University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, Minnesota

October 28, 1997; 8:00 a.m.; Behmler Conference Room

Present: Asmus, Ballou, Frenier, Korth, Lee, Leroux, McIntosh, Nylander, Schuman, Taylor, Thielke

Absent: Davis, Ellis, Farrell, Kissock

Guests: Jim Carlson, 1996-97 Chair of the Academic Support Services Committee (ASSC); Judy Kuechle, 1997-98 Chair of the ASSC; Eric Klinger, 1997-98 Chair of the General Education Committee

[In these minutes: recommendations of continuation for Academic Support Services Committee and elimination for General Education Committee, discussion of distribution of email minutes for all committees, report on GenEdWeb, semester transition plans]

Schuman indicated that the guests at today's meeting were here for a discussion of a recommendation from the Curriculum Committee (CC) on the continuation of its adjunct committees. This was a task assigned to the CC last year, but deferred until this year.

Schuman suggested that the discussion begin with the ASSC. The ASSC considered the question of continuation last year and made a recommendation to the CC in favor of continuation. A copy of the April 17, 1997 minutes and the 1996-97 Annual Report of the ASSC were distributed at the last CC meeting. Schuman asked if Carlson and Kuechle had comments to add.

Carlson said the ASSC offers UMM a tool for communication that would not otherwise be possible. This committee was formed 5-6 years ago as a library advisory group and was then expanded to include Plant Services, Computing Services, and Media Services (formerly Audio Visual). Last year the ASSC dealt with issues involving Computing Services and the technology fee. He was not sure if things would have occurred as they did without the recommendation of the ASSC. There have been discussions about how the library can survive in times of financial spirals and still be a viable resource. How does the library keep buying books and periodicals that are needed? Kuechle said there are new issues coming forward this year. Schuman noted that periodical costs have increased at a rate of about 17% per year over the last decade.

Lee asked for elaboration on the April recommendation. Carlson said the technology fee might not have gone through if not for the work of the ASSC. Committee members think they made the right decision and are not sure if the same decision would have been made without the recommendation from the ASSC. The ASSC has also influenced Rasmussen in setting up classrooms. Boleman has asked to use the ASSC as a sounding board for new policies, like how to handle sign-up for laptop computers. The same is true for Fischer.

Lee said the campus is spending too much time in committee meetings, but we don't want an inactive campus. Carlson said the vote for continuation in last year's ASSC was unanimous. The other way to do it would be to get advice on an ad hoc basis. Schuman saw three alternative ways to do the work that the ASSC is now doing: 1) by administrative fiat; 2) convene ad hoc groups every time faculty input is needed (that takes time to formulate the committees, etc.); or 3) dump the responsibilities onto the CC. All three of those options are clearly inferior solutions. The ASSC has been productive and the members recommend continuation. Schuman cannot see any reason to rule the committee out of existence.

Frenier asked about the number of times the ASSC met last year. The ASSC met 17 times in 1996-97.

Thielke said she would be nervous about using ad hoc groups to do the work because ad hoc committee service doesn't get recognition. Schuman noted that the profile of the ASSC is not one of an inactive committee. Kuechle noted that there are three major items on the ASSC agenda right now. Schuman commented that ad hoc committees also lack the legitimacy of a standing committee.

Korth said he had two questions. He did not find it laughable that the CC could take on the responsibilities of the ASSC. If the CC did not waste time on lots of paperwork, it would have time for more important issues. The campus needs to know what the ASSC is doing. Carlson had no objections to the CC taking over the ASSC duties. Lee thought it would help communication if there was a closer relationship between the ASSC and the CC. If the CC took over the duties of the ASSC, would it also take over the responsibilities of all of its adjunct committees? Schuman said the CC would have to add Fischer, Boleman, and Rasmussen to the membership of the CC if the duties of the ASSC were added to the CC. The CC may do tedious paperwork, but that paperwork reports on curricular changes, some of which are essential changes. He does not know of a more efficient way to do that without taking away the opportunity for faculty to judge what is essential. Lee said it could be done in the Divisions. Schuman said the curriculum should be a collective faculty decision.

Carlson said the minutes of the ASSC go to the administration and do not get circulated to the faculty. Kuechle said Fischer has suggested that the ASSC have a web page. Korth said he has been an advocate for email minutes. Faculty could sign up for the minutes of specific committees.

Leroux said he is concerned with streamlining committee membership. Are half of the members ex officio staff? Do they vote? Carlson said half are ex officio staff and they do not vote. There are 4 faculty (one from each Division), 4 ex officio directors, 2 students, and 1 staff member. Leroux said that cutting the number of faculty representatives would give them more authority. Could the CC do that? Schuman said the CC would have the power to suggest to Campus Assembly that the membership of the ASSC change. Ballou said, given the nature of the decisions to be made regarding periodicals, laptops, etc., she would want each Division to have a representative. Schuman said he would endorse that as well. In some of the areas that the ASSC has been working, there have been Divisional differences. For instance, the decision to purchase Chemical Abstracts at about $6,000 per year is much different than a decision to purchase PMLA. The uses of instructional technology that the Division of Education might need to prepare teachers might be very different than the statistical needs of the Division of the Social Sciences. These differences in academic support needs conform closely to the Division lines.

MOTION (Ballou, Frenier): To recommend continuation of the Academic Support Services Committee as a separate committee at this time.

VOTE: Unanimous in favor (9-0-0).

Schuman thought that Korth's idea about sending email minutes to groups of interested people was good. All committees could solicit faculty and staff to see if they would like to be added to the distribution group for that committee.

Korth said he had pushed this idea in the Executive Committee a while ago and was told that most committees do not have staff help with minutes. Nylander said she liked the idea of a web page. Korth said the four Assembly committees were to put their minutes up on Gopher, but there were problems getting the minutes loaded. He would prefer email distribution of minutes for people who sign up. Ballou wondered how we could help people accomplish this. Schuman assumed that most minutes are done on a computer and so it is easy to copy the contents of the minutes document and paste them into email. Schuman asked Korth to draft a motion for the next meeting.

Schuman noted that the General Education Committee (GEC) has not recommended that it continue, and in fact, has suggested, after proposing the semester general education program, that it go out of existence.

Klinger said the situation with the GEC is the opposite of that with the ASSC. General education is properly part of the curriculum. There was no GEC until the institution of ProsPer. The GEC makes course-by-course decisions about satisfying the general education requirements. Last year's committee did not see the point of the GEC's existence if that continued to be the GEC's only role. Last year's GEC voted unanimously to recommend elimination of the GEC. After all, how many levels of review do we need to second guess faculty judgments? Right now the proposal comes from the faculty member, goes through the discipline, the Division, the CC, and the Campus Assembly. To institute a fifth level with the GEC seemed excessive. This year's committee is not unanimous on this point. There was one dissenting vote. One new committee member thought it would be good to keep the GEC until the start of semesters; everyone else thought it was now time to eliminate the committee. There will be rare occasions when policy questions regarding general education will arise. The CC could deal with those issues.

Schuman noted that there is a slightly different configuration of general education under semesters. Most courses will meet one general education requirement, whereas under quarters, some courses met none, some two or three requirements. So the question of general education category under semesters has a different flavor. Thielke noted that, under ProsPer, criteria were developed for each general education category. The new GER for semesters is not criteria based. There is sometimes a sixth level of review: the Executive Committee. Schuman commented that the CC has not always taken the GEC recommendations as gospel.

Schuman wondered, since he is a member of the Assessment of Student Learning Committee, whether assessment of the learning that goes on in the general education program would be a task that the GEC would be willing to default to the CC. Klinger said that is a question that the GEC has not dealt with in the past--it would be an entirely new question for the GEC. Schuman said the CC has not dealt with this question either. The campus needs to determine if the GER is doing what we want it to do. Klinger said one of his graduate students is looking at assessment procedures and would like to apply it to this campus. Personally, since he has not had time to discuss this question with the GEC, he felt this was not the type of question that the GEC has done.

Ballou asked Klinger to elaborate on the objections of the GEC member who dissented. Klinger said this member felt the GEC would act as a counterweight to faculty in the disciplines until semesters start.

MOTION (McIntosh, Ballou): To recommend immediate discontinuation of the General Education Committee.

Schuman said the CC may have to create a subcommittee to deal with the assessment issue. He felt the process of having proposals go through the GEC and the CC was a wasteful effort.

VOTE: Unanimous in favor (9-0-0).

Schuman said the last item on the agenda is whether we want to have a report from Roger McCannon and those working on the web-based courses about the GenEdWeb project. There has been some controversy on campus about this project. There seemed to be a consensus in the CC to invite McCannon to report to the CC. Schuman asked if the next meeting should include two more adjunct committees and GenEdWeb. The answer was yes. In relation to a question from a CC member, Schuman asked Mooney to request a written statement from McCannon about how the GenEdWeb fits the mission of the campus.

Schuman asked if there was any new business for the CC. Thielke asked if the CC would be reviewing the plans for students in transition between quarters and semesters. Schuman said he would expect to have the CC review the plan when it is all prepared.

Korth asked if students will have to choose one bulletin for graduation requirements. Thielke said they can now use one bulletin for the GER and another for the major. She does not expect that policy to change.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, at 8:00 a.m. in the Behmler Conference Room.

Meeting adjourned 9:00 a.m.
Submitted by Nancy Mooney

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