Academic Affairs Minutes
October 7, 2011
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL
Meeting of October 7, 2011
Present: Buchele, Jones, Early, Hopkins, Hunt, Russell, Gaffney, Todd, Cotham, Achacoso, Stones, Munt, Johnson, Visser, Anthony, Bradley, McCann
Guests: Sombito, Bottorff, Chapman, D. Gaines, Prevots, Kafer, Veerkamp, Hendrix, A. Anderson, L. Brody
The meeting was called to order at 1:30 p.m. Minutes were approved.
The Council approved an additional meeting on October 28.
Mark Bottorff presented proposed changes to the Physics and Physical Science curriculum based on their 10-year review. Changes to the Physical Science curriculum address the transferability of courses in the pre-engineering program, thus strengthening the program at Southwestern. Work load concerns with the Physics faculty led to the decision to offer Capstone every other year instead of every year. Buchele expressed concerns with the frequency of the Capstone, and Bottorff said that the department would like to offer it every spring with additional faculty resources. Buchele recommended that because of changes that involve other departments in the Natural Science division, the proposal should be presented to the division for conversation. Hunt agreed to review the department’s staffing needs. The Council provisionally approved the changes with a review from Natural Science division and the conversation with the Provost.
Alison Kafer presented the QEP update. The committee met over the summer and early in the semester and created a working plan to center interdisciplinary elements into the general education structure. Students would be introduced to several themes following the completion of their FYS in their first semester and choose a theme that would consist of three classes and a seminar. These four classes would become half of the current eight courses that students must take from the four divisions. McCann reported that much of the budget associated with the QEP would focus on faculty development to teach in a “themed” fashion. Hopkins expressed concern with the number of courses offered to cover the themes and whether students should be required to participate or if it would be an option. Gaines spoke about the impact on Paideia and reported that the current structure of Paideia will stay the same for the next few years, but that this model would provide a Paideia experience for all students when implemented. Johnson expressed concern that Paideia-like experiences such as civic engagement and intentional reflection need to be included in the program. Visser noted her support for the current proposal under the following conditions: faculty would be responsible for determining the themes, at no time would the distribution requirements change because of the QEP, and if a director is appointed, the director would facilitate the community-based learning and research components within the themes but would not decide the themes. Furthermore, Visser noted that she voted and argued for the interdisciplinary QEP proposal and would like to see it go forward. Kafer reported that additional information was sent to department chairs to share with their departments and that open discussion will follow before the plan moves forward.
Hunt discussed the proposed January term, and the Council suggested the formation of a task force to look at issues concerning the term. The Council felt that the task force should have representatives from athletics, student life, registrar’s office, two students, and a representative from each of the divisions as well as Hunt, Early and Gaffney. Bradley will get the student representatives and the Council division representatives will ask for volunteers from their divisions. Participants will be announced at the October 21 meeting.
Hopkins reported that a task force called the Executive Committee of the Faculty is being formed to work on the revisions to the Faculty Governance and Bylaws. He asked for representatives from AAC to join the task force. The Council affirmed that Phil Hopkins, Melissa Johnson, and Mary Visser will represent AAC and work with representatives from FAC and the ECF to develop suggested modifications to the bylaws that will eventually be brought back to AAC as well as vetted by the FAC and other University constituents, for possible recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
Lynne Brody presented a statement sent by the Library Committee that addressed their concerns with the department’s budget cuts and reorganization. She and members of the committee (Prevots, Chapman, and Veerkamp) emphasized the need for campus and community buy-in as well as continued conversations moving forward with the changes. Hendrix and Anderson explained the breakdown of the budget cuts in their respective areas. After discussion regarding the importance of the advertisement for the Chief Information Officer, AAC requested that the advertisement is vetted through the Library Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee, and other University constituents, for two weeks before the advertisement is approved and posted. After discussion of the unknown academic implications of the library’s budget cuts, AAC requested that as the librarians continue to work on how the budget cuts will be realized, that the Library Committee continue to assess academic implications and keep AAC apprised of the academic impact of the cuts.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:36 p.m.