This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

FSEC approves general education assessment plan for UB

Published: January 27, 2005

Contributing Editor

Michael E. Ryan, the new vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, has only been on the job for three weeks and already he's helped UB to meet an important deadline: providing a general education assessment plan to SUNY.

An earlier version of the plan, which was to have been completed in 2002, was sent back to committee for slight revisions—primarily to add more details and examples—per the request of UB's General Education Assessment Review, or GEAR, group, according to Ryan, formerly associate dean in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Now the plan is ready to go and Ryan, along with Carol L. Tutzauer, assistant director for assessment, Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Peter S. Gold, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences, yesterday asked for and received the approval of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to submit it to Albany by its early February deadline. Pending SUNY approval of the plan in early March, the assessment proposal would be implemented in the fall.

"Although this is something we need to do for SUNY, my sense is that this process of assessing what we do in the end serves us well, as an institution, as instructors and ultimately serves our students and provides a mechanism for us to get meaningful feedback—not everything necessarily will become an action item, but it provides a mechanism for looking at that feedback and making improvements in the instruction and the education of our undergraduates," Ryan said.

Faculty Senate Chair Peter A. Nickerson, professor of pathology, noted that the data contained in the assessment plan becomes public upon submission to SUNY, per the Freedom of Information Act.

Ryan, whose appointment began Jan. 1, also spoke about what his priorities will be for the vice provost's office, including developing, expanding and refining communication with a number of departments and programs at UB and "resurrecting" regular meetings with undergraduate program directors.

He mentioned that he feels "passionately" about "issues relating to the undergraduate experience, particularly as it might relate to opportunities for students to engage in research and creative activity. I'm talking not just about research in the physical sciences, but creative achievement in all disciplines."

He also will be working to define a mission statement and governing principles for the office.