MEETING # 15 Minutes

January 31, 2007, 8:00 a.m., Behmler Hall Conference Room

Present: Judy Kuechle (chair), Escillia Allen, Ferolyn Angell, Van Gooch, Harold Hinds, Michael Korth, Jooinn Lee, Jenny Nellis, Gwen Rudney, Ray Schultz, Sara Haugen, Nancy Helsper, Jeri Mullin, Clare Strand

Absent:   Amanda Jasken, Isaac Linehan-Clodfelter, one student yet to be named

Visiting: Brenda Boever, Tom McRoberts



Kuechle opened the meeting.


Approval of Minutes from JANUARY 24, 2007

Kuechle asked for approval of minutes from the January 24, 2007 meeting.


         MOTION  (Lee/Nellis) to approve the minutes of January 24, 2007 as corrected.

         VOTE:      Motion passed unanimously.

Korth stated that he did not recall having said a sentence in the fourth paragraph from the end.  It was agreed that the sentence would be stricken.




IS3212H-Honors: Global Encounters and the Making of the Contemporary World

         MOTION (Nellis/Schultz) to approve.

         VOTE: (8-0-0)

Kuechle questioned why only one name is listed as an instructor.  Such courses usually list two instructors.  Nellis replied that she thought Hidalgo-NúĖez may be the second instructor.


PHYS 1063-Physics of Weather

         MOTION (Nellis/Schultz) to approve.

         VOTE: tabled

Korth announced that the course has been brought before the committee prematurely.  This will be voted on by the division in two weeks.  It was sent forward for provisional approval, which it did receive, in order to get it into the fall class schedule.  Action on the course was tabled until a future meeting.


FIRST YEAR SEMINAR (FYS) Continued Discussion


At the last meeting, Kuechle stated that she would bring the goals and some proposed questions for the FYS review committee to consider.  The FYS Web site states:


The goals of FYS are to teach students to think critically and to assess sources of information; to help students become aware of the lenses through which they perceive and recognize that their perceptions are not universal.


Kuechle handed out the following list of proposed questions:


  1. Review the FYS course goals
    1. Are these currently being met in the course?
    2. Are these the goals that should be guiding FYS?


  1. Should there be a common theme to FYS?
    1. If so, what themes are proposed?
    2. If not, how should topics/themes be selected?


  1. Should there be common experiences across sections?


  1. Should we consider a return to a common reader---or common readings?


  1. Should all first year students be required to take FYS?


  1. Should we increase (decrease) the credits of the FYS course?


  1. In what ways should FYS be linked to the First Year Experience?


  1. Does FYS have the support of faculty/students/staff to continue?


  1. Does UMM have the financial means to continue offering FYS?  If not, and we decide it is important, how do we assure the financial means to offer the course?


Suggested activity:

      Review surveys from first year students regarding FYS

      Survey or focus groups of 3rd and 4th year students to see if perspective has changed

      Focus groups of faculty, staff, coordinators, division chairs



Schultz suggested adding a question regarding the Jamboree and whether it should be an integral part of the first-year experience.  The Jamboree seems to be a contentious issue.


Strand asked if it would be relevant to look at the FYS the TC has created, to benefit from what they’ve already done.


Angell stated that a pre-test and post-test of the FYS course for students might be a good way to survey the students.


Strand asked if the Assessment of Student Learning Committee is looking at FYS or has any data about FYS.  Helsper answered that the ASLC talked about a problem they discovered from the GenEd survey that students are not understanding why the liberal arts are important. The ASLC was the committee who asked the Curriculum Committee to change the theme of FYS to one that involved looking at the value of the liberal arts.  The ASL Web site has a link to assessment results for the FYS program.


Strand asked if the FYS review committee would review the student evaluations.  Kuechle answered that they can look at a summary of the survey of the courses.  Clare asked if the dean would be looking at the bigger picture, including the faculty evaluations that the review committee cannot see.  Kuechle answered that she looks at the faculty evaluations, as dean, but did not think the review committee should look at them.  Rudney suggested that the review committee could ask the dean what the summary indicated.


Angell shared that the topic of FYS came up at the last Multicultural Student Leadership Retreat.  There was a sense from some of the staff that their perception was that FYS no longer addressed questions of cultural diversity in a uniform way.  They were not happy about it.  Kuechle answered that concern is related to the first question listed, regarding the goals of the course.


Hinds stated that one faculty member in his division felt that the course should be changed from a 2-credit course to a 4-credit course (relating to question #6).  The concern expressed was that two credits don’t accomplish the goals.  Mullin answered that if it were to be a 4-credit course, we would not have the facilities for all the sections.  Korth responded that we would have the facilities if we could identify the faculty to teach it, because they would not be teaching something else at that time.  Schultz asked if there might be another way to teach the course without expanding it in length, e.g., could a common experience count for the added credits for the course.  Angel suggested bringing in a consultant to do training in multicultural awareness for the faculty and students.  Kuechle added that involving experts on the first year experience might also be considered.


McRoberts stated that there is an enormous historical memory about or experience with various first year experiences of this kind on this campus.  We should call upon the memory that’s already at hand, including the evaluations about the individual seminars and overall experience.  This is the most evaluated course on campus in the institutional history.  We’ve collected huge amounts of data that have been ignored as the new initiative has been taken.  Each time we review FYS there probably is a new set of questions that come up with the change of time, but we should not forget what we did right as well as what we did wrong.


Helsper recalled that she took minutes on the Common Experience Task Force, which Lee had chaired years ago.  Everything was discussed in great detail.  Kuechle answered that the review committee should read the final report of that committee.  Lee stated that the campus has had this type of endeavor in some form for the past 40 years, beginning with Connections, and then through transformations to the current FYS.  He stated that perhaps we’ve reached the point when we can seriously discuss the viability and merits of this program.  In view of resources we have to commit to it and the goal setting, maybe this review committee or some committee has to look at it periodically.  When he chaired the review committee, they recommended a review every 4 years.


Hinds shared that when he taught a program in the 1970’s the student in his sections were also his advisees.  He recalled that it established a good set of personal relationships that allowed the advising aspect to be far more successful than it currently is.  Strand answered that the idea would work even better if we moved toward students having more than one adviser.  Some students may start out with an adviser based on FYS, but later want one that is specialized in their major.  We haven’t strongly supported multiple advisers.  Angell stated that if we try to pursue something like that, some of the faculty who teach FYS would need to be given advising rights.


Angell asked if Kuechle had pulled together ideas for members of a review committee.  Kuechle answered that Angell and McRoberts had volunteered to be on the committee.  Nellis added that she had suggested a faculty member on the previous committee (Dave Roberts or Vicki Graham).  Kuechle also recalled that Nellis had requested that the review committee be small.


Schultz asked if faculty will be surveyed.  Kuechle answered that the review committee can decide how to gather information, but might consider surveys, focus groups, etc.  Schultz stated that those who have taught FYS probably have a lot of good experiential things to share.  Targeting them in some way separately might be good.


McRoberts stated that the Curriculum Committee might need to grapple with an issue that came up a couple of years ago when considering the Big Idea.  The Big Idea was an attempt to launch an effort of guaranteeing a study abroad experience for all students. The concern voiced then was how many commitments we can as an institution take on and manage.  McRoberts wondered if there is another major commitment in the future which will affect faculty, and can we sustain those things that go beyond our disciplines in light of our strategic planning process.


Mullin stated that the questions on the list appear to be positive questions.  One of the questions should target the faculty opposed to the FYS.  Perhaps it could ask what should be changed about it to make it more attractive for them to teach it.  Hinds added that we need to reach faculty who have taught it and are opposed to teaching it.  Angell stated that if we send out a survey electronically to every one, we’ll reach them.  Gooch added that questions #8 and #9 address this to some extent.  Helsper suggested adding to #8 the words “If not, why not?” and “If yes, why?”


Strand stated that she has talked to faculty who want to teach it and cannot.  Kuechle added that she has talked to some who would like to teach it but cannot because of course load restrictions.


Kuechle concluded that she now had a sense of what the committee would like her to put in the charge, including guidance or direction of what the Curriculum Committee would want in the review committee’s report.


Meeting adjourned at 8:40 a.m.

Submitted by Darla Peterson