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Meeting, September 13, 2007

Meeting, September 13, 2007
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123

 

Members Present:

B. Allen, E. Ametsbichler, C. Anderson, L. Barnes, R. Bendick-Kier, B. Brown, N. Bradley-Browning, K. Canty, F. Cardozo-Palaez, J. Carter, B. CochranA. Delaney, B. Douma, L. Dybdal, J. Eglin, D. Erikson, L. Frey, J. Gannon, J. Glendening, S. Greymorning, B. Halfpap, L. Hayes, J. Herbold, K. James, S. Justman, B. Larson, C. Loisel, J. Lopach, J. Luckowski, M. Mayor, S. McCann, D. McCrea, M. McHugh, S. Miller, M. Monsos, C. Nichols, M. Papanek-Miller, M. Patterson, M. Pershouse, L. Putnam, B. Reider, J. Renz, T. Seekins, P. Silverman, G. Smith, S. Stiff, D. Stolle, R. Stubblefield, D. Swibold, H. Thompson, E. Uchimoto, K. Uhlenbruck K. Unger, N. Vonessen, A. Ware

Members Excused

T. Atkins,  L. EagleHeart-Thomas, S. Gordon, J. Henry,  L. Knott, M. Kupilik, J. McNulty, N. Nickerson, D. Potts, D. Shively, R. Skelton, D. Spencer

Members Absent

J. Crepeau, W. Holben 

Ex-Officio Present:

President Dennison, Provost Engstrom, Associate Provost Walker-Andrews, Dean Fetz, Associate Dean Tompkins, Registrar Micus

Guests

S. Samson

Chair Hayes called the meeting to order at 3:14 p.m.   He asked that senators move to the front and that they identify themselves before speaking. ECOS is still looking for a member to serve on ASCRC from social sciences and the Writing Committee from humanities.

Communications:
President Dennison
Enrollment  is still being tracked and currently stands at $2 million short of projections.  Usually there is a rush at the end so this is normal. Graduate students and resident students are above projections.  The upper-division numbers are also significantly higher than projected.  This seems to indicate that the retention efforts are having an affect. When the analysis is complete, it is likely that the student carrying load will show an increase based on the preliminary head count and FTE figures. This is a result of students taking more credits.  So it seems communicating to students the cost savings of shortening the time-to-degree by taking a full credit load has had an impact.

Provost Engstrom

The Provost looks forward to a productive year working with the Faculty Senate.  He has been on campus now for over 7 weeks and hopes to talk with everyone in the near future.  He is very supportive of faculty governance and believes it is an important part of the university.  He came from an Institution where the Senate was fairly young.  He worked hard to strengthen and help establish the Senate in its rightful place in shared governance. 

There are several academic initiatives that he is interested in pursuing.  He outlined them as follows. 1)  Fundamental Student Success:  The Early Alert System and the general education program are examples of these. He is very interested in the components, particularly early in students' careers, that assure their success. 2) Academic Enrichment: Includes opportunities such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and service learning. 3) Expansion of Graduate programs and the 4) Research Mission of the University. These are some of the things he hopes to working with the Senate this academic year.

Provost Engstrom asks that faculty put some mechanisms in place to give beginning students feedback in the first three to four weeks of the semester as outlined in the Early Alert memo.  Registrar Micus will soon be requesting information to be input into Banner for the Early Alert system.  He hopes that faculty members teaching 100 and 200 level courses participate in the program.

Chief Information Officer Ford
There are many kickoff activities this fall including the visit of Doug VanHouweling, the CIO of Internet II, a leading national research and education networking organization. He will give a talk Monday, 9/17 at 7:30 pm and again Tuesday 9/18 at 3:00 p.m. followed by a question and answer session.  Both talks relate to the future of the internet.   This was to be the culminating event associated with the announcement of new networking capabilities for the university system.  Unfortunately, the legislature didn't fully support the project and it has been delayed for at least six months.  The bandwidth seems to be holding up this year, so there isn't a major problem. 


ASUM President Leftridge
ASUM President Leftridge provided an update of the goals he presented during his campaign.  The ASUM Website has been redesigned as a step toward focusing on students and bridging them to ASUM.  They are working to provide students with educational opportunities and are advertising events, student groups, and essential agencies such as off-campus renter center and transportation department in the Kiamin.  A marketing Internship in Communication or Journalism is available for students who create the marketing for ads in the Kiamin and other materials.  A sustainability internship is also available focused on the student side of campus sustainability.  ASUM is working diligently to staff committees with student members and requests that faculty inform students interested in getting involved to contact ASUM.      

 

Emily Yaksitch, Multicultural Alliance
This will be the second year of hosting the Day of Dialogue.  It will be Thursday November 8th. The day encourages dialogue across campus in various venues.  It is a symposium style event. The goal is to have discussions about diversity that enrich the campus.  Handouts were provided to senators. Proposals are due September 17th.     Please contact Ms. Yaksitch with your questions at 243-2005. 

Please encourage your students to participate and consider presenting research or activities that relate to diversity issues.    There will be two featured speakers; one is Dr. Francis Kendal.  There will also be an evening performance by Step Africa from 7-9 pm.  There are two events leading up to the Day of Dialogue as well.  On Monday, October 29th Dana Hyatt from Colorado State University will be speaking at 7 pm in the University Center.  On October 30th there will be a showing the film Crash followed by a discussion. Your insight and participation will be appreciated. 

 

Chair's Report:
Chair Hayes explained that ECOS developed several goals for the year and these were posted for senators' consideration.
The Joint Ethics Committee has been discussing ways to involve the campus in considering a statement of ethics and will be conducting an online questionnaire to collect faculty, staff and student comments regarding the values that should be expressed in such a document.   Donald McCabe, a founding member of the Center for Academic Integrity will be on campus October 2-4. Contact Dane Scott if you are interested in a class visit.

 

Committee Reports:

ASCRC
ASCRC Chair Holly Thompson went over the timeline for implementing changes to the general education program.  The revised model was sent to all faculty on August 31st.  It was the product of a workgroup that met over the summer and amended the model according to the guidelines outlined by the Senate in May. The model will be discussed today.  There will be an open faculty meeting on October 3rd and a vote in the Senate October 11th.  Then subcommittees of the General Education Committee will be formed to develop criteria and learning outcomes for the groups. These will go through ASCRC and the Senate for vote next year.  Then the General Education Committee will work on a plan for implementation for fall 2009.

She summarized the changes made to the current model and opened the floor for questions.  Ethics and Human Values is its own group.  American and European and Indigenous perspectives were added in place of western and non-western. Then there are statements that outline the overlap of groups.

Senator Uchimoto: Why are the writing and math requirements so asymmetric in terms of the number of the credits and the course levels?   Math is a truly universal language that transcends different cultures and countries.  As such, the UM students should be required to take at least as much math as they are now.

 H. Thompson - It is assumed that the current catalog language pertaining to math will apply.

Senator Greymorning: Will indigenous languages be able to satisfy the Modern and Classical Language requirement.

H. Thompson:-This will likely be the case.  The courses will need to be set up with that intention.

Senator Renz requested clarification with regard to the 0-10 or 3-6 credits in Group III.
H. Thompson: The 0 credit reflects the possibility that students can test out of the Modern and Classical Language requirement by demonstrating proficiency.  The 3 credit reflects the possibility that one of the symbolic systems courses may also meet the math requirement, Group II.

Senator Vonessen: Making Modern and Classical Languages the default option and linking Symbolic Systems to the major will create problems for students that change majors.  It is inherently unfair for students and limits their choice.

H. Thompson: This issue is related to the fundamental problem with diverse universities.  The Board of Regents mandate that students must be able to graduate in 120 credits.  And there is pressure from accrediting bodies, such that majors don't have room for 10 credits of foreign language.  Group III is a compromise.

Senator Mayer: It would be simpler to go back to the ad-on system with Western/non- western the way it was before.  He assumes that there will not be any courses in Group 9 or 10 that don't also satisfy one of the other Groups 4-8. This model makes it looks like more courses are required.

H. Thompson: This framework indicates that these groups are important to think about.  She did receive communications from some faculty who would prefer the western/non-western terminology.


Senator Greymorning:  Group IX: American and European Perspectives and Group X Indigenous and Global Perspectives delineate the categories better than western/non-western.

Senator Frey:  The integrity of the framework rests entirely on the criteria.

President Dennison: The groups could probably be sliced thinner so that each group would have absolutely no relationship to the others.  We should be getting students to think in terms of how knowledge is related. What really differentiates Expressive Arts from Literary and Artistic Studies?  Historical and Cultural Studies seems clearly related to American and European Perspectives.  Social Science would certainly have something to do with Indigenous and Global Perspectives.

As long as general education is considered separate from the major, students are going to view the requirements as obstacles to get through rather than considering the courses as part of an integrated whole.  There should be an integral relationship to the major.  A better approach would be to consider how the majors would bring different perspectives into their students course work.

Senator Frey: How will this work in practice?

President Dennison: The interdisciplinary areas should be outlined and then the majors would suggest how their courses fit the areas.  The General Education Committee would make the determination.   The majors need to start looking at this.  The program is being sliced too thin and there is no opportunity for truly interdisciplinary courses.  Upper-division courses should be counted.  We need to think about how we can put interdisciplinary courses together to enhance the major.

Provost Engstrom summarized his concerns regarding the proposed general education framework.  1) One of the core skills that isn't explicit in the proposal that is so important in today's world is information literacy.  How do we teach our students to get and validate information? This could be addressed without a fundamental change to the framework. 2) The fundamental foundation areas - composition, quantitative component, and information literacy need to be taken early in the undergraduate curriculum.  3) Where do we give our students the opportunity to think about the major issues that we are faced today as a global society? A component is needed early in the program that gives all of our students the exposure to understanding these big issues.  4) How does the general education program relate to the students major?  A general education program needs to help students understand how the various components are related and helps them choose the direction of their study.

We have the opportunity to be a leader by giving serious consideration to what general education is supposed to accomplish.  Students and too many faculty view general education as a set of hurdles that they have to get over that is outside the content of what they are really here for- the major.  General education should be integral to the undergraduate experience.  Students spend a ¼ to 1/3 of their program taking general education courses.  The program deserves the same type of creativity and depth of thought that is given to the major.

Senator Carter: Views general education as an opportunity for her students to look at the world from a different perspective.  She is concerned that if general education is tied to the major their view of the world will be narrowed.

Provost Engstrom: Students need to study a problem from different perspectives. They will understand the problem in some detail in their major, but may decide to take courses in other disciplines in order to address the problem. Take for example global climate change.  The solution to the problem is going to involve scientists, political scientists, economists, and communications specialists.  So a student might decide to take courses in these other areas.  

H. Thompson: Several faculty have expressed concern regarding the logistical problems with teaching cross-disciplinary courses in terms of assigning student credit hours. Theoretically you could have proposals for cross-disciplinary courses with the proposed framework.

Provost Engstrom: There are likely some logistical hurdles that will need to be addressed.

Senator Greymorning: Course descriptions could specify how courses articulate with other disciplines. 

Provost Engstrom: A certain degree of connection can be made back and forth among the disciplines and this is something to look at.  But, it does not go far enough. We ought to be considering new courses, specifically designed as general education courses, not courses that are developed within the concept of a specific discipline.

H. Thompson: Could this be a freshman course that exposes students to discipline interfaces or capstone courses that help students synthesize their experience.

Provost Engstrom:  Ideally it would be both.  There should be a range of introductory courses that expose students to a series of big issues.  Then, have a capstone course after the student has some expertise to consider the issue. This would be the ideal bookend approach. 

Senator Halfpap:  There have been considerable comments in favor of coherence.  He suggests that we also consider incoherence and serendipity. Many students think they know what they want to do.  Then they are forced to take general education courses and often head in a different direction.  Too much focus on the major would not allow for these discoveries.

H. Thompson: Where do we go from here?  Do we continue to work from this framework and try to fold some of the Provost's recommendations into the framework and comeback with a slightly modified version?

It was clarified that all courses will have to be reviewed to assure compliance to the new criteria and it seems that many of the issues could be resolved during that phase of the process.  The hard work will take place when the groups are defined.  Many of the current courses will meet the new criteria but others may need to be revised. New ideas can be brought in at this point as well.

President Dennison:  It seems there are two separate processes involved in deciding the criteria and evaluating the outcomes.  How will we be able to demonstrate that the goals for the courses are achieved? We need to show what happens to a student as a result of taking the course and have a coherent curriculum.  He imagines that a current student would not be able to articulate the connections between the components of the general education program, other than have a little of this and have a little of that.  Do we even know what the relationships are?

Senator Mayer: One of the points of general education is for students to be exposed to different disciplinary perspectives.  They learn the skill of different ways of examining problems and the world.  They can then compare these and out of this comes some sort of coherence.  If we abandon exposing students to the various perspectives we will loose the diversity of the general education program.

Senator Frey: Part of the problem with the current general education is that majors are too tightly tied to general education - a student can fulfill almost all of the general education requirements within their major department.  Tying general education to the students major would restrict their exposure to different ways of looking at the world.

Senator Justman:  Liberal Studies has foundation courses that are included in the offerings for general education.  Students who take the courses become Liberal Studies majors.  There is a natural articulation from general education into the majors.

Senator Carter:  Three credits of a discipline just exposes students to the discipline it does not make them an expert.  So a better way to look at problems from cross-disciplines would be to bring students together from different disciplines to work on a problem.

Senator Anderson: Did ASCRC look at other Universities' programs?  For example many schools are utilizing interdisciplinary course clusters.

H. Thompson:  The General Education Committee looked at other models and forwarded three models with different emphases to ASCRC for consideration.  ASCRC then worked to develop a model that would work for our diverse campus with the various constraints from accrediting bodies and the Board of Regents   The model doesn‘t have some of the creative components that smaller private schools have created.

Senator Ware: The Senate should follow the timeline.  ASCRC could make minor changes within the framework.  Then in the long term, a fundamentally different general education program can be considered in the next review rotation.  This framework is a slight evolution from the current system. 

Senator Luckowski:  It is important to have a general faculty meeting regarding the framework prior to the vote.

H. Thompson: Could ASCRC meet with the Provost to discuss ways his suggestions could be folded into the framework that wouldn't include a radical change.  She requested some clarification on how information literacy would be defined.

Senator Ware: Information literacy varies across disciplines.  It will be difficult to develop a course that is appropriate across general education.

Provost Engstrom: He is not advocating an information literacy course.  It can be accomplished very effectively within the context of one or more of the groups in the framework.  He appreciates the discipline specific point.  What he is trying to make apparent is how an educated individual goes about making decisions about his or her life that are based on reliable information.   This needs to be done in a deliberate way.

Senator Silverman: One way to do this would be to have a parallel general education framework for departments; and each department, for example, would be required to address an information systems requirement, or an interdisciplinary exposure.

Professor Greymorning: How would this impact the total number of credits imposed on the majors. Any increase in credits could add a burden to departments.

Senator Silverman: If all the majors agreed that this was important they might have to reconsider the courses required by the majors. 

Senator Mayor: Most all departments have a methods course and an upper-division writing course.  Many of the Provost's suggestions could be folded into these courses without adding additional credits.  

Senator Papanek-Miller:  Information literacy and technology go beyond general education.  It includes student services and other programs that support students.

Senator McCrea: There are already a number of courses that integrate information literacy into the curriculum. There is a component in some courses that bring students into the library to learn about resources and incorporate critical thinking about sources that are available.  Many faculty are probably informing students about how to find information specific to their discipline.

Chair Hayes informed the Senate that motions and amendments on the structure will be appropriate for the October meeting. 
He suggested information literacy could be included in the Preamble and each department could respond to how it assures their students are learning about information literacy within the structure of the major. Information literacy is appropriately part of the mission of the university. 

The Provost responded that there are a number of ways that information literacy can be accomplished.  He would like it to be addressed in a deliberate and explicit way.

The Chair informed the Senate that ASCRC will consider the issues and how they can be incorporated into the framework.  Any modifications will be sent to the faculty prior to the open faculty meeting on October 3rd.

New Business:

New Academic Policy
The Worklife and Spousal Employment Policy is available for review and discussion.   It will be voted on at the next meeting in accordance with the bylaws.

President Dennison informed the Senate that the policy was drafted at the request of the PACE Group.  It is working to pull together various procedures, practices and policies to make them accessible.  It isn't anything new; it includes current practice, and procedures that are in the collective bargaining agreement.

Sabbatical/Leave Bylaw Amendment
The Sabbatical/leave Bylaw amendment was available for consideration and will also be voted on in October in accordance with the bylaws. 


Senator Vonessen recommended the correction of a typo in the last sentence.  It will be corrected for the next reading.

 

Good and Welfare:
The reception is located upstairs. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:43pm.