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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Committee takes its ‘CUE’ from forum responses

Miner CUE
Dr. Jeffrey Miner, biology, shares his group’s response to the CUE presentation at the
March 1 forum.

The University community has been getting its first look at the proposed new general education framework at a series of forums. The feedback received will be used to guide the further development of the Connecting the Undergraduate Experience (CUE) initiative to better integrate the curriculum academically and with co-curricular experiences.

McFall Center Gallery was packed for the final meeting on the Bowling Green campus Monday (March 1). One more session will be held, at BGSU Firelands tomorrow (March 4). Following the presentation of the framework, table discussions were held and responses to such questions as what most resonates and what might be the biggest challenges were recorded.

The proposed framework as presented by the CUE Committee focuses on increasing the breadth and depth of students’ exposure to and proficiency in the intellectual skills expressed in the University’s learning outcomes, but in a more integrated way than at present.

While the current distribution framework involves a wide range of general education courses, they are unconnected, said Dr. Stephen Langendorfer, director of the BG Perspective general education program. “It’s a faith-based system,” he said humorously. “We hope they achieve what we want them to but we really have no good way of assessing them.”

The new framework puts a strong focus on benchmark assessments of student learning. It comprises eight courses: a foundational seminar using project-based learning; a “math with context” course; a “writing in context” course (plus an all-around increased emphasis on writing skills, both general and scientific); cross-disciplinary courses with a “diversity in the U.S.” theme; problem-solving courses, including one in global issues, and capstone courses that incorporate high-impact practices such as internships, hands-on and service-learning, and research. A “mold-breaking” proposal for a University-wide Common Learning Time is another element. This time would offer opportunities for events and activities that integrate classroom and co-curricular learning.

The first-year themed courses would focus on enduring questions examined across the disciplines. Faculty could suggest themes for such courses and classes to address the theme from their respective disciplinary vantage points.


In the second year, the focus would be on problem-based courses, focusing on more contemporary issues and coming from a more discipline-specific approach.

Faculty responded most positively to the increased emphasis on writing, though with the caveat that focus needs to be maintained on the style appropriate to the majors. One comment was that the new framework does truly represent a sound general education and not simply a preparation for “the next level.”

While they seemed to embrace the idea of strengthening the undergraduate curriculum, faculty expressed concern about the University’s ability to implement some components, such as the capstone courses, in a time of diminished resources. They also wanted to be sure that students, particularly in professional courses of study, could take the required classes and still graduate in four years. They also pointed out that it will be important in terms of transfer credit that BGSU’s classes and framework articulate with other universities’. Another challenge will be the cross-college coordination aspect, they said.

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orange box

An evening of hands-on math and science activities

As part of an ongoing program supporting K-12 science and math instructors in the use of classroom technologies for teaching, NWOET will be providing outreach assistance to the BGSU Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in Science and Math Education (COSMOS) for its Inquiry Series, which provides an evening of free, hands-on science and math activities to teachers. More information on those events can be found online.

BGSU students connect with local service agencies

Students majoring in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) can meet with local service agencies tomorrow (March 4) during “Developing Connections: HDFS and the Community.”

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 202B Bowen-Thompson Student Union. A total of 18 local agencies representing areas from child development to disability services will be on hand to speak with students.

Students can participate in on-site internship interviews and network with the agencies. In the past year, HDFS interns have completed more than 33,000 service hours with child and family agencies in northwest Ohio and beyond.

Zoom News is provided as a service to BGSU faculty and staff.

March 03, 2010