March 20, 2014, 3:30-5:00, UMC 415-417

Meeting Minutes

Representatives present: Michela Ardizzoni, FRIT; David Atherton, ALC; Reece Auguiste, FILM; Paul Beale, PHYS; Deane Bowers, 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; Moonhawk Kim, PSCI; E. Christian Kopff, HNRS; Catherine Labio, ENGL; Martha Palmer, LING; Markus Pflaum, MATH; Mark Pittenger, HIST; Mike Radelet, SOCY; Erika Randall, THDN; Artemi Romanov, GSLL; Elisabeth Root, GEOG; Rob Rupert, PHIL; Greg Tucker, GEOL; Bianca Williams, ETHN

Representatives not present:  Daniel Barth, PSYC; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN; Diane Conlin, CLAS; Vanja Dukic, APPM; Susan Moore, SLHS; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB

Also present:  Darna Dufour, Norman Pace

Catherine Labio called the meeting to order at 3:32PM.

Dean’s remarks, Darna Dufour, Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs

The Residential Academic Programs (RAP’s) are being reviewed this year. The internal committee review has completed its report. The external reviewers will be on campus April 9 through April 11. One of the expected outcomes of the review will be an answer to the question: Does the campus want all first-year students to be enrolled in a RAP (a stated goal of Flagship 2030)? Campus-wide 45 percent of first-year students are currently in a RAP. The College of Arts and Sciences is interested in retention and RAP’s help by giving first-year students a sense of community, in part by offering smaller classes and opportunities to join in extra-curricular activities. However, it may not be necessary to have all first-year students in a RAP.

Elizabeth Guertin, the assistant dean in charge of Academic Advising left in September. A national search will be conducted to replace her. In the meantime, Ms. Guertin has been replaced by Shelly Bacon and Peter Freitag, who are serving in an interim capacity and have introduced a number of changes to make Academic Advising more student-centered. In particular, they have begun to remove some of the barriers that were making it difficult for students to have access to advisors. Specific changes include:

  1. Advising is moving toward a single advisor model (under the current system, students may have separate advisors for each major and minor).
  2. Where it makes sense, advisors will be grouped together to enable them to work across disciplines in related areas such as life sciences, the arts, and languages.
  3. All advisors are going to have open office hours.
  4. The hiring model is being revised. Previously, we tended to hire people with graduate degrees and a year of college teaching. The new model involves hiring more people interested in advising per se, i.e., people who are more student oriented and may have an advising degrees or a more general background.

Some representatives noted that some of the new and proposed changes may not suit the needs of all majors, particularly in the case of majors with strict requirements, such as chemistry and physics. Professor Dufour responded that the new model can be adapted and/or revised to accommodate the needs of specific majors.

One representative commended Shelly Bacon and Peter Freitag for the work they have done and expressed the hope they will continue as heads of Academic Advising.

Plans for the election of next year’s chair, Damian Doyle, Presiding Officer

The ASC chair is allowed to serve a maximum of two consecutive one-year terms. Professor Labio is deciding whether to run for re-election. Representatives may send nominations to Self-nominations are accepted as well as nominations of any other representative on the ASC. As per the bylaws, “The election will be held at the final meeting of the academic year. Prior to the vote candidates will present themselves and describe their qualifications to the membership. The vote will be held by secret ballot.”

Committee Reports

Ad hoc Core Curriculum Review Committee, Norman Pace

Professor Labio thanked Professor Pace, the chair of the committee, and the members of the committee for their work, including the four members who are also ASC representatives.

The report drafted by the committee was distributed to ASC representatives via e-mail earlier in the week. Hard copies were also distributed at the ASC meeting.

Professor Pace reminded the representatives that the ASC voted last year to form an ad hoc committee to consider whether the core curriculum should be revised. (The committee was not asked to issue an actual proposal for revision.) The current core was put into place in 1988. There has not been a substantive revision since, although some updates have been made, especially with respect to additions and course removals. In 2000 a proposal for revision was presented to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for a vote, but was not approved by a two-thirds majority and was narrowly defeated.

The committee first considered whether the College should have a core curriculum at all. They compared our core with the core at other universities and concluded unanimously that the College should continue to have a core curriculum. The committee then pondered whether the present core is too cumbersome and an impediment to retention and graduation. After talking with people involved with advising and with faculty members in various departments and programs, the committee concluded that the current core is not too complicated and does not present an advising or retention challenge. The committee concluded nonetheless that the core should be revised, at least to some extent.

In anticipation of a possible revision of the core, the committee envisaged two possible models: 1) a minor revision that would involve leaving the core largely as is, but modernizing it, or 2) a more substantial revision that would not be as discipline-driven as the present core, but would be organized around core skills instead.

Any proposal for revising the core would have to be drafted by another ad hoc committee appointed by the ASC. Professor Pace noted that if the ASC decides to appoint such a committee, it would be important to consult broadly with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at all stages of the process.

In response to a question from a representative regarding the next steps, Professor Labio noted that the ASC needs to approve the report submitted by the ad hoc review committee. The ASC can approve it as is or with amendments or it can reject it altogether. The ASC would need to define what it means by “approve.” Approval need not involve an endorsement of every aspect of the report. If the ASC approves the report, the Executive Committee, in consultation with all ASC representatives, would still have to decide whether to appoint another ad hoc committee tasked with making a proposal to revise the core and what the charge of that committee would be. Should the ASC decide to appoint an ad hoc committee to revise the core, the Executive Committee would have to appoint the members of that committee. Any proposal to revise the core issued by that committee would have to be voted on by the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Some representatives noted that many faculty and students value the disciplinary aspect of the core. Others expressed concern over the use of the term “skills” in the context of a liberal arts education.

Professor Labio asked representatives to distribute the report to their unit or department and invite feedback from their colleagues in anticipation of further discussion at the April 17 meeting. Depending on the tenor of that meeting, the ASC could hold a vote to approve the report on April 17. Alternatively, the vote could be postponed until Fall 2014 if more time is needed for discussion, consultation, or to allow the committee to make changes to the report.

Planning Committee, Mike Radelet

Following last year’s report by the Planning Committee, the campus aims to have an 80 percent 6-year graduation rate by 2020; currently that rate is about 70 percent. Following a request from Dean Leigh to look into retention and graduation rates, the committee met with people from Academic Advising, the Office of Student Conduct, and the Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis. They also met with Mike Grant, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. After a series of initial meetings, the committee became aware that a number of other groups on campus were also looking at retention issues and decided that they would organize their report around a set of recommendations offered from the specific perspective of faculty members.

To better understand why students are leaving, Mike Radelet drafted a pilot questionnaire asking students to think of a student they knew who had left CU Boulder and to state why the other student had left. The questionnaire was distributed in three large classes. Responses pointed to a lot of interrelated reasons students may have for leaving. Financial considerations did not appear to be as paramount as the committee had expected.

The committee is working on a series of recommendations. These include an early intervention plan that would involve early advisor notification if a student appears not to be doing well in a particular class. In this context, the committee would like to see advisors’ names and contact information included in every class roster starting in Fall 2014. The committee is also likely to recommend increasing students’ safety net by adding and strengthening different kinds of mentoring in residence halls and providing more support and tools for faculty members who mentor underrepresented students.

The Planning Committee will strongly recommend reversing the decision to assign advisors randomly and increasing financial aid to attract top applicants. The committee is also considering recommendations that involve increasing first-year students’ access to classes capped at 19 students and providing incentives for faculty members involved in various kinds of mentoring.

The committee plans to finalize its report in early April. The report will be e-mailed to ASC representatives as soon as possible to give them an opportunity to read the report ahead of the April 17 meeting, when the report will be discussed and possibly approved by the ASC.

Service Learning Guidelines, Robert Rupert

At the February meeting Professor Rupert made a notice of motion concerning the adoption of Service Learning Guidelines. He has since received feedback from a number of departments. The most confusion came from the exemption from the university limit of 6 credits pass/fail. If a faculty member is teaching a traditional class that happens to have a service component, this does not make it a dedicated service learning class and the guidelines do not apply.

Several representatives were concerned about making clear what dedicated service learning classes are and wondered how many such classes are offered. In response to various concerns, it was decided to table the discussion on the service learning guidelines until the next meeting in order to give Professor Rupert and Doug Bamforth, who chairs the subcommittee that has drafted the guidelines, to add clarifying wording. The revised version is expected to come to the April meeting for a vote.

A&S policy on course buyouts, Mike Radelet

Professor Radelet distributed the policy for course buy-outs. The policy includes a sentence that reads: “The requirement for course buy-outs is that graduate courses are bought first, undergraduate second.” This requirement has not been enforced automatically in the past. It appears to be strictly enforced as of this year, at least in the social sciences. Professor Radelet argued that such strict enforcement can have a negative impact on a department’s ability to run a strong graduate program and expressed the wish that the requirement be removed.

Some representatives noted that the requirement seems designed to ensure that senior faculty teach more undergraduate courses, a worthy goal that could be achieved through other means. Representatives also expressed the belief that the authority to make programmatic decisions should rest with departments. It was moved and seconded that: We resolve to recommend the sentence “The requirement for course buy-outs is that graduate courses are bought first, undergraduate second” be deleted. The vote on this resolution was 23 yes, 1 no, 0 abstentions.

Professor Labio adjourned the meeting at 5:10PM.

Submitted by Janice Jeffryes