UMM CURRICULUM COMMITTEE
2011-12 MEETING #4 Minutes
October 3, 2011, 2:00 p.m., BCR
Present: Bart Finzel (chair), Joe Alia, Bryce Blankenfeld, Carol Cook, Caitlin Drayna, Janet Ericksen, Hazen Fairbanks, Sara Haugen, Heather James, Leslie Meek, Peh Ng, Paula O’Loughlin, Ian Patterson, Gwen Rudney, Jeri Squier, Tisha Turk
Absent: Clare Dingley
Visiting: Nancy Helsper
In these minutes: Educational Development Program (EDP); Intellectual Community (IC) Course Approval Process
Finzel announced that the committee will not meet next week or the week of Fall Break, and will regroup after Fall Break to talk about the outcomes of the general education discussions. He asked Patterson when the student discussions will take place. Patterson replied that he will be setting them up fairly soon. Finzel stated that some of the divisions have already set their meeting schedule. The Social Science Division will meet on October 4, at 4:00 or 5:00 PM in IH 109. Cook volunteered to take notes. SSA faculty will meet on October 5, at 1:15 PM in the PE conference room. O’Loughlin will take notes. Education will meet on October 5 at 2:30 PM in Ed 211. Humanities will hold their meeting on Tuesday, October 11, at 7:00 PM in HFA 6. Patterson will take notes. Science and Math is tentatively scheduled for October 13 at 7:00 PM in Sci 2190. Blankenfeld and Patterson will take notes.
1. EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (EDP)
Finzel explained that earlier on in the semester he had indicated his desire to consider a fall timeline for the EDP program because faculty are more apt to be thinking of proposing courses in the fall for the following year if they know that they will have resources available. Last year the call for proposals went out March 8 with a due date of March 25. Funding decisions were announced in April. The criteria identified three funding priorities: 1) Honors Program interdisciplinary courses, 2) courses that integrate sustainability across the liberal arts, and 3) intellectual community (IC) courses. The grant awards last year were expected to range up to $2,000. This amount has been a constant since 1991. We are expecting faculty to do sustained work during the summer developing a course. Perhaps we could pay a larger salary amount by awarding fewer grants.
Finzel asked the committee for comments on the timeline. Ericksen stated that we need to make sure everyone understands the change and has time to prepare proposals. People might get angry if they were counting on submitting a proposal this spring and suddenly they are told that the deadline has been moved up. People need adequate time to prepare. Finzel noted that he assumes that the EDP process was scheduled in the spring because of the heavy work schedule of the Curriculum Committee in fall semester during catalog years. Cook asked if the work is done by the full committee or a subcommittee. Finzel replied that a small subcommittee does the review and brings a recommendation to this committee for approval. Rudney asked if the awards are linked to courses that are new due to catalog changes. Turk replied that there is a spot on the proposal form that asks you to specify if the course has been approved. She would not want to put the work into a course that doesn’t have at least discipline and division approval. There is a lot of time built into the discipline and divisional approval process and the catalog takes up every meeting in the fall. Finzel stated that he would expect the EDP process would begin after fall break so that the catalog work by this committee would be completed.
Rudney asked Finzel to explain his rationale for the timeline change. Finzel answered that it has to do with when faculty think about planning for next year. The course schedule work is done in the fall, so if faculty are thinking of developing a course for the following fall, it would be helpful to not have to wait until April to know if there will be funding for it.
O’Loughlin stated that it may be best to give people notice this year that this will be the last year we will be doing it the standard way. That would give faculty a year’s warning. Turk agreed that it would good to give people a heads up that there will be changes next year. Finzel stated that it appears to be the consensus of the committee to defer any change until next year. Further discussion on this topic is also deferred until a later date.
Finzel stated that he would like to have a discussion about possibly adding another category of courses that incorporate some technology into classrooms, targeting hybrid classes (part online and part classroom). There is a likely reduction in some of the online courses going forward and faculty participating in full-blown online courses. Offering funds for course development in the hybrid area would encourage technology and pedagogy to be infused throughout faculty. He suggested that perhaps IC courses should be given less priority this particular round. The Honors program went through some revision last year and deserves funding, and sustainability is a long-term agenda.
Squier stated that she would prefer that IC remains a priority for at least another year. O’Loughlin agreed that IC should remain a priority. More tenure-line faculty should be teaching IC courses. EDP money would be an incentive for that structure. She questioned whether Honors courses should be a focus since the number of students served by IC versus Honors is a huge difference. We would serve the greatest number of students by encouraging more IC course development while still funding Honors course development.
Finzel stated that realistically, given resources, we are talking about 5 to 6 proposals being funded. There is room to cover different areas. Patterson asked if the number was based on the current funding level. Finzel replied that current funding would fund about 6 proposals. Given the allocation, that is not a very generous amount per proposal.
Finzel asked for comments about the hybrid proposal. EDP did have a technology focus years ago. He would like the review committee to recommend awarding courses that bring a new innovation. Squier stated that the University has a clear definition of what a hybrid is. Part of the course is taken online and part in the classroom. If a course is just using Moodle, it is not counted as a hybrid.
Ng asked if the EDP grant is limited to the development of a brand new course or can be given to enhance an existing course. Finzel stated that the program grants are intended for curricular development, including refreshment of existing courses. Squier asked if the rule would be changed to allow day-school students to take hybrid courses without having to meet special criteria. Finzel answered that a number of issues would have to be considered if we had an actual course to offer, including how to treat it, schedule it, and find space for it. Patterson asked what the inherent curricular value would be of increasing the number of hybrid classes. Finzel replied that the ultimate gain of this initiative would be keeping our faculty as current as possible using technological possibilities. He concluded that he sensed more general support for technology use in the classroom, which might include hybrid. He will come back to the committee with a draft of a proposal.
Cook asked if the current EDP timeline could be moved up a bit to have the call for proposals sent out earlier than March 8 (last year’s date). Finzel replied that the current due date reflects Spring Break, giving faculty time to write their proposals over break. We could put out a call in February.
Finzel asked the faculty members of the committee what they thought would be a sufficient amount of money to incent faculty to submit proposals. They are going to do the work regardless of the grant amount, but there must be some people riding the fence who will decide to do it because of the grant amount. Ericksen stated that $3,000 seems more reasonable than the current $2,000 amount. Alia noted that some courses could be more expensive to develop than others. Perhaps the expenses of the course could be weighed. Ericksen added that we could ask for a more detailed budget than we have. Finzel noted that salary would remain the predominant budget line. Ericksen asked if we wanted to raise the amounts and reduce the number of awards. Turk noted that the amount we decide to give for each award should be tied to the target number of courses we want to fund. Finzel suggested that the amount be increased to $3,000 this year. He will bring a new Call for Proposals back to the committee to review.
2. INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY (IC) COURSE APPROVAL PROCESS
The proposal to create the IC First-Year curricular component was proposed and approved by the Curriculum Committee and approved by Campus Assembly in 2010-11. Finzel suggested the committee discuss item 3 under the section titled “Implementation Consideration.” It states that “A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee will screen these proposals and work with faculty to ensure that the goals of the general education requirement are met by the course as described.” Last year a small subcommittee of this committee worked with Assistant Dean Ratliff-Crain to review the proposals. Patterson stated that he was on the subcommittee of 4 people. They looked at proposals and said yea/nay or added additional comments that would improve the proposal. Ericksen added that Ratliff-Crain had pushed the division chairs to get people to submit IC course proposals. Finzel asked if a separate review is still necessary, now that the program is underway. Ng stated that the subcommittee process was needed the first year because of the urgency of getting courses set up for the fall. Now that we have a good cohort, we won’t need as many new courses. Squier agreed that the subcommittee would not be necessary this year.
Rudney stated that, in the context of bigger general education discussions, we haven’t done a particularly careful job of looking at proposed general education designators on courses. She agreed that we don’t need an extra committee to look at them, but we need to look more carefully at designators when courses are proposed. With the present process, an explanation is only required if a Gen Ed designator is not assigned to a course. No explanation is required to explain why a course should have a particular designator. Finzel concluded that there was a consensus that there is no longer a demand for a separate review process.
Adjourned 2:45 p.m.
Submitted by Darla Peterson