General Education Council Policies

General Education Council Policies


Agenda Setting Process

Heather Dell brought examples of several courses and an e-mail string from a faculty member to request that Council define her role as Chair. Do they want her, along with Karen Moranski to review courses and if they think the courses will not pass in Council, to send them back to the faculty for revision or bring them to the table for review?

Some faculty members outside of GECo have expressed concern that the entire committee was not reviewing the courses. The faculty is also unclear as to the language on the U.S. Communities Criteria. The Council is not rejecting these classes but faculty need to articulate what communities are addressed in their syllabi; however the U.S. Communities Criteria could use further clarification.

  1.  A suggestion was made to have training on campus to help faculty understand what is required out of a category.
  2.  The Chair is to bring problematic courses back to faculty members. The Council is in the process of reevaluating our forms.
  3.  The Council decided to clarify some of the course categories and to revisit methods of selection.


 Truth in Advertising: Course Titles in Gen Ed

The question was raised about whether or not GECo should be more proactive in requesting that courses have titles that reflect their geographic limitations and (often Western) perspectives e.g., should a history of music class be titled History of European Music? After discussion, GECo members concurred that faculty should not be asked to change course titles.


Course Deadlines

Responses from colleges were reviewed regarding setting deadlines for course approval and allowing a month for GECo to look over the pool of courses for the next year.

One suggestion was that a course be taught once before being brought up for ECCE approval, or have separate deadlines for Gen Ed and ECCE as they use two different approval processes. Another suggestion was to implement the next deadline for spring semester, but give the colleges time to get used to the deadlines and allow the Curriculum Committees time to set their schedule around them. That will give them enough time to get enough courses through for the semester. A preliminary, early submission deadline was considered by giving highest priority to those courses submitted before September 25.

Maybe setting up a workshop the first week in September would be helpful in order to streamline the submission process. We could set up tables for the individual categories, e.g. Global Awareness or U.S. Communities. Faculty could go straight to the table they need help with.   The workshop needs to be set early enough in the semester before the curriculum committee submission deadline.

Courses submitted before September 25 is guaranteed to be reviewed. Council might want to spend a Friday (non-Senate day) to just review courses. Karen, Heather and Deb to sit down the week of September 28th to go over courses to make sure they have checklists etc.

The deadline should be made as widely known to faculty as soon as possible. Create a submission deadline then a revision deadline.


300 as lower division Gen Ed (Policy)

There have been a number of petitions requesting the use of 300 or 400 level courses to be used as lower division Gen Ed requirements. Since 300 level are rarely approved by IAI and 400 level are never approved by IAI, the state practice is not to use 300 and 400 as lower division requirements. The practice began when students come in with 90 hours of credit and need a 300 level to get their residency requirement. Karen would like to not make blanket approvals into a list of approved courses but have no problem with petitions for specific cases.


New Course Proposals made by Adjunct Faculty

This committee proposes that all General Education courses must come from Departments when taught by adjunct faculty.   Departmental approval is required regardless if the course had previously been through Curriculum Committee but then is coming back to the General Education Council with a change.

Action: Post on the General Education website, “Adjuncts interested in creating courses must find a sponsoring Department.”

It was decided to bring the topic to the Governance Approval Committee in order to have “Department” marked on the governance chart and to require a rationale whenever adjuncts prepare new courses or make changes to existing ones.


Gen Ed changes approval process

Regarding the approval process for the recent changes in General Education, it was decided to send a campus announcement outlining the draft proposal and indicate that people can give feedback to members of the Gen Ed Council. Department Chairs will also be sent information about the proposal. Karen Moranski will send a draft announcement to Council before sending it to the campus community. She will also send separate communications to the Department Chairs regarding impact on students and programs, among other items.

It was also decided to have a deadline of May 24 which is the Monday after grades are due. This will give the Departments and faculty more time to collect their thoughts.


New Version of the General Education Proposal

The General Education Council reviewed the proposal to make changes to the General Education and ECCE curriculum. There was much discussion regarding the possible removal of the 3 credit hour Engagement Experience or the ECCE Elective from the curriculum. The decision to continue the Engagement Experience or not will dictate how to word the proposal to reduce ECCE hours from 13 to 10.

Action: In order to reduce ECCE credit hours from 13 to 10, it was decided to eliminate the ECCE elective and allow students to choose from two out of the three remaining ECCE categories to equal at least 9 credit hours;   Global Awareness, U. S. Communities, and Engagement Experience. One hour of Speaker Series is still required.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky motioned to forward the proposal to the Undergraduate Council. Jay Gilliam seconded the motion. All were in favor.


Follow up General Education Proposal

The proposal was sent to the Undergraduate Council last week.

Drs. Bapat and Moranski spoke about the discussion that took place in the meeting.

The Undergraduate Council thanks the General Education Council for the packet that was put together. It clarified issues about what we are facing and they appreciated the simplified one page proposal. The UGC will meet again on March 11 and will be at a point where they can vote on it. Then Harshavardhan Bapat will write the memo that will go to Campus Senate Executive Committee meeting giving them enough time for a reading. Most UGC members seem to be fine with the proposal.   It was crucial the proposal got to the UGC when it did and that the UGC get it to Campus Senate when it does, so there will be time to hire and train for freshman seminar classes. Gen Ed Council members were asked to put the word out to recruit instructors.

Assuming the proposal is approved, Council needs to be thinking about creating course approval criteria in order to quickly approve freshman seminar courses for fall and next spring. Faculty will need to have the summer to think about possible course work.   Donna Bussell, Karen Moranski, Heather Dell, Tung Nguyen, and Tarah Sweeting-Trotter are to be on the committee to develop the criteria hopefully finishing around spring break.


Student Petitions

A hand-out was given to Council members for evaluating policy in regard to transfer courses proposed to fit in with the Gen Ed curriculum.

In the past if they fit into an IAI category, the AVCAA and the GECo chair would approve the petition. If GECo takes on all the petitions that come into the Office of Undergraduate Education, that’s all they will do as Undergrad Ed gets them almost every day.

A vote was requested for all transfer petitions wanting ECCE credit go to the full Council or only the ones that are not a clear fit.

Action: 1. Donna Bussell motioned to have Karen sign off on all syllabi that are IAI compatible.  Erin Lesko seconded. All in were in favor.

Action 2: Donna Bussell motioned that those syllabi that do not fit into IAI are to be brought to the full Council.   Erin Lesko seconded. All were in favor.


Gen Ed Council Chair

Departing Chair Heather Dell talked about what chairing involves since there seems to be some skepticism about the actual amount of work to the chair position. Some of the duties are listed below.

  • Meets with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education every two weeks to set the agenda. Dr. Moranski will train the new Chair and will advise but the Chair will decide what agenda items should come first
  • Goes through syllabi to make sure there is a checklist and that they are complete.
  • Fills out course approval rubrics in meetings, and if the course is approved will email the rubric to the faculty member initiating the course. If the course is not approved, the Chair will send an e-mail to the faculty explaining why the course was kicked back or denied.
  • Assessments which can be given to faculty to do and they will be paid for it.
  • The Chair gets one NIA release time per year.
  • The Chair could have a backup to possibly share the work. Another model could be that different people each take one month per year.
  • Other duties will be explained

If no faculty chair is elected, then the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education would chair.  The Council will take some time to think about it and get back to Karen Moranski on their decision.


To change the credit hours in the Engagement Experience Criteria from 3 credit hours total to 3-4 credit hours depending on the number of service hours if 1 credit hour = 20 hours of Engagement.


Transfer Courses

Transfer courses submitted by Petition for approval for ECCE requirements. The proposal is to allow only six transfer hours to be accepted for ECCE while the student takes the remaining 3 hours at UIS.

A vote was required and then a letter from the GEC Chair to Undergraduate Council to be written.

10/22/12: Transfer courses submitted by petition for approval for ECCE requirements. The proposal is to allow only six transfer hours to be accepted for ECCE while the student takes the remaining 3 hours at UIS.   A vote is required and then a letter from the GEC chair to undergraduate council is to be written.   It was decided to table the topic and form a sub-committee with Karen Moranski and Richard Gilman-Opalsky to review what number of transfer hours is actually needed and how many to allow.


3rd Semester Language Courses-Humanities

The sub-committee was created to develop additional ways (other than Humanities) for UIS language courses to fit into the Gen Ed Curriculum. White GECo agreed that Humanities could be a useful option, we wanted to explore alternatives in order to maximize the utility (and enrollments) of our language courses for undergraduate students”.   It was approved to add this addition to Item III.D. of the September 24, 2012 minutes.

4th Semester Language Courses – Humanities

Policy change to be done by CAP not GECO to have transfer students who have taken a 4th semester language in another institution automatically gets a humanities credit because of IAI. Students that take 4th semester language at UIS do not get credit for Humanities. It was asked if GECO should have a larger discussion or allow students to use their 4th semester language as humanities to make their DARS complete for graduation.   Karen Moranski will speak to Registrar (as of 10/22/12) about students having a problematic DARS and then make a recommendation for a policy change in CAP. No policy change in GECo will be made.


  • It was decided to stop loopholes in the freshman seminar criteria and make a change in wording to state,” These courses may only be used to satisfy the requirements for freshman seminar.” In speaking with the registrar, he would like it worded:

“These courses may only be used to satisfy the requirements for Freshman Seminar and cannot be used to meet major or minor requirements.”

All courses used for the ECCE U.S. Communities requirement are approved by the General Education Council, even courses from outside the institution. HMS529 is not approved, and since there are so many courses that are approved in that category, we have developed a policy of not approving UIS courses for ECCE course work by petition.  The course should really go through the approval process if the faculty want it to serve as an ECCE course, but see the next point;

  • This particular course is 500-level, and as such, lies outside the approved boundaries for ECCE U.S. Communities, which are supposed to be 200-400 level. A 500-level course is generally a graduate course that is pretty specialized for a group of students pursuing a particular field of research or career path. Such courses are not usually “open and accessible” to all undergraduates, as is required of ECCE courses.


Subcommittee on languages report

The Registrar does not wish to make the 3rd and 4th semester languages fit into a Gen Ed category going forward. He would like to be able to fit language into a humanities category for those students who are graduating and have not met the humanities requirement but have taken language courses.

Since we do not have the ECCE Elective anymore and CAP Scholars no longer require language, the languages need to count for something. In the broader context than ECCE, by making changes to global awareness requirements, some languages can fit there and some in other ECCE categories.

ACTION: Revise the Global Awareness criteria to make it possible for language courses to get approval in that category and GECo will communicate with the language program to encourage the development of syllabi that meet the criteria.


Harshavardhan Bapat wished to discuss an issue that was raised. The concern was about what the General Education Council’s role is and what the steps are to approve a Freshman Seminar category. The Undergraduate Council would like the General Education Council to develop a rubric for special courses like Freshman Seminar.

It was brought up because a department would like their courses to serve as both Freshman Seminar and a minor. The Undergraduate Council Memo states that Freshman Seminars cannot be used for requirements for a major, but it does not go beyond that to include a minor. It was discussed that Freshman Seminar and a minor are not compatible. Freshman Seminar is used for students to get acclimated to a college setting, comprehension, reading, etc.

Dr. Bapat is requesting GECo to think about what the advantage would be to offering these courses as a minor? At the present time, we do not have an assessment of Gen Ed courses.

ACTION: After much discussion it was decided to stop loopholes in the criteria and make a change in the Freshman Seminar Criteria, 3rd sentence of the category overview to state, “These courses may only be used to satisfy the requirements for Freshman Seminar.” Karen will make the changes as soon as possible.

As far as the question regarding GECo, we should solicit feedback from the Freshman Seminar Instructors. We will check with Karen Moranski about the luncheon for instructors. Also to have a conversation with the curriculum committees, and CAP Honors to answer questions about how courses get approved.


Clarification of ECCE policy in Catalog, 2013-14 Pages 32-34. (See last page of minutes). Can students use a two hour course to meet any one category?

Complete the requirements of the UlS General Education Curriculum. If a student satisfactorily completes the objectives of a General Education area but earns fewer hours than required in a particular category, the remaining hours for that area can be waived so long as the total transfer hours earned in a particular category are within one semester hour of the required total. However, students must complete the minimum of 12 courses and 37 semester hours. Up to one fractional semester hour can also be waived, but the minimum requirements will still be enforced.

All Undergraduates at UIS will be required to take the following ECCE course work: 1 hour of Speaker Series and two of the following three ECCE categories for at least 9 credit hours; US Communities; Global Awareness, and Engagement Experience. Some degree programs may require students to take particular ECCE courses. Students should consult with advisors in the major for further guidance.

The DARS people asked about a 200 level transfer course that was extensive enough to possibly meet ECCE criteria. The Council discussed that policy does not apply to ECCE courses which must be 3 credit hours. The course would have to come to GECo first anyway for review.

ACTION: It was decided to leave the door open to making decisions on a case by case basis. That would give us the freedom to accept a 200 level course taken somewhere else to meet a 300 level ECCE with review by Council.


Levels of Governance – Course Changes

The Council decided that they would like to see all course changes in description.   They also would like to review all course level changes if they are going up. They would only like to be notified of course level changes going down. The Levels of Governance will stay the same.

400 Level Lower Division Courses-Decision if we can take them out

Because of concerns that 400 level courses are inappropriate for lower division it was decided they should be removed. Students could continue to petition for exception to the rule if they were graduating but the instructor must decide that the course meet IAI.

Action: Ken Owen motioned to remove all 400 level courses from lower division in 2015. Pamela Salela seconded and the vote was unanimous.

Heather Dell and Karen Moranski will collaborate on a memo to the Departments.


NOTE for changes in U.S. Communities when up for review.

  • US Communities does not capture what the issue of diversity is in America. Possible category name change: Diversity in America, etc.


  • It is okay to use a 300 level course as a lower division Gen Ed if the instructor allows it e.g., THE 327 Playwriting may be used as a V.C.P. Gen Ed requirement if the instructor is willing and will sign off on it.


  • Only ECCE cannot be used by a course within UIS.


  • Notification only needs to be sent to GECO of a course level change.


  • Courses submitted to be cross listed with a course that has already been approved by GECo, does not need GECo’s approval again, nor does it need the Chair’s signature.


  • Suggest to faculty when making changes to syllabi for GECo approval to highlight changes in a different color.


9 hour ECCE Loopholes

This discussion came about due to an influx of petitions to use a 2nd ECCE Speaker Series as one more hour of ECCE requirement. Students must take 9 credit hours in at least two categories of ECCE plus one Speaker Series.

We used to require 13 credit hours which was reduced to 10 with an expectation that the student would take three courses in at least 2 categories and then a 1 hour Speaker Series. They could mix and match between Global Awareness, U.S. Communities or Engagement Experience categories. This left room for 6 hours of an internship.

There were many scenarios discussed as to how students could reach their 10 hours of ECCE requirement. The main problem was how to close the loophole that allows students to take 2 four hour courses and then submit a petition to allow them to take a 2nd Speaker Series to reach the 10 hours.

An example of this is in the Computer Science Department. They have a 4 hour curriculum and have created two 4 hour ECCE courses. Their students take both courses in fulfillment of curriculum. We have not previously allowed them to double dip ECCE and Program. Now we are allowing it. These are students that do not do internships that end up petitioning. They take U.S. Communities and Global Awareness and end up 1 hour short. They would need to take another course outside of CSC who has 15 sections of ECCE. Reducing sections in CSC would force students to find other courses outside their discipline. This would also reduce the burden of teaching ECCE in CSC.

If we clarify the language in the catalog, the change will need to go through Undergraduate Council and Campus Senate.

ACTION: For now, Council agreed to enforce the 9 hour rule plus 1 hour Speaker Series even if it means students take 3 courses and go over the 9 hours. They voted to agree by 3 out of 4 with 1 abstention. Karen Moranski will begin denying those petitions.


Levels of Governance Policy change for GECo.

  •  It was decided by the General Education Council that they would like to see all the course changes for description. They would like to see the syllabi that is on file.
  •  If the new title matches the course catalog description, then it is acceptable for the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education to approve the change without bringing to the General Education Council.
  • All credit hour changes may be approved by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education.

ACTION: Steve Schnebly motioned to allow the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education approve credit hours and title changes for existing courses but have all course description changes come to the General Education Council for review. Pamela Salela seconded the motion and it was approved 6 yeas and 1 nay.