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Faculty Senate » 2005-2006 Annual Report

Baccalaureate Core Committee

Annual Report 2005 - 2006

To:       Faculty Senate Executive Committee
From:    Milo Koretsky, Chair
           2005 – 2006 Baccalaureate Core Committee

The Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC) met 13 times during the 2005 – 2006 academic year. The following were the major activities:

General Category II BAC Core Review: The BCC reviewed 15 proposals from OSU faculty members requesting curricular action. The committee approved 14, some following discussions and revisions. One proposal is still outstanding, awaiting input from the DPD director.

Category Review (Contemporary Global Issues): The BCC continued its categorical review of a specific Baccalaureate Core (BAC Core) category, as stated in the Standing Rules. This past year, the BCC reviewed all Contemporary Global Issues (CGI) courses that have been in place 5 years or longer (This marks a slight change from the policy of previous years). 48 courses were identified. 37 requests for continuation were approved, 5 courses are awaiting more information, 4 courses (HST 342, NFM 415, PS 455, TCS 300) have been dropped, and 2 courses (ANTH 487, COMM 446) were granted extensions until next year.  After discussion and revision, the committee approved 3 courses carried over from the 2004-2005 category review in Difference, Power and Discrimination.

The BCC has identified the following syllabi as exceptional, model syllabi: FE 456, GEO 350, SOC 480. It is recommended that an archive of these and other model syllabi be placed on a BAC Core web site.

The BCC collaborated with the Faculty Senate office in the second year of use of a web-based submission system for the Category Review. A delay in identification and input of courses and instructors led to a truncated period for category review. It is recommended that the category for review the following year is identified in the spring and the data entered in the summer. Per this recommendation, the synthesis category Science Technology and Society (STS) has been chosen for review in 2006-2007. In continuing to refine the category review process, a writing chart was developed and implemented and a common assessment rubric was used by committee members conducting individual reviews (see Appendices A and B). The writing chart can, in principle, be used as a source for assessment data.

A Pareto analysis was conducted on the course enrollments of all 56 CGI classes taught during the period from Summer 2005 through Spring 2006. The results are shown in Table 1. The six courses with the greatest enrollment are identified by name, while the cumulative number of students from the other 50 classes is reported in the “All Others” category. The enrollment reported for GEO 300 in CGI was only half the total course enrollment, since it also satisfies the STS synthesis requirement. The percentage (Pct), cumulative percentage (Cum), campus enrollment (Live) and ecampus enrollment are also reported.  The total enrollment was 5,550 students; however the top four classes on in Table 1 account for over two-thirds of the student enrollment and the top six classes account for over three-quarters. The BCC concluded it would be beneficial to have a redistribution of resource/time spent on course review commensurate with the proportion enrolled. It is, therefore, recommended that the category reviews process be modified in the future with a more extensive review effort going to the highly prescribed classes.

Table 1. Course enrollment statistics for CGI courses taucht in 2005-2006







H 312






GEO 300






ANTH 380






PHL 443






HDFS 447






FOR 365






All Others












General Topics:
The following general topics were addressed:

  1. BCC Coordinator. The BAC Core could be more effective if faculty and students had a better understanding of the BAC Core and were more engaged in the process. The BCC recommends the creation of a BAC Core Coordinator and Seminar series for faculty and advisors. (Modeled after the WIC program) and the creation of a BAC Core web site.
  2. Assessment. Through the category review, the BCC assesses the BAC Core through regular reviews of courses and categories. The assessment process in place to ensure students are achieving outcomes consistent with the intent of the BAC Core is based on evaluations at two levels: (1) individual course assessment and (2) category reviews. More detail is given in Appendix C. It is recommended this be used as evidence for university accreditation.
  3. Minimum Syllabus Requirements. In December 2005, the Curriculum Council announced it was enforcing a set of minimum syllabus requirements for all course Category II requests (  Within this framework, the BCC saw an opportunity to communicate a syllabus resolution that was previously approved for BAC Core courses in 2004-2005 (See BCC Annual Report 2004-2005 However, presently the committees have divergent viewpoints on this matter.  The Curriculum Council has invited a member of the BCC to attend a meeting in 2006-2007 to further explore the merit of this idea.
  4. The BCC discussed the General Education outcomes statements produced at the Student Success Conference in February. The following questions were raised: What is the meaning of “diversity” as it appears in the outcomes? Who is the audience for the JBAC/AAOT outcomes? What is the relationship between the JBAC outcomes and real course outcomes?  Will the JBAC outcomes limit the course outcomes for courses in that category?

The 2005 – 2006 members of the Baccalaureate Core Committee were: David Bernell, Cheryl Middleton, Pat Muir, Margie Haak, Jay Noller, George Caldwell
Ex-Officio members included: Vicki Tolar Burton (WIC Director) and Jun Xing (DPD director),
Executive Committee Liaison was Lynda Ciuffetti.

Appendix A: Writing in Baccalaureate Core Courses-Category Review
Course Title and Number_________________________________________
Teacher (for multi-section courses)_________________________________

Please indicate all types of written assignments included in this Baccalaureate Core course, along with the type of assessment used.

Type of written assignment

 Check if used in course

Times per term

Ungraded /minimally graded

on content only

Graded on content and conventions/
writing style

Informal, in-class writing






Written homework






Written report (lab or other)












Essay exam: short essays of one paragraph or less






Essay exam: multi-paragraph responses






Online writing – Blackboard discussion, class blog, etc.












Annotated bibliography






Book review






Case study


















Journal, log


















News article, release, feature






Peer review (written)












PowerPoint Presentation






Progress report
























Service learning writing












Short story, fiction piece






“Think piece”






“White Paper”






Other: Please specify













What is the length (page or word count) of the longest document a student in this course is likely to write?___________________

From OSU’s Baccalaureate Core Criteria:  Contemporary Global Issues courses shall:  (A) Be upper division and at least 3 credits, (B) Emphasize elements of critical thinking, (C) Focus, from a historical perspective, on the origin and nature of critical issues and problems that have global significance, (D) Emphasize the interdependence of the global community, (E) Use a multidisciplinary approach and be suitable for students from diverse fields, and (F) Include written composition.  Narratives should address each element.

CGI rationale:  Our world has become increasingly interdependent.  Social, economic, political, environmental, and other issues and problems originating in one part of the world often have far-reaching ramifications in other parts of the world.  These issues and problems not only transcend geographical boundaries but also cross academic disciplines.  Therefore, if students are to acquire understanding of and to discover effective responses to such issues and problems, they must acquire both global and multidisciplinary perspectives.  Narratives should describe how rationale applies to the course.

Course name and number: _____________________________________


Does the syllabus adequately address each of the following elements? 

  • Indication that the course is a Bacc Core Contemporary Global Issues (CGI) course


  • Explanation of how the course addresses the CGI rationale and how the criteria for CGI are integrated into the course


  • Student learning outcomes and description of how they relate to the CGI criteria and how they are measured or evaluated



  • Description of how critical thinking skills related to course subject matter will be developed in the course.



Enrollment information:

Are enrollment data for the past three years included in the review materials?


Do enrollment data indicate that most students are junior-level or more advanced?

Narrative portion of review materials





Criterion met? (Y or N)

CGI rationale:  (see above)




A. Upper division and at least 3 cr?



B. Critical thinking: does narrative define it for this class or discipline, what elements are emphasized, how are critical thinking skills developed in the course, how does critical thinking factor into assessment and grading?



C. Historical perspectives on issues of global significance: does narrative illustrate how the course addresses origin and nature of critical global issues and problems?




D.  Interdependence of global community:  does narrative describe how this is illustrated?




E. Multidisciplinary approach: does narrative describe multidisciplinary aspects of the course approach, and its suitability for students from diverse fields? 



F. Written composition:  is the writing summary table completed and does it reflect use of written composition in the class?  (Note that  word or page requirements are not specified in the CGI criteria.)



Additional Information (optional)

If provided, how does it help establish that the course addresses the CGI rationale or criteria?

Summary evaluation -- do review materials justify continuation of course as a CGI and, if not, what is lacking?

Appendix C: The Baccalaureate Core Assessment Process

The intent of this document is to outline the course and category assessment process of the baccalaureate core program (Bac Core) conducted at OSU by the Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC).  

As it was designed, the goals of the Bac Core are to:1

  • Strengthen critical thinking and communication skills across disciplines
  • Ensure that all OSU students should acquire a basic understanding and appreciation for the physical and biological sciences, humanities and the arts, and the social sciences
  • Strengthen the international dimensions of the University's curriculum
  • Encourage interdisciplinary interaction among students and faculty

More generally, as is ubiquitous in the General Education Component of a liberal education, the Bac Core has as its intent to develop a depth of learning in students that lead to a more thoughtful and productive global citizenship.  There are many ways to consider student learning and many corresponding models of the learning process. In Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals,2 Bloom et al. develop a taxonomy as a set of standard classifications to reflect the depth of the learning experience.  The taxonomy consists of a hierarchy of six classes into which student achievement falls: 1. Knowledge; 2. Comprehension; 3. Application; 4. Analysis; 5. Synthesis; and 6. Evaluation. The greater the number of the class is, the greater the depth of understanding.  Thus, the higher-numbered classes require an integration of concepts and skills that are objectives of the earlier classes. In terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a threshold of this activity from lower to higher level cognitive skills lies in the transition from Application, where concepts are employed to solve problems in new situations to Analysis which includes the breaking down of informational materials into their component parts, and then understanding the individual parts along with the relationships between them. It is one of the functions of the Bac Core to drive students to the higher classes in the taxonomy.

The Bac Core is composed of the following main areas of course study, which comprise a total of 48 credits plus a WIC course. (WIC courses must be at least 3 credits and a requirement of the major.):

  • Skills Courses: (primarily first year)
  • Perspectives Courses: (primarily lower division)
  • Difference Power and Discrimination (DPD) Courses: (upper and lower division)
  • Synthesis Courses: (upper division)

Each of the categories in the above areas is depicted in Figure 1. As also shown in Figure 1, each of the categories has a general rationale as well as specific category criteria that can be found at Inspection of the category criteria shows a design that is intended to drive learning to higher cognitive levels. For example, common threads across many of the categories include “Study, from a historical perspective …”, “Demonstrate interrelationships and connections with other subject areas,” and “Emphasize elements of critical thinking”.

BCC AR 2005-2006 1
     Figure 1. Bac Core categories each of which have a rationale and specifically defined category criteria.

An assessment process is in place to ensure students are achieving outcomes consistent with the intent of the Bac Core. The assessment process is based on evaluations at two levels: (1) individual course assessment and (2) category reviews.

Assessment at the individual course level is schematically illustrated in Figure 2. Each course is constructed of individual elements to promote student learning, e.g., the learning activities and the syllabus. The effect of these is compared to a set of learning outcomes in assessment of the course. This process is typical of that used for all university courses.

BCC AR 2005-2006 2
Figure 2. Assessment at the individual course level

On top of the individual course assessment, each category in the Bac Core undergoes periodic review by the Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC). For example, in the academic year, 2005-2006, the BCC is reviewing all Contemporary Global Issues courses that are five years or older. This additional level of assessment is illustrated in Figure 3. In this process, the course syllabus and learning outcomes are compared to the category rationale and criteria. Additionally, instructors write a narrative in which they describe specifically how their course addresses the category rationale and meets the category criteria. The purpose is to ensure that Bac Core criteria continue to be addressed in these courses. A review rubric is used by the BCC to maintain consistency of evaluation. Only courses that successfully complete the review process retain their category status in the Bac Core.

BCC AR 2005-2006 3
Figure 3. Assessment at the individual course level and at the category level

Appended to this document for reference are:
            Category review cover letter for 2005-2006
            Category review information requested for each instructor
Writing in Baccalaureate Core Courses Table (Instructor)
Review rubric used by the BCC
            A .ppt presentation of the information in this document


  1. A Brief History and Structure of the Bac Core Program, (accessed 2/15/06)
  2. Bloom, B.S., et al., Eds., “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals,” David McKay Company, New York (1956).