The Arts and Sciences Council, February 20, 2014, 3:30-5:00, UMC 415-417
Representatives present: Michela Ardizzoni, FRIT; David Atherton, ALC; Reece Auguiste, FILM; Daniel Barth, PSYC; Paul Beale, PHYS; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN;DeaneBowers, EBIO; Jack Burns, APS; Cynthia Carey, IPHY; Brian Catlos, RLST; Cathy Comstock, RAPS; Bert Covert, ANTH; Damian Doyle, PWR; Weiqing Han, ATOC; Alison Jaggar, WMST; David Jonas, CHEM; Daniel Kaffine, ECON; E. Christian Kopff, HNRS; Catherine Labio, ENGL; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB; Markus Pflaum, MATH; Mark Pittenger, HIST; Mike Radelet, SOCY; Erika Randall, THDN; Artemi Romanov, GSLL; Rob Rupert, PHIL; Greg Tucker, GEOL
Representatives not present: Diane Conlin, CLAS; Vanja Dukic, APPM; Asunción Horno-Degado, SPAN; Susan Moore, SLHS; Elisabeth Root, GEOG; Bianca Williams, ETHN
Also present (for part of the meeting): Jeffrey N. Cox, Steven Leigh
Catherine Labio called the meeting to order at 3:32PM.
Chairs remarks, Catherine Labio
Following the vote taken in January, Professor Labio contacted the BFA and relayed the ASC’s request that at least one ASC representative be included in the planned ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing whether proper policies and procedures have been followed in conjunction with the case involving Patti Adler and the course on deviance in US society. The BFA approved the request, giving one seat to one ASC representative. The final charge of the “Patti Adler Review Committee” was substantially as described by Professor Labio in January, with one exception: for the sake of diversity, committee membership includes both full and associate tenured professors (and not full professors only, as initially proposed). After receiving no self-nominations from tenured ASC representatives, the Executive Committee unanimously nominated Markus Pflaum to serve as the ASC representative for this committee and he agreed.
Professor Pflaum stated that being a member of this committee is both an honor and a burden. The press is watching this committee closely so he will be reporting very little at the ASC meetings until the committee’s report is completed. The text of the committee’s charge was distributed (see appendix). Professor Pflaum also listed the committee members: Margaret Jobe (LIBR) is chair of the committee; the other members are Robert Ferry (HIST) (replacing Mike Klymkowsky, who has stepped down from the committee), Aya Gruber (LAW), Horst Mewes (PSCI), Mike Ritzwoller (PHYS), and Jerry Rudy (PSYC).
Dean Leigh joined the meeting at this point.
Professor Labio has been sending out service acknowledgements for spring and fall 2013 to all ASC representatives and committee members and the department/unit chairs. These letters are necessarily generic. Chairs of standing and ad hoc committees (for the calendar year 2013) are invited to write separately to the department/unit chair of any committee member who contributed to the work of committee in a significant way. Professor Labio also asked representatives who are coming up for reelection because their first three-year term is coming to an end or who will not be able to serve in 2014-15 (because of a leave, for instance) to make sure their department/unit elect a new ASC representative by the end of February so that all the 2014-15 committees can be in place by the end of March and a functioning Executive Committee is in place at all times.
In March the Council will have an opportunity to discuss various proposals by the committees. They will probably be voted on at the April meeting.
Dean’s remarks, Steven Leigh
The upcoming year’s budget looks healthy. All Colorado universities are receiving additional money from the state although it is not certain how much CU Boulder will receive. This influx of money will probably not continue. A modest tuition increase is being proposed, on the order of 3.5 to 4.1 percent.
The College is going into the hiring proposal process with a mid-May deadline for proposals. The College has more tenure-track faculty than in any previous year. Hiring will be limited: it is expected that something in the order of 12-15 new positions will be added. The process will be the same as last year. A new submissions process is currently being finalized, which involves a web survey form that will allow faculty to see what is involved and help their departments send in the best possible hiring proposals.
The College is trying to recruit better students and is offering scholarships to Boettcher finalists. The Esteemed Scholars Program had a big impact last year and the average SAT scores of our incoming students rose. This program is a good way to fundraise. In response to a question, Dean Leigh said there is concern that the range of high schools this program pulls from is limited, attracting a less diverse group of students. Dean Leigh will work with Admissions to see if more recruitment can come from different parts of the state. He is concerned that CU Boulder may not have a welcoming climate for students from underrepresented groups. He would also like to see Admissions “fast track” students that are highly desirable by university standards.
There has been a 33 percent increase in applications this year, probably because of the switch to the common application.
Service Learning, Rob Rupert
The Curriculum Committee has formed a sub-committee, chaired by Doug Bamforth to study service learning. Unlike internships, service learning must be academically grounded and requires classroom time. Service learning is also exempt from the university’s limit of 6 credits pass/fall. Professor Rupert asked the ASC representatives to bring the A&S Service Learning Guidelines to their departments and volunteered to forward any e-mail with comments or suggestions to Doug Bamforth. The committee’s document serves as a notice of motion; a vote will be held at the March meeting. A copy of the proposed guidelines is appended to these minutes.
Professor Labio introduced the committee reports by noting that learning about the work of the different committees might lead to opportunities for collaboration.
Curriculum Committee, Rob Rupert
The Curriculum Committee continues to review the core curriculum, new course proposals, and certificates. The committee also looks at courses taught in the RAP’s, SAP’s and Honors, courses not taught under existing departments. Issues have come up with respect to internships and service learning.
Professor Rupert asked the representatives to think about the issue of cross-college curriculum credit. Frequently, administrative bodies and units outside the College ask that their classes be counted as A&S credits outside the 30 unit exemption rule that already exists. If this trend continues, the college could face a situation in which an increasing number of students are getting A&S degrees having done, in A&S proper, only the Core and their major requirements. In addition this issue, Professor Rupert raised a question about the role of the ASC in dealing with “top-down” initiatives originating outside of the College. To what extent does the College want to preserve autonomy? Does the College want to insist on greater participation in decision-making processes initiating outside of, but ultimately affecting, the College? Might the ASC want to spend time reflecting on A&S’s identity as a College? An agreed-upon statement of identity could provide guidance to the College/Dean, the ASC and the Curriculum Committee in deliberations about and during these interactions.
The committee is looking at online courses and will soon be getting syllabi from those courses.
The question of dormant courses has also been discussed. Current rules say a course needs to be taught every three years but that rule is rarely enforced. Does the College want to enforce that rule or change it?
Diversity Committee, Damian Doyle
The Diversity Committee is focusing on “Target of Opportunity” hires. How do they happen and what are the relevant policies? They also are looking into a possible mentoring program for those hires.
The second item of focus for the Diversity Committee is faculty retention; they will be checking with the BFA to see if there is any overlap of efforts on this topic.
The third item is support of underrepresented students; Dr. Doyle will contact David Aragon of ODECE to see how Arts and Sciences can help.
The committee will also be looking at whether or not the pooling of lines affects the diversity of hiring.
Planning Committee, Greg Odorizzi
In last year’s Academic Quality Initiative, the Planning Committee set a number of priorities, including reaching an 80 percent six-year graduation rate by 2020. Chancellor Di Stefano made this goal a centerpiece of his state of the campus address in fall 2013. Campus-wide there are now numerous groups trying to identify why students leave the university before graduation. A plan written by Shelly Bacon and Peter Freitag found that the biggest factor in student retention is student engagement with a faculty member or another kind mentor in their first year. The Planning Committee will be examining this plan from a faculty viewpoint and make recommendations that will augment that plan.
Dean Leigh added that the Provost’s Office has set up three groups to look at this plan. One group is looking at the financial ramifications of the retention rate; they have determined that a 1 percent increase in retention should realize about 4 million dollars of revenue. Dean Leigh has told the Provost that retention is a more financial sound plan for Arts and Sciences than growth.
Another group is working on advising and are considering the adoption of advising software similar to the “eAdvisor” program currently in use at Arizona State.
The third group is working on national data.
Dean Leigh is concerned that these groups are “faculty free” and is glad the Planning Committee can provide guidance from a faculty point of view.
There have been structural changes in advising and Dean Leigh is getting the first positive comments about that department since he arrived at the university. The front and back offices have been divided, with Shelly Bacon managing the front and Peter Freitag managing the back office. Some bad practices have been identified and corrected. Ms. Bacon and Dr. Freitag have taken up the Academic Quality Report and are using it as a guide. The salary structure for advisors has been improved; the college wants to attract more people who are genuinely interested in advising instead of simply hiring people who have a graduate degree and teaching experience. There is a campus pilot program offering evening office hours. The use of peer advisors are also being discussed. These changes should allow for fewer, but better paid advisors.
Core Curriculum Review Committee, Deane Bowers
In February 2013 the ASC voted to form an ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing the core and recommending whether or not it should be revised. The committee, made up of 14 faculty members and chaired by Norm Pace, has met five times and is currently meeting weekly. The committee has interviewed people from advising as well as a member of the committee that issued a proposal to change the core 15 years ago. The proposal was voted down by FAS; as a result core has not been revised for 27 years. A report will be ready in time for discussion at the March 20 meeting; the committee hopes the ASC representatives will take this information to their departments.
In the ensuing discussion, a representative asked why Chairs and Directors are not being asked for their views on revising the core curriculum and expressed the wish that the work that has recently been done to assess core courses will not have been in vain. The representatives were assured that no one was recommending discarding the core curriculum. Another representative questioned the need for revising the core, arguing that the core addresses basic issues dealing with the arts and literature and with quantitative reasoning, which do not change much, even over 27 years. Members of the core review committee noted that they expect that there could still be a great deal of continuity even if any changes were to be introduced.
Some of the issues the committee is looking at are the difficulty of new faculty getting courses in the core, the difficulty in developing interdisciplinary courses, and what to do with courses that have not been taught in 5 or 6 years.
Retirement Policies, Jeffrey N. Cox, Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs
In prior years, when faculty wanted to retire, they had to sign a contract and promise not to sue the University. Professor Cox convinced the university to do away with that requirement. Two standard paths to retirement are available year in and year out to all faculty members who fulfill some basic requirements. In the first case, when a faculty member is sure s/he wishes to retire, s/he contacts his/her chair the year before s/he wishes to retire. The information is forwarded to the dean and Vice Provost Cox, after which the faculty member receives a letter spelling out continuing benefits such as access to the library. Other benefits, such as office space are occasionally negotiated. In the second case, faculty members who are considering retirement, but are not ready to commit to full retirement right away can enter into one of several retirement agreements. The website lists several option, but only two are regularly used. The agreement that is most commonly used is a phased retirement. This is for faculty members who want to think about retiring but are not ready to sever their ties with the university. In the simplest case, faculty members receive 50 percent salary for doing 50 percent of the work (teaching being the only quantifiable way to evaluate this). They do, however, continue to receive 100 percent of their benefits. The System allows up to five years of phased retirement. The actual maximum number of years (up to five) is at the discretion of the chair, the dean, and the campus. The norm is three years. 10 to 20 percent of retiring faculty use phased retirement. As with the first path to retirement, phased retirement starts with a conversation with the chair; the faculty member still may be running grants and need lab space or may wish to be considered for honorarium teaching. All retirement agreements include an agreed upon a date for relinquishing tenure.
Another, separate program is the early retirement incentive program. It is authorized by a state law that creates a special category of retirement agreement. It has only been activated twice in the last six years and is used primarily to serve the interests of the university. Contrary to the above-mentioned retirement policies, the early retirement incentive program is not available to all members of a particular class (in this case faculty members), but allows the university to identify those faculty members to whom it wishes to provide retirement incentives. This law was first activated during the 2007-8 budget crisis and was used as a tool for handling budget deficits. It was intended to move faculty into retirement and to cash in those lines to cover budget deficits. The program was then designed by HR to try to deal with a problem some would-be retirees were having with the sharply lowered value of their investments. In exchange for giving up tenure, the university put two years of the current salary in a tax protected account and release over five years with the hope that within those five years the stock market would recover. This program has been activated and withdrawn twice.
In answer to a question, Vice Provost Cox said that the selection process for the early retirement incentive program is a two-step process: first, the dean settles on a process for designating faculty members to whom an offer will be made; second, the faculty member is free to accept or reject the offer. No one can be forced to take this retirement, which is not based on merit and is neither a right nor a reward for past or current performance.
Dean Leigh said that while the original goal of the retirement incentives was to eliminate lines, the A&S sees the latest round of retirement incentives as paving the way for departments to apply for new lines in order to get into new areas. The College wants to take care of the deficit with these eliminated lines and then start to build and hire again.
A representative felt that since department chairs are only temporarily in their position, they may not be the people who should to make decisions re. whom to put forward to receive a retirement incentives. Other representatives expressed concerns over the discretionary aspect of the selection.
Dean Leigh stated he is not happy with this program either; the very fact that it is only used when the university is in trouble means it is not desirable. He wishes to focus instead on proposing the creation of an emeritus college. This would allow retired faculty to continue to serve as mentors, help make policy decisions, teach on an honorarium basis, and maintain a strong academic life. Arizona State and Emory both have a similar programs.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:57PM
Minutes submitted by Janice Jeffryes
APPENDIX I: Charge of the BFA’s Patti Adler Review Committee
Committee Charge: Review whether established University policies and procedures were followed in the Patti Adler case.
- What are the facts surrounding this situation that can be learned and shared with the faculty?
- What are the specific policies and procedures (P&P’s) that should have been followed in this case?
- Did administration and faculty follow the P&P’s?
- What are the recommendations for avoiding this situation in the future?
- Were fundamentals of academic freedom and academic responsibility violated/followed?
This approach provides the BFA with an opportunity to determine if due process was provided to the faculty member and to recommend how appropriate due process would be provided in the future.
The committee will be comprised of seven members: Five tenured professors selected by the BFA ExCom from BFA elected representatives, one representative selected by the Arts and Sciences Council of commensurate rank, plus the committee chair from the BFA ExCom. The BFA Chair will sit as ex officio as a resource.
The committee will complete its task by May 1, 2014. Progress reports to the BFA Executive Committee will be given every 30 days.
Appendix II : Proposed Service Learning Guidelines
The Community Service Act of 1990, which authorized the Learn and Serve America grant program, defines service learning as:
“a method under which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community; is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, instillation of higher education or community service program, and with the community; and helps foster civic responsibility; and that is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and provides structured time for the students or participants to reflect on the service experience.”
For one service learning credit:
Fifteen hours in class, designed to meet academic objectives through analytical critical, and reflective examination of the topic of the service learning activity.
0-20 hours on site in an outside commitment
Pass/Fail grading only. Service learning credit is exempt from the university limit of 6 credits pass/fail.
Requires some kind of contract with the off-campus (or on-campus) site as well as the instructor
The service learning activity can be designed to be part of a course, undertaken in addition to the requirements of the course, or can be a separate for-credit course attached to an anchor course (but the contact hour requirement remains the same for all of these).
The credits awarded for any individual service learning class can range from one to a maximum of three. Increases in the number of credits awarded for an individual class above one credit require proportionate increases in service learning hours (i.e., one credit: one credit, 0 to 20 service hours; two credits, 20 to 40 hours of service, etc.). The maximum number of service learning credits that a student can take is six.
Service learning classes can be upper or lower division, but the content of the in-class portion of a given class must be commensurate with the level of the class. Service learning classes linked to other academic classes must be at the same level as the linked class.