University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, Minnesota

MINUTES--1996-97 CURRICULUM COMMITTEE MEETING #1
June 6, 1996; 8:00 a.m.; Education 211

Present: Ballou, Barbour, Farrell, Frenier, Imholte, Korth, Kissock, J. Lee, M. Lee, Schuman, Thielke, Whelan

Absent: Bass, Davis, Ellis, Vickstrom

Guest(s): None


NEXT STEPS IN THE SEMESTER CONVERSION PROCESS:
Schuman distributed copies of a document entitled "Next Steps," dated 5/96. He welcomed the new and continuing members of the 1996-97 Curriculum Committee. The Executive Committee had requested that the 1996-97 committees meet once this spring in order to be prepared to begin working immediately in the fall. Schuman commented that 1995-96 has been a busy year for the Curriculum Committee (CC). The CC met almost every week. He guesses that the pace will be similar next year.

The "Next Steps" document distributed today is a second version. Schuman created the original document, but in the revision process it has become increasingly the CC's document. The work of converting to semesters is dispersing at this point away from a central role for the CC, although the CC is still the hub of activity. The CC will have to stay in touch with other areas as they begin working on semester conversion. Item #3 (rewriting and approval of individual courses, majors, etc.) in the document is what the CC will spend most of its time doing next year. The CC will be looking at courses and major alterations as they come from the disciplines. The CC will also be engaged in item #1 (General Education Requirements), and the other items on the list.

Schuman indicated that Morris is back leading the pack in terms of conversion within the University of Minnesota system. He would like to keep us there. He has not been through a bulletin revision year on the Curriculum Committee, but he understands that the CC is always busy during those years. He expects that this may be an especially busy bulletin year. The CC should plan to meet weekly. Schuman will call the CC together early in fall quarter. The first task will be to take a look at the "Next Steps" document. There will be other CC business as well. He was surprised at the amount of "other" business that the CC had this year.

Schuman wondered if anyone saw the report of the speech communication students who observed several CC meetings this year. He found the report quite interesting.

Korth wondered if the campus would be preparing a 1997-99 Bulletin next year. Schuman thought that we would do a cheap update, maybe a supplement in the back of the current bulletin. Farrell thought we should do something nicer, since it will last for two more years. Mooney said it was her understanding from Steve Baker, the Director of Communications and Publications in the T.C., that there would be the normal funding for us to do a bulletin next year. She had thought that we might want to make whatever changes are needed and come up with a new cover. Several changes have been made to the curriculum already this year. Schuman had not realized that the T.C. would be paying for the bulletin; he agreed that we should do a regular bulletin, just keep the changes to a minimum.

Kissock said the question of the chicken and the egg is on his mind. The General Education Requirements must still be determined, but the CC might want a rough draft in the fall from the disciplines. What are the real time frames? Farrell, who served as chair of the General Education Committee (GEC) this year, said his reaction is that a deadline of October 15 or November 1 is too early for the GEC. Many disciplines in the Humanities are not prepared to present any semester drafts at this point. His guess is that February would be a better deadline for a proposal from the GEC. He is also concerned about the common experience. It was not his understanding that the GEC would be responsible for proposing a new common experience. Farrell's recommendation and that of the GEC was that there should be GEC members on the common experience committee. Just deciding whether the common experience will be a course or not is a big question.

Schuman said he may have misunderstood, but he thought it was the strong feeling of the CC at the last meeting that the common experience group should be a subcommittee of the GEC. Korth agreed. Farrell thought the deadline of 12/96 was not realistic. Schuman agreed that the time was short, but looming is the fact that everything must be done by fall of 1997. He sees the common experience as the biggest stumbling block in the conversion process. The question is how to do it differently from the last two times so that it works.

Farrell noted that the GER component is holding up discipline revisions. The GEC has some proposals, but the new GEC has many new members and the proposals may not stay in the current form. Ballou commented that there has not been a lot of unanimity on what the common experience should be. Who is going to notify the GEC of this responsibility? Schuman said that carrying the message is something he would do, but that is different from making the decision. He would rather not choose the membership of the common experience group so that it does not appear that this is the "Dean's committee." Ballou suggested that the CC suggest membership. Farrell thought that should be the responsibility of the GEC. He does not have a problem with the framework, but the decision needs to be made so the people on the committee know about it over the summer and can be thinking about it. Schuman said members of the CC had different opinions about who should be on the GEC subcommittee. He thought we should have people with strong feelings about the common experience on the subcommittee. Tap Payne thought there should be flexible, openminded people on the subcommittee.

Whelan said, in his opinion, the GER has to be decided first. We need to get started. Some of the first drafts of semester programs in the Science and Mathematics Division leave no room for a first-year common experience. We have to make a decision so that disciplines can go ahead with revising their programs.

Farrell said he would like to make a recommendation for appointing the common experience subcommittee. He thinks that it is the responsibility of the Dean, but noted that there is a strong tradition at UMM of having the Dean consult with the Division Chairs. The members should include people on both sides of the common experience controversy, plus some neutral members, or those committed to coming to a consensus, with a total of about 6-7 people. Schuman said he had solicited names for the subcommittee immediately after the Assembly meeting on Inquiry. Some people suggested, wisely, that we should let the matter rest. Would this be a special task force of the Dean since the Dean doesn't appoint Assembly committees? Thielke thought that the Executive Committee could be consulted. Farrell did not agree with involving the Executive Committee. Schuman thought that the CC, the GEC, and the Dean should have some say in the formation of the subcommittee. Kissock suggested accepting Farrell's proposal and consulting with the Division Chairs, the Dean, and the Chair of the GEC, and then have the task force report to the GEC.

Schuman said the CC could try to make this decision the way we did the rest of the decisions this year--we bring in a question and make it a very open democratic process. The only way we will get a majority of the campus community to endorse the common experience is if they have been part of the process of building the proposal. Whelan was a little more optimistic. He has seen the draft from the GEC. He would hope there is a sense of cooperation. He thought the GEC could bring in its proposal early in the fall. Farrell said there were four models from the GEC, although it is clear that one model will not work well.

Schuman said we need to get a plan from the GEC soon, but we can't expect them to work on it over the summer. The GEC should start work immediately in the fall. He is mostly concerned about the most difficult part of the GER and that is the common experience. We could appoint the subcommittee now so they will be thinking about it over the summer and get to work early in the fall. He likes the Kissock idea of getting the Division Chairs and some other committee chairs together to make membership recommendations. To the extent that the Dean is appointing the subcommittee, that opens the door to quibbling about administrative appointments. Kissock thought that was a legitimate role for the Dean to play. Schuman suggested that CC members get ideas for members to him.

Imholte wondered why another committee was needed. Why not have the GEC do the common experience? Schuman replied that the GEC does not have enough time to prepare all of the parts of the GER in the time we have. Farrell noted that the Assembly said that the common experience would be a separate committee. Imholte thought that, unless the membership for the subcommittee is taken to Campus Assembly, the process is compromised. Schuman agreed that these are tricky issues. He thought that something could be done now, in a very consulting way, and take it to the Assembly in the fall.

Thielke brought up another issue. She wanted to build bridges among the four active bulletins. When we switch to semesters, we need to think about all of the acceptable versions of the majors. We need to build tables in APAS, which will not appear in the bulletin, for substitutions for course requirements in old bulletins where the courses no longer exist.

Schuman said he would call together the Division Chairs, Jim Togeas (chair of the GEC for 1996-97), and one or two others to come up with names for a task force on the common experience. He will emphasize how open that group will have to be. His prejudice is to put the people who are farthest apart on the issue on the committee and tell them to come to agreement. The people on the committee will also have to be committed, diplomatic and open. Frenier commented that the last time that was done, the process was very painful and one of her colleagues ended up in the hospital. Ballou suggested involving the chair of the GEC as the person who is soliciting names and give the appearance that this is coming from the GEC. Whelan thought the subcommittee membership would have the endorsement of the CC and the GEC. Schuman agreed. The membership of the committee is a crucial decision. Korth said that, for validity, it needs to be a subcommittee of a governance committee. Schuman agreed that the group needs to be validated, but we can't wait until fall to appoint the membership. He noted that we don't want a repeat here of what happened in the T.C. where the tenure committee got voted out of existence well into their work. M. Lee said the membership needs to be approved by the Assembly, or the process could blow up. Schuman said the Assembly could approve the membership in the fall.

Farrell suggested that the subcommittee have members from the GEC and also one person from the CC. Schuman thought that was a good idea. Farrell reminded the group that whatever proposal comes from the subcommittee will go through the GEC and the CC before going to Campus Assembly.

Schuman noted that it will be an interesting year. Going back to Thielke's issue, it is his understanding that the faculty development workshop in the fall will bring in people who know about making the transition to semesters, especially making the transition easier for students who are already on campus. Thielke said she will need help with rewriting the code as well as with figuring out what the substitutions will be.

Schuman reminded CC members to suggest common experience committee members to him.

Meeting adjourned at 8:55 a.m.
Submitted by Nancy Mooney

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