Last week, the Utah System of Higher Education hosted the 17th annual Faculty Discipline Majors’ Meeting, which has as one of its objectives to achieve the greatest possible congruence in lower division and pre-major requirements at all USHE institutions. Over 325 faculty and academic advisors representing 32 academic disciplines participated in the meeting. These meetings are faculty-driven and the Regents’ General Education Task Force, with the academic affairs office, develops the agenda.
It is the policy of the Board of Regents to organize the Majors’ Meeting each year, in order to align learning outcomes and competencies across the system, make transferring between institutions seamless, and to ensure that all pre-major and lower-division courses that are similar in content, rigor and standards have common course numbering. The Majors’ meetings also work with faculty to improve teaching strategies and student learning.
Because of its small number of public institutions (8), Utah is the only state that is able to coordinate these faculty-driven meetings, which serve to streamline transfer and address issues of teaching and learning. These efforts have helped to earn the Utah system a national reputation for collaboration and efficiency, and have led to the implementation of other national initiatives, such as USHE’s Tuning efforts and our participation in the nine- state Multi-state Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment.
Broader topics are addressed at the Majors’ Meeting as well, including regional and national initiatives, acceptance of Advanced Placement (AP) courses throughout the system, and issues of academic assessment. A chair of each academic major that offers General Education is chosen who leads the individual major’s meeting and provides feedback to the USHE Academic & Student Affairs department via meeting minutes. USHE then helps to facilitate any follow-up that needs to occur.