DATE:         September 12, 2002


PRESENT:    George Benedict                               Doug Brown

                  Sandie Rietz                                    Audrey ConnerRosberg

                  Paul Bauer                                      George Madden

                  Keith Edgerton                                Randall Gloege

                  Alan Davis                                     Mark Hardt

                  Connie Landis

                  Janie Park (ex-officio)                        Randy Rhine (ex-officio)

                  Dan Zirker (ex-officio)                       Christina Sprague (ex-officio)


ABSENT:     Matt Redinger


                  John Cech (ex-officio)                        Joe Michels (ex-officio)

                  George White (ex-officio)                    Terrie Iverson (ex-officio)

                  Curt Kochner (ex-officio)


PRESIDING: Keith Edgerton, Chair



Keith Edgerton called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. on September 12, 2002 in the Chancellor’s Conference Room.


The May 16 and August 29, 2002 meeting minutes were approved.




Item 1  Committee Report:  Academic Computing and Allied Technology Committee 2001-2002

Item 2  Committee Report:  Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee 2001-2002


Þ Motion by Sandie Rietz, seconded by George Benedict, to accept Items 1 and 2 for information only.


Þ Motion carried.




A.  Change of Senate Membership.  Keith Edgerton stated that David Gurchiek had to step down from his position, as he had too many other activities to attend to this semester.  Audrey ConnerRosberg has volunteered to take his place.


Keith Edgerton declared that Audrey ConnerRosberg is formally appointed as the representative from the College of Technology for the reminder of David Gurchiek’s term.


B.  Learning Outcomes Project for General Education Program, Sandie Rietz.  Sandie stated that she wanted to collect the worksheets she dispersed at the retreat on August 29.  However, several people forgot to bring theirs.  Dr. Rietz then stated that once she had all the information, she would collapse it all into one document, and it should be a grid.  She also stated that as these worksheets are being filled out, keep in mind that the categories of Gen Ed are assumed to be the same.


It was noted that transferability of Gen Ed courses is still an issue.  It was then noted that the Board of Regents has formed a committee on transferability.  Some MUS-Billings courses, such as a six-credit honors course, are not accepted at other units.  It was noted that the Board of Regents guarantees that once the entire Gen Ed core has been completed at any institution, it will transfer to any other Montana unit.  However, if the student is just one course short, the core does not transfer, and the other unit then has the right to approve course by course.


Sandie Rietz then stated that her next step would be to generate the grid mentioned above and take it to the Gen Ed Committee, who will work through all the data.  She also asked that the Senate make sure that this issue does not get buried under other concerns during the year.  She also stated that the Gen Ed program is serving as the pilot for assessing other programs, so the system developed for Gen Ed will be applied to other programs of 30 credits or more.


The question of deadlines was raised.  Janie Park stated that she needs an assessment tool formed and ready to go by the end of the Spring 2003 semester.  A possible deadline for the Gen Ed project could be the end of Fall 2002 semester.


It was noted that the Gen Ed Committee never submitted a formal report of their actions for 2001-2002.  Mark Hardt, Chair of the Gen Ed Committee, stated that they would bring a report detailing the work they have already done to the next Senate meeting, September 26.


It was noted that if departments are supposed to make changes in their Gen Ed offerings in time for the upcoming catalog, they must start now.  However, all the information from Sandie Rietz’s worksheets needs to be complied so the departments can begin assessing their own Gen Ed programs.  It was stated that there is not enough time left before the deadline set by the Senate (November 21) to get all these changes though.


Sandie Rietz then stated that if all remaining Senators get their worksheets to her by the beginning of next week, she can have her results to the Gen Ed Committee for their next meeting.


Janie Park stated that MSU-Bozeman received a large grant to completely re-do their Gen Ed Program.  The question was raised as to whether MSU-Billings could just adopt the Bozeman program.  Dr. Park said she try to find a copy of Bozeman’s new Gen Ed program.


C.  Writing Proficiency Task Force Recommendations, Janie Park.  Dr. Park stated that the state will be implementing, by 2004, a proficiency exam in Montana high schools.  Although she did not know the date the Montana University System had to have a test of some sort in place, she stated that the units will have to give statistics to the Board about how many students pass and fail such a test.


Janie Park then stated that the Writing Proficiency Task Force has come up with the “Cadillac” of writing evaluations.  This evaluation is a capstone portfolio course wherein students bring written pieces from other courses for review, and also create new pieces.  Dr. Park asked if the Senate thinks it could implement such a program.  She also stated that the feasibility of the program is still in question.  Dr. Park sent out the recommendations from the Task Force, and Joe Michels, Dean, College of Business, responded that the COB agrees with this method.


Sandie Rietz, a member of the Task Force, stated that in creating this portfolio, they set aside all concerns of money, staffing, and General Education.  They created what they thought would be ideal.


It was then noted that perhaps an exam would be more helpful.  It does not matter how the student got to the point of good writing, just that he or she can do it.  A sit-down writing exam would demonstrate this ability, and also avoid the possibility of plagiarism .


Janie Park stated that the Board describes it as an “exam” but that the units may address this requirement however they wanted.


It was then noted that exams address a product, not a process, and writing is a process.  It was also noted that an exam-type test is used in the English department for students wishing to challenge writing courses.


It was then cited that the Writing Task Force was appointed to come up with something—just a draft—and then the Senate or others would work with or change the ideas of the Task Force.  At this time, the Senate need only accept the Task Force’s report.


It was also noted that in a portfolio course, lots of paperwork is generated.  There won’t be staff enough to read though all of it.  Will the Senate define such things as how long the papers should be?  Or would that be up to departments?  Having a sit-down exam would reduce both the students’ and the faculty’s work load.


It was also noted that the topics chosen for either the portfolio or the exam would have to be carefully chosen so that the student would have something to say.  The topics would have to be from their field.


It was then suggested that a combination of a portfolio and an exam would be beneficial.  That way the process and product would both be assessed.


Another option was suggested that the test be simple and pass/no pass in nature, so faculty would be freed up to teach writing better in other courses.


Janie Park stated that she would find out the date of implementation for the Writing Proficiency test and inform the Senate.


D.  Academic Integrity of the Environmental Studies Program.  This item is deferred until the next meeting.


E.  Proposed New Academic Senate System of Approvals, George Madden.  Dr. Madden stated that the faculty have lost their sense of authority and responsibility.  He stated that they need to realize the significance of their role and do their part.


It was noted that in George Madden’s proposal, only tenured and tenure-track faculty will be involved in initiating changes.  It was noted that there are many non-tenure people who are dedicated to the University, and would feel very alienated by this policy.  It was noted that the COT would be marginalized as well.


The Senate decided that non-tenure faculty should be included in this system.  The Senate also decided that this system should be brought to the faculty for input.  Keith Edgerton will draft a cover letter to be discussed at the next Senate meeting.


It was then noted that in the proposed system, the items can be put up for a vote, and it’s possible no one would vote.  Dr. Madden stated that the UCC or the Senate would then call up those people and ask them why they had done so.  It was also noted that no administrators are involved until the level of the Senate.  The Deans’ approval is not necessary until that point.  Dr. Madden stated that he hoped that those faculty initiating the change would speak to their dean about various issues within their item, and no where in the proposed system are the faculty prohibited from speaking with their dean.  Also, in the proposed system, the Teacher Education Committee would receive all items as “information only.”  It was then noted that all committees below the Senate could vote “no” on an item, and it would still come to the Senate.


F.  Memo to Chancellor Sexton Re:  Budget Cuts.

It was noted that the Senate should be participating in the budget adjustment process.


Þ Motion by Connie Landis, seconded by Sandie Rietz, to accept Keith Edgerton’s memo as amended.


Þ Motion carried with one abstention.


Dan Zirker strongly encourages faculty to attend the University Budget Committee meetings, which are the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, at 3:30 p.m.


Connie Landis noted that her independent study class is listed on the MSU-Billings website, and several of her students have called asking if this class is being offered.  The posting of this class is misleading.  The Senate will discuss this problem at its next meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 5:17 p.m.


The next Senate meeting will be September 26.