The Arts and Sciences Council, April 17, 2014, 3:30-5:00, UMC

Meeting Minutes

Representatives present: Michela Ardizzoni, FRIT; David Atherton, ALC; Reece Auguiste, FILM; Deane Bowers, EBIO; Jack Burns, APS;  Brian Catlos, RLST; Cathy Comstock, RAPS; Bert Covert, ANTH; Damian Doyle, PWR; Weiqing Han, ATOC; Alison Jaggar, WMST; David Jonas, CHEM; Daniel Kaffine, ECON; Moonhawk Kim, PSCI; E. Christian Kopff, HNRS; Catherine Labio, ENGL; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB; Markus Pflaum, MATH; Mark Pittenger, HIST; Mike Radelet, SOCY; Erika Randall, THDN; Matthias Richter, ALC; Artemi Romanov, GSLL; Andy Cowell for Rob Rupert, PHIL; Greg Tucker, GEOL; Bianca Williams, ETHN

Representatives not present:  Dan Barth, PSYCPaul Beale, PHYS; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN; Cynthia Carey, IPHY; Diane Conlin, CLAS; Asunción Horno-Degado, SPAN; Daniel Kaffine, ECON; Susan Moore, SLHS; Elisabeth Root, GEOG

Also present:  Steven Leigh, Norman Pace

Catherine Labio called the meeting to order at 3:35PM.

Chair’s Remarks, Catherine Labio

The further discussion and vote on the revised Service Learning Guidelines developed by a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee needs to be postponed until the Fall.

There have been two news articles today related to the Philosophy Department. The Executive Committee will to meet one more time before the end of the academic year to discuss plans for 2014-15, at which point it will discuss what steps, if any, the ASC should take in response to the news items. Professor Labio will forward any decision made by the Executive Committee to all ASC representatives.

Dean’s Remarks, Steve Leigh

The University of Colorado subscribes to a company, Academic Analytics, that produces estimates of faculty productivity. 300-400 universities participate. Recently, the figures for 2012 were released and CU ranked #11 in faculty productivity.

Dean Leigh recently spoke to Kevin MacLennan of Admissions. The college is currently down about 240 confirmed admissions compared to what is usually the case at this time of year, although the late date of Easter may explain the situation. 240 admissions represents about $6,000,000 in tuition money. Dean Leigh will be monitoring admission figures carefully.

A new chair compensation system has been developed that takes into account the complexities involved in running each department or institute instead of continuing to compensate each chair with 21 percent of the chair’s salary. Dean Leigh thanked the members of the ASC’s Budget Committee for their guidance in this matter. The compensation system will be reviewed after the first year and the formula recalculated every few years.

The instructor’s schedule has been revised and the dean has been involved in an extended series of discussions on that matter.

Dean Leigh thanked Norm Pace and the Core Curriculum Committee as well as Greg Odorizzi and the Planning Committee for their recent reports.

A bill is currently being reviewed in the state capital that may negatively affect CU Boulder. It is known as the Farrandino bill and will modestly increase funding for some smaller universities and lower CU’s funding. Bruce Benson and Phillip DiStefano are working to lessen the impact on CU.

In response to a question regarding the March vote on the course buyout policy, Dean Leigh said he is looking at the policy. He supports the policy’s intent, which is to reduce variances in teaching commitments to undergraduates, but is not sure the current policy is the way to do it. Dean Leigh added that he is not averse to revising policies that have become dated, but that he would like departments to provide data before dropping the course buyout requirement. For instance, how many people have been negatively affected by the requirement “that graduate courses are bought first, undergraduate second”?

In the ensuing discussion, the requirement that faculty get approval to leave campus for more than five contiguous days was also questioned.

Ad hoc Core Curriculum Review Committee, Norman Pace

Professor Labio prefaced the discussion by stating that at its most recent meeting the Executive Committee came to the conclusion that since, as mentioned at the previous ASC meeting, broad consultation would be necessary to ensure the success of any proposal to revise the core, it would be best to postpone the final discussion and vote until the October 2014 meeting. This would ensure that every department would have a chance to discuss the report at a faculty meeting before the ASC vote.

The Executive Committee also decided that the ASC’s vote on whether or not to approve the report will be held by secret ballot. If the ASC votes to approve the report, this would mean that the Council is approving the creation of an ad hoc ASC committee tasked with offering a proposal to revise the core. The Executive Committee would then appoint the members of the committee according to ASC bylaws and in consonance with the principle, stated in the Laws of the Regents, that curricular decisions rest with the faculty. ASC representatives would be invited to make suggestions for the membership of the ad hoc committee.

Norman Pace started by giving a short history of the committee. In February 2013 the ASC voted to form an ad hoc committee to look at the core curriculum and make a recommendation as to whether it should be revised. The core curriculum was adopted in 1988 and has not had any substantive revisions since then. The committee decided unanimously that revisions were needed but did not make specific recommendations for revision; it referenced the only attempt made for a major revision, in 2000, as a starting point.

The floor was opened for discussion. Some of the issues raised and points made included:

  • How to distinguish between discipline versus concept/skill-based core curriculum models.
  • The committee supports maintaining continuity in the core. The reports only refers to the 2000 proposal as a starting point for any future proposal to revise the core; the committee does not endorse 2000 proposal, however, if only because it is not as interdisciplinary as the committee would have liked.
  • Some representatives expressed agreement with the suggestion that the core be subject to regular review.
  • The decision (several years ago) to remove the Critical Thinking component of the core for economic decision was roundly decried. Dean Leigh said that if the faculty would like to return Critical Thinking to the core, he would like to discuss that possibility.
  • One representative asked if the core course approval and renewal process could be put on hold in the event that a committee is tasked with writing a proposal to revise the core. Professor Labio responded this is a question that the Curriculum Committee should take up and that she would raise it with its chair.

Professor Labio asked the representatives to bring the report to their departments and suggested that representatives may want to ask that a discussion of the report be put on the agenda of a faculty meeting in early fall. Individual faculty members can send comments/concerns to their ASC representative and/or to Professor Labio.

Planning Committee report on improving graduation and retention rates, Greg Odorizzi

The current 6-year graduation rate is 68 percent; the Chancellor would like it to be 80 percent by 2020. The report focuses on 1st- and 2nd-year students and putting into effect an early warning system when students are struggling.

The Planning Committee’s report also addresses specific proposals made in a report to the Deans Council. The members of the Planning Committee think that more research is needed to find out what factors unique or specific to CU Boulder make some students leave early. Mike Radelet developed a survey of students who know someone who left early. The Committee believes it should be used as a model for a campus-wide effort to gather more data. Also, the report suggests using aggregate data the Registrar already has: for instance, when a student requests a transcript, what was his/her last GPA, what was s/he majoring in, what institution(s) is the transcript going to?

The report makes a number of recommendations, including listing the advisor’s contact information along for each student on the class roster so a faculty member can easily contact the advisor if the student appears to be struggling in some way.

The report proposes increasing the number of first-year courses and notes that these should be field specific, i.e., designed to teach how to think in a particular discipline or set of disciplines.

Engagement with faculty is the biggest factor in retention.

Dean Leigh has already requested financial aid for high achieving students from out of state, which is one of the recommendations of the report.

A friendly amendment was requested, approved and added to the report on page 7 at the end of 2:

We also recommend courses that focus on experiential/applied leaning.

The report was approved unanimously.

Ad hoc Committee on Online Education

The committee has been working on labeling online courses. Since that issue is still pending, the Executive Committee voted to continue this ad hoc committee for another academic year.

Election of next year’s ASC chair, Damian Doyle, Presiding Officer

Catherine Labio is the sole nominee. Professor Labio spoke of the current year as a having had a steep learning curve and stated she hopes to build on what she’s learned in the coming year. She now has a better sense of what the ASC was designed to do and of its history. She has come to the conclusion that there is something of a deficit with respect to the faculty-governance role of the ASC and would like to see a better balance between the shared and faculty governance functions of the ASC, which should strengthen both. Professor Labio would like to see the ASC adhere more closely to its bylaws and adopt updated bylaws. Next year she would like the ASC to have a discussion about the role of the ASC.

Professor Labio was unanimously re-elected for the 2014-2015 academic year by secret ballot.

Interpretation of “voting members” – Notice of motion drafted by the Executive Committee, Catherine Labio

The definition of “voting members of the FAS” has been discussed by the ASC in 2005 and again on January 16, 2014, with no resolution. The Executive Committee submits the following motion:

Be it resolved that the term “voting members” in the sentence “The voting members of the FAS are the voting members of primary units in the College of Arts & Sciences.” (article II of the ASC bylaws) must be interpreted as follows:

 ‘Voting members’ refers to those faculty members who have voting rights in their own department or unit according to its bylaws.

 It is up to each department or unit to define the term “voting rights.”

 Be it further resolved that each year (in late spring or some time during the summer) the ASC will ask each department or unit to provide a list of the categories of faculty members with voting rights. The Dean’s Office will then compile a list (by department/unit) of faculty members with these specific titles.  

 Be it further resolved that each department or unit will be asked to confirm its list of categories of faculty members with voting rights before any FAS vote.

In the following discussion, one representative stated that in his department voting rights have changed over time and that, as a result, faculty members of the same rank may have different rights depending on when they were hired. Another representative remarked that it would not be too cumbersome for a department chair to put together a list of faculty members rather than a list of categories.

Following a friendly amendment, the last two paragraphs were modified as follows:

Be it further resolved that each year (in late spring or some time during the summer) the ASC will ask each department or unit to provide a list of the categories of faculty members with voting rights.  The Dean’s Office will then compile a list (by department/unit) of faculty members with these specific titles.  

Be it further resolved that each department or unit will be asked to confirm its list of categories of faculty members with voting rights before any FAS vote.

The Executive Committee motion was approved, yes-17, no-0, abstentions-0.

Uniform grading policy

The University System asked for each college to vote on a change on the pass/fail section of the Uniform Grading policy by May 1. For the purposes of the CAS, the only significant change is the addition of “unless otherwise specified by the school or college” to Section II, 2.

The representatives, although unhappy with the lack of time given to discuss this change, ultimately decided that the change was trivial and could be voted on today by the ASC and did not need to be brought to the entire FAS.

The University System’s motion changing the pass/fail section of the Uniform Grading Policy was approved unanimously.

The representatives also unanimously approved Dean’s Leigh intention to contact the University System to request more time for any further votes.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 PM

Minutes submitted by Janice Jeffryes