The Arts and Sciences Council, December 11, 2014, 3:30-5:00 , UMC 415/417

Meeting Minutes

Representatives present: David Atherton, ALC; Giulia Bernardini, HUMN; David Bortz, APPM; Brian Catlos, RLST; Cathy Comstock, RAPS; Bert Covert, ANTH; 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; Lonni Pearce, PWR; Markus Pflaum, MATH; Greg Odorizzi, MCDB; Mark Pittenger, HIST; Elizabeth Root, GEOG; Rob Rupert, PHIL; Neeraja Sadagopan, SLHS; Christina Sue, SOCY

Representatives not present: Reece Auguiste, FILM; Julio Baena, SPAN; Daniel Barth, PSYC; Paul Beale, PHYS; Andrew Cain, CLAS; James Cordova, AAH; Erica Ellingson, APS; Valerio Ferme, FRIT; Alison Jaggar, WMST; Bhuvana Narasimhan, LING; Bianca Williams, ETHN; Greg Tucker, GEOL; Beverly Weber, GSLL

Also in attendance: Peter Freitag, AAC; Steven Leigh (via Skype); Cora Randall, ATOC; Ann Schmiesing, GSLL

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

Dean’s Report, Steven Leigh

The University of Colorado Boulder has accepted the call for a “grand challenge” issued by the White House. The campus-wide effort is led by Steve Leigh and Waleed Abdalati, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). The overall goal is to harness innovation, science, technology, and the humanities to solve an important national or global problem. The CU Boulder challenge involves leveraging our unique strengths in earth and space science and technology to expand our role in space innovation, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and the understanding and shaping of how space-based science and technologies impact our lives, institutions, and society. A Grand Challenge Imagination Summit took place on December 9th.

The Academic Advising Center has begun testing its new advising software. The system should be live by March 2015.

 10-Year “Sunset” Policy for Declaring a Second Major, Robert Rupert & Peter Freitag

Rob Rupert prefaced the discussion by saying that the Curriculum Committee has approved a proposal for a new policy (see appendix), but would like the ASC’s feedback.

Peter Freitag explained that as things stand a student can choose to complete a second major any time after graduation. We are contractually obligated to allow students to complete a second major. However, this can present a quality control problem, particularly decades after the original degree and/or when a student wishes to complete a major that no longer exists.

The Academic Advising Center would like to adopt uniform guidelines to address this issue. In the proposal currently before the ASC, students would have 10 years from their initial graduation term to declare an additional major. Beyond the 10 year period, students would be required to complete all requirements for a second BA degree. This would mean that they would be subject to the 45-30-12 rule, i.e., they would have to complete 45 credit hours at CU Boulder, 30 of which must be upper division credits, 12 of which must be in the major.

Some representatives expressed concern that item 1—“All general requirements for the degree to be awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences have been met. (Students are subject to the general degree requirements in effect the semester they enter the second baccalaureate degree program”—seems to require students to complete, for example, a new core, if the student declares a second major more than 10 years after graduation and the core has changed since the student originally graduated.

Several representatives wondered if it would not make more sense to only require that students take the classes they need for the second major. David Jonas (CHEM) noted that the proposed language seems somewhat punitive and is likely to drive alumni to turn to institutions with more  accommodating policies. Cathy Comstock (RAPS) and David Jonas suggested the proposal be rewritten so that students who wish to add a major more than 10 years after the completion of their first degree only be required to complete the major requirements in place at the time of the request for a second major, as outlined by individual departments.

Ruth Heisler (IPHY) asked how often the situation arises in any given year. Peter Freitag noted that there are only a handful of requests a year and offered to rewrite the proposal to reflect the concerns expressed by representatives.

The Curriculum Committee will bring a revised proposal to the ASC.

Chair’s Report, Catherine Labio

The BFA approved a motion to create a committee tasked with studying enrollment in the humanities on the CU Boulder campus. The exact scope of the committee is yet to be determined. Catherine Labio will keep the ASC informed.

Cora Randall (Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) and Ann Schmiesing (Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures) have agreed to co-chair the Core Revision Committee. The composition of the Committee will be announced in early 2015. Catherine Labio thanked Professors Randall and Schmiesing and gave them the floor.

Core Revision Discussion, Cora Randall and Ann Schmiesing

Since the ASC vote to revise the core had not been unanimous, co-chairs Cora Randall and Ann Schmiesing stated they wanted to meet with ASC representatives early on to learn more about the various concerns that representatives may have. Professors Randall and Schmiesing noted that they have already begun to extend invitations to meet with all the affected departments/units and added that faculty were also welcome to contact them individually.

Cathy Comstock (RAPS) noted that that the RAPS would be devastated if a large number of core courses were taken away from the RAPS. More variety or categories would be welcome, but not going back to the 2000 model.

Cora Randall noted that the committee will need to consider all the ways in which the entire campus, including the RAPS, contributes to the core. Nothing has been prejudged. The committee will look at the work done last year by the Core Review Committee, the 2000 proposal, and the core curricula adopted by other schools.

Cora Randall ventured that apparently the core used to be mostly about knowledge transfer, a need obviated by the sheer amount of information now easily available to students, who may be more in need of learning how to distinguish good information from bad. Rob Rupert (PHIL) responded that while the core may have been designed with knowledge transfer in mind, this is no longer one of its key features. The Curriculum Committee rejects courses that relay on rote memorization and do not focus on critical thinking.

Cora Randall asked if representatives would like to see interdisciplinary courses featured more prominently in the core. Rob Rupert noted that while the Curriculum Committee is in favor of interdisciplinary courses, it does not receive many proposals for such courses even though the design of the current core makes a lot of room for them since many of its categories—e.g., Human Diversity, Contemporary Societies, and U.S. Context—are conceptual rather than disciplinary.

Several representatives expressed support for greater interdisciplinarity, noting that such a shift would require more support for team-teaching. The committee will also need to look at methods of delivery, including the role of online courses.

Ann Schmiesing asked about the role of writing in the context of the core. Are upper or lower division classes better? What other models are out there that we could learn from? A multi-pronged discussion followed. Several representatives noted that writing should be an essential feature of the core. It is a critical skill that needs to be practiced constantly (unlike, say, more technical skills like learning how to work with a particular software, which could be taught outside the context of the core). Catherine Labio noted in passing that, which offers a wide range of how-to software tutorials, is now available to anyone with a CU Boulder identikey. Several representatives stressed the importance of informational literacy. Others argued in favor of smaller first-year writing classes and of reintroducing the critical thinking component of the core, noting that such measures would help with retention. David Jonas (CHEM) remarked that learning a foreign language also teaches students how to master writing in English. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (THDN) noted the importance of learning how to write code.

Catherine Labio and Steve Leigh thanked Cora Randall and Ann Schmiesing for this preliminary discussion.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Janice Jeffryes and Catherine Labio


Proposal: 10-year “Sunset” Policy for Declaring a Second Major

This change in policy would set a 10-year limit on the addition of a second major after having received a BA or BFA in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Current Policy:  The College of Arts and Sciences allows students to add second majors to their earlier undergraduate degrees at any time they wish. Some students have made progress toward these second majors before graduation; others decide after graduation to return to CU Boulder to add a major in which they previously did not have an interest. In either case, we permit these students simply to complete the requirements of the second major without having to complete the requirements for a second undergraduate degree. [see below for the requirements of a second baccalaureate degree.]

Rationale for the Change: Problems have arisen in the past when students came back after many years to complete a degree program that no longer exists (e.g., EPOB, KINE, etc.) or when they wish to complete existing majors using the requirements that were in effect when they initially declared the second major. Adding a 10-year “sunset” clause will provide students with a clear deadline for adding a second major to their existing degrees without having to complete the requirements for a second undergraduate degree.

Changes in Catalog Copy:

Double Major 

Students pursuing either the BA or BFA degree may graduate with more than one major within the degree (e.g., economics and French) by completing all requirements for both majors. A minimum of 120 total credit hours is required for double majors within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students may choose to postpone graduation until all of their majors are complete, or may graduate with one major. If students choose to return at a later date to complete declare any additional major (whether previously declared or not), they will have 10 years from their graduation term to do so. Requirements for the second major are based on the catalog year in which the major was initially declared. If they exceed 10 years between graduation and completion declaration of any additional major, they will then be required to complete all requirements for a second baccalaureate degree. Students should keep their Primary Advisor and Secondary Advisor informed of their progress.

Note: Students must complete all requirements for a minor by the time they graduate. They may not add a minor after graduation. 


Second Baccalaureate Degrees

A student who has been awarded a baccalaureate degree, either from this college or elsewhere, may be granted a second baccalaureate degree provided the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  1. All general requirements for the degree to be awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences have been met. (Students are subject to the general degree requirements in effect the semester they enter the second baccalaureate degree program.)
  2. The major in the second undergraduate degree is different from the major, or program of study, in the first degree earned.
  3. Arts and sciences students must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours in University of Colorado courses on the Boulder campus toward the second degree after admission to the second degree program. Of these 45 credits, a minimum of 30 credits must be in arts and sciences upper-division credit hours completed as a matriculated student in the second degree in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder and at least 12 of these upper-division hours must be in the major. Courses taken as a non-degree student do not count in these minimum requirements.

NOTE: Adding a major after graduation—if students exceed 10 years between graduation and completion declaration of any additional major—they will then be required to complete all requirements listed above for a second baccalaureate degree.