academic department that oversees the program, using the process described below.
  3. A proposal may also be initiated by the Dean of a college involved in the program, the Provost, or the Chancellor, using the process described below.

PROGRAM DELETION INITIATED BY AN ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT

The department shall follow the instructions on the form REQUEST TO DELETE, RENUMBER, OR RENAME. Contact the Common Council Secretary for a copy of the form or go to myCommonCouncil.

The department shall include a justification for eliminating the program. Considerations such as the following may be addressed as appropriate:

  • The quality of the program in the areas of teaching and learning, and the contributions of its faculty in research, creative activity, and service;
  • The contribution of the program to the mission and strategic plan of the institution, the overall quality of academic offerings, and the strategic plan of the institution;
  • Student demand for the program as measured by student enrollment, retention, graduation trends, and applicable variables;
  • The resource implications of retaining or eliminating the program;
    • The uniqueness/redundancy of the program within the institution and across the UW System;
  • Opportunities for collaboration with other programs within the institution or at other UW institutions; and
  • The impact of program elimination on systemwide array and student access to programs.

PROGRAM DELETION INITIATED BY THE DEAN, PROVOST, OR CHANCELLOR

  1. Initiation of a proposal

  1. The Dean, Provost, or Chancellor will compile a proposal based on the criteria described below. If a Dean or the Chancellor initiates the proposal, they shall submit it to the Provost for review.
  2. The proposal must contain the following supporting information, as applicable:
  • Initiating party
  • Name of proposed program
  • Program description
  • Rationale for discontinuance
  • Proposed budget, detailing projected costs and savings associated with discontinuance
  • Impact on students currently enrolled
  • Impact on faculty currently teaching in the program
  • Impact on staff currently needed for program implementation
  • Impact on other campus programs
  • Impact on facilities currently used in the program
  • Impact on collaborating institutions or articulated programs
  • Impact on course transfer opportunities
  • Impact on regional stakeholders, external funders, or donors
  • Impact on diversity at UWSP
  • Impact of discontinuance on mission of the department, college, and institution
  • Impact on accreditation or other external requirements
  • A detailed plan and timeline for phasing out the program with the minimum possible impact on students, faculty, staff and the community. The plan must describe how currently enrolled students shall continue their programs of study or meet their educational objectives through alternative means.
  1. If the Provost approves the proposal, it will then be reviewed by a Discontinuance Committee.
  1. Review of a proposal

  1. Proposals will first be reviewed by a committee of individuals not affiliated with the program under consideration. This committee may include:
  • One dean representing a college not affiliated with the program under consideration, nominated by the Chair of Common Council;
  • Two students not affiliated with the program under consideration, nominated by the SGA Vice President and Speaker of the Senate, with consent of the Senate;
  • Two faculty representatives from colleges not affiliated with the program under consideration, nominated by the Chair of Faculty Council;
  • An academic staff representative not affiliated with the program under consideration, nominated by the Chair of the Academic Staff Council;
  • A university staff representative not affiliated with the program under consideration, nominated by the Chair of the University Staff Council.
  1. Based on their report and recommendation, a second committee of individuals directly affiliated with the program under consideration may be appointed. The second committee may include:
  • The dean of the college in the program or a representative nominated by the dean;
  • The chair/head of department or area coordinator of the program under consideration
  • Two students in the program, nominated by the SGA Vice President and Speaker of the Senate, with consent of the Senate
  • Faculty representatives in the program under consideration nominated by tenured and tenure-track faculty involved in the program
  • An academic staff representative in the program under consideration, nominated by the chair/head of department or the coordinator of the areas in the program
  • A university staff representative in the program under consideration, nominated by the chair/head of department or the coordinator of the areas in the program
  • If possible, at least one graduate of the program under consideration nominated by the faculty in the program.
  1. Both committees will be appointed by the Provost in agreement with the Executive Committee of Common Council. The chair for each committee will be established by the committee members.
  2. In addition to the proposal elements described above, the committee’s review and evaluation may be based on the following considerations, where relevant:
  • The centrality of the program to the institution’s mission;
  • The academic strength and quality of the program, and of its faculty in terms of national ratings if applicable;
  • Whether the work done in the program complements that done in another essential program;
  • Whether the work done in the program duplicates academic instruction and course content delivered in other programs at the institution;
  • Student and market demand and projected enrollment in the subject matter taught in the program;
  • Current and predicted comparative cost analysis/effectiveness of the program;
  • Current and past Program Review and Assessment reports; and
  • Other relevant factors that the committee deems appropriate.
  1. The Committee shall provide adequate opportunity for evidence and viewpoints to be presented, and consult the affected program faculty and students. Within three months, the committee will prepare a preliminary report and recommendation. Additional time may be requested if the committee must review more than one program discontinuance proposal. Faculty members within the program under consideration for discontinuance shall have full access to all documents related to the review.
  1. Committee recommendation

  1. Based on careful consideration of the data, the Committee will evaluate the program under consideration using the Program Discontinuance Rubric and vote on one of the following:
  • Recommendation to Continue: A program will be recommended to continue when - after full consideration - it is decided that it is in the best interest of the department, school, college, university, its students, and the larger community to do so.
  • Recommendation to Continue with Qualification: A program may be recommended to continue with qualifications. These qualifications may include a remediation plan designed to improve the viability and responsiveness of the program. A specific timeline should be provided during which the remediation plan will occur and expected outcomes should be outlined in advance. After the specific qualification period is completed, the program will be reviewed again.
  • Recommendation to Discontinue: A recommendation to discontinue a program will occur when, after a full evaluation study, it is concluded that maintaining the program is no longer in the best interest of the university, its students, and the larger community.
  1. The Committee chair will complete a report that includes the committee membership, the initial proposal, the rubric used to evaluate the recommendation, the committee’s recommendation, and the rationale for the recommendation.
  1. Dissemination and review of report

  1. The Committee chair will send the report to all faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the program under consideration, as well as the Provost, Deans, SGA President, and the Common Council chair.
  2. Any of these reviewers may request that the Provost appoint a second Committee within 2 weeks of receiving the preliminary report. Should the Provost appoint a second Committee, that Committee will follow the procedure described above and submit their own report.
  3. The Common Council chair will submit the Committee report, and second Committee report (if requested), through proper governance channels for feedback in a timely manner. The Common Council chair will gather that feedback, summarize, and include with Committee(s) report(s).
  1. Final Report

  1. The Committee final report(s) are then sent to the Provost, Deans, SGA President, and Common Council chair, with a recommendation for the Chancellor.