Taskforce seeks input on future curriculum changes

Managing Editor and Managing Editor

The taskforce in charge of modifying undergraduate education recently gathered comments and criticism and headed back to the drawing board.

The result: a revamped model for the University’s proposed Connecting the Undergraduate Experience program.

Connecting the Undergraduate Experience, called CUE, is the plan to revise the University’s general education curriculum for undergraduate students.

Its development taskforce met Sept. 13 and unanimously approved forwarding a new proposal for changes to the provost’s office.

Sue Houston, vice provost for undergraduate education, presented the report at last week’s Faculty Senate meeting.

“We’re looking to provide the best possible curriculum we can to help students be successful,” she said. “We do many great things at BGSU, but we can always strive to do better.”

The CUE model emphasizes connecting general education courses through internships, out-of-classroom experiences and exposure to several academic disciplines, Houston said. It’s more intentionally integrated than the current undergraduate curriculum.

The Office of the Provost is seeking feedback concerning the proposal throughout the semester before it can be finalized. After gathering feedback, the CUE taskforce will draft a second proposal beginning January 2012, which will move through a formal approval process.

“We’re inviting you to really do a critical evaluation and provide feedback on this model, which we hope will take place in a very thorough manner,” Houston said at the Senate meeting. “We can then start acting on it and moving forward.”

CUE was initially slated to begin this fall. After Undergraduate Council voted against the initial CUE proposal and administrators received negative feedback, the restructuring was delayed until fall 2013.

Currently, there isn’t a “clear deadline in mind” for CUE’s implementation, Houston said.

“We feel it’s time to stop talking and really move things into action soon,” she said. “But it’s certainly going to take time to develop a good program and proposal, so we need to balance that.”

University President Mary Ellen Mazey expressed similar feelings at the Faculty Senate meeting.

She cited administrative instability and turnovers in the provost’s office as reasons for past difficulties, but said that shouldn’t affect future impressions of moving CUE forward.

“From what I’ve seen and heard and having read the initial proposal, I know this has been a pretty cumbersome process,” Mazey said at the meeting. “I want the University to move beyond that. We need to create a program we can all be proud of, and now is the time to do it.”

By implementing CUE, the University will take the current undergraduate academic experience one step further, said Neal Jesse, chair of the CUE development task force.

But to perfect the program and best serve future students, the task force is hoping for engaged discussion about it throughout the semester, he said.

“The [new proposal] encapsulates two years of work,” Jesse said. “It’s a good starting point, but we really want the rest of the University community to have a dialogue in it, with a focus on academic quality.”

To foster discussion concerning undergraduate education, Houston and Provost Rodney Rogers will host an open discussion at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in 315 Union. Anyone is welcome to attend and provide feedback.

A copy of the proposal and a form for submitting electronic feedback is available on the Office of the Provost section of the University’s website.