The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Darryl Samsel’s ideas for curriculum changes

April 28th, 2017

In our last meeting, Darryl mentioned a simpler curriculum model he had developed. He sent this to LAGER and to me in March shortly before spring break. Because others have not seen it, and it was discussed, I asked if I could share it here. I’m including the three documents he sent me and his introductory e-mail below.

In Darryl’s e-mail to Kyle, he wrote:


I met with Lavon this week on the curriculum and she encouraged me to send my suggestions to you for the committee’s perusal. Attached are documents for suggested curriculum changes. The suggested curriculum mostly follows the LAGER curriculum (I forget which model) and fixes all of the problems raised so far. This is for the committee but may be modified and shared with the faculty if the committee wants to.

The modifications are to:

1. Make it simpler and more elegant
2. Make it more flexible (ie more choice)
3. Address the difficulty in defining CIPs by suggesting one default or overall CIP as Global Understanding Macro View which allows very important questions/problems to be addressed in a interdisciplinary way. Other “CIPs” could be added.
4. Provide a place (but does not require) for current “Critical Perspective” type courses in the Global Understanding Micro View area
5. Include the learning goals (GELOS) addressed in each area
6. Include the writing QEP assessment places
7. Include the presentation QEP assessment places
8. Include the design principles from Art & Science as communicated by Jane

The documents attached are:
1. Snapshot
2. Condensed Curriculum for Students
3. Curriculum Elements and Course Design for Faculty
I will make myself available for discussion whenever needed.


Curriculum elements and course design for faculty

Condensed Curriculum for Students

Snapshot of Curriculum

Clarification and further development of Jim Hood’s ideas

April 27th, 2017

[From Jim Hood]

I wanted to put my suggestion from yesterday’s meeting in writing along with some other thoughts.  Please feel free to share these ideas on the Moon Room.

Content suggestions

Since a number of faculty are concerned that we be more specific about content before approving the proposed gen ed curriculum, here are some brief thoughts about how we could do that.  Like some others, I’m concerned that distributing the re-envisioned Critical Perspectives into modules across the gen ed would be complicated and difficult to manage, so my suggestions here focus on concentrating critical perspectives in particular curricular locations, essentially blending some of our current breadth with current critical perspectives.

1.  Global and Diverse Perspectives (Gateway) course

Courses satisfying this requirement would focus on non-Western cultures (which seems vital as a gateway experience for our students) and have to include historical perspective (change over time, causality) as a key component.  I’m suggesting this not be primarily a writing course, but that it must also include instruction in research-based writing as a component.  Students can learn much by doing, and by doing historically-informed, research-based writing, they will learn a lot about the culture or history of a non-Western locale.

2.  Nature: Processes and Properties of the Natural World Breadth course

In the context of teaching the processes and properties of the natural world, this course must have a substantial focus on the environmental crisis we face as a planet, identifying key environmental problems and potential solutions.

3.  Society: Social Interaction and Behavior Breadth course

Courses satisfying this requirement must include as a key component analysis of how social, political, and/or cultural structures create and sustain systemic forms of oppression.

4.  Humanity: Human Experiences in Artistic and Cultural Expression Breadth course

Courses satisfying this requirement should include as a key component analysis of the contributions of traditionally under-represented groups to artistic, literary, religious, and/or other forms of cultural expression.

Coalitions (currently CiPs)

I would suggest a somewhat looser structure than implied in the term “chartered communities,” at least initially (following Naadiya Hasan’s suggestion in a faculty forum).  I imagine the credit hours and components being the same as currently proposed, but I like the term “Coalitions” because it suggests a more fluid structure that would allow faculty to collaborate with students in cross-disciplinary fashion around shorter- as well as longer-term issues, similar to the idea behind our current PPSE minors.  I also like the word “coalition” because it has a (now obsolete, from the 17th century) meaning of “Shared growth or development; the action or fact of nurturing or sustaining one another” (OED).

Administrative management of curricular components
A number of faculty, like I, have been concerned about how to manage the proposed curriculum without adequate resources.  As I don’t foresee significant resources forthcoming, I suggest a modest arrangement for managing some of the curricular components.

1.  Gateway Seminar

Administered in a manner similar to current FYS/FYE.

2.  Gateway Communication

Administered by the current Writing Program director in the same manner as is current.

3.  Gateway Global Engagement

Administered by the Foreign Languages department

4.  Breadth courses and Global and Diverse Perspectives

Appoint faculty members as the directors of each of these components, for which they would receive one course release per year.  Report to VPAA/Academic Dean.

5. Coalitions (currently called CiPs)

Each coalition should be managed by a faculty member, for which they would receive one course release per year.  Report to VPAA/Academic Dean.

I hope these suggestions can help move us along in terms of clarifying content locations and simplifying things a bit.

Clerk’s Committee Minutes, April 13, 2017

April 20th, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday April 13, 2017 2:30 pm

  1.  Members gathered in silence at 2:35 pm. In attendance: Dave Dobson (Clerk), Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Gwen Erickson, Kathryn Shields, Don Smith (minute taker), Eva Lawrence, and Beth Rushing
  2. The minutes from April 6th were approved with minor amendments.  
  3. A proposal from Terry Hammond was received regarding the acquisition of new works of art, recently donated to the Hege Library collection.  The items seemed to fill gaps in our current collection, and most of them have relevance for multiple course offerings.

The proposal was approved.

  1. We considered a proposal from multiple departments, forwarded from Curriculum Committee, to create an interdisciplinary public health major.  

A concern was raised that the description of the three aspects of the program, as presented in the catalog language, was not clear without the clarifying language later in the proposal, and might not make sense when extracted and presented on its own.  We suggested breaking that list out into bullet points.  

A concern was raised whether the staffing of the program was appropriate, in terms of depending on part-time faculty to teach courses critical for the major.  The feeling is that the large student interest will allow the program to blossom and support the development of permanent staffing.

Historically, interdisciplinary (ID) programs have been mandatory double-major programs.  It’s not clear whether this is a stand-alone major, or whether it needs to piggy-back on a second major.  The course requirements seem lengthy, as compared to other ID programs at Guilford, which would seem to imply there would be no second major.  We would like the proposers to clarify whether a second major or minor is required and provide a short justification, as this issue was a primary sticking point for other, similar proposals.

A suggestion was made that they consider intermediate language courses (202-level) for the communications requirement.  For example, there is a need for public health workers in the US who are fluent in Spanish.

We approved returning the proposal to the authors with these requests for clarification and modification, although our general reaction was positive.  Given the closing window for the end of the semester, we will distribute the revised draft to the faculty in preparation for the April 26th meeting, where we will bring it forward for approval.

  1. We discussed our reactions from the Faculty Forum on 4/12 regarding the General Education curriculum revision and plans for 4/19.

We felt like the conversation yesterday was more about concerns than narrative.  Yesterday was much more focused on details, which makes us feel like we are further apart than we are (might be?).  If we have more vision-oriented conversations, we might be able find ways that the LAGER proposal can be structured to fit the narrative.  There’s a danger that “big picture questions” might move us backwards rather than forwards.  “How does this fit our *mission*?” might be a productive question.  On the other hand, our “mission” might not be clear or unifying.  

We spent some time discussing specific aspects of the 4.5 structure.  The FYS equivalent is a compromise between those who wanted more and those who wanted less.  The language requirement seems to only be troubling a few people.  Writing: no one is worried about 101/102 equivalent.  Tim Kircher’s suggestions for modifying the text were helpful.

It may be that we have been talking about it too much, and it might be time to put forward what we have and see what we can approve?  

The proposal seems to have drifted back to where we started.  Certain features have shifted in form, but play the same role.  We remove minors and put in the CiP, we take out HP, but there’s historical thinking in the writing classes.  The CPs are threaded in there… why not just keep the same curriculum we have if we’re not going to change it?

We discussed whether the pressure to approve something was pushing us in healthy directions.  The budget reality is that if we don’t change the curriculum now, resources will not be assigned to the faculty/curriculum.  There is a window that is closing — there is a bunch of money that is going to be allocated.  This is our chance to build something that will last.  That investment capital will not be there next year, if we delay.

These are all the negative themes that are dragging us down.  It would be very sad if, after all this, we can’t do anything at the end of the year, and we have to say that we’ll have to simply piggyback on whatever Jane does.  On the other hand, the new proposal does move interdisciplinary projects into the curriculum in ways that are new and can be innovative.  A student could write a play and stage it, or work with ECAR.  Activities that happen now as an extra; they could be centralized and supported.

Perhaps it is time to bring marketing staff into the process to help us with framing, narrative, and choice of words.  They were helpful with XD and the QEP — perhaps they could help here?  

Focus on the 19th: what are you excited about?  What are the opportunities?  Not to change minds, but to share ideas.  What is important for us to keep?

Clerk’s will start a “Clerk’s Version” of the proposal that we will take a stab at revising together.

  1. The meeting closed in silence at 4:02 pm

Clerk’s Committee Minutes, April 6, 2017

April 20th, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday April 6, 2017 2:30 pm

Attending were Dave Dobson (Clerk), Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Gwen Erickson, Sherry Giles, Kathryn Shields (minute taker), Don Smith, and Eva Lawrence, Beth Rushing.

The meeting began with a moment of silence.

Minutes from March 30 meeting-Approved

Discussion of revised name and charge for Diversity Action Committee

New name: Committee on Inclusion and Equity

Their old charge will not work any more.  

LAGER is an ad-hoc committee, so should not be mentioned.

Membership seems large. Previous make-up: originally Cultural Pluralism was a faculty committee.  It transitioned to Diversity Action with campus committee with faculty representation.  Perhaps it is a remnant of the previous administration.

What about the position Michele Malotky has now as Director of Inclusion through Faculty Development. How does she coordinate with and/or how does her work relate to this committee?

Some ideas for possible structure going forward to reduce redundancy:

  1. Maybe appoint representatives for contact in the case of some areas: Advancement, Admissions, Athletics, for example.  What if they could be listed as consulting parties? We have a Retention group.  Those folks (and others) are working directly with offices implementing procedures.  
  2. Or have people appointed on committees on campus who serves as representatives of the concerns related to Diversity and Inclusion. From their bullet points that would include the first two, Curriculum and Faculty Development (we do have faculty designated to address diversity in faculty development and other committees as part of the response to Integrity for Guilford’s concerns).  In that scenario, there may still be a need for:
  • Strategizing/Support/Training for privileged groups
  • Programming
  • Campus Resources

Not included:  champion of these issues in a broader context

3) Periodic meetings (twice per semester?) from representatives for relevant committees and groups.

Make this an advisory group that offered the opportunity to share information from various constituencies across campus, bring issues, etc.  

We wonder about the interactions with President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion.

    • The charge says will “work with” this group.
    • Two committees seem to be too many.  We wonder how/why it is justifiable to maintain the two committees.  It occurred to some people that perhaps that work needs to happen first and/or instead of this committee.  If we were to decide NOT to have this committee it would makes a lot of difference who nominating places on SPOC (maybe even specific designates for the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion).

There may not be a comparable structure on the staff side to address these concerns the way there is on the faculty side.  What about staff development or opportunities to share concerns for staff?

Would it make sense to talk to Jane about this issue?  In the fall she recommended that DAC stay on the books while some of the issues are being visioned and planned with the President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion. If it will continue to be in “hibernation,” we need to reappoint the faculty representatives.

Response to the proposal: Dave will send an e-mail to the committee chairs of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and copy the members listed on the proposal.

This is a start, here are our thoughts:  

Where does redundancy exist with President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion and a lot of other committees already functioning?

We have a concern about representation, specifically the ability to address faculty concerns/issues, given the nature and number of people on the committee.  Similarly, we have a concern about the number of members.  We recommend the faculty members + crucial people on campus (MED Director, Accessibility Resource Director, others?)

Next year a priority would be to identify the distinction of this committee from the President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion.

As we see it, there are three options:

  1. Continue with new charge
  2. Lay it down until the President’s council is further along
  3. Working group that assemble periodically to review and revise efforts on campus

Change to withdrawal grades for credit/no credit courses-Approved

Concern about impact on GPA for students who withdraw.  In that case credit/no credit courses can never count for credit. WF does have an impact on a person’s grade.  Recommendation is to add

CW:  withdrew, received credit; NW:  withdrew, no credit received.

Review of faculty meeting April 5

  • Approved commencement change with some faculty members standing aside.  Provides a potentially good model for consideration of the Gen Ed Curriculum when it comes time to do so.
  • Ara’s announcement.
  • Slate Approved.

Discussion of next steps for to General Education Revision and response to Faculty Meeting

Important Question:  

What do we want Guilford students to get out of their education?  What inspires us?

About a year ago we met and did some visioning.  

Maybe we could find notes from that meeting

Also might be good to revisit now since we have a tangible direction in mind.

What about the 4.5 Model. Is this a horse we could ride?

Felt closer to seeming so yesterday.  Some remaining skepticism and questions about implementation.  From conversations, responses to the meeting, and Moon Room posts we have heard some concerns about the looming imperative to do something quickly, CIPs watered down, CIPs too large, the fact that the proposed curriculum is not, in fact, “bold,” etc.

Maybe we could leave the structure there and begin talking about other pieces.

Some consensus on the basic structure and idea of multi-disciplinary teams

More acceptance on the inclusion of Critical Perspectives

The issue of a Student-led component and/or curriculum.

One faculty member brought up the idea of using questions as a way to prompt students through the curriculum.

Proposing options for them (like a choose-your-own-adventure)

Working up to being student-led later in the course or the program

Faculty development for us to learn how to do this.

Leaders, followers, dead weight (give them the opportunity to deal with it)

What is the administrative support from Jane’s perspective?

We will have money to implement the Art & Science recommendations

Collaborative, interdisciplinary teams, for example.  If we keep collaborative, multi-disciplinary experience (CIPs) in, we are closer to aligning the initiatives.

The underlying notion and strategy of this Gen Ed curriculum gets us closer.  Jane expressed her support of it in theory at the March 8 meeting. She talks about it as a four-year experience.

Resources/support could be discussed later.

We also do need to know what we are asking her to support.

A marker in the proposed budget was requested for faculty development over the summer to prepare for the first year class next fall.

What will we do next Wednesday?

A forum for visioning/narrative

Dave will put together something to share with the faculty including a document he received.

Topics for upcoming faculty meetings –

  • Gen Ed revision
  • Future of Diversity Action Committee
  • Jane – VP salary information and raises

Remaining Wednesday Dates:


April 12 – Faculty Forum
April 19 – Open date for called meeting or forum
April 26 – Faculty Meeting
May 3 – Reserved for Faculty Meeting
May 10 – Reading Day


Agenda for Clerk’s Committee, April 13, 2017

April 11th, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Agenda

Thursday April 13, 2017 2:30 pm

  1. Gathering and Moment of Silence 2 minutes
  2. Figuring out who’s doing the minutes [Don?] 1 minute
  3. Approval of Minutes from April 6 meeting 2 minutes
  4. For review: Proposed art acquisitions 10 minutes
  5. For approval: Public Health proposal 10 minutes
  6. Review of faculty forum April 12 10 minutes
  7. For discussion: General Education Revision – next steps, especially 4/19 40 minutes

Discussion area for April 5 faculty meeting

April 5th, 2017

Feel free to add comments, questions, or suggestions below. You may post anonymously if you wish.

There were six anonymous notecards left at the meeting, and one more (signed) addressed to Clerk’s Committee which I have delivered to those folks directly.

Suggestions re: the query

A good step might be to not write a letter to the community saying they shouldn’t get angry and yell at authority figures who repeatedly, publicly, and unapologetically misgender them because ‘it’s difficult’ and ‘he was trying.’


Ideas on how to use upcoming time:

How to move forward with “critical perspectives without getting turf-y. Or maybe just rename them and figure it out later.


I’m very concerned (and don’t understand) the C- requirement for Gen Ed courses – this means that all Gen Ed plus their major courses would have this minimum, which means few-to-none of the courses a student takes would allow for a D- to D+. With all of the pressure for retention, it seems that this would encourage us to dumb down our courses or lower our standards. I’m concerned it won’t encourage exploration in challenging areas and it will put the emphasis on the grade rather than the learning. I’m all for rigor, but I think this bar feels arbitrary – students who have too many D grades likely won’t be retained anyway.


New faculty weren’t given a thorough explanation of LAGER. Can we take some time to go back and do a “LAGER 101?” Just briefly.


If we get a transfer senior/junior, how will we service their gen ed needs while we ramp up?

Could the Gen Ed be different for “Adult” students vs. Trad? If we want to rebuild this historical part of Guilford we may need this difference.


Suggestion: Let’s start the next meeting w/ Zhihong’s, Mylene’s, and Tom’s comments. Thanks.

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes, March 16, 2017

April 4th, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Minutes

March 16, 2017

2:30 – 4 pm

Attending: Dave Dobson (Clerk), Gwen Erickson, Sherry Giles (took minutes), Eva Lawrence, Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Kathryn Shields, Don Smith, and Beth Rushing, with Kyle Dell joining during the discussion of the proposed new general education curriculum.

The meeting began in silence, followed by approval of the minutes from the March 16th meeting.

Academic Dean, Beth Rushing, proposed that the college replace the faculty workload report with a Google form asking each faculty member to report their accomplishments in teaching, advising, scholarly growth, and community service, along with her or his goals for the coming year. A member of Clerk’s noted that the faculty handbook says that there needs to be a workload report each year, and raised the question of whether the language in the handbook would need to be changed. We discussed this question, and concluded that the new form would count as a workload report, so the language in the faculty handbook can remain as it is. Clerk’s discussed and approved the proposal. Beth will draft a report form for Clerk’s committee to review before presenting it at a faculty meeting.

Advancement has requested to have specific faculty members on search committees for their department. Clerk’s decided that Advancement could directly approach faculty members they would like to invite to serve on search committees.

Kyle Dell, Chair of LAGER, joined Clerk’s meeting for a discussion about the faculty gathering on Wednesday, March 15th, focused on the proposed new general education curriculum. We reviewed the feedback that faculty shared at the meeting, and discussed ideas for moving toward approval of a curriculum over the next few weeks. We agreed that Dave will write a document with the Clerk’s Committee’s perspective and suggestions for a way to move forward. Members of Clerk’s committee will review and edit the document, which then will be discussed at the April 5th faculty meeting.

Clerk’s spent the last few minutes of the meeting discussing ways to create a more welcoming environment at the college for transgender students. Members who attended the president’s meeting to share findings from the investigation into the sexual assault of a transgender student of color, offered a summary of the meeting. Clerk’s agreed to continue the discussion about support for transgender students at our next meeting.

The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life