The University of Wyoming’s general education program for baccalaureate education is called the University Studies Program. UW last revised this program in 2003. The university’s 2009 strategic plan, University Plan 3, includes the following action item:
Action Item 22: Assessment of the University Studies Program. As part of UW’s initiative to enhance the baccalaureate learning experience, the Office of Academic Affairs will coordinate an assessment and review of the University Studies Program (USP), UW’s core undergraduate curriculum. The purposes of the assessment will be threefold: (1) to refine assessment techniques that focus on verifiable outcomes and minimize the time commitments of faculty members and administrators, (2) to gauge how effective the curriculum has been in meeting its original learning goals and (3) based on these outcomes, to streamline the USP curriculum, reducing the number of constraints that it places on undergraduates and increasing the simplicity and clarity of the system for students and their advisors.
Work on this project began in fall 2010, with a “white paper” distributed by the provost. In spring 2010, a task force, consisting of faculty members and administrators recommended by the Faculty Senate executive committee or invited by the provost and chaired by Professor Indy Burke, undertook the first phase of the project. As outlined in the charge letter given to the task force, this phase addressed three questions:
The next step was to assemble and charge a task force to undertake the second phase, which involved the development of a proposal for specific requirements for the next generation of the University Studies Program, based on the recommendations formulated by the task force for the first phase. The second task force completed a draft report in March 2012 and held three town-hall meetings in April 2012 to discuss the draft. In response to feedback received, the task force reviewed its draft and issued a final report in August 2012. The Faculty Senate approved the USP revision as outlined in the stage 2 report on January 28, 2013. Provost Allen has outlined the process of implementation in a memo dated February 5. Associate Provost Frost detailed the activities of implementation in a charge letter to the stage 3 task force, which is chaired by Associate Dean and Professor Steve Barrett.