University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, Minnesota

March 10, 1998; 8:00 a.m.; Behmler Conference Room

Present: Ellis, Farrell, Frenier, Korth, Kissock, Lee, McIntosh, Nylander, Schuman, Taylor

Absent: Asmus, Ballou, Beiswenger, Leroux, Thielke

Guest(s): None

[In these minutes: Continued discussion of semester GER designations and repeatable course lists]

Schuman referred members to the list of variable-credit courses which have a one-credit option and have been approved for a GER designator. Division Chairs were assigned the task of checking with disciplines about the remaining courses on the list.

Farrell said the art history discipline is agreeable to changing the credits on ArtH 4000 to 2-4 credits. He has not heard from French faculty and assumes that it will be agreeable to them to change Fren 4210 to 2-6 credits. Korth reported that the chemistry discipline wished to drop the GER designation on Chem 4894. They do not believe that will penalize any students because the ones taking this course would already have gotten the lab requirement fulfilled many times. Lee said that the history discipline did not intend to offer Hist 3000 for variable credits. This course should be listed for 4 credits only. Psychology wishes to add a statement stipulating that the GER category will not apply if the course is taken for less than 2 credits.

Mooney noted that the discussion had ended at the last meeting with the philosophy proposal.

Mooney noted that the topics courses should be "repeatable when topic changes."

Schuman indicated that Spch 3200, 4000, and 4100 appear to be topics courses. He asked Farrell to find out if 4100 is a "variable topic" course with the umbrella heading and specific listings below.

Schuman commented that the theatre tours are repeatable to 4 credits and the practicum and performance courses, 1060 and 1070, are repeatable to 8 credits. Mooney noted that 3000, the topics course, is listed as nonrepeatable.

Schuman stated that we have not taken the question of repeatability very seriously, but it does need to be answered correctly. We will have to work on the repeatable question until we have it right.

Schuman asked if Biol 1000 and 4000 are not repeatable. He assumed that most often specific topics are not repeatable. Some courses, of course, are repeatable even if the content does not change. Lee suggested that there should be a different course number if the topic changes.

Schuman wondered if the CC wanted to come up with a general rule about topics courses.

[An example of a variable topic listing in the bulletin would be the following:

Engl 1100. Topics in Literature. (See specific topics for general education categories; 4 cr; repeatable when topic changes; offered when feasible)
Study of a literary topic that is both timely and of broad interest.

Engl 1101f. The Novel Since 1960. (Hum; 4 cr; not offered 1999-2000)Major British and American novels since 1960.

Engl 1102. The Environmental Imagination. (Envt; 4 cr; not offered 1999-2000)
Study of selected poetry and prose on nature and the environment.

Engl 1103. The Novel on Page and Screen. (Hum; 4 cr; offered when feasible)
Text and film versions of major British and American novels will be studied to learn about the effects of adaptation and the distinctive characteristics of the two media.

Engl 1104f. Backgrounds to Literature. (Hist; 4 cr; not offered 2000-2001)
Wide reading in the Bible and versions of the Greek and Roman myths combined with selected readings in English literature that illustrate the literary use of biblical and classical allusions.]

Would the general rule be that topic umbrellas (e.g., Engl 1100) would be repeatable, but specific topics (e.g., Engl 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104) would not? Mooney wondered if the rule would assume no maximum on the repeatability of the umbrella course. Schuman said presumably.

Lee wondered if Biol 1000 and 4000 are variable topic courses. Korth said that at one time Biol 1051 and 1052 were topics under Biol 1000. Farrell noted that some specific topics are later made into regular courses. Mooney pointed out that the courses are given new numbers when that happens.

Schuman said we want an institutionally clean way to do this. Korth said it had been his assumption that whatever is specified in the generic heading is carried forward for all of the specific topics. In the biology repeatable list, that means that the specific topics are not repeatable.

Frenier noted that "topics" is used in two different ways. Sometimes it refers to a variable topic course and other times it is simply meant as "issues" or "studies in." Kissock suggested that the CC could specify that the term "topic" or "topics" would be reserved for umbrella courses with variable topics. We could also say that it is not possible to register for the generic heading, only the subsets. Schuman said he would add that the generic topic is always repeatable but the specific topics are not.

Lee said that some courses may need topics as non-variable selections. If all courses ending in "0" were umbrella topics, that would help. Mooney indicated that the recommended course numbering standards from the Twin Cities say that all repeatable courses in general should end with "0." At Morris, we tried to save 1000, 2000, 3000, etc. for generic topic headings, but that wasn't always possible and sometimes we needed more numbers, so we used 1050, 2050, etc. Because some disciplines have as many as 20 specific topics under one headings, we tried to save 50 numbers after the generic heading number for specific topics.

Farrell noted that some "seminars" or "studies in..." also have changing topics. Mooney agreed. An example is the "Area Studies" course in anthropology which is a generic heading with specific topics (and separate numbers) below it. She wondered if umbrella topics would be required to have "topic" in the title. Korth thought Farrell had described a variable subject course that should be repeatable, not a topics course. Kissock thought that the course titles in German present a good example of the confusion that we have with topics courses:

Ger 3221--Studies in German Drama.
Ger 3300--Topics in German with English Discussion.
Ger 3400--Topics in German with German Discussion.
Ger 3500--Topics in Women's Issues in Contemporary German Culture.
Ger 3601--Studies in German Literature.
Ger 3611--Studies in Austrian Literature.

When we say topics course, can we give a simple description of what we mean? We use the variable topic courses to give faculty flexibility to add courses that may not be offered on a regular basis, etc. Schuman noted that some disciplines have none of these courses, some have only one, some have many. Kissock suggested that the CC would approve generic topic headings such as "Topics in English." Then each time the discipline teaches that course, they would give it a unique number and title. That would be the only setting for topics courses.

Farrell asked where the GER would go. Schuman said, if the generic heading has a GER category, then all of the specific topics below it would also have that GER. He wondered if someone should try to write up these principles.

McIntosh wondered if the generic heading could list 100x instead of 1000. Mooney doubted if that would be possible in the web database (the course number cell does not accept letters). Even if it would, some of the generic topics have 15-20 specific topics, so the number would have to be 10xx and that introduces other courses which are not under the generic heading.

Schuman suggested that any title with the words "Variable Topics in..." would be repeatable. Mooney said she would need a list of all of the courses that fit in that category in order to revise the bulletin copy.

Frenier wondered if, ten years from now, people will have forgotten this CC discussion and not remember the difference between a course title with "variable topics" and one with simply "topics." Schuman agreed that would be confusing. He suggested that the word "topic" or "topics" be excised from other course titles.

Taylor wondered if it would be possible to have a "0" at the end of these topics courses. Mooney noted that any repeatable course is supposed to have a "0" at the end, not just topics courses. There are even difficulties in making all of the repeatable courses end in "0". For example, two courses that are both repeatable and should be listed together because they are "I" and "II" would have to be ten numbers apart to end in a zero and thus might not be listed together. That case did arise and it was decided to have one of the courses not end in a zero in order to keep the two courses together.

Farrell suggested that, instead of saying what the title must be, the CC could say that we must refrain from using "topic" in other course titles. CC members thought that other words could be suggested, like "issues" or "studies in."

The CC agreed that the Dean should draft a general policy on these matters to bring to the committee. Schuman said the CC should therefore continue with the discussion of the repeatable lists, but ignore topics courses at this point. He asked if there were further issues regarding the biology list. There were none.

Chemistry, Computer Science, Math, Physics
No comments.

Natural Science
Schuman wondered if 3100--Scientific Biography and Autobiography was a variable topic course. Korth thought it was intended to be a single repeatable course with variable subjects. Togeas will be teaching this new course. Schuman asked Korth to check with Togeas to see what he had in mind.

Schuman thought the topics course numbers should be changed to have a "0" at the end. Mooney said they weren't given zero numbers initially because the titles gave no clue that they were topics courses.

Schuman indicated that we would begin with the Social Science repeatable lists at the next meeting in spring quarter. He and Mooney will prepare a topics template for the next meeting, also.

This is the last meeting scheduled for winter quarter. Blank schedule forms will be sent out so that a meeting time for spring quarter can be determined.

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

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