Memo To: PsTL Teaching Faculty
Memo From: Doug Robertson
Date: 26 Sep 08
Re: Recertification of PsTL Courses to meet new Council on Liberal Education
As you know, all courses that hope to carry CLE Core, Theme, or Writing Intensive designation
must be submitted for recertification using the new guidelines. One of the new policies is that
all courses carrying CLE Theme or Core designations must have a tenure/tenure track faculty
sponsor. It will be the sponsor's responsibility to coordinate and oversee the development and
submission of the documents required for certification.
Here is the process for recertification:
1. We have identified the following PsTL courses that need certification: 1004, 1005, 1006,
1112, 1131, 1135, 1163, 1171, 1204, 1211, 1231, 1235W, 1246, 1251, 1281, 1289, 1312,
1364, 1365W, 1366, 1367W, 1368, 1371, 1461, 1481, 1525W. If you see any omissions or
other problems with this list let me know.
2. All courses will lose their current designation as of August, 2010. CLE has developed a
cycle for submitting requests according to the core or theme designation. As approval can
sometimes require revision/re-submission, we are planning to submit all requests in the first
round of the cycle. The only exceptions to this are Mathematical Thinking, Biological
Sciences, and Physical Sciences core courses because our internal submission deadline is
10/15. We hope it will be possible for some proposals in these areas to be ready by that
date. For those that cannot be, the internal submission deadline will be February 15, 2009.
3. The faculty sponsor will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing the required
proposal components (syllabus reflecting the required components and ECAS text to justify
the requested designation). Everyone will contribute to 1 or more recertification proposal.
The attached list shows the faculty sponsors and potential instructors who can take a role in
a given course. We tried to distribute the efforts as equitably as we could but some
instructors will have more to do than others. The faculty sponsor will communicate with their
group to discuss what needs to be done, who will do each part, and by when it must be
4. On or before the due date, the faculty sponsor will send Jennifer (firstname.lastname@example.org) an
electronic copy of the information needed to be entered into ECAS (see below), a sample
syllabus, and any other documents, such as sample homework assignments or student
5. A committee will review the ECAS document and syllabus to be sure they contain the
required information and reflect the necessary components for the designation. Committee
members are Pat James, Doug Robertson, and one other person to be determined.
Recertification of PsTL Courses, September 2008 page 2
6. If the committee discovers that one or more components are missing, or if it believes more
development or elaboration is needed, it will let the faculty sponsor know. In that case, the
faculty sponsor and associates will make the necessary changes and resubmit the materials
to Jennifer by the date indicated (so, getting the proposal in before the drop-dead date might
be very important).
7. For correct and complete proposals, Jennifer will enter the information into ECAS and
forward the syllabus and any other documents to CLE for their deliberation.
Obviously, CLE designations are critical to our FYE.
Note, Fred Finley, an associate professor in Curriculum & Instruction, is the CEHD
representative to the CLE. The names of the other CLE members can be found at
The deadlines for submission to Jennifer and CLE are listed below. We hope to have all PsTL
courses submitted by at least round 2.
Core only or Core+Theme submitted by Core Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
topic; Theme only submitted by Theme topic Submission Submission Submission
Date Date Date
Core courses in Mathematical Thinking, To Jennifer by To Jennifer by To Jennifer by
Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences (with or 15 Oct 08; 15 Feb 09; 15 Oct 09;
without any theme); Theme only courses in To CLE by To CLE by To CLE by
Environment, Technology and Society 31 Oct 08 28 Feb 09 31 Oct 09
Core courses in Historical Perspectives, Social To Jennifer by To Jennifer by To Jennifer by
Sciences (with or without any theme); Theme 15 Nov 08; 15 Mar 09; 15 Nov 09;
only courses in Global Perspectives, Diversity and To CLE by To CLE by To CLE by
Social Justice in the U.S. 30 Nov 08 30 Mar 09 30 Nov 09
Core courses in Arts and Humanities, Literature To Jennifer by To Jennifer by To Jennifer by
(with or without any theme); Theme only courses 15 Dec 08; 15 Apr 09; 15 Dec 09;
in Civic Life and Ethics To CLE by To CLE by To CLE by
31 Dec 08 30 Apr 09 31 Dec 09
Details on what must go into a proposal for the various cores and themes can be found in the
document Guidelines for Proposing a Liberal Education Course (a pdf version of this is
available at https://www.myu.umn.edu/metadot/index.pl?iid=826509). Also at that web site is a
document Implementation of New Liberal Education Requirements from Provost McMaster
outlining how the new requirements will be implemented.
Here are some important points from the McMaster memo for your consideration:
• A course may be approved to meet one core or one theme or both a core and a theme. In
the latter case, the theme must be fully and meaningfully integrated into the course (the old
standard of “one-third of the course” will no longer be sufficient).
Recertification of PsTL Courses, September 2008 page 3
• Courses will no longer be approved to meet two themes; although the course subject matter
may touch on more than one theme, proposers must choose the theme for which they
• Courses in the Physical and Biological Science Cores must be four credits each because of
the lab requirements; courses in all other Cores and Themes must be at least three credits.
There are several things that must be included in the recertification application:
Criteria for the Core: (no character limit)
Describe how the course meets the following specific bullet points for the proposed core
requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed
outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.
Core courses must meet the following requirements:
• They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and
the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for
them as students and as citizens.
• They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the
work of the field, not just reading about it.
• They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use
writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their
• They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the
University's entrance requirements.
• They are offered on a regular schedule.
• They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on
continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular
faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and
supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.
Criteria for the Theme: (4000-character limit including spaces)
Describe how the course meets the following specific bullet points for the proposed theme
requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed
outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.
Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of
• thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
• reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
• connecting knowledge and practice;
• fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.
Recertification of PsTL Courses, September 2008 page 4
Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):
Identify which SLOs the course meets and write a 300 character paragraph explaining
why the course meets them. The SLOs are:
At the time of receiving a bachelor's degree, students:
• can identify, define, and solve problems;
• can locate and critically evaluate information;
• have mastered a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry;
• understand diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies;
• can communicate effectively;
• understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across
• have acquired skills for effective citizenship and lifelong learning.
Criteria for syllabi (12 page limit): Your syllabus must include the following information:
Goals (what is the course trying to accomplish?):
Description (what is the course about?):
Format (lecture, discussion, computer-mediated, etc.):
Structure (number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week,
Topics (what content and ideas will the course cover?):
Scope and nature of assigned readings (text, authors, frequency, amount per week):
Required assignments (what will you require students to do?):
Nature of any student projects:
How students will be evaluated:
Check-off for Documents to be Submitted to Jennifer (send these
as a Microsoft Word attachment to email@example.com):
Date due to Jennifer: __________________
__ Criteria for the Core (no character limit)
__ Criteria for the Theme (4000-character limit including spaces)
__ Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) (300 character limit including
__ Justification for Writing Intensive designation (as of Thursday, September 25, 2008 the
guidelines for this were not available)
__ Other materials