Faculty Senate to give gen. ed plan 2nd look

By Jackie Nevarez

Faculty Senate will continue its discussion of the operation and requirements of the Progressive Learning in Undergraduate Studies report today.

Faculty Senate President Bill Pitney motioned to endorse the report Oct. 1, but the motion was postponed to today after the senate decided to continue discussion. The report proposes reform to the university’s general education and undergraduate studies programs.

Associate biology professor Joel Stafstrom, a member of the PLUS Task Force, said adding the program into the course catalog and operating in general is expected to be implemented by fall 2015.

Faculty expressed concerns over including the program’s decrease in hours for the nature and technology domain, among other things. The report can be viewed at niu.edu/plus.

Associate sociology professor Robin Moremen said she was concerned with the departmental advisers’ role in the program.

Advisers are “the ones who are gonna shepherd [students] through this combination of general eds and departmental requirements,” Moremen said. “How is that gonna happen all before next fall?”

An addendum to the report, added Friday, shows more than 2,220 students, faculty, staff and administrators contributed feedback, allowing the PLUS Task Force to identify key issues: increasing general education course offerings, reducing the minimum of general education courses from 13 to 11, increasing focus on writing skills, increasing relevance of general education courses to majors and including engaged learning practices in undergraduate studies.

To view the agenda for today’s meeting, go to bit.ly/1xBjObT.