XIDS Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On

UWG XIDS Program Assessment

Note: All text in bold, italics is quoted directly from the Accreditation Standards for Interdisciplinary General Education.
All text in black is UWG's response in addressing the issue.

Category A: Goals
Category B: Curriculum
Category C: Teaching and Learning
Category D: Faculty
Category E: Administration


Category A: Goals

Interdisciplinary general education programs should have statements of goals which explicitly address interdisciplinary or integrative features of the program. Although the goals may overlap the goals and outcomes of other strong general education programs, they will address distinctive aims of interdisciplinary programs. Effective, enduring interdisciplinary programs will have goals that are consistent with their own institution's mission and, as appropriate, consistent with pertinent state or regional educational objectives and guidelines for best practices nation-wide.
  1. An effective interdisciplinary general education program will have explicitly integrative goals which are communicated to all students, faculty, and staff.

    1. What are the distinctive goals of the program?
      The distinctive goals of the interdisciplinary program as outlined in the Core Curriculum requirements are to meet the goals of the University System of Georgia interdisciplinary goals of the Core Curriculum: "to permit opportunities for interdisciplinary learning" and to encourage and develop interdisciplinary opportunities at upper-division levels as well as new Bachelor's programs, such as the BA/BS degree programs in Environmental Studies and Global Studies, all of which is furthermore consistent with the Enhanced Mission of the College of Arts& Sciences:

      The School of Arts and Sciences offers a wide range of academically challenging liberal arts degree programs and selected master's degree programs that are responsive to student, regional and national needs. The programs seek to provide a level of educational excellence that matches the quality of honors programs at other schools. Such programs include the traditional disciplines as well as innovative interdisciplinary programs.
    2. Does the program aim explicitly at helping students to look at issues and problems from multiple perspectives?
      The program is largely a topic-driven program and thus aims to help students see a single issue, topic, or object from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to see the difference an integrative approach can provide as well. The topic driven courses are divided by Core Curriculum Area - Area B (institutional options), Area C (fine arts and humanities), Area D (science), and Area E (social science). Some examples of approved topic-driven courses are as follows: 
      • Area B:  XIDS 2001: What do you really know about Africa?
        • Geoarchaeology?
        • Environmental Studies?
        • Darwinian Evolution?
        • The Physical Universe?
        • Leadership?
        • Women and Science?
        • Surrealism and Contemporary Culture?
        • Africana Studies?
      • Area C:  XIDS 2100: Arts and Ideas: Romanticism
        • World Cultures and Societies
        • The Fin de Siecle in Germany and Austria
        • The Monstrous and Grotesque
        • The Christian Tradition
        • Modernism
        • Medievalism
        • Classicism in the West
        • Post-Modern Experimentalism
        • Representing American Womanhood
      • Area D:
        • XIDS 2201 Science Foundations
        • XIDS 2202 Environmental Studies
      • Area E:  XIDS 2300 Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences (Special Topics):
        • Hazardous Waste
        • Chinese Society
        • The Individual and Society
        • The Russian Psyche
        • Ecopsychology
        • Cultural Studies: TV
        • Technological Society
        • The Human Touch
        • History of Childhood
        • Global Citizenship in the 21st Century

    3. Does the program aim explicitly at helping students to compare, contrast and integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines, thereby gaining a more comprehensive view?
      While the program as a while does not explicitly require students to compare and contrast the results of different disciplinary approaches, most courses provide that opportunity and some syllabi of specific courses do explicitly require such comparisons.
    4. How were the goals determined? Were representatives of the constituent disciplines consulted in developing the interdisciplinary goals?
      The goals of the different parts of the program were developed in small committees with representatives of most of the constitutive disciplines represented. These committees are specific to Core courses (Area B Committee; Area C Committee) and, of course, for degree programs. These specific goals are published in the courses proposal templates and information sheets. For example, in the course information sheet for teaching XIDS 2100, the following information:
             

      Learning Outcomes (learning outcomes must be specific, attainable, and measurable) 

      To establish an understanding of the interrelationships among the arts and ideas.

      To give the student a framework inclusive of the historical settings, cultural forces, and philosophical wellsprings that contributes to the production of artistic works.

      To experience participating in the performance of a creative, collaborative work of art.

      Catalog Course Description 

      This course is an overview of the interdependent and inter-developmental character of movements in the arts and historical/philosophical ideas. A fine or performing art is always represented as one of the disciplines considered in every section. Students will be required to attend five artistic events (plays, recitals, concerts, shows) during the course of the semester.


    5. In what ways are all faculty and students made aware of their interdisciplinary dimensions? (For example, do the institutional catalog and the program informational bulletins include integrative goal statements? Are these given to all students, faculty, and staff?)
      Faculty and students are made aware of the goals of interdisciplinary programs through separate mailings and announcements. The program is described in the undergraduate catalogue in the introduction to the College of Arts & Sciences and in the descriptions of individual courses. The overview of the program is called "Interdisciplinary Options" on page 128 of the Undergraduate Catalog.
  2. The goals and outcomes of an effective interdisciplinary general education program will be consistent with the institution's goals and its mission.

    1. In what ways are the distinctively integrative goals and outcomes of the program appropriate to the institution and to the program itself?
      The distinctive integrative goals of the interdisciplinary program are connected to the University mission in a couple of ways. First, the University's mission statement lists interdisciplinary education as part of its explicit goals: "West Georgia offers a range of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional programs at the baccalaureate level." Second, the mission statement further highlights one area of excellence that is best met by integrative programming: "impart broad knowledge and foster critical understanding needed for intellectual growth, personal and social responsibility, cultural and global literacy, and life-long learning."
    2. What evidence is there that the distinctive goals are feasible given available resources and personnel?
      The goals are feasible given the resources of the University, but they are not now being met due to a lack of allocation to the area of the University responsible for imparting integrative classes.
    3. Are these goals stated in terms that permit judgments about the extent to which they are realized?
      The goals are stated in ways to impart judgment regarding the adequacy of course availability. We are not yet at a point of measuring the relative level of excellence of such goals as intellectual growth, global literacy, and lifelong learning.
    4. What evidence indicates that intended outcomes are being achieved?
      The only evidence for having achieved the goals stated above right now is the fact of course completion and student evaluation of courses, with one exception. The interdisciplinary program plays a central role in the creation of freshmen learning communities. Data has been collected on the performance of these learning communities students, revealing an increase both in GPA and in retention. Finally, the Senate Committee for Undergraduate Academic Programs and the Office of the VPAA are beginning to develop an assessment mechanism for the Core Curriculum, which includes much of the interdisciplinary program, so some data will be collected from this activity.
    5. What procedures are in place for collecting and analyzing evidence?
      The procedures for collecting and analyzing data regarding the learning outcomes of the interdisciplinary program at this point are limited to collecting student evaluations and impromptu faculty evaluations and having them read and assessed by the course-specific committees.
  3. An effective interdisciplinary general education program regularly reviews its goals, its curriculum, and the courses which it offers. In addition, the program has a process for regularly monitoring progress toward achieving integrative goals and outcomes, curriculum, and courses.
    1. What process is used for reviewing interdisciplinary or integrative goals, courses, and curriculum structure?
      The process used for reviewing goals of the interdisciplinary programs is the regular meeting of the course-specific committees. These committees review the number of courses taught, the number of courses needed, the stated goals of the courses in question, and finally, whether or not the courses taught and proposed are meeting these goals.
    2. How does the program monitor progress toward achieving these goals?
      See A2e.
    3. In what ways are program faculty involved in these processes? What occasions provide for collaborative reflection among faculty, students and administrators? Are these systematic or irregular?
      See A3a.
    4. During the review process, is there adequate consultation across the various units of the institution who have a stake in the content and/or staffing of the program?
      There is really not that much consultation across the units of the college that have a stake in the broad sense (which is of course everyone), but there is some consultation in and among the units that teach the courses.
    5. What have been the results of these processes since the last program review?
      N/A (Or one could say that the last review were P and P and semester conversion which upon review of the core at that time called for the creation of the interdisciplinary program; so that review resulting in the program.)
      For Learning Communities assessment see A2d.
    6. What, if any, modifications have been made recently in program goals or in means of meeting these goals?
      None recently.
    7. What documented improvements have resulted from these modifications?
      N/A
    8. Are there problems that have not been addressed? If so, what are they?
      The problems are staffing and general assessment. The solutions to these problems are under construction.

 

Category B: Curriculum

Interdisciplinary general education programs take into account the developments documented in strong general education programs, such as attention to intellectual skills , multiple modes of inquiry, the social and international context, self-knowledge and values, and integration of learning. Particularly important, for interdisciplinary programs, however, is having a plan for the development of the curriculum which carefully focuses on its integrative and coherent features.

  1. An effective interdisciplinary general education program shows coherence, although there are alternative ways of achieving it. The issue of coherence should consider at what stage undergraduate students take courses in the program, whether there are courses available for students at both the lower and upper divisions, and how students perceive coherence. It should also consider the relationship of individual disciplines to the interdisciplinary general education program, the relationship of general education and the major, and the integrative coherence of all elements within individual courses.

    1. What documentation gives evidence that the curriculum plan is based on a well-defined intellectual agenda that addresses interdisciplinarity?
      The request for proposals for submitting new interdisciplinary courses (ones with the XIDS prefix) presents the intellectual agenda of the University's interdisciplinary initiatives. Within the new XIDS course proposals, faculty must demonstrate that their course will fit into this agenda. Examples of questions proposals need to address are:
      • Describe the contribution of each of the disciplines (breadth of disciplines).
      • How does the text bring these perspectives together so that a true interdisciplinary focus is achieved (synthesis)?
      • Discuss how students are required to integrate various disciplines' concepts and perspective (breadth and depth of knowledge).
    2. What creates coherence in the program? What evidence indicates it is being achieved?
      Coherence in the program lies in the common goals that each of the XIDS courses must address. No matter what level-core or advanced undergraduate-the courses must meet the same criteria of interdisciplinarity.
    3. If coherence is addressed through sets of common core courses, what are the courses? How are the core courses connected?
      While there is no formal Interdisciplinary Program, there is coherence in the interdisciplinary course offerings. Learning Communities at the Freshman Level, organized by topic (example: Hispanic Cultures Learning Community, Pre-Engineering Learning Community) provide a context for students to take common sets of courses for core credit, many of which are designed around the central theme of the Learning Community. Finally, most interdisciplinary programs, such as Women's Studies or African Studies, require interdisciplinary introductory as well as capstone courses.
    4. Are some courses organized around designated topics, themes, issues, ideas, problems, or questions?
      See B1b.
    5. In what ways does the program span the entire bachelor-level education, or does it focus on lower division courses? If it spans upper and lower division work, what is the relationship of beginning, middle-range, and capstone courses within the program?
      XIDS courses are integrated into the curriculum at UWG, with an emphasis on courses that fulfill Core requirements. There is no freestanding, degree-granting Interdisciplinary Program. There are no lower-level XIDS prerequisites for upper-division XIDS courses. There are, however, several degree-granting interdisciplinary programs, among which are Environmental Studies/Science, American Studies, Global Studies, and Africana Studies. Within the upper-division courses in these programs, students build on interdisciplinary skills learned in Core level classes and engage in the more complex and synthetic skills of combining disciplinary perspectives (see f below).
    6. Does the program provide for a sequence of interdisciplinary skills, from simple to complex?
      There are several categories of XIDS courses within the core and one category of upper-division XIDS courses. This provides for a sequence of interdisciplinary skills in that the Core level courses provide general introductions to the disciplines involved, while the upper-division courses assume more in-depth knowledge of at least one discipline. The students' ability to synthesize disciplinary materials increases with the upper-division XIDS courses.
      Within the Core, a 1 to 2-credit course entitled XIDS "What do you really know about...?" is one of several courses that can fulfill the portion of the Core entitled Institutional Requirements. These institutional needs include (but are not limited to) global awareness, diversity, problem solving, and critical thinking.
      A final category may fulfill a requirement for a social science elective. Existing courses include the Russian Psyche and Global Citizenship.
    7. If the interdisciplinary education program has other dimensions, such as a distribution of disciplinary courses, is there a clear and effective working relationship among the different components? What is that relationship? Are there opportunities to reflect on the relationship of the disciplines?
      While there is no Interdisciplinary Program, per se, each student must take an XIDS course in the general category Arts and Ideas, which must combine exposure to the arts with learning about the arts from several disciplinary perspectives. Courses in this category include Philosophies of World Art, the Fantastic in Art and Literature, and American Musical Theatre. The objective of these courses is to allow the student to consider the relationship between the various humanities disciplines.
    8. In what ways do the separate parts of the curricular structure cohere? What indications are there that the students perceive connections among separate courses?
      The separate parts of the interdisciplinary curricular structure cohere through the templates that faculty follow in proposing courses. Students perceive the commonality through the common prefix (XIDS) assigned to many interdisciplinary courses.
    9. What evidence indicates an effective working balance of breadth (exposure to multiple disciplines), depth (knowledge of pertinent disciplines), and synthesis (opportunities for integration)?
      As for breadth, each course proposal must demonstrate that there will be exposure to multiple disciplines. As for depth, many courses are taught by multiple instructors, ensuring that the students will be exposed to knowledge from pertinent disciplines. In other cases, many of the instructors have been broadly trained and are capable of addressing multiple disciplines within their courses.
    10. What are the participating disciplines and interdisciplinary fields? Is the spectrum of courses narrow or wide?
      The spectrum of XIDS courses spans a broad disciplinary and topical range.
    11. Are the number and extent of interdisciplinary experiences sufficient to achieve curricular goals?
      Curricular goals are established in the Core review process and within individual interdisciplinary programs.
    12. How do other units of the institution help make connections with the interdisciplinary general education program themes and content?
      The interdisciplinary effort has been concentrated within each department of the College of Arts & Sciences. Faculty from the College of Education have submitted proposals, however, and a faculty member from the College of Business serves on an XIDS committee.
    13. How are pertinent links with the community incorporated into the curriculum?
      The community becomes involved in numerous ways. First, several of the XIDS courses contain study abroad components, and community members have participated in these. Second, through the Arts and Ideas course, students are required to attend arts events in the community, thereby increasing links between the university and community. Finally, some of the Learning Communities include a service learning component, where students perform services to the community in the course of their learning.

 

Category C: Teaching and Learning

Although no unique pedagogies have been tied to effectiveness in interdisciplinary education, many of the approaches to pedagogy that have proven potent in general education are particularly useful in encouraging interdisciplinary and integrative learning. Students should learn to make connections across materials in their interdisciplinary general education courses, across courses in the program, and across courses more broadly, including courses in their major. Integration will be an ongoing process throughout the semester and the undergraduate career. Knowing the students and providing opportunities for student input and feedback will aid this process, as will both formal and informal assessment methods.

  1. Integration in interdisciplinary general education is a function of both how faculty teach and how students learn. In other words, it is the responsibility of both students and faculty. An effective interdisciplinary general education program provides strategies and opportunities for students to integrate their learning. Faculty will facilitate interdisciplinary integration through modeling and pedagogies of active learning as appropriate to their courses.

    1. Where is the concept of interdisciplinarity explained --in an introductory course and unit or elsewhere? Are students acquainted with the strengths and limitations of the interdisciplinary approach?
      See B1h.
    2. Do the faculty in their classroom teaching, assigned reading materials, and assigned learning activities focus explicitly on the process of integration? What are the strategies for students to explicitly integrate their learning?
      See B1a.
    3. How do faculty model integration? Team-teaching can be one effective strategy. What other strategies have they developed?
      Faculty model integration by developing course proposals which require the integration of two or more disciplines. Team-teaching is not required and is considered more as a preference then a requirement for interdisciplinary teaching.
    4. How do faculty serve as mentors helping students to acquire strategies for integrative thinking?
      There is no formal mentoring program for integrative thinking; however, since the establishment of our XIDS curriculum in the core we have added four new interdisciplinary programs: Environmental Studies/Science, American Studies, Global Studies and Africana Studies. These provide excellent foundations for students interested in developing their own strategies for integrative thinking.
    5. If particular integrative approaches are used, such as systems theory, feminism, etc., which ones?
      Topic-driven approaches are primarily used. Faculty may often employ other methods, such as systems theory, within the classroom.
    6. How do students actively engage in connection-making strategies such as juxtaposing, comparing and contrasting disciplinary perspectives? Do they actively practice these activities in class and through assignments, rather than remaining as passive observers to the integrative thinking of faculty?
      In their proposals, faculty must show how integration will be satisfied as a learning outcome.
    7. How do students explore the connections among their interdisciplinary courses and their major courses?
      Students are given the opportunity to explore connections among their interdisciplinary courses and their major courses three ways: during their first year in the Learning Community program; in selecting topics which incorporate their selected discipline; and/or selecting one of the interdisciplinary major or minor programs.
    8. How do students make connections with their lives beyond school, now and in the future?
      We have not tracked the impact of the XIDS curriculum on activities outside the university environment. We need to development a tool to do this.
    9. Do students use senior capstone seminars, essays/theses, research, and/or projects for synthesis?
      Each of the XIDS major programs, Environmental Studies/Science and Global Studies, require a senior capstone seminar.
  2. In the selection of pedagogies which support integrative learning, an effective interdisciplinary general education program considers student developmental stages, student life, and the particular institutional culture. Some sample options are included in the following:

    1. To what extent are faculty using pedagogies that are effective in developing students' capacities for integrative learning?
      Students are provided several opportunities for integrative learning in their first two years. They are not, however, offered many XIDS courses beyond their sophomore year. In addition to Learning Communities, we also offer a study abroad component in selected Arts and Ideas sections, which integrates an experiential element within the topic-driven course.
    2. Do the faculty use alternative strategies such as integrative portfolios to promote connected learning?
      Integrative portfolios are not used in the general education courses but are required in the senior year of the Global Studies major.
    3. Does the program have a living-learning component which helps students connect their general education with social, cultural, and ethical issues?
      Though limited in scope, our Learning Community program connects the social life and the academic life, in addition to connected learning among courses in a particular cluster.
    4. Does the program have collaborative projects or learning communities that support integration?
      Learning Communities are offered to 125 first-year students. Each one is connected to a topic linked to an XIDS "centerpiece" course. Three of the five courses in the schedule are "designated" (25 LC students only) and two are subsets in larger class environments. Some attempts are made to integrate among the courses, and the degree to which this is done varies. However, as the program moves into its sixth year, faculty are repeating their contributions to these clusters and more integration is occurring.
    5. What other pedagogies have been effective in supporting integrative learning?
      The inclusion of study abroad components in selected Arts and Ideas courses and selected integration of service learning in some courses have been an effective part of supporting integrative learning.
  3. Faculty and administrators evaluate learning and teaching in a systematic way on a regular basis in an effective interdisciplinary general education program.

    1. How are interdisciplinary learning and teaching evaluated?
      Interdisciplinary learning and teaching are evaluated two ways: standard faculty evaluations and an additional "suggested" interdisciplinary evaluation (developed at the AIS Institute) for both students and faculty. Faculty are also encouraged to add course specific questions related to integrative learning on the traditional scantron evaluation.
    2. What criteria are used for learning assessment? Are they appropriate for integrative learning?
      Learning assessments vary with courses. However, since the inception of our Learning Community program, we have tracked both GPA and retention of participating students, in addition to qualitative information gathered in the middle of the first-year.
    3. Are multiple learning assessment devices used, such as individual or group projects, presentations, self- and peer evaluations, papers or creation of works in other media, or tests?
      Many courses use multiple learning assessment devices, which include group projects, etc. The XIDS courses linked to Learning Communities are beginning to incorporate service learning as a requirement.
    4. What are the criteria used for teacher evaluation? Are they appropriate to teaching in an interdisciplinary program?
      See A2e.
    5. Does the standard institutional course evaluation form have the necessary flexibility to address distinctive features of interdisciplinary teaching/learning? Alternatively, does the interdisciplinary program have its own form or supplement or are faculty educated in making appropriate instruments?
      As noted above, faculty are encouraged to use the interdisciplinary specific evaluation and about 90% do.
    6. Are multiple teaching assessment devices used, such as teaching dossiers, peer evaluations, student evaluations, and reviews of syllabi?
      See A2e.
    7. How are evaluations taken into account in making teaching assignments?
      Evaluations are not yet taken into account in teaching assignments. However, the XIDS program is decentralized and faculty still fall under the auspices of particular departments who do take into account evaluations when making teaching assignments.
    8. When weaknesses and problems are identified, what kind of support are faculty given?
      At this time, there are no in-house opportunities for XIDS seminars or workshops. These would be a great addition to our program. The Dean's office has supported travel and fees for at least one (and sometimes three) faculty to attend interdisciplinary workshops through the years.


Category D: Faculty

All institutional faculty have some responsibility for general education, either in participating in the program or helping students make connections between courses in their majors and interdisciplinary general education. Faculty participating in interdisciplinary education programs, in particular, need support in areas of faculty development, promotion and tenure processes, and incentives for participation in the programs.

  1. Responsibility for overseeing interdisciplinary general education in an effective program is shared by faculty representatives from across the units of the institution.

    1. Is there a committee composed of representatives from across the departments or colleges and library which oversees liaison with their units, faculty recruiting, curriculum, and policy?
      There are three XIDS committees for the general education program, with membership from across disciplines. These faculty have approval over all general education courses which bear the XIDS prefix. Likewise, committee membership for the major/minor interdisciplinary programs is multidisciplinary and in many cases, coordinator slots rotate every three years.
    2. Is there an ongoing, effective liaison between the interdisciplinary general education program and the departments whose faculty participate?
      Faculty representation on XIDS committees also serve as liaisons to specific departments and the four broad areas within Arts and Sciences: Fine and Performing Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.
    3. Are faculty from all participating units involved, or at least represented, in administrative decision making?
      See B1l.
    4. Is the library an important part of the process of consultation on curriculum development?
      At this time, the library is not involved in the process of course approval. This would be a valuable addition to the approval process. ****
    5. Does the leader keep the campus informed about pertinent recommendations of interdisciplinary, disciplinary, professional and educational groups regarding interdisciplinary general education?
      The Associate Dean (who reports to the Dean of the College) serves as the leader of XIDS, and attended the two-week AIS workshop prior to developing the XIDS core curriculum. The university has been a member of AIS since adding interdisciplinary courses and programs. The template system grew out of the recommendations of the AIS workshop and literature in the field.
  2. In an institution with interdisciplinary general education programs, departmental, college, and university policies and practices support faculty in engaging in interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship, and service.

    1. Is the institutional culture supportive of interdisciplinary general education, so that chairs willingly allow their faculty to participate?
      Institutionally, XIDS courses exist throughout the core curriculum and one course, Arts and Ideas (XIDS 2100) is required of every student. When opposition occurs it is usually a resource issue rather than an unwillingness to participate in the XIDS curriculum.
    2. Does a general education director have leverage of some kind to obtain faculty participation? (Illustration: funding to reimburse departments for adjunct replacement.)
      The overall program is supported by the Dean's office and participation is wholeheartedly encouraged. Limited resources, however, make it extremely difficult to fund adjunct lines to support the loss of sections when faculty teach in this curriculum. It is important to recognize, however, that though the monetary issues have yet to be resolved, multidisciplinary faculty are the shareholders in this program thus establishing a truly interdisciplinary ownership of the XIDS curriculum.
    3. What opportunities and resources for collaboration are available to support the development of interdisciplinary programs? Examples include research projects, papers, presentations, team-teaching, and other team-building activities.
      Though limited, XIDS faculty are given as much support as possible. Early on, the central administrator and two faculty attended the AIS Institute, and faculty have since attended several AIS Conferences. Additionally, faculty who created an interdisciplinary course on Women in Science attended the NSF sponsored conference on Women in Science and recently published a paper on their interdisciplinary course. Likewise, faculty who participate in the Learning Community program receive monies for activities, funded through the foundation. Each year, one of these faculty members attends a national conference on Learning Communities.
    4. Does the institution manage its team-teaching plan(s)/option(s) so that it maximizes interdisciplinary and collaborative work without unduly increasing class size, while being financially sustainable for the university?
      See C1c.
  3. In an effective interdisciplinary general education program, hiring procedures welcome faculty with teaching and research interests which cross traditional disciplinary lines.

    1. Do position announcements inform applicants of the opportunity to teach interdisciplinary general education courses? Is it discussed in interviews with job candidates?
      While position announcements have not traditionally provided information about XIDS opportunities, this year, UWG's advertisements for faculty positions in The Chronicle of Higher Education do mention opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching. We will continue to add this line in future announcements. Candidates who are brought to campus are usually interviewed at the dean level where this information is provided and chairs are encouraged to provide XIDS materials during interviews. New faculty receive detailed information on the XIDS curriculum and course proposal process in early fall. We need to formalize this more.
    2. Do departments have some leverage in obtaining faculty lines if either the new hire or current members of the department will do interdisciplinary teaching?
      In the last few years, several temporary emergency lines have been earmarked for interdisciplinary teaching; however, no permanent, tenure-track lines have explicitly required interdisciplinary teaching.
  4. Procedures are in place to assure continued and substantial participation by full-time faculty, both tenured and non-tenured, in an effective interdisciplinary general education program.

    1. What indications are there of a supportive institutional culture (see #9 above)? Are interdisciplinary studies treated as significant in the academic culture?
      Faculty continue to submit proposals to the various XIDS committees. Proposals are reviewed carefully and faculty are given the opportunity to revise courses based on feedback from the committee members. Assessment results probably need to be utilized more in seeking outside funding. (Seeking reallocation within the college unit, and asking for more XIDS funds would not really be wise. An increase in the current $1000.00 budget should only occur if new funding is secured. Many other costs, such as brochures and travel related to interdisciplinary activities, are covered in the budget line for A&S general instruction). Generally speaking, faculty who participate in the teaching of such courses find the curriculum a significant part of general education.
    2. Is cross-listing of courses actively encouraged or tolerated?
      Cross-listing is discouraged. It is no longer used except in some instances for the Women's Studies minor.
    3. Do the policies provide sufficient flexibility to allow for shifting groupings of faculty participants in interdisciplinary teams? What incentives encourage flexibility?
      Any full-time faculty can submit a course proposal to teach in the XIDS curriculum, allowing for ample faculty participation.
    4. Are both junior and senior faculty involved in the interdisciplinary general education program?
      Both junior and senior level faculty participate in the XIDS curriculum. Both the Dean and two Associate Deans regularly teach XIDS classes. The faculty coordinators of the Learning Communities include: one new faculty member, an Assistant Professor in his/her third year, an Associate Professor in his/her 10th year and two full professors, one of whom served for over 15 years as a department chair.
    5. Are faculty who teach part-time in the interdisciplinary general education program able to count it as part of their load, rather than overload?
      Faculty who teach in the XIDS curriculum are able to fully count these courses in their load. In some cases, the development of these courses is accepted as research time.
    6. Are there suitable options for faculty appointments? These might include joint appointments between a department and the interdisciplinary program or "fellows" in the interdisciplinary program (partial or full appointments to the interdisciplinary program for a specified length of time).
      At this time there are no opportunities for "XIDS-specific" faculty appointments. This would only occur if and when the XIDS committees recommend it and new resources are identified. There are no specific plans to establish a separate department or faculty for interdisciplinary studies.
  5. To actively encourage faculty participation in an effective interdisciplinary general education program, there are opportunities for professional development in interdisciplinary and collaborative work.

    1. What opportunities exist for faculty seminars and workshops, either during the academic year or during summers?
      See C3h.
    2. What opportunities do faculty have to acquire either externally or internally funded grants for faculty development, which might be used for interdisciplinary conferences, for example?
      Many external grants and several internal grants have been submitted to provide more resources for faculty developing interdisciplinary curriculum.
    3. What opportunities do participating faculty have for mentoring, either informally or through formal, systematic arrangements?
      At this time there is informal mentoring internal to our course approval process. On several occasions, when a committee has rejected a course proposal and asked for a rewrite, certain members of that committee will meet with the faculty member and help them rethink the interdisciplinary nature of the proposal.
    4. Do teams have opportunities to formally reflect on their experiences?
      Teams that have participated in outside conference activities (the AIS and Women in Science team) produced articles based on their experiences. Other teams (such as those team-teaching) should be encouraged to do similar work, perhaps by holding workshops for faculty new to interdisciplinary work.
    5. If the institution has a teaching and learning center, how does it support the interdisciplinary general education program's needs?
      Both directors (past and current) of the Center for Teaching and Learning are supportive of XIDS curriculum. One is a committee member and the other teaches an XIDS course. In the past, the center has shown interest in hosting a workshop on interdisciplinary work. This should be arranged with the new director.
  6. In institutions with an effective interdisciplinary general education program, promotion and tenure criteria support faculty in engaging in interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship, and service, and participating on interdisciplinary teams.

    1. Do promotion and tenure forms explicitly invite mention of interdisciplinary activities?
      Promotion and Tenure forms do not explicitly mention interdisciplinary work. However, many department-specific guidelines do and faculty often list their activities with XIDS when applying for promotion and tenure.
    2. Does the promotion and tenure assessment take into account the goals of the program within the institution, as well as implications of participation in interdisciplinary programs as distinct from what is expected within a particular discipline? For example, publication outlets, teaching loads and service opportunities may differ from what is expected within a single discipline.
      Faculty who teach XIDS courses that are 2 hours and linked to a Learning Community are given 1 hour of "reassigned time" for the initial development of the XIDS centerpiece course and LC cluster. There are really no apparent distinctions between a faculty engaged in interdisciplinary work and disciplinary work with the exception of workload and resource issues. (For example, while many department chairs are happy to have their faculty teach XIDS courses - and many faculty want to teach XIDS courses - limited resources require them to support the departmental service courses first).
    3. When a faculty member participates in interdisciplinary general education outside his/her own unit, are there are procedures whereby voices from outside the faculty member's immediate unit (e.g. as representative of the other assignment in the interdisciplinary program) can have input into the process?
      Each XIDS committee associated with a particular core area is made up of faculty representative of that area. Each time faculty members teach a course in the XIDS curriculum, they do so with the approval of these faculty committees.
    4. If any faculty appointments cross divisions, what assurances are in place that the arrangement recognizes, supports, and rewards the faculty member's status?
      At this time, there are no faculty appointments which cross divisions.
    5. If a faculty appointment is between the interdisciplinary general education program and a disciplinary unit, what special provisions are in place to assure an equitable process?
      At this time, there are no tenure-track faculty appointments between the interdisciplinary general education program and disciplinary units.
  7. A system of rewards and incentives helps encourage faculty to participate in or develop interdisciplinary general education programs. These rewards may be of various kinds.

    1. Are faculty in interdisciplinary general education programs invited to serve on important college or university committees as indications of the value these faculty have to the institution?
      Many of the faculty who serve on XIDS committees are among the most pro-active and valuable faculty in the university. Many serve on several other senate committees, college committees and university-wide special committees. Many are considered among faculty as campus leaders.
    2. Do annual salary reviews recognize faculty participation in interdisciplinary general education programs?
      Merit pay takes into account research, teaching and service. Participation in interdisciplinary activities can fall into any of these categories.
    3. Are processes and criteria for rewards and incentives for faculty and administrators in interdisciplinary general education programs comparable to those in other areas?
      Because we have no division separate from individual departments, rewards and incentives are not any different between teaching a general disciplinary survey course and an XIDS course.

 

Category E: Administration


Effective administration of interdisciplinary general education programs is necessary to support faculty teaching and student learning. Effective administration includes a centralized leadership role as well as representation from among faculty full-time in the program and those whose appointments are shared with other departments. No one model is recommended, but a number of characteristics should be evident.

  1. Oversight. In effective interdisciplinary general education responsibility is in the hands of an appropriate leader(s), rather than being dispersed across units whose primary loyalties are to their disciplines. (But also see #8 above.) These questions address the variety of administrative structures and practices:

    1. Is there a director of general education, an associate dean of undergraduate studies, or other administrator who oversees interdisciplinary general education? To whom does this administrator report?
      See D1e.
    2. Is there a particular office location where it is managed?
      The office of the Associate Dean is located in the suite of the College of Arts and Sciences.
    3. How does the leader have a voice in key policy and budget decisions, either directly (e.g. through a position on a council of chairs or deans) or closely (e.g., reporting to a dean of undergraduate studies who sits on such a council)?
      The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to whom the Associate Dean reports, is a member of the council of deans headed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and of the President's Advisory Council.
    4. What are the typical responsibilities of such a leader? They might include budget allocation, policies and procedures, program evaluation, faculty recruitment, and relations with students, administrators, departments, and colleges, as well as chairing a cross-college committee (see above).
      The responsibilities of the Associate Dean include:
      • Allocation of the interdisciplinary general education budget.
      • Development of policies and procedures (in conjunction with the Executive Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences).
      • Core curriculum and interdisciplinary course evaluation (in conjunction with faculty committees on course approval for core curriculum areas B2, C1, and E4; the Executive Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee of the Faculty Senate).
      • Encouragement of new XIDS course proposals on a yearly basis via a written request for proposals sent to faculty members, and subsequent review (with committee members) of course proposals for areas B2, C1, and E4.
      • Faculty development activities to inform faculty members/student advisors about the goals of and policies governing interdisciplinary general education; to support the creation of interdisciplinary core courses; and to further awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary general education in the core curriculum.
      • Works in conjunction with the UWG Excel Center to educate students and advisors about the XIDS general education program.
      • Coordination with department chairs regarding scheduling of interdisciplinary core courses.
  2. Resource allocation - In an institution with a well-supported interdisciplinary general education program, additional budgeting procedures assure that the program continues to receive stable and adequate support, in hard money rather than grant funds, even if times get tight.

    1. Do resource allocations support the program's needs? Does the program have its own budget line? Does the program have access to funding allocation for classroom equipment and material, supplies, and new technologies?
      The interdisciplinary general education program has a budget of $1,000 for the 2001 - 2002 academic year. The options in core curriculum areas B2, C1, and E4 for interdisciplinary general education support the provision of adequate funding for interdisciplinary general education.
      Interdisciplinary classes may be offered in classrooms with faculty and student computers, network access, smart boards, document projectors, and multimedia facilities.
      The Learning Resources Center, the Office of Distance and Distributed Education, Information Technology Services, and the technical staff of the College of Arts & Sciences provide training and support for the use of instructional technology in interdisciplinary general education.
    2. To what extent is library support sufficient to support interdisciplinary curriculum? For example, what funding is available for collections? Does the institution provide access to collections elsewhere? Does the library offer instructional services to contribute positively to helping integrate the goals of interdisciplinary programs with general education goals?
      Library support is excellent for the interdisciplinary general education program.
      • The collections of the UWG library house approximately 343,094 bound volumes, 23,456 reels of microfilm, a limited audiovisual collection, more than 1,013,613 pieces of microform, 19,847 maps and charts, and 27,845 volumes/pieces of special collection material. The library currently subscribes to over 1,362 magazines and newspapers. It is the Sixth Congressional District selective depository for over 218,810 United States government publications.
      • The library collection is supplemented by the University's participation in Galileo (Georgia Library Learning Online), the University System of Georgia's innovative online library system that provides access to a variety of electronic journals, reference materials, library catalogs, and information databases. Subscriptions to Dialog Information Research Services, LEXIS/NEXIS, CARL Uncover, and OCLC Firstsearch give faculty and students access to local, state, regional, and international library collections.
      • Students and faculty can be issued Joint Borrowers' Cards allowing them circulation privileges at the other thirty-three University System of Georgia Libraries. For students or faculty who require additional materials locally, electronic generation and transmission of interlibrary loans expedites this process considerably.
      • The UWG library staff offers instructional services including online help, short courses, visits to classes, and, in core curriculum area B2, an interdisciplinary course on library use and research techniques.
    3. How are faculty lines allocated for the interdisciplinary general education program? Does allocation of faculty lines take into account not only numbers of majors or student credit hour generation within a particular unit but also the needs of interdisciplinary general education?
      See D3a, D3b.       
    4. How do procedures for budgeting and policies regarding faculty load acknowledge that team teaching, with the consultation involved, can require more work than individually taught courses?
      Team teaching is recognized in the policies of the College of Arts and Sciences as a factor in allocating reassigned time.
    5. What funds are set aside for faculty development?
      Faculty development activities include University and College of Arts and Sciences orientation programs for new faculty members, short courses on the application of educational technology, and the activities of the UWG Center for Teaching and Learning.
    6. If team-taught or interdisciplinary courses add revenue, are equitable means in place to share it?
      N/A
  3. Awareness - An effective interdisciplinary general education program maintains visibility and focus. Ongoing efforts are in place to keep faculty and students aware of the program and informed about its goals. In addition to institutional catalog descriptions, program brochures and recruitment materials, other possible options are addressed by the following:

    1. Does a program newsletter reach members of the campus community?
      Both the 2000 and 2001 volumes of Constructs, the annual newsletter of the College of Arts and Sciences, contained feature articles detailing each interdisciplinary program. Coming issues will continue to focus on the merits of interdisciplinary education.
    2. How often does a column, regular or occasional, about interdisciplinary general education appear in the campus newspaper?
      There are occasional features in The West Georgian, UWG's weekly newspaper, focusing on Studies Abroad programs directly related to XIDS courses.
    3. Do program course syllabi contain explicit mention of how the goals of a particular course relate to the goals of the program?
      N/A
    4. How are student advisors kept informed of the interdisciplinary education program, its goals, and its structure?
      See E1d.