Summary of Activities by Undergraduate Studies Committee (UGS) – 2007-2008

John Madsen, Chair of UGS



Undergraduate Degree Programs

The 2007-2008 UGS Committee reviewed and approved 69 revisions to undergraduate degree programs.  UGS reviewed and approved 3 new majors and the deletion of 3 current majors.  1 degree program was reviewed and approved for permanent status.


Breadth Requirements

Of the 69 revisions to undergraduate degree programs, 8 involved issues related to Breadth Requirements. In response to a motion from the floor of the University Faculty Senate, UGS submitted the following views and recommendation concerning the breadth requirement issue to the Senate’s Coordinating Committee of Education:

UGS View of Breadth Requirement Issues

UGS feels that there are three major issues involving breadth requirements at UD. The overarching issue is the non-universal understanding and use of the term breadth requirement. This unconformity exists across colleges, e.g., breadth requirements as defined by the College of Engineering vs. the College of Arts & Sciences, vs. “major requirements” in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources; as well as between Departments within some colleges, e.g., different majors within each of the Colleges of Business and Economics, Health Sciences, and Human Services, Education, and Public Policy have varying defined breadth requirements.

The second major issue is the variability of terms/definitions that are used to define the sets of breadth requirements, e.g., Group A: An Analysis and Appreciation of the Creative Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences vs. the major requirement of Literature and Arts in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources. This variability in definition is made even more confusing by what courses may satisfy these breadth requirements, e.g., Group A requirements in the College of Arts & Sciences are met by taking courses from a specific list.  The Literature and Arts major requirement can be met by taking any courses from English, Art, Art History, Communication, Music, Theatre, Foreign Language, or courses cross-listed in these Departments.

The third major issue is the lack of consistency in the definition of which specific courses may satisfy a particular breadth requirement, e.g., the Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management defines Humanities as any course in Art, Art History, Communication, Comparative Literature, English, Foreign Language, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Museum Studies, Music Philosophy, Theater, and selected courses within Women’s Studies and Science and Culture. Others would argue, including UGS, that some of the courses within these disciplines are not humanities courses, e.g., standard foreign language grammar/conversation courses such as SPAN105, 106, 107.

UGS Recommendation for Ad hoc Committee

UGS recommends that an ad hoc committee be formed to study the issue of Breadth Requirements. UGS suggests that the membership of this committee should include members from UGS, the General Education Committee, and representatives from each of the Colleges. This committee should study the issues described above and make recommendations concerning ways to resolve the issues, with emphasis on developing a university-wide definition and implementation of breadth requirements. It is one of the desires of UGS that the recommendations of the ad hoc committee create a curriculum pathway such that undergraduates are not unduly penalized or confused if they change majors across departments or colleges.


Discovery Learning Experience (DLE)

The 2007-2008 UGS Committee reviewed 142 courses that were submitted for approval as satisfying the DLE requirement.  109 of these courses were approved.  Of these 109 courses, 74 were initially approved and 35 were approved after further evaluation of revised course proposals. 

Of the 68 courses that were initially rejected, the chair of UGS contacted the faculty that submitted these courses and notified them of the initial rejection, outlined the grounds upon which the courses were rejected, and, suggested potential ways that these courses could be revised in order to satisfy the DLE criteria. If revised and resubmitted, the UGS committee then reevaluated the initially rejected courses.  The deadline for receipt of revised proposals was 03/28/2008. 35 revised proposals were received and re-evaluated.  All 35 of the revised courses were approved as satisfying the DLE requirement.

The criteria by which potential DLE courses were judged by the UGS committee was that which is described at the University Faculty Senate DLE web site  In particular UGS paid close attention to the following statements that are from the web site.

“Given this, the following are required elements of the DLE:

  1. The DLE must be supervised, with on-going faculty involvement and support. While this support may take many forms, it always includes:
    • a written set of shared expectations about the quantity and quality of the experience and required products
    • sufficient periodic meetings with the student(s) to assess progress, advances, and roadblocks
    • feedback on the quality of the student(s) progress and intermediate products/assignments
  2. In addition to the requirement for reflective learning, students will be expected to produce at least one final product, as a result of the DLE. Examples of products include:
    • Research papers
    • Theses
    • Reports
    • Essays
    • Exhibits
    • Portfolios
    • Performances
    • Oral presentations
    • Media presentations
  3. The expectations for student learning must be clearly established in the syllabi or otherwise communicated to the student in writing. The student's work must be evaluated and a grade assigned. The grade should be based upon what the student has learned and how well the student has met the learning goals, not only how many hours were spent in the DLE.
  4. The DLE, particularly if it is integrated into a regular course, must be of sufficient depth and complexity to be worth the assigned number of academic credits.“

For most of the courses that were initially been rejected by UGS, the most common grounds for rejection were:  1) the proposal contained insufficient evidence that the DLE was to be supervised with on-going faculty involvement and support, 2) the syllabi, as submitted with the proposal, did not clearly state the expectations for student learning, and/or 3) the proposed DLE, particularly if it is integrated into a regular course, was of sufficient depth and complexity to be worth the assigned number of academic credits.

As noted at the University Faculty Senate DLE web site, the following courses are automatically approved as satisfying the DLE requirement: 1) any Study Abroad course, 2) any Research course (i.e., with the x68 course designation (where x=1, 2, 3, or 4)), and 3) any course defined as a service learning course by the Office of Service Learning.


First Year Experience (FYE)

The 2007-2008 UGS Committee reviewed 10 courses that were submitted for approval as satisfying the FYE requirement.  6 of these courses were approved.   



The 2007-2008 UGS Committee reviewed 16 courses that required action regarding their multicultural status.  2 courses were deactivated. 5 were revised courses that maintained their multicultural status. 9 of the 16 were proposed as new multicultural courses.  Of these 9, 8 were approved and 1 was rejected.