Joint ASC and A&S Faculty Meeting, December 12, 2013, 3:30-5:00 p.m. 

Meeting Minutes 

Representatives present: Michela Ardizzoni, FRIT; Reece Auguiste, FILM; Daniel Barth, PSYC; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN; Paul Beale, PHYS;  Brian Catlos, RLST; Cathy Comstock, RAPS; Bert Covert, ANTH; Damian Doyle, PWR; Francoise Duresse, AAH; Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, THDN; David Grant, MATH; Asunción Horno-Degado, SPAN; Alison Jaggar, WMST; Daniel Kaffine, ECON; Chris Kopff, HNRS; Catherine Labio, ENGL; Bhuvana Narasimhan, LING; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB; Mark Pittenger, HIST; Mike Radelet, SOCY; Matthias Richter, ALC; Elisabeth Root, GEOG; Rob Rupert, PHIL; Bianca Williams, ETHN

Representatives not present:  Deane Bowers, EBIO; Jack Burns, APS;  Cynthia Carey, IPHY; Diane Conlin, CLAS; Vanja Dukic, APPM;  Weiqing Han, ATOC; David Jonas, CHEM;  Susan Moore, SLHS; Greg Tucker, GEOL; Beverly Weber, GSLL

Also present:  James Cowell, FRIT/LING; Steven Leigh; Rob Tubbs, Miramontes

Catherine Labio called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM, thanking all for attending.

Robert Boswell, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement

Vice Chancellor Boswell responded to questions and comments from the members in attendance. These and VC Boswell’s answers can be summarized as follows:

  • The 6-year graduation rate of underrepresented students is lower than the average for the entire undergraduate student body, which is about 68 percent. In order not to take up too much of the meeting time listing data, VC Boswell will provide the ASC with data.
  • The Pre-Collegiate Development Program is funded by CU. It targets middle and high school students who would be first generation college students and involves working with these students and their families for several years. At CU Boulder, participants in the program who have completed their junior year in high school must enroll in a 5-week residential summer program. They became familiar with a campus environment, take classes on campus and may get credit for some university courses. At the end of session, students fill out a college application. (“PCDP programs run on all three CU general campuses. Students completing the program and graduating from high school are required to apply for freshman admission to at least one CU campus, not necessarily the one hosting their program.”) About 40 to 50 percent of these students choose to apply to CU Boulder. Accepted students are then provided with support while enrolled at CU Boulder. It is difficult to duplicate the program’s high graduation rate because it is very labor-intensive.
  • Upward Bound is a federally funded program to help Native American students attend college.
  • There is talk on campus that Hispanic students leave in their 1st year at a higher rate than the general population. VC Boswell said the 1st year retention rate for Hispanic students is higher than for the general population but their graduation rate is lower.
  • There is a big role faculty can play in retention; many programs invite faculty members to act as mentors for students. CU Lead Alliance has 12 different programs, most of which could benefit from additional faculty involvement. The Lead Alliance programs are not restricted to underrepresented students.
  • Robert Tubbs, of the Miramontes program talked about the assistance provided to students enrolled in that program: participation awards, a study space, mentoring and coaching. The program would like to triple in size but, along with funding, it is difficult to reward faculty for their efforts. The program receives a list of 1st generation students and contacts them to join the program.
  • An application has been submitted for a Gates Foundation grant to benefit first generation students. It would be a system-wide benefit; if the University of Colorado receives it, VC Boswell would be happy to return to the ASC to discuss it.
  • The definition of diversity is broad for the University of Colorado; it includes geographical diversity, diversity of political affiliation, financial background and other measures, as well as ethnicity.
  • CU Boulder’s 6-year graduation rate is 20 points below the best of our peer universities. Our current 6-year graduation rate is 68 percent; a goal of 80 percent has been set for next year.
  • Studies show that students who connect with a faculty member in their first year, have higher graduation rates. Students need to identify with an intellectual community on campus as well as a social community. Students need to connect and identify with a major to be successful.
  • The BFA’s First-Year Experience program is in its 1st year. Over 200 faculty members have signed up to mentor students by meeting once a month with their mentees (about 9 first-year students per faculty member). The Chair expressed the hope that fall 2014 data may help us determine whether the program has had a positive impact on freshman retention. One faculty member’s experience has been that in some cases, the student’s parents have signed them up for the program and the students themselves aren’t getting involved (only two out of nine students may show up for the monthly lunch/dinner).
  • A faculty member expressed dismay over reports of African American students leaving at high rates because of a racially inhospitable atmosphere, not only on campus, but in the City of Boulder.
  • There are many programs on campus as well as off that deal with issues of diversity; VC Boswell would like to see a task force developed to connect them.
  • Professor Labio and the assembled members thanked VC Boswell for attending this meeting.

Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin let the Council know that this is her last meeting and Erika Randall will be replacing her for the spring semester as Theatre and Dance’s representative.

Motion by the Curriculum Committee to approve a name change for the B.A., B.F.A., and M.F.A. degrees conferred by AAH—discussion and vote, Rob Rupert

Text of the pending motion: ‘The Curriculum Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences hereby moves that the Department of Art and Art History’s proposal to change the name of their conferred B.A., B.F.A., and M.F.A. degrees from “studio art” to “art practices” be approved.’

Professor Rupert let the council members know that this change offers a broader umbrella for the different areas of art.

The motion was approved unanimously: 24-yes;  0-no;  0-abstentions. 

Online education guidelines drafted by the Curriculum Committee—further discussion and vote, Rob Rupert

Professor Rupert reminded the Council members that they had been asked to bring the set of online course guidelines to the departments for feedback. This document is meant to give people who may never have considered online instruction, resources for development.

Feedback from the ASC members:

  • The guidelines are good but some faculty are worried there the document has no “teeth”; only suggestions are made.
  • Currently, a degree from CU has a residency requirement so a degree cannot be completed solely online. Online courses are only offered in the summer through Continuing Education. The Curriculum Committee has suggested a maximum of 30 units of online courses be accepted to count towards a degree.
  • ASSETT is also developing guidelines for online instruction; these are focused more on the technical aspect of the courses.
  • The ad-hoc Online Instruction Committee has met once this year but will become more involved.
  • It was suggested that the college offer a faculty certificate in developing online courses. This would help insure courses are developed in a professional, consistent manner.
  • Dean Leigh is confident in the professional level of the faculty when it comes to preventing cheating on online courses just as in traditional classroom teaching.
  • Continuing Education is well supported in online course development offered by Geoffrey Rubinstein.
  • Instructors in PWR who offer online courses have seen huge drops in their FCQ scores. It was noted that online FCQ’s are usually worse than FCQ’s given out on paper.
  • The Physics MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) has run parallel to an on-campus course. The attrition rate was high, but exam results for those students who completed the online course appear similar to what happens in on-campus courses. The MOOC was shorter by three weeks than the regular class. It’ll take some time to compare results and learning outcomes.
  • Online education is becoming a bigger issue in the Dean’s Office. Dean Leigh would like to form a committee that the ASC will serve in in a consulting position.
  • Some council members argued faculty should get ahead of the issue of online education and not “stumble” into it.
  • Concern was express by several members that students need more time away from a computer screen, not more time in front of a screen taking classes.
  • Some members have had experience with well done online classes and poorly done online classes. Course design makes all the difference in the learning experience. Good models should be available for faculty to study.
  • It can take more of a TA’s time to work with an online course; among other things, typing out an answer to a student’s question is much more time-consuming than answering in person.

Andy Cowell from French and Italian talked about his department’s experience with online courses. Along with online courses they have hybrid systems. He is concerned that the question of resources hasn’t been addressed; it takes twice as much time to develop and teach an online course. Who will protect the faculty? Will different course loads be developed? There is a radical difference between videotaping your lectures and teaching an interactive language class online. FRIT is also concerned with sustainability: a faculty member could spend department resources to develop a class and then leave the university with no-one to teach it. Can graduate student be rotated into all online courses?

It is critical that all courses, whether they are in a traditional classroom, online or a hybrid, cover the same materials and have the same learning outcomes. In FRIT, in an Italian language course, the same book was used in the online course as was used in the classroom course; those students entered the next level class with the same skills as the students coming from a traditional classroom. In a French online course, they used materials developed specifically for online courses; those students didn’t do as well as their classroom peers when they went on to the next level.

The FRIT instructors who teach the online courses have degrees in online education. The students in the hybrid classes have a high retention rates.

Professor Rupert noted that some members on the Curriculum Committee are opposed to online education and wanted it known the guidelines are not an endorsement. A friendly amendment was added to the end of the first paragraph stating:

The Curriculum Committee’s formulation of these guidelines should not be interpreted as an endorsement of on-line education.

The Guidelines were approved unanimously with the following vote: 24-yes; 0-No; 0-abstentions.

Dean’s Remarks, Steven Leigh

Dean Leigh has charged a committee chaired by Prof. Norman Pace to conduct a review of the core curriculum. If this committee recommends revision, that will be taken on as a separate issue.

Unlike last year, the college is not expecting a budget cut. The continuing operating budget was cut by $1.5M last year because of an enrollment shortfall of slightly less than 500 students. The actual budget this year is higher because of the tuition increase. AY14 budget is $132.6M. The college still needs to look at areas where we can be more efficient.

A&S is larger in terms of tenure track faculty than it has ever been; this year rostering 724. Instructors and senior instructors have increased to 206, and lecturers and adjuncts to 204, for a net growth of about 33. Staff positions are now 373, down 5 from last year. These numbers are important as they comprise the largest fraction of our budget.

Dean Leigh strongly recommends that the faculty engage the Academic Quality Initiative. As a result of ASC report, the campus has adopted an 80 percent six-year graduation rate as a goal.

Various committees across campus are working on the issue of retention and graduate rates. The Dean’s Advisory Council (made up Chairs and Directors) has moved onto to other issues. Dean Leigh is concerned that the campus-wide committees that are studying graduation rates do not have many faculty members on them and hopes that the Planning and Diversity committees of the ASC will elect to continue working on retention and graduation rates.

Andy Cowell noted that the Dean’s Advisory Council has looked at students who are leaving because of academic issues and at students who are leaving for other reasons. Academic problems show up quickly and a robust system of advising in the first semester would help identify those students. For students without academic problems who leave, there are lots of statistics that show that certain groups of students are far more likely to graduate, including women, students with higher high school GPA’s, students with higher family incomes, and students in a RAP, Honors or PWR program, are all more likely to graduate. It may be advisable to focus our efforts on students who do not belong to these categories. Out-of-state students are less likely to graduate; they are generally not academically as prepared. Fellowship money should be spent with a view to remedy this discrepancy.

Dean Leigh thanked the ASC for their work and wished everyone a good break.

Chair’s Remarks, Catherine Labio

Only a few minutes remained. Professor Labio mentioned that there is a gap between the ASC bylaws and ASC practice and that she would like the Council to look at the bylaws in the spring.

Professor Labio relayed a faculty member’s request that the ASC consider passing a resolution to ban cellphone use in the classroom. Dean Leigh expressed concern that such an outright ban would interfere with the emergency notification system. Other objections were raised, including the fact that faculty can already decide what electronic equipment students may or may not use in the classes they teach and that an ASC ban would still have to be enforced by individual faculty members.

A motion to adjourn was seconded and approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.

Minutes submitted by Janice Jeffryes