COMMITTEE:  Academic Standards


MEETING DATE:      November 18, 2002


PERSON PRESIDING:        John Tilley


REGULAR MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE:  Jim Decker, Joseph Gershtenson, M. S. Ravi, Catherine Rigsby, and John Tilley


EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE:  Michael Bassman, Pat Dunn, Purification Martinez, Dorothy Muller, and Katie Sagle


OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE:  Brian Harris, Michael Poteat, Chuck Rich




Agenda Item: 1: Call to order


Action Taken:  Tilley called meeting to order at 3:00 PM.




Agenda Item: 2   Approval of minutes for the October 21, 2002 meeting.


Action Taken:  Rigsby moved for approval of minutes, seconded by Dunn.  Martinez clarified her status as an Ex Officio member.  The motion was approved without dissent.


Item Considered in Suspension of Agenda:  Committee officials


Action Taken:  Decker volunteered to serve as Secretary for the meeting.



Agenda Item 3:  Relationship between the General Education assessment process and the current review of General Education program.


Discussion:  Michael Poteat, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, provided an overview of the ongoing General Education assessment process.  Dr. Poteat indicated the recent SACS review was very favorable, yielding only nine recommendations.  On August 27, 2002, ECU responded regarding the nine recommendations.  Response to recommendation # 3 was to consider “oral communication” as part of the review of General Education program.  Dr. Poteat suggested that this recommendation might be best met with an “Oral Communication Across the Curriculum” schema, similar to the successful “Writing Across the Curriculum” program.  Tilley spoke about the difference between General Education requirements and graduation requirements.  Poteat articulated the SACS “core requirement” as articulated in the “Principles of Accreditation” which can be found at  Dr. Poteat also provided information attached, which cites relevant SACS documents.


Action Taken:  No action was taken at this time.  However the committee reached consensus that the committee’s job is to recommend the best possible General Education program for students and should not be constrained by potential assessment challenges.



Item considered in Suspension of Agenda:  Student Opinion of Distance Education Courses.


Discussion:  Dr. Chuck Rich offered his assistance to alleviate any remaining problems with the recently revised possibly on student evaluation of distance education classes.  Tilley recommended adoption of a revised statement, which removes ambiguity in the policy.


Action Taken  Bassman  moved and Rigbsy seconded approval the following replacement sentence. 


“To increase student response rates, all students enrolled in distance education courses will receive a reminder e-mail prior to the deadline.” 


The motion passed without dissent.


Agenda Item 4:  General Education credit petition for GRBK 2000, GRBK 4000, and GRBK 4999.


Discussion:  Dr. Brian Harris described the purpose of the proposed Great Books program and the petition for general Education Credit.  Rigsby questioned the wisdom of approving new General Education course while a review of the en Ed program is under way.  Ravi indicated the committee must be sensitive to Gen Ed changes at this time, however revision of the Gen Ed program may be years away given the enormity of the task and numerous other factors.  Tilley suggested the course in question might be particularly suited for “Writing Intensive” status.  Harris indicated he would pursue WI stats for these courses.  Bassmen requested honors section of the proposed classes be stabled.  Harris indicated he would pursue honors section of the proposed classes.


Action Taken:  Rigsby moved and Bassman seconded approval of GRBK 200, GRBK 4000, and GRBK 4999 for General Education credit.  The motion was approved without dissent.


Agenda Item 9:  Scheduling of a called meeting prior to the next scheduled meeting.


Discussion:  Tilley indicated the business before the committee necessitated an additional meeting prior to the one scheduled in February 2003.  Discussion of the business to be accomplished and an interim report to the Faculty Senate was held.


Action Taken:  Committee members agreed to meet Tuesday November 26, 2002 from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.  Tilley will invite Provost Swart to attend this meeting.


Agenda Item 6:  Means of soliciting General Education input from Students.


Discussion:  Tilley described the dilemma of soliciting input form students about the General Education program.  Tilley recommended four committee members (Tilley, Slagel, Bassman, and House) meet with the Student Government Association Senate for the purpose of receiving input on General Education.  Bassman suggested Honors program student be solicited for input.  Muller suggested Teaching Fellow be solicited for Gen Ed input.  Ravi suggested The East Carolinian be approached to run a feature on the General Education Review and solicit student input.  Tilley indicated that Katie Slagel (Ex Officio Committee member0 is a member of TEC editorial board.  Tilley volunteered to discuss this with Slagel. 


Action Taken:  The committee reached consensus regarding the following strategies: a) Tilley, Slagel, Bassman and House will attend an SGA Senate meeting and solicit Gen Ed input, b) Muller will make arrangements to solicit input form Teaching Fellows, c) Bassman will make arrangements to solicit input form Honors program students, and d) Tilley will work with Slagel to utilize The East Carolinian to increase student awareness of the Gen Ed review and solicit student input.



Agenda Item 5:  Discussion of the “Foundations Curriculum” drafted by Rigsby.


Discussion:  Extensive discussion was held in reaction to the “Foundations Curriculum’ drafted by Rigsby.  Suggestion for clarification, enhancement and extension the concept were entertained and debated.  Related After extensive discussion Rigsby agreed to incorporate several of the concepts offered and to construct a second raft of the proposal to be discoed at the next committee meeting.


Action Taken:            Dr. Muller volunteered to ascertain current relevant UNC System guidelines regarding General Education. No other action taken at this time.



Motion to Adjourn:  Passed at 5:24 PM.


NEXT MEETING:    November 26, 2002 @ 3:30 PM      



From Michael Poteat, Director of Institutional Effectiveness


The first statement concerning SACS requirements is from the SACS Criteria, which are being replaced by the Principles. The criteria are, however, were the standards by which ECU was evaluated.  Note that this statement reads that we must demonstrate that graduates are competent in, but we only have to show that students have course work (catalog requirements) in each area.  We were judged to comply with all areas except oral communication.  The 1998 criteria can be found at:



The institution must demonstrate that its graduates of     29

degree programs are competent in reading, writing, oral            30

communication, fundamental mathematical skills and      31

the basic use of computers.                                     



Effective with the class of 2004 (that is the the SACS term and it refers to the schools undergoing reaffirmation visits in the 2004-2005 academic year), all institutions will be under the recently adopted principles.  The principles are only 16 pages long compared to the approximately 80 pages of criteria.  The must statements are gone and there are far fewer specific requirements.  The principles can be found at:


I copied three statements, which I thought were of particular relevance to general education and the assessment of institutional effectiveness, from the principles.  The first statement (the one I inadvertently replaced with non-relevant text) reads:


c. offers a general education program at the collegiate level that is (1) a substantial

component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and

(3) is based on a coherent rationale. For degree completion in associate programs,

the component constitutes a minimum of 15 semester hours or the equivalent; for

baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent. These

credit hours are to be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the

following areas: humanities/fine arts; social/behavioral sciences; and natural

science/mathematics. The courses do not narrowly focus on those skills,

techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession. The

institution provides a written justification and rationale for course equivalency. (This section  is on page 9 and is part of the Core Requirements.  However, I am not sure of its meaning if it is read within the context of the entire statement..)


Another core requirement (page 8) states:


5. The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of programs and services that (a) results in continuing improvement and (b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.   (This is, of course, what my office is charged with facilitating.)



Finally, one of the two principles that SACS had developed for the basis of reaffirmation is:


Quality Enhancement

The Commission on Colleges expects institutions to dedicate themselves to enhancing

the quality of their programs and services within the context of their missions, resources,

and capacities, and creating an environment in which teaching, research, and learning



The concept of quality enhancement is at the heart of the Commission’s philosophy of

accreditation; this presumes each member institution is engaged in an ongoing program

of improvement and can demonstrate how well it fulfills its stated mission. Although

evaluation of an institution’s educational quality and its effectiveness in achieving its

mission is a difficult task requiring careful analysis and professional judgment, an

institution is expected to document quality and effectiveness in all its major aspects.

(page 2-3)