Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter I: Introduction to UW-River Falls

1.4 The Educational Design at River Falls

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls believes that its function is to offer the opportunities of college to each student who earnestly desires a higher education and who demonstrates the ability to benefit from it. The University believes it must serve as a center for those who search for truth--that it must maintain an atmosphere of free inquiry in which the examination of conflicting ideals and ideas is not only permitted but encouraged. Within the limits of its resources and facilities, the University also has a responsibility to serve as a center for educational leadership, intellectual stimulation, adult education, and other specialized educational services for the region.


The University views the student as the major reason for its existence, and its courses, programs, and activities are designed to that purpose. To attain them, faculty and students work together in partnership.

1.4.1 Educational Objectives

Today’s society demands a better informed and more sophisticated citizenry than ever before. It is a society characterized by rapid change, by continued rapid expansion of knowledge, and by social diversity and mounting complexity. It presents its citizens with both enormous opportunities and great challenges. Collegiate attendance, and especially graduation, can present students with opportunities to develop their personal resources in order to participate in, contribute to, and find meaning in this society.

Though fulfillment of objectives cannot be guaranteed, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls strives to provide the intellectual and social climate, environment, and facilities by which students may attain skills, attitudes, and values that will: aid in the fulfillment of their potential as productive and responsible United States and world citizens; and help them attain maturity in their personal and professional lives that will make continuing self-education possible.

To these ends, the University will help students to acquire: familiarity with the major disciplines of knowledge and ability to see the interrelationships of these; vocational and professional competence involving deep understanding of some one organized discipline or area of human interest; the ability to think critically and to identify and solve problems; attitudes such as appreciation of human dignity, tolerance for differing points of view, and respect for evidence, even when it conflicts with prejudices and preconceptions; competence in communication skills; interests upon which they can build to make their leisure time satisfying and creative; the ability to meet the requirements demanded of those who wish to enter professions for which there are established criteria; and a commitment to work toward solving the problems of the current and future environment.

1.4.2 Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Ethnic and Racial Diversity

It is a major goal of the University of Wisconsin System and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to prepare students for lives in a society characterized by racial and ethnic diversity. To fulfill this goal, the University strives to reflect this diversity in its student body, faculty, and staff, to provide a campus climate conducive to diversity, and to include the study of diversity and related issues in its curriculum. In recognition of the need to institute a strong and effective diversity component within its curriculum, a specific program has been developed. In addition to the infusion of diversity material by the faculty into their courses, special attention is given to the infusion of diversity content into all General Education courses. Each student is also required to take an approved General Education course which deals primarily with issues of race and ethnicity.

Plan 2008 is a ten-year initiative to further racial and ethnic diversity on the UW campuses. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is placing the highest priority on the following goals: to increase the number of Wisconsin high school graduates of color who apply, are accepted and enroll at our institution; to close the gap in educational achievement by bringing retention and graduation rates for students of color in line with those of the student body as a whole; and to increase the amount of financial aid available to needy students and reduce their reliance on loans.  The University is also committed to integrating Plan 2008 goals and activities with our institutional goals and priorities.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Plan 2008 Phase II report identifies activities which will work to achieve the seven overarching goals of Plan 2008.  The campus, beginning with Design for Diversity (1988-98) has worked steadily and creatively to develop and implement initiatives that contribute to an inclusive and welcoming climate and, most importantly, result in people of color -- students, faculty and staff -- achieving success in higher education.

1.4.3 General Education Mission

The purpose of the UWRF General Education program is to facilitate the acquisition and integration of knowledge, abilities, and ethics in order to form a foundation for lifelong learning. 

The interdisciplinary foundation includes the ability to communicate effectively; comprehend the inter-relatedness of past and present human experience; apply scientific principles to the human and natural world; engage in inquiry and critical thinking; develop and appreciate the responsibilities of individuals to themselves, each other, society, and the world.

Individual departments and faculty will determine what that essential content is in the courses designated as fulfilling general education objectives.  All courses with a General Education designation will include, to the extent possible, critical thinking, written composition, oral discussion, and graphic components.

General Education

1.4.3.1. General Education Goals, Criteria, and Outcomes

Goal One

Communicate effectively.
Students will demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and listen effectively.


Students will be able to:

  1. express ideas and facts in a variety of formats
  2. comprehend, interpret, and analyze oral, written, and visual communication
  3. effectively communicate ideas related to a broad range of subjects and to a specific area of study
  4. select, evaluate, and organize visual and print material and information in a logical and clear manner.


To fulfill this goal, students are required to earn 9 credits, with one 3 credit course in each of the CW (Communication – Reading and Writing), CS (Communication – Speaking and Listening), and CA (Advanced Communication) designations.

 

Communication (C)

Criteria:

  • Courses designated C enable students to express ideas in a variety of formats.
  • Courses designated C enable students to comprehend, interpret, and analyze oral, written, and visual communication.
  • Courses designated C enable students to effectively communicate ideas related to a broad range of subjects and to a specific area of study.
  • Courses designated as CA must be at the 200 level or higher.

Outcomes:
Communication-Reading and Writing (CW)

Students will be able to:

  1. read print and visual material analytically and critically.
  2. conceive ideas about a topic, synthesize and arrange them logically, and express them clearly and proficiently in standard English.

Communication-Speaking and Listening (CS)

Students will be able to:

  1. deliver oral presentations clearly and effectively.
  2. effectively construct and incorporate visual aids (e.g., handouts, charts, technologies, etc.) to support ideas in presentations.
  3. listen critically to communications of others, and summarize and evaluate their ideas.

Advanced Communication (CA)

Students will be able to:

  1. read and interpret print, electronic, and visual text at an advanced level.
  2. perform critical and analytical research through scholarly methods.
  3. use written communication advanced in form and style, idea development, and analysis to formulate complex responses that explore and defend their own ideas.

Approved March 2, 2004
Revised April 28, 2005
Revised March 21, 2007 [FS 06/07 -71document]

GOAL TWO

Demonstrate knowledge of past and present human endeavor.
Describe the diverse ways of thinking that underlie the search for knowledge in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of human behavior in context
  2. develop generalizations about societal changes over time and explain theoretical structures to account for those changes
  3. describe the nature and development of ideas, beliefs, literature, language and the arts in historical and contemporary culture.

To fulfill this goal, students are required to earn 6 credits under each designation for a total of 12 credits. All courses must be taken from different disciplinary prefixes (e.g., ART, MUS, SCTA).

 

Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB)
Criteria:
Courses designated SB:

  • are based on empirical research and human experience.
  • explore behavioral, civic, economic, or social relationships.
  • examine factors that explain human/social behavior.

Outcomes:
Students will be able to:

  1. identify basic methods of the social and behavioral sciences.
  2. recognize and explain theoretical perspectives in the social and behavioral sciences.
  3. identify and correctly use terms and concepts that explain human/social behavior.

Humanities and Fine Arts (HF)
Criteria:

  • Courses designated HF emphasize philosophical, moral, and aesthetic principles that are part of the human experience.
  • Courses designated HF concentrate on the relationships between a culture and its creative expression.

Outcomes:
Students will be able to:

  1. recognize, analyze, and interpret human experience in terms of personal, intellectual, aesthetic, philosophical, or social contexts.
  2. recognize, analyze, and interpret human expression in terms of personal, intellectual, aesthetic, philosophical, or social contexts.

Approved March 2, 2004
Revised April 28, 2005
Revised (SB) May 2, 2007 [FS 06/07-116document], (HF) Feb 6, 2008 [FS 07/08-28document]

 

GOAL THREE

Apply scientific principles to the natural world. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the principles and methods of quantitative and qualitative scientific reasoning.

Students will be able to:

  1. apply mathematical skills in quantitative, qualitative, and analytical problem solving
  2. demonstrate a knowledge of natural science
  3. observe, collect, analyze, and interpret data to solve problems using the scientific method

To fulfill this goal, students are required to earn 9 credits, with 3 credits under the M designation, 3 credits under the SL designation, and 3 credits under either the S or SL designation. The courses taken under the S or SL designations must be from different disciplinary prefixes (e.g., BIOL, CHEM, GEOL)

Mathematics (M)

Criterion:
Courses designated M:

  • emphasize mathematical skills in quantitative, qualitative, and analytical problem solving.

Outcome:
Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate and apply mathematical skills to quantitative, qualitative, and analytical problem solving.

Sciences (S)

Criterion:
Courses designated S:

  • emphasize a knowledge of the natural sciences.

Outcome:
Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of theoretical principles and scientific methodology for explaining and predicting phenomena in the natural world.

Scientific Investigation (SL)

Criteria:
Courses designated SL:

  • emphasize a knowledge of the natural sciences.
  • must include the equivalent of at least one semester credit hour of laboratory experience aimed at interpreting scientific hypotheses.
  • will evaluate the reliability and meaning of data and information.

Outcomes:
Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of theoretical principles and scientific methodology for explaining and predicting phenomena in the natural world.
  2. test hypotheses about the natural world.

Approved March 2, 2004, Revised April 18, 2007 [FS 06/07-96document]

 

GOAL FOUR

Engage in multidisciplinary
inquiry.
Students will analyze questions and issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate analytical thinking by drawing inferences from multidisciplinary observations and identifying the internal coherence of theories
  2. demonstrate creative thinking by recognizing multidisciplinary relationships in the development of original ideas or artistic work
  3. demonstrate evaluative thinking by identifying problems and the strengths and weaknesses of different analytical approaches.

To fulfill this goal, students must earn 3 credits with an MD designation at the 300 level or above; courses in the MD designator may have one or more General Education designators as prerequisites.

 

Multidisciplinary Inquiry (MD)
Criteria:
Courses designated MD will:

  • enable students to synthesize information and analyze complex issues to make informed decisions.
  • enable students to generate, explore, and research new questions based on prior knowledge and experiences.
  • approach issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Outcomes:
Students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate analytical, creative, and evaluative thinking in the analysis of theoretical or practical issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.


Approved March 2, 2004
Revised April 28, 2005
Revised April 18, 2007 [FS 06/07-97document]

 

GOAL FIVE

Evaluate individual responsibility to self, society, and the world. Students will make and defend judgments with respect to individual conduct and well being, citizenship, and stewardship of the environment.

Students will be able to:

  1. analyze choices regarding conflicting situations in their personal and professional lives and consider the consequences of their decisions
  2. evaluate personal health status in order to
    modify/maintain healthy lifestyle patterns to enhance quality of life
  3. identify individual and collective responsibilities to the physical and social environment, community, nation, and world

To fulfill this goal, students are required to earn 5 credits under this General Education goal: 2
credits under the HW designation and 3 credits under the EC designation.

 

Personal Health and Wellness (HW)

Criteria:

Courses designated HW require students to:

  • analyze choices regarding conflicting situations in their personal lives and consider the consequences of these choices.
  • evaluate personal health status in order to modify/maintain healthy lifestyle patterns to enhance their quality of life.

Outcome:
Students will be able to:

  1. research, analyze, and justify choices that enhance (personal, physical, social, environmental, and economic) well being for themselves and others.


Ethical Citizenship (EC)

Criteria:
Courses designated EC:

  • will identify individual and collective responsibilities to the social and natural environment of one’s community, nation and the world.
  • focus on the process of decision-making regarding values and ethics in personal, professional, and civic life.

Outcomes:
Students will be able to:

  1. identify factors of the social and natural environment that influence ethical decision-making.
  2. evaluate ethical conflict and ways to address it to serve the world.

Approved March 2, 2004
Revised April 28, 2005