The Arts and Sciences Council, April 16, 2015, 3:30-5:00, UMC 415/417

Meeting Minutes

Representatives present: Julio Baena, SPAN; Paul Beale, PHYS; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN; David Bortz, APPM; Robert Buffington, WGST; Cathy Comstock, RAPS; Bert Covert, ANTH; Erica Ellingson, APS;  Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, THDN; Weiqing Han, ATOC; Ruth Heisler, IPHY; David Jonas, CHEM; Daniel Kaffine, ECON; Moonhawk Kim, PSCI; E. Christian Kopff, HNRS; Catherine Labio, ENGL; Andrew Martin, EBIO; Markus Pflaum, MATH; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB; Elizabeth Root, GEOG; Matthias Richter, ALC; Rob Rupert, PHIL;  Neeraja Sadagopan, SLHS; Bianca Williams, ETHN; Paul Youngquist, ENGL

Representatives not present: Reece Auguiste, FILM; Daniel Barth, PSYC; Andrew Cain, CLAS; Brian Catlos, RLST; Bhuvana Narasimhan, LING; Lonni Pearce, PWR; Fred Anderson, HIST; Greg Tucker, GEOL; Joo Woo, AAH

Also in attendance: Steve Leigh; Cora Randall, ATOC; Ann Schmiesing, GSLL

Catherine Labio called the meeting to order at 3:34 PM.

Dean’s Report, Steven Leigh

Steve thanked Catherine Labio who will be stepping down as chair on June 30th as well as the representatives who are rotating off. The Dean’s office is reconfiguring the associate deans positions to include an associate dean of research position and to rethink the curriculum-related post currently held by Richard Nishikawa, who will be retiring at the end of June.

Chair’s Report, Catherine Labio

The project to create a program somewhat similar to the Esteemed Scholars Program, but aimed at recruiting students with stellar potential in the arts and humanities is under way. Catherine Labio will be in touch as more details become available.

Rick George, the athletics director, made a presentation to the BFA Executive Committee about the academic help student-athletes receive. The cumulative GPAs and graduation rates of various teams are impressive. Of course, they do have more per student resources. However, the BFA will try to identify those aspects that the campus may be able to integrate in its retention efforts.

Election of the next ASC Chair

Rob Rupert (PHIL) was the sole nominee. He noted that there are a lot of important issues facing the College, including the proposed budget model, the core revision, and retention numbers. He would like to see the ASC continue to define and strengthen its role. How, for instance, could we formalize the role played by ASC representatives in selecting administrators?

Per ASC bylaws, the vote was done by secret ballot. Robert Rupert was elected with 20 votes in favor, 0 opposed, and 1 abstention.

Catherine Labio will work with Rob Rupert to assure a smooth transition.

Committee Reports

Budget, Paul Beale

The Budget Committee has been looking at the new model for undergraduate funding and made some recommendations (see Appendix I, distributed at the meeting).

The new budget model is not based on historical precedent but, rather, takes undergraduate student enrollment changes into consideration. Each college will receive a continuing budget increase based on the increases in the numbers of students enrolled in that college. In addition, colleges will receive a continuing budget increase based on the number of credit hours those students take in each college. The budget changes will be based on three year running averages of student enrollment. Other details of the new budget model are still being negotiated.

The model includes an upcharge differential for engineering and business on the grounds that it is more expensive to educate those students. However, it could be argued that it is also more expensive to educate students in our science departments. The Budget Committee would like to see upcharges for some of our students as well. The Budget Committee recommends that Steve Leigh work with other deans to fix the model and let the administration know what their views are. The new model is supposed to be implemented on the basis of fall numbers, which seems a bit hasty.

David Jonas (CHEM) asked how the new model will influence hiring since departments need to be able to plan ahead. Steve Leigh noted that hiring practices have been changed so they go through more quickly.

Steve Leigh is scheduling a meeting with Kelly Fox and the Budget Committee. He noted that the model is built on costs, not revenue. Revenue may be a better base for A&S. Dean Leigh added that he does not think we should focus on growing the number of incoming students, but that better retention is key to improving revenue.

David Jonas noted that Engineering is doubling in size, which may work against A&S. Steve Leigh mentioned that $2 million have been moved into the A&S budget to offset the fact that we are teaching many engineering students.

Committee on Community and Diversity, Erica Ellingson

An outside consulting group has been hired to study diversity on the Boulder campus and propose a framework that will define what the university’s responsibilities are. The project is expected to last 1-2 years. Interviews will be conducted with all stakeholders, including faculty and students. The CU LEAD Alliance will also be involved in the process. There are some 30 groups on campus that deal with diversity in one way or another. The Committee is focusing on making better connections between the CU LEAD Alliance and A&S faculty and identifying the best uses of its resources.

 Curriculum Committee, Rob Rupert

The Curriculum Committee is finishing the review of the core courses that began seven years ago. It has also reviewed an increasingly large stream of certificate proposals. The College can approve any certificate it wants but must adhere to a set of guidelines from Mike Grant’s office if they are to be included on a student’s transcript. There is a strict 18-24 hour requirement. If one wants to include some basic skills classes that would take the certificate over the 24-hour maximum. Basic skills class can be used instead as a requirement for entrance into the certificate program. To ensure approval, it is good to specify why a proposed certificate should be a certificate rather than a minor and make a note of who will be responsible for overseeing the certificate.

The Committee has also reviewed proposed changes in majors and minors. Such changes should be as clear as possible for students’ sake.

The Committee has also processed requests from outside the College to have courses treated as A&S courses and thus be exempt from the 30-hour rule. A College “statement of identity” would help explain to other colleges why some courses are rejected.

The Committee also reviews courses from the RAP’s, Honors and Small Academic Programs that are not owned by a department.

Future work will include dealing with the impact of CMCI on A&S courses. New CMCI courses will be treated like any other course emanating from a college outside A&S. It has been decided that all currently existing COMM courses will be treated as A&S courses for the foreseeable future. However, even these courses may eventually be subject to re-review.

Grievance Committee, Elizabeth Root

The Committee reviewed one grievance. It also discussed its role and what the Committee can be called on to review. It is important to have clear guidelines at the college level on how salary grievances can be undertaken by members of the faculty. Also, it is important that each department have clear guidelines as well.

Personnel Committee, Paul Youngquist

The Personnel Committee handled 16 comprehensive review cases. All outcomes were positive. It also handled 31 promotions to associate with tenure; 24 promotions to full; 1 instructor grievance; 2 pending hires with tenure; and 3 professors of distinction appointments. With the help of Catherine Labio, the committee has also been working at getting into compliance with the ASC bylaws and getting the correct number of ASC representatives on the committee.

Planning Committee, Greg Odorizzi

The Committee discussed the formation of schools and wrote a memo to Dean Leigh. The committee identified three objectives: a) fostering interdisciplinary work and reducing the “silo effect,” b) preventing some course redundancies, and c) improving fundraising by increasing the visibility of some of the faculty’s most innovative contributions. It also identified concerns: a) the possibility of further administrative layering, which could increase complexity and the silo effect (how would one dismantle schools?); b) the lack of incentive for faculty participation (why, for instance, would someone want to be a director?); c) the status of departments not affiliated with a school; and d) growing tensions within and between departments, with some faculty feeling pressured to join a school. Instead of adopting a schools model, the Committee proposed alternative ways of meeting objectives without turning to a schools model. Alternatives could include the creation of interdisciplinary degrees, the creation of opportunities for greater interdisciplinary research and fundraising cooperation, and a reconsideration of the existing division model and the role of associate deans.

Steve Leigh thanked the Committee for its suggestions and noted bylaws for a new School of the Arts are almost complete. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (THDN) said her department is on board, but that she believes that AAH is not as enthusiastic. She thinks that a school of the arts would help break down silos and make communication and sharing resources easier between departments that have much in common. Steve Leigh added that no one is going to be forced to be part of a school, but asked faculty to think creatively.

Ad hoc Committee on Online Education, David Jonas

The Committee has discussed MOOC’s and online degree completion for students who are close to finishing their degrees but are no longer in the area.

Vote on the creation of a new ad hoc Online Education and Information Committee.

The current ad hoc committee has been in place for two years. Its renewal requires a vote from the ASC as a whole. Catherine Labio noted that if the proposed bylaws revision are approved, a new standing committee on Online Education and Information Technology would be formed. She asked if representatives wanted to vote on the creation of an ad hoc Online Education and Information Technology Committee that would replace the existing ad hoc committee and could easily morph into a new standing committee should the bylaws be changed. A motion and second were made to hold a vote on the question “Shall the ASC form a new ad hoc Online Education and Information Committee?” The results of the vote were 23 in favor and 1 opposed.

Bylaws Vote Postponed 

Catherine Labio suggested postponing the bylaws discussion and vote until the fall to give representatives as much time as possible to discuss the Core Revision project. There were no objections.

Ad hoc Core Revision Committee, Cora Randall and Ann Schmiesing

Ann Schmiesing and Cora Randall have now visited almost all departments and reached out to other colleges and schools as well as student and alumni groups. The committee has met a few times to discuss cores from other universities, learning outcomes, and the college identity. A majority of departments want a streamlined, flexible core that will not become obsolete quickly. Departments also seem to prefer a combination of distribution requirements and skills, with some also in favor of a thematic overlay (highlighted themes have included diversity and historical contexts). The committee is looking at proposing a distribution that would be the core of the core. Compared to other universities, our core is on the more onerous side. A simpler core might make it possible for students to double major or pick up a minor more easily.

The committee is also exploring issues such as: should there be a freshman experience course as part of the core? And how should we tackle interdisciplinary issues?

The Committee is working on a statement of identity of the College drafted by Rob Rupert. The basic goal is to make any core in line with a set of learning goals and the identity of the college.

Rob Rupert asked what it would take for the College to offer a BS degree. Most science department would like that option. Steve Leigh noted that the creation of BS degrees would involve approval by high levels of state government and would be difficult, especially in the short term.

Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin spoke in favor of the first-year experience, noting that students do not always come in with some indispensable skills that would allow them to read a syllabus effectively. Cora Randall wondered if the teaching of such skills belongs in the core and suggested it could happen during orientation or in a dorm setting instead. Julio Baena (SPAN) noted that the purpose of the core is not to offer remedial courses. Matthias Richter (ALC) advised that orientation be used to teach students the distinction between high school and college and emphasize the need to work more independently. Giulia Bernardini (HUMN) noted RAPS students do get this kind of mentoring and recommended that we expand the RAPS model.

Cora Randall and Ann Schmiesing concluded by inviting all faculty members to contact them directly with their thoughts on revising the core.

Catherine Labio announced that there would not be a town hall to discuss the core on April 23, but noted that a town hall would be scheduled for the fall and announced well in advance to ensure the broadest possible participation.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:02 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Catherine Labio

Janice Jeffryes

Appendix I (distributed at the 4/16/15 meeting of the ASC)

Arts and Sciences Budget Committee recommendations concerning the proposed model for Undergraduate Enrollment Funding

The Arts and Sciences Budget Committee reviewed and discussed the proposed Model for Undergraduate Enrollment Funding announced in January 2015. The committee endorses the intent to create a budget that distributes funds formulaically to the schools and colleges to address the additional teaching, advising, and administrative costs of increasing undergraduate student enrollments. The committee finds several aspects of the model appealing:

  1. The model increases budgets to schools and colleges for teaching additional students rostered in their own college, and additional students rostered in other schools and colleges.
  2. The model increases budgets to rostering schools and colleges based for the additional costs of administering those students.
  3. The model adjusts budgets based on three year rolling averages, so schools and colleges will have time to plan and adjust to enrollment and budgetary changes.

The committee has concerns about several details of the model, some of which were not articulated in the January 2015 proposal.

  1. The upcharge differentials for engineering and business are not specified. After inquiry by our committee and the Boulder Faculty Assembly Budget Committee, we understand that to mean that the base value of $5,750 per headcount will be adjusted upward by an unspecified amount for engineering and business. The committee does not object to an upcharge in principle because of the, perhaps, justifiably larger cost of course offerings in those colleges. However, engineering and business students take courses in arts and sciences that are also expensive to teach. Engineering students take courses mostly in physics, applied mathematics, and chemistry, which are equivalent to engineering courses in terms of personnel, structure, and laboratory space. Business students take many of their courses in economics, which has a similar cost structure to business. We propose that the upcharge differentials be applied to both the rostering unit and the schools and college that teach those students.
  2. The allocation formula does not account for the cost differences between the colleges in terms of percentage of non-resident students. Non-resident students create additional costs for the colleges in terms of services and retention. We propose the model include this as a factor in setting the base value.
  3. All past budget decisions are locked into the model, resulting in current budgets that may or may not be justified by current circumstances.

The committee recommends that the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences work with the deans of the other schools and colleges to negotiate with the budget office to adjust the model to address the above three issues. We believe that if the deans and the budget office can reach a consensus on the details of the model, all of the stakeholders will be prepared to publicly endorse the model for implementation next academic year.