MEETING #12 Minutes

December 5, 2006, 10:00 a.m., Prairie Lounge



Present:     Judy Kuechle (chair), Michael Korth, Jooinn Lee, Jenny Nellis, Gwen Rudney, Harold Hinds, Escillia Allen, Mary Elizabeth Bezanson, Van Gooch, Nancy Helsper, Sara Haugen

Absent:      Ferolyn Angell, Amanda Jasken, Isaac Linehan-Clodfelter, Brenda Boever, Jeri Mullin, Clare Strand, one student yet to be named

Visiting:    Bert Ahern, Dorothy DeJager, Tom McRoberts



Kuechle opened the meeting.




Kuechle noted an error in the wording of a line under the section titled “Other.”  The line beginning “Transfer courses will not be excluded...” should read “Transfer courses will be excluded...”  Kuechle asked for approval of minutes from the November 28, 2006 meeting.


         MOTION (Bezanson/Hinds) to approve the minutes of November 28, 2006, as corrected.

         VOTE: Motion passed unanimously.


Kuechle announced that spring semester meetings of the Curriculum Committee will be held on Wednesdays at 8:00 AM.  Escillia Allen has class at that time.  Kuechle thanks Allen for being a valuable member of the committee and expressed her regret that the committee must meet at that time.  Allen will switch her class to another section, if possible.  A schedule of the meetings will be sent out.  Nellis asked if the committee will meet every week.  Kuechle answered that it will depend upon what items come forward.  A number of items will need attention spring semester.




Kuechle asked Bert Ahern to speak to the committee about the proposed American Indian Studies Major program.  Ahern is one of three faculty members who brought the proposal forward.  The other two faculty members, Becca Gercken and Julie Pelletier, were not able to attend the meeting.


Ahern stated that he would move to approve the proposal, but since he was not a member of the committee, he asked a member to move.  Lee made the motion, with Angell seconding.  The motion was not recognized by the chair, since the proposal was coming before the committee for discussion and not for action at this time.


The first question Ahern addressed was that of resources.  He stressed that faculty staffing for the program would be provided by existing tenure-line faculty and resources.  The critical resource that allowed the proposal to come forward was the added faculty line in anthropology a few years ago.  At that point the campus accepted anthropology as a major.  It took a while to get to a point where American Indian Studies could be formalized into a major.


Kuechle mentioned that she had asked Helsper to look at the institutional data that was offered in the proposal for accuracy.  Helsper handed out two charts to illustrate the differences she found.  On page two of the proposal, under the section “Need and Demand,” the number of students who completed an area of concentration in American Indian Studies in the past two years is listed as 19.  The actual number should be 10.  Ahern stated that he thought the difference reflected the number of students who have filed versus the number who have graduated.  Helsper responded that if that were the case, the number would still be lower, since the number of students who filed was actually only 13.  Kuechle asked Ahern to change the number to 10.


Helsper noted that under the section “Efficiency, Effectiveness, and use of Resources” on the same page, the numbers for the student-faculty ratios listed should be the five-year averages of 16.5, 11.9, & 19.6, and the campus five-year average should be 13.4.


Gooch asked why students might select American Indian Studies as an area of concentration, and what they would do with it after graduation.  Ahern answered that they might choose it because they have an interest in that area of study.  Some individuals have gone on to graduate study in the area, and some to work for a tribal government or into the private workforce.  In the large majority of instances, this is a second major, most likely linked with history or anthropology, and less likely, with English.  This is probably due to the fact that the course work overlaps with that of history and anthropology.


Angell asked if the proposal will go on to CRPC if approved by the Curriculum Committee.  Kuechle answered that it would need to go to CRPC to discuss resource implications.  Ahern argued that the curricular proposal should go through the Curriculum Committee, then to Campus Assembly, and finally to the Board of Regents.


Angell asked how, if an English professor moved on, the position would be guaranteed to fulfill the expertise needed for the program.  Nellis answered that in the process of hiring, we would point out to the faculty member that this is an area they would be expected to teach, and we would hire someone with a specialty in that area.  Ahern added that having the program will help to recruit faculty who have an interest in this area.


Kuechle asked if there are any new courses that will be proposed for this major.  Ahern answered that there are two courses.  They have been held up because the discipline designator had not been determined.  It was originally proposed as AIS, but will instead be AmIn to align with the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses.  Ahern stated that the two courses are AmIn 1492-Introduction to American Indian Studies, and AmIn 4xxx-Senior Project in American Indian Studies.  AmIn 1492 will be a fall semester course offered annually.  Kuechle asked if AmIn 1492 would have a GER designator.  Ahern replied that it would be HDiv.


Kuechle asked where the courses would be housed.  Ahern answered that it would be under the vice chancellor for academic affairs because it would be an Interdisciplinary Studies (I.S.) major.  Kuechle answered that it would pose a problem if the dean were expected to find the faculty to teach the course.  Women’s Studies (an I.S. major), has difficulty finding a faculty member to teach the introductory course.  When a major does not have a divisional home, it can be overlooked when course loads and schedules are set.  Ahern answered that the course has been worked into the course load of an anthropology faculty member, Julie Pelletier.  Nellis asked if that faculty member will not be teaching something she had taught in her discipline.  Ahern answered that adjustments have been made in the anthropology discipline for the next two-year catalog period.


Students who double-major in American Indian Studies and history can fulfill the requirements of a capstone project through one course for both majors (e.g., AmIn 4xxx or Hist 4xxx).  Bezanson added that they could also take both courses separately if they choose.  Helsper noted that neither course appears in the requirements for the American Indian Studies major.  That will need to be corrected.


Kuechle asked if the capstone course would rotate between the three faculty members who are proposing the major.  Ahern answered that it would depend on the area a particular student is interested in pursuing.  It is possible one, two, or all three faculty members may be involved with the course.  Kuechle asked if that course would be counted as one of the faculty member’s courses assigned to them during spring semester.  Ahern answered that the research seminar would be considered part of the teaching load.


Nellis stated that the problem she sees if this goes through is what we do with the English course that Gercken doesn’t teach in the year she teaches AmIn 1492.  English has a certain responsibility to staff College Writing courses, as well as the courses offered in the major.  We’re not supporting the Women’s Studies major right now and are trying to figure out how to encourage enough faculty members to take part in the First Year Seminar next fall.  If we add the senior project in American Indian Studies, it seems we are making our class schedules less and less workable.  Given the number of unknowns right now, an English position cannot be spared from teaching English classes in order to teach AmIn 1492.  Lee added that it is an inherent difficulty in any I.S. major.  Kuechle agreed that it is difficult to cover all the programs we are adding.


Lee stated that we have enough resources on campus in terms of current faculty to cover the new courses.  Teaching assignments in each discipline were carefully thought out to fill the new major without adversely affecting the other majors.


Bezanson asked, given where we are in the program review process, whether this proposed major will be incorporated in the review process.  Ahern stated that, since it’s not an existing program, it cannot be subject to review.  Kuechle answered that Chancellor Johnson is aware that the proposal is coming forward.


Bezanson stated that there is no guarantee the positions designated to teach the courses for this major will not be changed as a result of the program reviews that are currently going on.  Ahern stated that the only way a tenure-track line can be redirected is if the individual agrees to it or vacates the line.  Korth added that there are vacant tenure lines that aren’t filled.  Ahern added that if program reviews resulted in anthropology losing a faculty line, we will no longer support the anthropology major.  If that happens, then this proposal would not be viable.  The AmIn major depends upon filling all open lines in the disciplines involved.


Ahern added that when the campus is going through a program review, and there is a question about resources, considering a new program that uses existing resources and does not require soft money allows us to do a positive thing at a time when we might have to do some negative things.  We have always been a lean campus in terms of the number of majors.  When we can find majors that are attractive and reflect exciting new areas of study, it is in our interest to approve them.  The other part of the rationale is that it ties to the unique history of this campus and its special circumstances of the Native American tuition waiver for students.


Kuechle mentioned that the Registrar had voiced a concern about whether we usually list the prerequisites as required when courses have prerequisites.  Ahern answered that they are not listed because similar majors, like Latin American Area Studies and Women’s Studies, do not list prerequisites in the catalog.  Several committee members disagreed.  There are eight credits of prerequisites: Anth 1111-Introductory Cultural Anthropology (4 cr.), and Engl 1131-Introduction to Literature (4 cr.).  Lee stated that we should have a policy on whether prerequisites are listed.


Kuechle expressed a concern that any time we create a major, there should be an accompanying SE&E budget to support it.  She asked Ahern if he could give a ballpark figure of what it would cost to support the major.  Ahern suggested that if it is an I.S. major, the vice chancellor’s budget would cover the cost.  The only unique SE&E cost ties to the two new courses, which would be minimal.  Nellis added that duplicating would be an expense.  Ahern answered that duplicating costs would be less than $100.  Korth added that faculty teaching these courses would not be teaching other courses, so it would be a wash.  Nellis stated that there could also be costs incurred for computer hook-ups, telephone lines, and office space.  Duplicating costs can be much more than $100 for a single course.  It depends on the pedagogy.


Ahern stated that there are really two issues.  One is the cost of supplies, and the other is the difficulty of replacing a faculty member.  This proposal satisfies the second issue because the anthropology faculty member will be teaching the course.  If the English faculty member wants to teach it, she would have to come up with a proposal that would allow her to do it and fit with the available resources.  This is a challenge of interdisciplinary curriculum.  It has kept this campus much less interdisciplinary in practice than we say we are.


Gooch asked how many other universities offer a similar program, and if we see this as a program that might attract students to UMM.  Ahern answered that there are at least forty institutions with a similar program, including the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses.  The discipline is probably about 25 years old, but it has only come into maturity in the last 15 years.  This will appeal not only to American Indian students, even though a disproportionate number of American Indian students have pursued this area.  The American Indian Advisory Committee members are very excited about adding this program.


Kuechle asked if it was Ahern’s intent to also list American Indian languages, such as Dakota and Ojibwa, as part of the electives.  Ahern answered that we can’t build them into the requirements, but we can list them as electives.  We would encourage students to fulfill their language requirements by taking one of the American Indian languages.  Bezanson asked if a student fulfilling the FL proficiency with Dakota can also count it as pat of the major.  Kuechle answered that they can count it as an elective in the major.  Bezanson asked whether another non-language major exists that would count a language in the major.  Hinds answered that beginning Spanish is a prerequisite for the LAAS major.


Kuechle asked if there were any items the committee members would like to receive before the next meeting in order to help them with their decision.  Korth answered that it is tempting to request a letter of commitment from each of the disciplines involved, stating that they will commit to cover a certain number of courses that will make this program work.  Lee asked if that had been done before.  Korth answered that we have heard an unwritten commitment with women’s studies, and now we have a problem.  Perhaps a similar commitment needs to come from anthropology and/or history.  Bezanson stated that there is no way a division chair can make such a statement if every open line is up for grabs in program reviews.  Ahern stated that the disciplines of history and anthropology have voted to approve the major and are committed to providing the necessary courses in the future.  Ahern agreed that it is important that each discipline go on record as having stated they understand the commitment involved by the discipline, but a commitment in writing would have little meaning.  The discipline could change in personnel in two or four years.  Nellis answered that, at the very least, it means that every faculty member in that discipline has thought about it and has verbalized their thoughts.


It was agreed that the topic will be carried to next week for further discussion and action.


Meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

Submitted by Darla Peterson