Skip to Content

Faculty Senate DRAFT Minutes 12/1/2010

ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY

FACULTY SENATE

MINUTES

 

DRAFT

 

December 1, 2010,  2:00 – 4:30 P.M.

Library Board Room

 

 

Called to Order at 2:07 p.m.

Attendance: Peter Alfieri, , Susan Bosco, Jim Brunnhoeffer, Robert Dermody, Kelly Donnell, Kathleen Dunn, Gail Fenske, Diane Harvey, Anthony Hollingsworth, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Rebecca Leuchak, John Madritch, David Melchar, David Moskowitz, Cliff Murphy, Nancy Nester, Joseph Roberts, Anthony Ruocco, Mark Sawoski, John Schlinke, Ferd Schroth, Tom Sorger, June Speakman, Josh Stein,, Michael Swanson, Minoo Tehrani, Cliff Timpson, Laura Turner,   Rom Woodruff,  Min Zhou.

 

Absent: France Hunter (sabbatical), Dorisa Boggs, Lou Procaccini, Scott Rutherford (does not meet minimal attendance standards), Jennifer Stevens, Anne Tait (does not meet minimal attendance standards), Paul Webb

 

 

Guests: President Champagne, Provost de Abruna, Associate Provost Koritz

 

President Bosco – I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a restful break. We are converting the Faculty Senate website to the new model that Roxanne O’Connell had suggested. As soon as the website is up I will be sending out a notification to everyone.

 

Motion: Approve minutes of November 3, 2010 (Alfieri/Khan) – 24—0-2 – with corrections to Maher spelling and removal of the word “agenda”

 

 

  1. Review of Executive Committee Meeting of November 30, 2010 – Peter Alfieri

 

President Champagne has no plans to implement the academic reorganization that was approved by the Board last year. There will be a search for a new Dean for the School of Education. The School of Education will have its own building, the Maher Center.

 

The Board of Trustees will be increased with the addition of a Vice President from Raytheon. President Champagne would also like to have a noted academic on the Board.

 

 

Motion: Approve Executive Committee report  (Speakman/Sawoski) – 27-0-1

 

Standing Committee Reports

 

  1. Diversity – Senator Swanson

 

(from the September meeting) We are increasing our liaison with other senators and representation across campus. We need representation from the School of Engineering.

 

We had member(s) go to a diversity conference in Texas and thus we did not have a meeting in October.

 

Motion: Accept Diversity Minutes of September 29, 2010 (Moskowitz/Speakman) – 29-0-1

 

 

(from November meeting) We had two guests who applied to the Mini-Grant Committee. The grant is for a workshop co-sponsored by the Diversity Committee to bring onto campus the National Coalition Building Institute in January 2011. They asked for support from our committee and we provided a letter (provided with minutes).

 

Motion: Accept Diversity Minutes of November 17, 2010 (Moskowitz/Alfieri) – passed unanimously

 

 

 

  1. University Life (Oct., Nov.) –  Senator Roberts

 

(from the October and November meetings)

 

The committee has been working on the Graduate Student Handbook and we expect an executive report by our next Faculty Senate meeting. We are awaiting comparisons to our peer and aspirant institutions.

 

Based upon President Champagne’s remarks from our September Faculty Senate meeting, we will be looking at the placement of kiosks on campus. There was a proposal from Student Affairs and we will be examining what we can do to liven up the place while keeping in mind fire and safety codes.

 

The IT committee has finished with its paperless teaching initiative – they would like to have videos from interested faculty of ways of achieving a paperless classroom.

 

Motion: Accept University Life Minutes of October 20 and November 17, 2010 (Alfieri/Murphy) – 29-0-1

 

 

 

 

  1. Steering – (Sept.) – Senator Sorger

 

I circulated two documents via email last week as a result of a meeting that was held earlier in the semester. The first of the two items is the proposal for the new instrument for the Student Evaluation of Teaching. This is the final version based upon faculty feedback that will be sent on to Academic Affairs.

 

The second document is the mission statement of RWU and the ones from Bucknell and Elon. It seems to the committee that in the light of the reform of general education, that we should take a look at our mission statement. We are asking the Faculty Senate if it would be beneficial to elicit comments from the faculty concerning the mission statement.

 

 

Discussion on mission

 

Were Elon and Bucknell were selected for comparison because of their size and comparability?

 

Senator Sorger – Yes. We looked at a dozen or so schools.

 

Should we include students?

 

Senator Sorger – there is a risk there, we don’t know what our mission is.

 

Do you think the current mission statement is reflective of the gen ed program? Are we changing the mission statement to be reflective of the new gen ed program?

 

Senator Sorger – No.

 

Is the current mission statement reflective of the core gen ed program?

 

Senator Sorger – no, the Core predates the current mission statement.

 

Is the mission statement posted on the web, the same one that is printed in the Course Catalog?

 

Senator Sorger – it is not, the web is missing part of the mission statement.

 

 

 

 

Motion: Charge the Steering Committee over the January break to collect comments and suggestions on the University’s mission statement from the faculty (Sorger/Speakman) – passed unanimously

 

 

 

 

Discussion on SET

 

I preferred the old version of the question which asked students what they thought was beneficial about the course, what they would like to change rather than the proposed change to simply “what else would you like to share about the course?”

 

Senator Sorger – yes, we will suggest that the original wording be used.

 

The form looks strongly negative. Could we start with “Strongly Agree” rather than “Strongly Disagree” when we use the SET?

 

Senator Sorger – we will be sending this to Academic Affairs and will be providing our input.

 

Senator Speakman – as a point of clarification, the survey experts on the faculty have stated that having the positive(s) on the right yields higher positive responses.

 

Can you do your own set of pen and paper evaluations?

 

Senator Sorger – yes you can, but not in lieu of the surveys conducted by the university.

 

In the future I wish that we would be allowed to ask, as a faculty member, one or two of our own questions that could be included in the survey.

 

Senator Sorger – please forward all of these comments to me so that we would not take up more time here.

 

 

Motion: Accept Steering Committee Minutes of September 26, 2010 (Alfieri/Moskowitz) – passed unanimously

 

 

  1. Faculty Development (Oct.) – Senator Murphy

 

Old business from our September meeting a motion to establish a forum for grant recipients to present the findings of their research to the faculty. The committee also wishes approval from the Faculty Senate that three proposals are funded from the Provost’s Teaching Colloquium Grant. The other business was a report in progress regarding adjunct hiring practices.

 

 

Motion: Accept Faculty Development Committee Minutes of October 20, 2010 (Moskowitz/Alfieri) – passed unanimously

 

 

Discussion:

 

What does the motion mean?

 

Senator Murphy – if you receive a grant, you are required to share your findings with the faculty; this would enable that to happen.

 

 

 

Motion: The Senate requests that the Associate Provost for University Studies establish through the Center for Teaching and Learning a forum for the Provost Teaching Colloquium Grant recipients’ presentations to the faculty. (Murphy/Speakman) – passed unanimously

 

Motion: The FDC recommends to the Senate three proposals for funding from the Provost’s Teaching Colloquium Grant:

  • Loren Byrne, “What is environmental literacy? Engaging faculty in dialogue about knowledge, behavioral and affective learning outcomes.”   $1087.52
  • Joseph Roberts, “What role should international relations play in general education?” $1657.40
  • Becky Spritz, “Place as text: A pedagogy for multidisciplinary active learning.” $1800.00

(Murphy/Moskowitz) – 28-0-2

 

 

 

  1. Academic Standards and Policies (Oct., Nov.) – Senator Dermody

 

Two sets of meeting minutes. Academic Integrity is a huge issue which we have been charged with last year. There is a national Center for Academic Integrity of which RWU is a member. We are requesting that the Provost’s Office purchase and implement the Center’s Academic Integrity Assessment Guide.

 

Discussion:

 

What does it do?

 

Senator Dermody – It helps us to assess the academic integrity climate on campus. They provide guidelines and resources to help a university set and implement academic integrity.

 

 

Motion: Accept Academic Standards & Policies Committee Minutes of October 18 and November 9, 2010 (Dermody/Alfieri) – passed unanimously

 

Motion: The Faculty Senate requests that the Provost purchase and implement

the Academic Integrity Assessment Guide from the Center for Academic Integrity (Dermody/Alfieri)  – 29-0-1

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Admissions and Enrollment (Oct.) –  Senator Zhou reporting for Senator Donnell

 

The committee is examining how to utilize the university’s resources to increase admissions from minority groups.

 

 

Motion: Accept Admissions and Enrollment Committee Minutes of October 25, 2010 (Speakman/Woodruff) – passed unanimously

 

 

 

  1. Curriculum (Oct., Nov.) – Senator Hollingsworth

 

We have three set of minutes.

 

(October 20) The committee was catching up with course proposals. We have caught up with all pending proposals. The second half of the meeting was old business. Associate Provost Koritz was asked to present degree maps for how the gen ed proposal would mesh with majors.

 

Motion: Accept Curriculum Committee Minutes of October 10, 2010 (Moskowitz/Harvey) – passed unanimously

 

President Bosco recuses herself.

 

1st  Vice President Alfieri takes over as the chair of the meeting.

 

 

 

We had two meetings Nov 10 and Nov 17 because of time constraints. We wanted to get as many recommendations about the Gen Ed proposal to the Faculty Senate as possible.

 

Our committee is going to recommend that Faculty Senate approve the general education proposal. What you see here is the listing of what the committee had thought of the General Education proposal. What came out of this meeting were the suggestions/recommendations that came from the committee as a motion.

 

 

Motion: (from the November 10, 2010 minutes of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee)

To approve the Petition for a New Undergraduate General Education Program pending changes from the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee in the following six areas:

1. Reduction in total credits from 48-51credits to 40-41 credits

2. Examination of double-dipping (specific recommendations forthcoming)

3. Elimination of scaffolding/levels

4. Examination of the number of houses (specific recommendations forthcoming)

5. Clarification/examination of prerequisites (specific recommendations forthcoming)

6. Recommendation of additional requirements (specific recommendations forthcoming)

(7– Aye   1 – Nay   1 – Abstain)  Motion passes.

 

 

At the November 17th meeting the committee continued to receive feedback about the proposal.  (Note: These minutes were not discussed at the December 2010 Faculty Senate meeting, however.)

 

 

 

Discussion

 

I want to thank Senator Hollingsworth for pulling together all of these suggestions. What about this proposal is curriculum rather than an approach to education? A curriculum is a set of courses. Having outcomes is an approach to education. What is the curriculum here? I am suggesting, it is not clear to me, what curriculum the committee is reviewing?

 

 

It is not clear what the role of the FSCC is here. Can someone define the curriculum here?

 

Senator Hollingsworth – There is a freshmen year seminar, a capstone and a set of courses. What those courses are has not been defined yet. The FYS and the Capstone have been defined here.

 

It seems that the six areas that the committee raised concerning additional information – what are you asking this body to approve?

 

Senator Hollingsworth – We are asking that you accept the committee’s minutes and the recommendations included in those minutes.

 

Is the implication if we approve this, it is the FSCC who will take up these six concerns of the committee?

 

Senator Hollingsworth – It is the implication that it is the six areas that we are recommending.

 

Questions were raised whether the FSCC should be considering the proposal or not. This will open up the whole discussion again. This worries me. We don’t have these questions answered, nor do we have a General Education Council. This comes to us under the assumption that it is the purview of the Faculty Senate to look at this.

 

 

I have a question of process. Is this something that will be tinkered with, or is it approved and the tinkering will be going on as it is implemented next year.

 

Senator Hollingsworth – this is the recommendation of the committee.  There are a number of things that the Faculty Senate can do with the committee’s report.

 

The committee had taken the proposal back to the schools that they represent, we have examined in the School of Business the number of minors. This is a report that the committee has produced.

 

This has occurred by a body outside the faculty governance structure, and the FSCC is the appropriate body to vet this proposal since the it is a representative body of the faculty. But what does it mean that the FSCC has voted? Does the FSCC approve the program?

 

 

Senator Hollingsworth – Yes, we accepted, with the proposed changes, the current Gen Ed proposal.

 

 

But the number of credit hours is a secondary one to the type(s) of houses that we are having, or whether we should be moving to an outcomes based education or a content rather than disciplines based approach.

 

 

What are we voting on? Are we approving the proposal or are we approving the report of the committee?

 

Senator Hollingsworth –this is similar to how Film Studies and Sustainability minors were approved. You are voting on the former.

 

Serving on the committee, I preferred that it was sent back to the proposers for revision before we as committee made a recommendation about the proposal. I have serious concerns about the loss of the core concentration which was a major draw for students coming to RWU.

 

We don’t have to decide today. We don’t have the broad parameters and have never been asked about those parameters.

 

We have a FSCC for a reason. I trust their work and if we have not provided them with our feedback then shame on us. This is the process that is outlined in the curricular process. We have not had the opportunity before in the FSCC to discuss a general education program since those programs were done by fiat.

 

 

Motion: to accept the Nov 10 report from the Curriculum Committee (Bosco/Murphy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

 

What we are trying to do is create a more diverse program. There is no need to have one general education program for everyone. If we are to take an approach which sets the minimum for everyone but does not specify the maximum, you don’t have to do in engineering what they do in psychology, and so forth. This lets the schools creates programs that makes sense for their students.  I take the word “pending” very seriously as a collective bargaining approach. I suggest that we think about the idea of diverse general educations plural and that we make this a true negotiations process.

 

 

I will vote against the motion because of the word pending. It makes me nervous that approving the report approves the general education proposal. I will be voting against this proposal.

 

 

We have been cognizant of the suggestions. We have reduced the number of credit hours, we don’t have the students in lock step because of the number courses that will be offered in each domain. In terms of process we have been consistent with how we looked at this proposal. We made the changes that we view as feasible and sent it back to the Provost’s office to fill in the gaps.

 

I just wanted to clarify that we were given this task as the FSCC by the Faculty Senate and the Provost. We really promote minors in the School of Business and this proposal allows us to encourage our students to pursue minors.

 

There seem to be two questions: process and content. When the Writing Studies brought forth its proposal for a minor, we thought that we were under the authority to do so. The  fact that the faculty did not object to the work that was ongoing over the past three years was one of tacit approval of the process.

 

Two general comments – the current Gen Ed program was approved by the Faculty Senate at the time – I was the President of the Faculty Senate. We did not have committees and we discussed the proposal as the body of the whole. My second comment, more of a question, How can you have general education if it is not general? If students are allowed to pick and choose, if faculty are allowed to pick and choose, then it is not general education. The current Core is about general education; all of the students are discussing democracy in core history and Plato in Literature/Philosophy. This proposal is not a general program.

 

Senator Hollingsworth – I wanted to clarify what Tony Ruocco has said –  this has followed the flowchart of the curriculum proposal process. We are talking about  it here now, which is part of the process. It is not about learning about a specific type of history, but the tools to think as a historian based upon the outcomes. We want to see these outcomes tightened up quite a bit. The general education comes in with the outcomes.

 

 

You have made my point, it is an approach and not an outcome. What happens if a student fails to meet these outcomes? Sooner or later you are going to have ask us how much we need to spend, how are we going to arrive at the number of credit hours? What is the basic mechanism that will be used to arrive at theses answers?

 

June, your concern is about process, what would you like to see?

 

Senator Speakman – is it okay for a RWU student to graduate with these proposed skills versus the content? We are leaving behind all of this stuff and I would like to hear from my colleagues whether we want to leave behind the content in moving to outcomes. We have already assumed that we are leaving the old stuff (the content) behind. I don’t think there has been a venue where this has been discussed.

 

The question is will it be an outcomes based Gen Ed and how did it happen – that is my question too.

 

I have sent a couple of things around to people. One thing we ought to be aware of is the relationship of what happened in the Town Meetings and what happened in the self-selected General Education Committee. If one looks at the composition of the General Education committee – three departments dominated the committee. The filtering process that produced the Town Meetings came from a less diverse group than the faculty as a whole. This is one of the problems that I have with the situation. We have to make a distinction with a proposal that comes out of faculty representing the departments that is interdisciplinary, it is one where the curriculum is from the faculty. There is the missing gap of a “department” that proposes the curriculum and the structure and has the responsibility and the accountability that comes with it.

 

A couple of points, the curriculum of general education, the mode is the outcomes which is the binding piece of the general education program. A binding philosophy which came up again and again from meeting with the schools and colleges. The philosophy came from a diverse group. We are asking our students to be lifelong learners. Should we ask whether our philosophy suits our current state of affairs? I want our students to understand what the general education programs gives them.  As far as failing a course, students flunk core classes now and they retake them.

 

We implement the curriculum and four years later what can a senior say to us about their education?

 

That I can encounter the problems that I face or will face in the future – social responsibility, sustainability, etc.

 

How do you guarantee that student by  taking history and politics become life-long learners?

 

If a student takes one political science course, would they be able to do all of the outcomes in the present proposal better than taking the proposed general education courses?

 

Yes, they would and they would learn about politics as well.

 

 

Motion: Call the Question (Murphy/Bosco)13-14 motion fails

 

 

I have been following and interested in the general education proposal process. We have a Provost’s office, we have a curriculum committee, and the process seems to be good. I see this as a framework that will allow other things to happen. Forgive me if I am wrong, content is crucial but we have not discussed this yet. This is providing a grid that will allow students to receive the content in the courses that will be offered in each domain. I would like to see the FSCC continue its work.

 

This is not a curriculum but a set of outcomes. This is old wine in new flasks. We have been teaching outcomes. The difference is the whole thrust of the AAUP is to make these outcomes explicit to the students and we are not assessing these outcomes. Making the outcomes more explicit and assessing them is why I became part of the Gen Ed committee.

 

 

I don’t have a problem with the process. I want to take it an additional step forward. The current gen ed has a very important aspect, the core concentration. And with a sixth course your core concentration can become a minor which is very marketable, easy to describe, and that value is lost with this proposal. Students need the encouragement of the core concentration which leads them to a minor. That will be lost.

 

One thought is related to process – it is important to remember that some of the details did not come out until this year – and the Fall Conference brought out my concerns about the outcomes that were provided at the Conference. I think that the FSCC has moved in the right direction. I am concerned that the FSCC endorsed it but then sent it back for changes. It seemed a little backwards. I would like to see the tweaks before I can support it.

 

We as a committee did tweak the proposal. The second set of minutes (Nov. 17) contains more of the tweaks.

 

Motion: Call the Question (Hollingsworth/Murphy) unanimous.

 

Vote on the Motion: to Accept Curriculum Committee Minutes of November 10, 2010 (Bosco/Murphy) – 14-10-1

 

President Bosco resumes chairing the meeting.

 

Motion to Adjourn (Stein/Dermody) unanimous.

 

Meeting adjourned at  4:30 p.m.

This entry was posted in Minutes (SEN), Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.