FACULTY SENATE MEETING
March 11, 2008
Regular Meeting No. 13 of the 54th Session
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner, Provost Nielsen; Parliamentarian Corbin, Ambaras, Akroyd, Bernhard, Dawes, Domingue, Evans, Fauntleroy, Fleisher, Genzer, Hanley-Bowdoin, Havner, Hergeth, Heitmann, Hudson, Levy, Lindsay, Moore, Murty, Overton, Raymond, Ristaino, Scotford, Ting, Walker, Williams
Excused: Past Chair Allen; Senators Lindbo, Muddiman, Shamey
Absent: Senator Ozturk, Poling, Robarge, Schweitzer
Visitors: Polly Miller, Student; Daniel Berndt, Student; Rebecca Franklin, Student; Alex Whisenant, Student; John Ambrose, Associate Dean, DUAP; Marcia Gumpertz, DDAAA; Brian Matthews, Assistant Professor, MS&T; Duane Larick, Associate Dean, Graduate School; Jon Rust, Textile Engineer/CUE; Catherine Freeman, Academic Standards Coordinator; PJ Teal, Secretary of the University; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; David Horning Athletics; Betsy Newsome, Student; Jessica Popple, Student; Emma Dare Barnhill, Student; Kishea Phillips, Student; Kimberly Smith, Student; Mike Alston, Student Senate President ProTempore; Amber Joyner, Student Senate, Academic Chairman
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the twelfth meeting of the fifty-fourth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome & Remarks
Chair Martin welcomed everyone.
Chair Martin added two items to the agenda so he asked for a motion to modify the agenda.
A motion was made and seconded. The motion passed unanimously to modify the agenda.
Today conversation is about the interdisciplinary curricula and programs idea. We have talked about this some in the past when we talked about the GEP, but there is a lot of work going on in this regard. To some degree, interdisciplinary has become a buzzword on campus. Today we are going to be hearing from Jon Rust from CUE as we go forward with looking at the GEP and we are also going to hear a report from the Interdisciplinary and Interdepartmental Academic Programs task force, which was chaired by Duane Larick.
In preparation for today’s meeting I have had some discussions about interdisciplinary education. As I processed a lot of the information, two points stand out. First, it is a realization that if you are going to have any strong interdisciplinary anything you must start from the premise that you have strong disciplinary anything to be entered. You cannot have interdisciplinary if you do not have disciplines to be entered and as we think about any of our interdisciplinary material, whether it’s for curricula or whether it is for programs. Remember, we must start from strong disciplines.
Secondly, I realize that virtually by definition, a university is an interdisciplinary institution. We are not a university of chemistry. We are not a university of English. We are not a university of forestry. We are a university of engineering. We are a university. We are a comprehensive university, so by our very definition we are an interdisciplinary institution. Apparently the question is, how well do we work together and that is where I think the rubber meets the road. Do we work together in collaborative research? Do we work together in our curriculum? Do we value the learning from those other disciplines? That is, after all, what a university is supposed to be about.
If a university is by definition interdisciplinary and that really has to do with how we work together particularly when we think of curriculum, I have to recognize that GEP also by definition is an interdisciplinary. It is getting us out of our major and into other areas.
There is a continuum here where interdisciplinary may be going to another discipline to learn from that disciplinary level of expertise, but there is also some value probably in having some curriculums that are actually taught from multiple perspectives so that it is not just a discipline person who is giving you ‘my take on the discipline’. So we do probably need a continuum throughout our GEP. Some are going to be hosted by disciplinary entities and some are going to stretch so that we actually have talk across those kinds of perspectives. I think we need both.
Chair Martin did a chemistry analogy of an electrolyte solution.
We can have the solvent, which is merely water, and you will see the solvent alone does not conduct electricity sufficient to light the light bulb. The electrolyte by itself isn’t very good at conducting electricity. The solvent is that broader idea of a higher education and the salt is the discipline. We get a little bit of light if we take the discipline and put it into the general. Alternatively I can put a little bit of the general into the discipline and I get a lot of light. If we just take a little bit of discipline and put it into broad nebulous general you are not going to be very bright, but if we have depth in the strength of our disciplines and add to that a strong GEP, a strong mechanism for communication, we are actually going to be fairly bright. This analogy I think relates very well to the idea introduced by a member of IBM who came to the UNC Tomorrow forums suggesting that what they really need is the “T” shaped trained students. You need depth in a specific area and you need breadth and that, I think, is the goal whether we are talking about an interdisciplinary program, whether we are talking about GEP or whatever it is, are we making good “T” shaped students? Are we training for a good “T” shaped curriculum where you have depth in your area of specialty and breadth so that you understand and can communicate across a diverse population. While I think these ideas are worth our consideration, whether we are talking about what we do, the GEP or how we approach working together being that university, that interdisciplinary institution that we are supposed to be.
Chair Martin announced that the firm deadline for nominations for Chair Elect of the Faculty is Friday. The vote to narrow down the list will be March 25th.
Nominations for all other elections are due on April 1 and those elections will take place after the elections for the Chair Elect.
The General Faculty meeting will be at 2:30 p.m. on March 20 in the Talley Student Center Ballroom. There will be a faculty discussion revolving around the campus response to the UNC Tomorrow Report.
The North Carolina Conference of the American Association for University Professors is holding its annual meeting on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the UNC Fedex Global Education Center. Jennifer Walshburn from the New American Foundation will be speaking on “Higher Learning and Higher Profits: The Privatization of America’s Research Universities.”
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 12, February 26, 2008
The motion passed to approve the minutes
4. Remarks from Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen stated that “T” can mean a lot of things but for him it means UNC Tomorrow. We are well organized to be working on our response to the UNC Tomorrow Report and the other associated things that have been added to the UNC Tomorrow Commission’s recommendation that we have to respond to. We are organized into a strategy team -- people that meet weekly. We had our most recent meeting this morning. A faculty team and a partner’s team, in addition, members of the strategy team and myself will be having conversations with lots of faculty constituent groups of various kinds to get their input. I will be talking about this to numerous groups on campus. We are still not sure what is wanted here. We keep getting new instructions that iterate constantly, generally in response to our inquiries about what is happening, what is wanted, what does this mean. We received a template yesterday with some additional instructions and there is another conference call with coordinators across all the campuses and things continue to change. Now it appears that we are talking about, for each of the twenty-eight recommendation areas -- listing no more than five or six things that we are either doing now and wish to expand or new things that we want to do. Many of these areas are very specific and a lot of this is prescribed, and I think as we go through this process of talking about it, you will all be surprised by the nature of some of these twenty-eight recommendation areas as specific as work more closely with the State Department of Education in producing and improving teachers. It will be interesting to see what the responses are across campus. There may be some expectations, including mine, that this is or will be the way to generally lie out NC State’s agenda for the future.
I don’t know how that is going to turn out because there are a lot of things in our future that don’t really appear to have a place in those twenty eight recommendations. There is a lot more of NC State than just appears in UNC Tomorrow and one of our tasks in this process will be about how to represent NC State well in this context.
UNC Tomorrow has questions and NC State has answers and one of our jobs is to fit those two things together so that our answers make sense in terms of whatever questions we can put them in because we know. Because of our strategic planning and other things, a lot of what the future lies ahead for our institution. Just be aware that there is a lot going on and we will all have several opportunities to participate in it. By the time we are all done, you will be pretty tired of hearing about UNC Tomorrow and you will want this symbol to mean time out.
Secretary Kellner asked is it the case that UNC Tomorrow will be a controlling document for future appropriations, for future major projects to move within the system. So that “if it ain’t there, you can forget about it.”
Provost Nielsen stated, I think you have overstated the case a bit, but without question the UNC Tomorrow report and our responses to the report will be a filter that things will have to go through. The other part of it is that there are major elements of who NC State is that aren’t on first blush covered by the precise content of the UNC Tomorrow recommendations.
Secretary Kellner stated, that being the case, does UNC Tomorrow describe for NC State a kind of university that isn’t quite what we have in mind?
Provost Nieslen responded no, I don’t think so at all. I think UNC Tomorrow allows us a lot of opportunity to imagine and propose the university we are and want to be. My statement to the UNC Tomorrow folks was that the title for our report should be “UNC Tomorrow is NC State Today”, because so much of what it calls for is so consistent with what we do. In fact, it calls in the large case for the land grant mission to be rejuvenated and we don’t need it rejuvenated here, we have always had it and that is consistent with it. I am confident that the things that we think are important for the future are there.
We have to prepare this report carefully to make sure that it does represent us well. For example there is not a lot in the recommendation that relates to research or graduate education. We are a doctoral level high performing research institution so research and graduate studies are extremely important to us. For every recommendation how can we get the research message and the graduate student message in there. So, for example, on something that talks about improving access for all North Carolinians at all degree levels, we are going to make sure that we talk about graduate initiatives that provide opportunities for North Carolinians to take advantage of graduate programs at NC State, whereas if you read the report you would get the sense that the orientation of that is towards undergraduate programs.
Senator Dawes: Is it taking us to the direction of becoming a comprehensive university.
Provost Nielsen stated that one of our strategic investment priorities in the university strategic plan is to enhance the comprehensiveness of the institution by adding more degree programs at the undergraduate and advanced levels in arts, humanities, and social sciences. That is an element that we will carry forward in the UNC Tomorrow response.
5. Consideration of Regulations
Proposed new Regulation “NC State University Merit Scholarships Exceeding Cost of Attendance for Undergraduate Students
Chair Martin stated, in section 3.3 the regulation reads, “Recipients of full scholarships may not receive other institutional merit scholarships.” In conversation we learned that the recipients of full institutional scholarships couldn’t receive additional institutional scholarships. You can have a full scholarship from a foundation and you still may get merit scholarship from NC State but if you have NC State institutional funds you cannot have institution funds that are greater than one hundred percent. Julie Mallette agrees to that change. The other change that she notes that we had to do was we might not talk about merit scholarships because merit scholarship is trademarked out of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, so we can only talk about “scholarships based on merits.”
A motion was made and seconded to approve the regulation as amended. The motion passed unanimously to approve the regulation.
Proposed Revision to REG 112.00.1: Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA or Buckley Amendment)
Senator Overton, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee reported that the committee met and some questions came up that she needed to consult with David Drooz from Legal Affairs on. Generally the changes in this policy were to more broadly define school official and educational interest. There was one concern whether to remove the language about letters of recommendation. One point dealing with some existing language about the information, which students have to actively do a procedure to block, as opposed to ‘it is blocked and then released’, is stilled being reviewed by David Drooz.
A motion was made and seconded to table the regulation. The motion passed.
6. Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Programs
Interdisciplinary Perspectives for the GEP
Jon Rust, Chair of the Council on Undergraduate Education (CUE), updated the Senate on what CUE has been working on in terms of addressing the instructions from the Faculty Senate and the Provost.
When we talk about implementation of the GEP, we are talking about approving the rationale and objectives for that category, populating that category with lists of courses and having means in place for ongoing review for continued listing of those courses. One of the things that we realized early on is that we have many interdisciplinary experts on campus and we solicited names from each college, the Faculty Senate, and other groups of campus of people that they would put forth as being experts in interdisciplinarity.
The idea was to see who around the campus was involved with interdisciplinary courses. Let’s see what experts on the campus can be found with regard to interdisciplinary and undergraduate education and then let’s get them together in a symposium to talk about interdisciplinarity in general here at NC State and what it means for us and what is an acceptable interdisciplinary perspective for us here at NC State.
We needed a document that would get us started in terms of definitions, give us a foundation upon which to work, some common vocabulary. Catherine Freeman found an excellent document that was authored by Carolyn Haines http://www.interdisciplinary.duke.edu/news/resources/Haynes_Handout.pdf. The wonderful thing about it was that it had what I considered to be an excellent starting point in terms of definitions for what is an interdisciplinary course versus multidisciplinary or cross disciplinary.
We have goals for the symposium, which relate to the charge from the Provost in the memo of February 1 approving the new General Education Program. The charge clearly says that CUE and the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs need to be open and participative. There was also a summary response from the Faculty Senate regarding the revised GEP proposal and in that response there were a number of recommendations. Many of the recommendations in that response don’t have a lot to do with what we do at CUE or at least how I feel what our responsibility is with regard to the implementation of the GEP. However, one thing clearly stands out as being relevant to our charge and that is that CUE with broad faculty consultation and adequate faculty representation provide these things that are listed. It clearly states what is, what counts, what will count or not count as an interdisciplinary course here at NC State. As we move forward what we want from the symposium is to get broad faculty consultation in representation and drafting what is for this university consensus of what is right in terms of interdisciplinary education at NC State. We want help and we are seeking that help from the broader university community through the symposium.
We have a list of faculty experts on campus. We have a starting place in terms of definitions and we have a symposium agenda, which is to begin with a poster set up and a welcome. We are going to have a keynote speaker. I have spoken with Will Kimler. Will was one that we thought had a special place in the university and he has agreed to be a keynote speaker for the symposium. He wanted to make it clear that his speech would be related to what is at stake here at NC State from a student focus. What do we need to offer the students and with the help from some other NC State faculty that have been involved in interdisciplinary courses in the past hopefully give us that broad range of different possibilities for the disciplinary courses culminating in a big picture or vision for what can be interdisciplinary here at NC State.
After hearing from the five interdisciplinary experts at NC State we plan to have a roundtable and we will have invited the greater university and we intend to have a discussion with those roundtable participants on specific questions the faculty might have, to give people an opportunity to voice their concerns or their suggestions.
After the roundtable there will be a break where people would have an opportunity to review posters. Following the break there will be a second keynote to talk about the structure at NC State in terms of resources and interdisciplinary programs and courses within those programs and how do we provide support for generating interdisciplinary courses and programs, followed by a breakout. The breakout is to take all of the participants that are there, led by those panelists that were up front, talking about the courses that they do and to go through a synthesis in terms of generating guidance for CUE, particularly with regards to objectives. It is those three things that were in the amendment of your summary response. One, dealing with examples or models; we want to get together with all of those people there in how we are going to move forward with drafting objectives, examples, and also support for new courses specifically in response to your summary response on the GEP.
When we have finished, CUE is going to take those ideas back and we are going to discuss what we have learned from all of those participates. We are going to propose rationale and objectives for this category. We are going to have it filmed so that we can let people see what went on at the symposium. We are going to put up an online form to give people an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and to see those concerns voiced. We are going to ask for the same sort of information as we did in the breakout. We are going to review those comments and suggestions and revisit the rationales and objectives until we feel that we have listened to everyone at NC State. We are taking our charge very seriously and I think the symposium demonstrates that. The proposed date of the symposium is March 19.
Brain Matthews is the chair for the subcommittee in charge of the symposium and Catherine Freeman and Associate Dean Ambrose and Hans Kellner is also on the committee.
Senator Ristaino noted that there is no faculty from CALS or the College of Veterinary Medicine on this task force. She feels that there should be representation from some of the scientific disciplines.
Dr. Rust stated that they sent requests out for names of faculty to abroad on it and since it is the General Education Program for undergraduate education Veterinary Medicine didn’t feel that it was as relevant to them and he is not sure about CALS.
He stated that if there are names missing from this list that anyone would like to suggest send them forward and he will include them on the list.
Chair Martin asked, “When the announcement goes out can we allow people to submit a poster title then?”
Dr. Rust stated that his feeling is that they should still keep to those people that have been identified as being involved with the interdisciplinary process, but he would ask if it’s okay.
Senator Ambaras asked if he was correct in assuming that he wanted as many people to respond. In other words if a message comes from CUE asking about this to the Faculty Senate, you wouldn’t have any objections to the faculty circulating that message to the constituents.
Dr. Rust responded that they are asking for that to happen.
Senator Ambaras asked how many members of CUE are faculty members who are not of administrative rank and what percentage would there be without administrative rank?
Dr. Ambrose responded that 80% is faculty without administrative rank.
Senator Dawes ask, is there a running list of experts in interdisciplinary studies?
Are you thinking about creating a bank of experts?
Dr Rust replied that they have on several occasions asked for names to be sent forward of people who represented activities in interdisciplinary courses and for purposes for the symposium this is the list that they received.
Secretary Kellner stated that he would think that the role of the general faculty would come close to the group of people who think they are experts in interdisciplinary perspectives. He stated, this is a matter that the Senate dumped on CUE and I would just like to say that Jon Rust and Brian Matthews have done a remarkable job of getting this together. On behalf of the Senate I would like to thank you for this work. (Applause.)
Interdisciplinary and Interdepartmental Academic Programs-task force report
Duane Larick, Task force Chair
Dr. Duane Larick commented on some of the background information that the task force members had and the perspective of that group as they were going through the preparation of this report.
Everybody agreed that most of the exciting innovations that are currently taking place are at the gaps between disciplines. They are solving major problems of today requiring interdisciplinary efforts and I think there was consensus for that.
We knew that training students in interdisciplinary courses to do interdisciplinary research and to think and work in interdisciplinary environment is something that we owe our students that are leaving here, both undergraduate and graduate students. We also knew that we were charged with growing our enrollment, both undergraduate and graduate to forty thousand over the next ten years and that strengthening existing, and creating new interdisciplinary programs is going to be a critical way to help us reach that number, but more important it was going to be a critical way to help us reach that number and increase the quality of students that we are attracting to North Carolina State. Hitting a target of forty thousand really isn’t our goal; it is improving the quality of graduate and undergraduate students.
We looked at some National surveys and one that I really like Golden Door 2001 and it is the golden door for interdisciplinary programs and the value that they have on our campus. They did a very large student survey and students indicated that they wanted more breadth, they wanted bridges between the disciplines and they wanted more interdisciplinarity in their programs.
Another thing that we knew and there was pretty good consensus for this is that our current system is not working and in many ways it has actually contributed to our history of not taking advantage of opportunities.
We also knew that research and training grants are keenly tied to a history of effective collaborations to the degree that NIH and NSF have been accused publicly of having an ID bias now.
Another thing that we were aware of is that proposing any change would be considered by many as a challenge or a threat to our existing disciplinary programs and it is really not the case because the task force recognizes that our interdisciplinary programs can’t work unless we have strong disciplinary faculty and strong disciplinary programs. We are going to rely on them to offer the interdisciplinary training that we need.
I think NC State is multidisciplinary and that we are being challenged to be more interdisciplinary. I am here today to talk about this report from the perspective of the task force that put it together.
Dr. Larick referred to figure 2 on page 15 of the report that talked about the flow of resources for interdisciplinary academies or interdisciplinary programs. I am going to use that to talk about the structure we recommended and then the resources.
Each interdisciplinary program would have a program coordinator and a program committee. Members of the faculty would make up that interdisciplinary program and that is where the program planning would be accomplished. If it is an existing program, these already exist. Dick Lancia is the coordinator for Natural Resources as an example and there is a program faculty that gets together on a regular basis and talks about the curriculum resource needs and those kinds of issues. They would work with department heads. They would work with the college administration to discuss the program and the support and needs of that program. Then there would be an ID academic program review committee and the purpose of that committee is to serve somewhat like the role of the current college committees, but having a group brought together that represents the whole institution in one group, so that this new keen interdisciplinary course that is created doesn’t have to go through five college committees in order to get approved. There would be one committee that would look at it from an interdisciplinary prospective.
Central Resource Team—The idea of the people that were on this task force that are operating disciplinary programs was that they don’t have a department structure to rely on so they don’t have any administrative support.
There would be an Associate Dean for ID Programs who would be charged with coordinating this effort. That person would work between the programs, the program committee and the dean of the undergraduate academic program and the graduate school to help coordinate this whole effort on our campus. That person would as it is scheduled to be implemented report jointly to the dean of graduate programs and the dean for undergraduate academic programs for undergraduates.
The second part of that would be resources. I think there are just two key recommendations. The first one would be that a portion of new compact planning dollars coming to NC State would be allocated to the ID programs and that those dollars would be awarded through the compact planning process. The big difference is that compact planning process would come through this new structure. It would not rely on codicils between colleges. When colleges are asked to submit their top two priorities it is a rare event when that top priority is a codicil that requires three or four colleges to all agree.
Secondly would be basically what the task force recommended, a process for ID academic program faculty to establish goals, decide what they need to accomplish and then work with the departments, the colleges, the ID Program review committee, the Associate Deans and the Deans, in order to establish resources for that program.
At the conference I attended, the President of Auburn University made the comment “when it comes to it we have to ask ourselves are we going to be a flexible university that is striving to achieve the goals of our students and the needs of our hiring agencies, or are we going to insist on strictly staying within our discipline based silos and using that as a model for success.”
Senator Murty asked what do you think about IP like cross-listed courses between departments and between colleges.
Larick stated, the definition of interdisciplinary is not easy. In the beginning you see the NSF definition, which is a very pure definition of interdisciplinary, and the reality is that doesn’t fit our campus. It doesn’t fit our programs. We are going to have to look and Jon’s approach of having a symposium to really talk about what an interdisciplinary course is would help at the graduate level too, because we feel more lacking. Those courses within Natural Resources are an interdisciplinary program where we have seven different concentrations but there is no unified course work between those concentrations. There is nothing evidently that all students in Natural Resources need to know and that is my idea of an interdisciplinary course, that information that pulls together people from public administration and people from parks recreation and management and people from forestry to understand natural resources first and then their concentration.
To specifically answer your question I don’t think a course is cross-listed just because it’s cross-listed. I taught a course that was cross-listed between food science, animal science, and poultry science for eighteen years. That wasn’t an interdisciplinary course, it was a course taught to three different groups of students and cross-listed to allow three different departments to get credit for their majors in that course. It has to go beyond that; it has to shear across those disciplines.
Provost Nielsen wanted to know if there is a desire through this process to restrict the way courses and programs are developed. He answered, no, it is to enhance the way programs and courses are developed.
Senator Moore stated that the first guiding principles of the report is, do no harm. He is curious as to the thinking behind that statement.
Dr. Larick stated that the thinking has several components, one is that the understanding that interdisciplinary programs on our campus will rely on strong disciplinary programs and strong faculty so as we try to move to being more interdisciplinary we don’t want to do it at the expense of our existing disciplines. One thing that it didn’t mean was that if we had an existing interdisciplinary program that was total dysfunctional and not needed that during the review process we wouldn’t look at that program and question, do we need it to continue, that we wouldn’t automatically put new resources to something that was ineffective so it didn’t mean to say that if something is created that it would exist forever and I guessed in some respects doing away with a program that is not needed would be doing harm but in other respects it won’t because the faculty members are tenured in their discipline department, their home departments. There were multiple components to that but the key was we didn’t want to take away from, we wanted to add to the disciplines.
Senator Ristaino asked would the new Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs have a budget to allocate funds to faculty who come up with these ideas for interdisciplinary programs.
Larick stated that the task force recommended that there would be a base budget and that the base budget would allow for quick development of certain things, that as an institution we are going to have to decide how those interdisciplinary courses that might come up through CUE would be handled, that we need to be more reactive than to use the compact planning process for those. I think there has to be a budget for interdisciplinary and also for the big picture items that we would rely on compact planning for doing, so that Associate Dean would facilitate that process and those recommendation would go to the Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs and the Dean of the Graduate School and they would work with the funders to make those allocations.
Provost Nielsen stated that there has to be some budget there but the question then becomes how much can and for what and then what mechanism would be accessed. It would have to come through a funding process similar to the compact plan and then the question that I have been struggling with is part of the reason for doing this is how do we create a route that allows an interdisciplinary program to start because right now the route in the compact planning process is we have X deans to put this as a priority in their compact plan and it has a possibility to get funded but none of those X deans in general are willing to put an interdisciplinary program high enough in their individual priority list to ever get it funded and that is part of the stifling environment here because the money goes through the disciplinary colleges, so the question is how do we have some resources available that would facilitate these sorts of programs.
Senator Ristaino stated that the genomic science faculty, that whole program came about because of training grants. You know and at the graduate school level and even at the undergraduate school level putting together these training grants where you bring in money and then there is a program, there is people and there is money and then the university can start adding resources to it, and that is kind of been the way that things has happened and maybe it still has to happen that way.
Larick stated that he thinks this structure will facilitate this mission of more training grants. The best way to facilitate interdisciplinary research on our campus is to have graduate students knocking on doors saying I have this idea and I’m trying to put together a committee to make it work.
Senator Ambaras stated that he is curious about the task force’s conception of interdisciplinary education for undergraduates in general. I’m curious first of all, is the demand among student respondents for something that stretches beyond the traditional disciplines? Is it a demand that the majors themselves be more expansive, be more open to courses outside? Or are students saying, really what I would like to have is a major and a minor and I would like the architecture of my undergraduate degree to allow for that more comfortably?
My concern is that the model of undergraduate education that you link to in the report (Arizona State University) is one that doesn’t require or encourage the faculty in a specific department or program to actually go out and dialog with other faculty because the students are the ones who are walking between the buildings and the students are the ones that will try to get some kind of synthetic experience on their own with the help of introductory courses taught by NTT faculty who are not necessarily doing research that engages with the disciplines. I want to know how we envision an overall undergraduate interdisciplinary education this situation.
Dr. Larick stated, this is Dwayne Larick, this isn’t the institution and I’m not even sure it’s the task force but there are a lot of questions in there. The study that I mentioned, those students discussed both of breadth and there they were referring to the general education but they also very clearly expressed bridges between their disciplines, more interdisciplinary in that respect. They wanted to have the opportunity all through their curriculum to gain that interdisciplinary experience. On our campus one start would be the creation of interdisciplinary courses. The second might actually be the creation of new disciplinary degree programs. There are key areas -- environmental science programs around the country at the undergraduate level may have three or four hundred majors. If you look at all the students that might be taking course work relating to environmental sciences on our campus you might find three or four hundred majors but they are spread across campus, so what unifying focus is there for those students? What do we want? As we looked at models across the country we came to the conclusion that there very simply just three models. There were programs where they developed new freestanding programs. We looked at that and said it is too expensive given the fact that five years from now environmental science might not be where we want to focus. The second one was to create collaborative ID programs relying on existing faculty and disciplines and that is really where I think this task force report is going. The third would be to rely on cooperative non-degree programs like certificates and minors and there are a lot of institutions that have gone that route. We have some certificates, we have minors but again it is multidisciplinary and not interdisciplinary. We want to focus more on the creation of collaborative interdisciplinary programs to help us cross over those disciplines.
Secretary Kellner stated that there is a reason why the deans don’t put these things high in their compact planning and that is that the “just right” is going to turn into the “too hard” (example from Goldilocks) very quickly. As the article “Being Interdisciplinary is Very Hard to Do” makes clear, these programs become disciplines in all but name, under different and privileged institutional structures, very quickly and very naturally, because it is the instinct of anyone running a program to want to succeed, and the only definition of success is to move closer and closer to disciplinary status. This is the concern here with these programs and structures.
Dr. Larick stated that he thinks it’s in the quick summary of the task force developing new freestanding programs been too expensive. Creating collaboration is the hard way to go but ultimately has the most payoffs, would be my perspective for relying on those cooperative non-degree programs certificates, minors is the easiest.
Secretary Kellner stated that five years down the road such a system might look very different.
Dr. Larick stated that he hopes five years down the road what we are doing look very different. The list of interdisciplinary faculty doesn’t include any of the directors of interdisciplinary programs that we have on our campus. This task force was made up of those people who are faculty members. I think they would take offense to being called an administrator because they have no release time, they have no salary, and they have a passion for the program that they are trying to operate. I hope that the system we have in place five years from now looks very different than it does today. I hope the people who are trying to operate interdisciplinary programs, trying to move our institution forward in this direction, trying to help us from creating a new department of biomath, a new department of natural resources, a new department of genomic or bioinformatics in helping us take advantage of the expertise of faculty all across our institution instead I hope we find a way to support it.
If you look at the life sciences at other institutions you have small departments with a hand full of students. What you have is larger programs that cross-departmental lines, which seems very rich with respect to opportunity and the resources for graduate education funnel to those programs. When you bring an applicant in to interview for a graduate position among those programs, they see this. Bring them to interview in a department of fifteen or sixteen faculty who can be very diverse. So certainly at the graduate level, we have struggled to be competitive for years because we keep everything so departmentalized and every time you try interdisciplinary programs, it is almost impossible because the resources for those programs are in direct competition with graduate programs that are departmental based.
Dr. Larick – I really do believe that all the same arguments you just made for graduate apply to undergraduate. As an institution we decided years ago that biotechnology was a tool not a discipline and it was a great decision because we decided that we could put together some resources into some people that could create biotechnology courses and the students learned those tools and they would take them out to disciplines all over our campus. We started out with a summer institute to teach that to only doctoral students and now two thirds of those courses are full of our undergraduates. I agree that the focus of this report was more on graduate. The focus of our interdisciplinary programs today is more on graduate but I think if we ignore the need for undergraduate academic programs in areas like ecology and environment that we would be doing a disservice.
Senator Fleisher asked, is there any way that these initiatives could be separated from the compact process.
Dr. Larick responded, that is what this recommendation is, not that we separate from the compact planning process. The task force didn’t feel like we had the authority to recommend that we do away with compact planning. Compact planning was the system that we understood existed on our campus for new academic related resources but we are recommending that there be money set aside for interdisciplinary programs in the compact plan and that these recommendations would come u p through the undergraduate/graduate deans to compete for that pool of money. There would be a portion of that available to interdisciplinary programs.
Assistant Vice Provost Gumpertz stated, in the diagram it looked like the interdisciplinary programs were associated with the graduate school and the division of undergraduate academic programs, but I didn’t really see how interdisciplinary research support for faculty collaboration would fit into that.
Dr. Larick stated that he thinks the greater issue that was presented to us as a task force was academic related programs. We have a tremendous amount of interdisciplinary research going on now. One of the questions I was sent by email was how would this effect indirect cost and overhead from grants and it really wouldn’t because that indirect money would still flow based on the PI’s of the research grants and it would flow back to the college. I don’t see it improving or disrupting that process. I think if we were successful, we would grow interdisciplinary research by having interdisciplinary-minded faculty and students but the task force isn’t about research.
Chair Martin stated that we needed to step back and not so much think about creating some new bunch of programs because that is going to create us a lot more disciplines but how do we learn to work between and across departments. How do we work between and across colleges?
The other thing that I keep hearing is the way everyone talks about going to the compact plan as though Provost Nielsen has some bucket that you could keep drawing out of. Sitting on the budget advisory committee and sitting on the faculty advisory committee in my own department I recognize that the monies in the compact plan are not real big. They can help shape, steer, and direct things but the Provost doesn’t have an unlimited budgeted. The compact plan, the way we talk about it, is sometimes as though there were unlimited resource and we have to recognize that it’s fairly finite. Let’s keep in mind that it is limited.
7. Issues of Concern
Resolution to Close Course Evaluations on the Last Day of Classes
Senator Hudson reported that she met with David Shew, Chair of the Evaluation of Teaching Committee, Karen Helm, and Senator Paul Williams to talk about some of the concerns around teaching evaluations. Karen Helm received some requests for evaluations to be left open until and after the week of finals. They didn’t think it was a good idea so they drafted a resolution.
Chair Martin presented the resolution for its first reading.
A motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules to vote on the resolution after first reading.
A motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution
The motion passed unanimously.
General Faculty Bylaw Revisions
Article VII Senator Gary Moore stated that it is interesting that the faculty bylaws dictate what the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate will be. The Faculty Senate bylaws say nothing about the Executive Committee. The members of the Governance Committee believes the Faculty Senate Bylaws should be the place to talk about the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate so they are asking that the first sentence in the second paragraph be removed from the General Faculty Bylaws to the Faculty Senate bylaws.
Article IX: The Governance Committee would like to add a paragraph that states the Faculty Senate could make fine tuning changes without having to send it to the faculty in general.
Article II: The Emeritus Faculty didn’t like the fact that they were an add-on in the second paragraph so they are now in the middle and the committee has also clearly identified that Emeriti faculty are not counted in the apportionment of Senate seats among the various colleges, or in the quota requirements for any matter of University wide voting.
A motion was made and seconded to submit the changes to the General Faculty.
Senator Evans stated that there are a number of individuals in Student Affairs who hold administrative positions. They don’t have faculty rank but they meet them through requirements of a lecturer.
Secretary Kellner stated that he thought that we were moving in the direction of using the Human Resources designations to determine General Faculty rank. The intent is to move the role of the General Faculty as close as possible to the roles that Human Resources designate as faculty.
Chair Martin stated that the Governance Committee and the Executive Committee have considered the question extensively so the question is, in the past there was the option where a person could apply for membership in the general faculty. The bylaw revisions that were made removed that privilege and raised a lot of concern from Dr. Stafford’s office and that has been brought back for a lot of consideration. We have consulted with the Staff Senate. We have consulted with Human Resources. We have consulted with both Senior Vice Provost Perry and Provost Nielsen on this and we have also had representatives from the department heads and all except Dr. Stafford have endorsed the idea that the definitions for the General Faculty need to move in line with the ranked faculty definition, that we would then remove the ability to apply for special exceptions. This puts it back into the court of anyone like Dr. Stafford’s shop, for example, that if there is a category of folks who are not ranked faculty and there is a strong case to be made that they should be ranked faculty then there needs to be a rank established for those folks, but that is not something that should be some kind of arbitrary criteria that the Executive Committee or any other body needs to decide.
Provost Nielsen stated that someone in Student Affairs need to find the appropriate department in which their expertise would be so recognized and get permission from the faculty in that department to have the ranked position as a lecturer or whatever the case may be. That is the criterion that would be used to declare them faculty, and having been declared that by an academic department then they automatically become members of the faculty, as opposed to it being a case by case basis.
Senator Evans stated that it sounded to him like from the meeting, that was held that there was a good feeling that this issue was taken care of and that the Senate was going to stay with the idea that if an individual would qualify for an instructors position based on academic credentials that they would be able to be considered for faculty voting rights.
Senator Ambaras stated, having been at that meeting, that that is not his understanding of how the meeting ended. One issue that was raised is, if one of the roles of faculty is control of the curriculum and if members of Tom Stafford’s operation are doing things that he and his staff consider pedagogic and then those pedagogic or curricular functions are not subject to any oversight by UCCC, how can those personnel be said to constitute faculty?
Senator Havner stated, Larry you said someone would have to be identified as having a corresponding department, and that department would have to accept their credentials, but that doesn’t apply to the library.
Chair Martin stated that the library is different because library is a category of special faculty.
A motion was made and seconded to extend the meeting by five minutes.
Senator Havner asked, what about people in Arts and Theatre. Are they considered special faculty?
Senior Vice Provost Perry stated that we are not planning to make these people faculty by letting them vote with this body and back when the previous situation existed being able to opt to pursue voting in the general faculty was because they didn’t have anywhere to go but now they are with the Staff Senate as EPA professionals so if they need certain things handled by a Senate Body they can go there.
The motion passed to forward the document to the General Faculty
Chair Martin adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.