GE Coordinator Responsibilities
Becoming the GE Coordinator of a course at SJSU is a significant responsibility. It entails an ongoing commitment to understanding the needs and abilities of our student learners, a thorough knowledge of the culture and workings of the home department, and a resolve to maintain the high standards of the university. Many problems that arise in the current processes of course certification and continuing certification can often be avoided by some simple steps on the part of the course coordinator to ensure collection and communication of appropriate data and the introduction of all faculty new to teaching GE to the pertinent GE requirements and learning objectives.
Assuming the Role:
When a faculty member takes on the role of GE Coordinator for a particular course, she or he should do the following:
- Contact the Undergraduate Studies Office (924-2447) to notify them so that you will be added to the mailing list to receive the most up-to-date information about GE certification and assessment.
- Meet with the outgoing GE Coordinator and get a sense of the institutional history of the course, as well as a list of all current teaching faculty and a copy of the most recent course certification/recertification document, including any letter from the Chair of the Board of General Studies authorizing the course for a specified period of years (and often including specific topics to speak to in the next review).
- If the former GE Coordinator is unavailable, the new Coordinator should request a copy of the file from the home department, and if no file is available there, from Undergraduate Studies. The new Coordinator should set up a meeting with the Director of Assessment to go over these materials together and have any questions answered.
- The new Coordinator should alert all faculty teaching the course to submit all appropriate data (such as current syllabi or end-of-the-semester individual teacher assessment summaries) to her or his office, and start an appropriate file for those materials.
- The new Coordinator should be thoroughly aware of SJSU's General Education Program Guidelines (pdf) (Fall 2014)
- Most specifically, of course, the new Coordinator should be very familiar with the learning objectives, goals, and requirements for the course's specific GE area. It is recommended that some hard copies of the particular area requirements be kept with the assessment report for easy reference and sharing with teaching faculty should they come for a consultation or specific question.
Ongoing Semesterly Activities
- Check with your chair, and should any new faculty be assigned to teach your GE course, make sure they understand the Area objectives, goals, and requirements. Share with them any rubrics, formative assessments, or teaching strategies that have been designed to be used across all sections of the course; point them toward assignments or activities that have been noted for meeting your GE learning objectives quite successfully in the past; explain to them the importance of such required components as active learning, diversity, library research, or the amount of specified writing in the course.
- Every semester, have faculty submit the current syllabus in use for each section. Review these, taking note of any innovations or modifications to later assess for outcomes effectiveness, as well as any discrepancies or anomalies that need to be addressed through your stewardship.
- Make sure that all faculty teaching the course submit the appropriate assessment summary materials to your office. You will need these materials to prepare your coordinator summary report. For models of different types of individual faculty assessment summaries used at SJSU, see http://www.sjsu.edu/gup/ugs/faculty/programs/assessment/ge/Schedules/
- Assessment schedule and report form templates are posted here: http://www.sjsu.edu/gup/ugs/faculty/programs/assessment/ge/index.html
- If you feel that your current method of procuring this information from your faculty is not as effective as it could be, you might schedule a meeting with the Director of Assessment to consider developing and implementing the use of a form based on one of the templates on this web page, or perhaps even devising a new template. NOTE: individual faculty semester reports are not required, but will often help the coordinator in writing a sincere and thorough overview.
- In the semester designated, when it is time for continuing certification of the course, be sure to have the coordinator summary report completed and submitted to Undergraduate Studies by the due date. Always keep a back-up copy for your files, and remember, in many colleges, this report must make its way through department and college committees which have their own deadline schedules. The successful course coordinator aligns these varied due dates to make sure submission of enough copies of the report to any appropriate committee occurs in a timely fashion, and that the required number of copies of the report are submitted (prior to the due date) to Undergraduate Studies.
- Remember that assessment is only useful if we act upon the results: GE Coordinators should maintain an ongoing conversation among all faculty teaching their particular course, dedicated to improving or modifying the way the course is taught, over time, specifically when such changes point toward a more effective way of achieving the goals, meeting the objectives, and completing the requirements for that GE area.
Passing the Baton
When for various reasons a faculty member steps down or takes a leave of absence from a GE course coordinator position, she or he has the responsibility to pass on a few things to the replacement. These include, ideally, an organized data file, a sense of the institutional history of the course, and general tips for successful course maintenance (its relationship to the department dynamic, any unresolved weaknesses revealed in recent assessments, any proposed modifications, suggestions on ways of enhancing faculty participation, etc.)
If, for reasons beyond the department's control, a GE Course Coordinator position is vacated and the former coordinator is unavailable to help the new coordinator step into the role, the Faculty-in-Residence for General Education should be invited to meet with the new coordinator and help the coordinator, course, and department through this transition.