SUNY Cortland the online guide Miller Building
Home Site Search Skip quick links
or visit our quicklinks page  
  Skip the Navigation Bar
SUNY logo
GEAR Home Button
GEAR Conference Button
GEAR News Button
GEAR Members
Best Practices Button
Documents and Resources Button
FAQ Button
Feedback Button

SUNY General Education Assessment Review Group

The General Education Assessment Review (GEAR) group was established in Spring 2001 upon the recommendation of the Provost's Advisory Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes, and was formed jointly by leadership from the University Faculty Senate, the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, and System Administration. The GEAR group's primary charge is to provide initial and ongoing review of campus-based general education assessment plans. The 2008-09 academic year marks the seventh year of SUNY-wide general education assessment, with Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment beginning in 2006-07.

Interested persons may keep up to date with the GEAR Group's activities, as well as other assessment-related issues affecting SUNY, by subscribing to SUNY's assessment listserv. To do so, simply send a request to Patricia Francis, GEAR Co-Chair.

Comprised primarily of faculty from throughout the University, GEAR also includes two campus chief academic officers and several campus professional staff (particularly from Institutional Research). (LINK TO FULL LIST)

The GEAR group's goal is to work with the 57 SUNY campuses with general education programs as they develop and implement their campus-based plans for assessing student learning outcomes in general education, following the guidelines contained in the Task Force report. GEAR functions as a resource and a colleague, making itself available to campuses as they feel it would be most helpful, and engaging them in a dialogue as they develop and implement their assessment plans. GEAR's review of campus General Education assessment plans focuses exclusively on the campus's assessment processes and procedures, not the assessment outcomes themselves.

GEAR also has responsibility for conducting activities that facilitate the development and refinement of campus-based general education assessment plans, including a kick-off conference held in June 2001 and the Best Practices conference held in Albany in November 2003. On April 27-28, 2005 GEAR held a kick-off conference for Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment in Syracuse, New York.

GEAR receives and critiques campus assessment plans and approves those that meet the criteria established by the Task Force for effective assessment; campuses receive written notification of revisions that would likely lead to approval, as appropriate. GEAR places a strong emphasis on the extent to which campuses demonstrate they are using or will use assessment results to improve their General Education programs, and has established a clear protocol, consistent with Task Force recommendations, for campuses to use to report assessment results in General Education to System Administration for the purpose of accountability. (LINK TO FURTHER DETAILS ON THE PROCESS)

The GEAR group continues the long tradition of involving existing faculty governance and curriculum review structures on individual State University campuses in the process of program assessment. This involvement of SUNY faculty was central in the early 1990's when the State University was playing a leadership role nationally in the assessment movement, and it certainly characterized the deliberations of the Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes that provided the rationale for establishing GEAR.