USM Symposium on General Education

On Friday, February 26th from 10am to 4:00 pm, the Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation invites USM institutions to send representatives to explore new ideas, discuss challenges, and share good practices for guiding and assessing general education. We invite faculty who are on general education oversight committees or who have been informal leaders in discussions about the goals and organization of general education; academic administrators with responsibilities for general education or regional accreditation; and interested staff from teaching centers or assessment offices.

You and your colleagues might choose to use this Symposium as a mini-retreat for working on some aspect of general education; there will be time for team members to discuss what they’re learning and how it might be used at your institution.

Thanks to Towson University for its generosity in hosting this event.


College of Liberal Arts, Towson University.  


Friday, February 26, 2016



USM Symposium on General Education Symposium

Towson University, College of Liberal Arts, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016

9:30-10:00 LA4310

Registration and light breakfast

10:00-10:20 LA4310

Welcoming Remarks

  • Tim Chandler, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, on behalf of Towson University
  • Jo Boughman, Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, on behalf of the University System of Maryland

Introduction to Symposium Goals and Program

  • MJ Bishop, Director, Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland

10:20-10:30 LA4310

Team Huddle

Discuss what each person hopes to accomplish today and whether there are issues you wish to work on together during team times later today.

10:30-11:20 LA4310

Keynote Address

General Education: Emerging Models and Research Findings

  • Terry Rhodes, Vice-President, Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

Resources: Keynote ppt. and handout.


Concurrent Sessions


Integrative and Signature Courses in General Education

How are institutions using general education to help students make sense of their whole education? How are some institutions crafting general education programs that reflect their institutional identity, while not interfering with ease of transfer?

  • Douglas Roberts, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland College Park and Rodney Stump, Core Curriculum Coordinator, Towson University; Moderator: Doris Santamaria-Makang, Assistant Provost, Frostburg State University

Resources: D. Roberts UMCP ppt., R. Stump Towson ppt.Session takeaways


Using Assessment to Improve General Education Programs

How are institutions nationally and within USM using evidence of learning to help guide general education? This session will include information about the VALUE rubrics developed by AAC&U.

  • Terry Rhodes, Vice-President, Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, AAC&U; Moderator: Sydney Duncan, Associate Provost, Frostburg State University

Resources: T. Rhodes ppt.Session takeaways 


Course Redesign in General Education: Lessons Learned, Next Steps

The session will begin by describing two very different models of course redesign. How are courses advancing access, affordability and quality? How are they using evidence to continually improve student learning?

  • LaTanya Brown-Robertson, Associate Professor, Economics, Bowie State University and Jean Ashby, Dean of Instruction, School of Mathematics and Science, Community College of Baltimore County; Moderator: Steve Ehrmann, Associate Director, Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland

Resources: Session takeaways

12:45-1:45 LA4310

Lunch and Team Time

Teams may sign up to meet with a consultant for one or both half hours of lunch. Consultants: MJ Bishop, Steve Ehrmann, Teri Hollander, Nancy O’Neill, and Terry Rhodes.   Sign up on the sheet on the easel in LA4310.



Concurrent Sessions



Organizing General Education: Institution, Middle States, COMAR

Periodically institutions take a fresh look at the goals and overall design of their general education. In what ways have USM institutions done this recently? How are Middle States and COMAR changing and what do these changes make possible?

  • James King, Associate Professor of English, Salisbury University; Teri Hollander, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland; Moderator: Jackie Williams, Chairperson, Instructional Leadership and Professional Development, Coppin State University

Resources: T. Hollander ppt., J. King SU survey-faculty version, J. King SU survey results-alums, J. King  SU survey results-summarySession takeaways


Engaging Faculty in Assessing General Education Courses and Programs

It can be challenging to involve faculty in assessment that goes beyond traditional grading wihtin courses. How are some institutions engaging and helping their faculty in using evidence to improve General Education? 

  • Fiona Glade, Interim Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies, University of Baltimore; Jennifer M. Harrison, Assistant Director for Assessment, Faculty Development Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Moderator: Nancy O'Neill, Project Manager, Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland

Resouces: Session worksheetF. Glade UB handoutJ. Harrison UMBC handoutSession takeaways



Using Online Tutors and Other Technology to Enable New Designs for General Education Courses

An increasing number of online courses include some form of online interactive instruction as part of the course content. UMUC has been experimenting with making such instruction even more interactive, learning-centered and self-paced. What's been achieved and what challenges remain?

  • Beth Mulherrin, Assistant Vice Provost, University of Maryland University College; Debra McLaughlin, Chair of Sciences, University of Maryland University College; Moderator: MJ Bishop, Director, Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, University System of Maryland

Resources: Session takeaways

2:55-3:30 LA4310

Team Time

Teams gather to share what they’ve learned and how it might be applied after the Symposium.


3:30-4:00 LA4310

Plenary Discussion: Takeaways from Sessions

Are there ways we can take advantage of our “systemness” to support general education?

  • Moderators: MJ Bishop and Nancy O'Neill, The Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation



For further information

Contact: Nancy O'Neill, Project Manager: noneill@usmd.edu; 301-445-1998.