ACADEMIC SENATE MINUTES

 

 

DATE:            September 30, 2004

 

PRESENT:     Mark Hardt                                                 Sandie Rietz

                        Audrey ConnerRosberg                               Mary Susan Fishbaugh

                        Keith Edgerton                                            Randall Gloege

                        Bruce Brumley                                             Noreen Lee

                        Connie Landis                                              Matt Redinger

 

ABSENT:       Alan Davis – excused                                  Lorrie Steerey – excused

                        Paul Bauer – excused

                        Carl Hanson (ex-officio)                               Tasneem Khaleel (ex-officio)

                        Joe Michels (ex-officio)                                George White (ex-officio)

                        John Cech (ex-officio)                                  Randy Rhine (ex-officio)   

                        Janie Park (ex-officio)                                  Terrie Iverson (ex-officio)

                        Curt Kochner (ex-officio)                             Emily Valenzuela (ex-officio)

 

GUESTS:        Tim Urbaniak

 

PRESIDING: Keith Edgerton, Chair

 

 

Keith Edgerton called the meeting to order at 3:39 p.m. in room B001 at the College of Technology.

 

The minutes of September 16 were accepted as presented.

 

I.          ANNOUCEMENTS

 

Dr. Edgerton reviewed the Board of Regents meeting (September 23-24).  He stated that the Board decided that the larger campuses will no longer have to support the smaller campuses.  The smaller campuses should be able to stand on their own now.  It was noted that things are that way already.  Dr. Edgerton also remarked that Regent Mark Semmens made an excellent presentation about what should be presented to the legislature regarding our budget.  The Governor was in attendance and disagreed with most of the presentation, blaming the media for the bad reputation of higher education.

 

The University of Montana students put forward a proposal that not just credits will transfer among Montana institutions, but GPA as well.  This could be a very complex issue.

 

Dr. Edgerton also announced that the RACE Committee will be taking applications for RACE grants starting this Friday (October 1).  The Strategic Initiatives are now attached to the application, and now chairs and deans review, not approve.

 

II.         ITEMS FOR INFORMATION

 

Item 16  Committee Roster 2004-2005 – Student Members.  For information.

 

Ž Motion by Matt Redinger, seconded by Noreen Lee to accept Item 16 for information.

 

Ž Motion carried.

 

III.       DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS

 

A.  Tim Urbaniak:  Discussion of UCC Report

 

Tim Urbaniak, Chair of the UCC, stated that the UCC would like to discuss, among other things, the submission of curriculum proposals by non-faculty.  Accreditation seems quite specific that the faculty control the curriculum and programs.  In recent years, there have been an increased number of proposals that faculty have signed off on under pressure from the administration, or because they didn’t know they could say no to the administration.  Another problem related to this proposal issue is the non-approval of curricular changes.  What happens to proposals that are not recommended by the College, the UCC, or other committees?

 

It was noted that the Senate has established itself as an oversight body for the curricular process.  It is the Senate’s function to send changes back if they are not recommended.

 

It was commented that if faculty do sign off on new proposals, the UCC cannot tell if that faculty signed under duress or not.  We need to know if the faculty really approve of it.

 

It was stated that another issue related to these issues is what goes on in the College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning.  The College has offered many courses that are extension courses or courses for no credit, but recently a proposal was brought forward for a BSLS Thematic Concentration in Flight Training—i.e. for credit.  It was taken to Arts and Sciences first, as that is where the BSLS is housed, but Acting Dean Khaleel refused to sign and accept the program.  So, it was re-vamped using only 200-level courses and brought to the COT for a faculty signature.  All the courses to be offered are listed as 292s (seminars).

 

It was stated that the BSLS requires over 30 credits of upper-division courses, which would not be possible with a thematic concentration in only 200-level courses.

 

It was noted that because these courses are offered for credit, this is basically a new program of study.  This is an evasion of the regular academic process of approval.

 

Mr. Urbaniak reported that the COT Team Leaders met with the College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning to say that none of the Team Leaders would sign off on such a program unless it was properly submitted.

 

It was noted that the faculty and administration need an understanding that the faculty see the need to capitalize on opportunities, but it must be done prudently and through the proper channels.  The process that was used on the flight training program is not only inappropriate, it’s illegal.

 

It was observed that the faculty and administration need to find a way to work together to get programs started the right way.  The administration is just trying to make a profit, which increasingly higher education must do to stay alive in a poor budgeting situation.

 

It was cited that the email trail starts back in January, 2004, but yet no faculty were contacted about this until this week.  There was plenty of time for discussion, which did not happen.

 

It was decided that the Senate will draft a resolution concerning these matters for the next Senate meeting (October 7).

 

B.  Academic Foundations Committee Report

 

Mark Hardt, Chair of the Academic Foundations Committee, stated that the Committee agreed that ideally we wouldn’t have double counting, but there are programs that must have it.  It will be considered program-by-program.

 

Dr. Hardt also noted that since Senate has delayed implementation of the Academic Foundations program until the next catalog (2007-2009), the Committee proposes a deadline of December 10, 2004, for courses to be submitted to the Committee.  The tentative deadline for the finished package to be brought to Senate is March 28, 2005.

 

It was commented that after the Committee has completed the package for the coming catalog, it will then sit for two years.  Many changes can happen in that time.  It is important that this proposal not gather dust in that time.

 

It was cited that it is very important to have a firm deadline for submissions, as the Committee wants to complete a package, not present courses piecemeal to the Senate.

 

The Committee has developed several options for assessment.  Those include:  a student assessment of how a course fits listed outcomes, interviews of students in the classroom, a faculty self-assessment, and a capstone project for students.

 

The problems with these options are that students probably won’t want to fill out another evaluation of a course, after already evaluating the instructor.  A simple faculty self-assessment will probably not be enough for Northwest, so a combination will be necessary.  There is also no funding for any of these options. 

 

It was declared that the last thing the Academic Foundations Committee wants is a test.  Instructors in Academic Foundations will just end up teaching to the test, like what has happened in high schools.

 

The Senate wishes to further discuss the deadline at the next meeting.  Perhaps a deadline in the spring semester would be more appropriate.

 

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

 

rjrm