University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, Minnesota

January 14, 1997; 3:00 p.m.; Behmler Conference Room

Present: Ellis, Farrell, Frenier, Hansen, Imholte, Kissock, Korth, J. Lee, Schuman, Whelan

Absent: Ballou, Barbour, Davis, M. Lee, Thielke, Vickstrom

Guest(s): Engin Sungur, Interim Director of Assessment

Mooney distributed copies of a revised Form C for the University College courses, Ed 1014 and 1042.

Schuman said that Sungur, provisional director of assessment, had come to this Curriculum Committee meeting because he (Sungur) and Bert Ahern, Chair of the Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning (TFASL), wanted to consult the CC about the assessment plan.

Sungur distributed copies of the updated segments of the UMM assessment plan. He pointed out the timeline on page 18 and the revised structure. We are doing quite a lot on assessing student learning. He wondered if CC members were comfortable with the process and the timeline. The results of assessment should have an effect on planning. He also wondered what the role of the Curriculum Committee should be in the assessment process. The TFASL web page has the assessment plans which have already been received. UMM could go with either of two extreme approaches to assessment: 1) ask the faculty to do assessment or 2) provide faculty with various assessment tools and assign the task of assessing student learning using those tools. The TFASL would prefer that UMM use the first approach.

Schuman asked CC members if they were comfortable with a non-hierarchical, non-directive assessment process. Farrell wondered what the role of the Division Chairs is to be in the assessment process. Are Division Chairs responsible? Schuman said it was his understanding that the Dean and the Division Chairs would have a very limited role. The individual faculty and disciplines would have the primary role in assessment. Farrell wondered where faculty were to go if they could not meet deadlines. Sungur said faculty should go to the TFASL, especially for questions about the faculty survey. For non-faculty CC members, Schuman explained that a survey had been sent to all faculty asking about the assessment process and where disciplines were in the process.

Kissock pointed out a correction for the assessment handout: there is no health education unit and it should not be listed on page 21. Kissock asked about the flow chart on page 15. If he were a rat in a maze, where would he get hung up? Sungur said the chart starts with the faculty. They will go to the Assessment Committee for problems. The Assessment Committee will go to other units to help them achieve the intended results. Kissock thought the process seemed very complicated.

Farrell said he was nervous about having a committee tell the faculty what their workload is. That is the responsibility of the Division Chair. At the very least, the Division Chair needs to be able to say that the timelines will not work. How can that happen if the disciplines are working directly with the Assessment Committee? Kissock said the Assessment Committee will not be setting policy. They will go through the paperwork. Schuman pointed out that no one will say that a plan is not adequate. He was not sure that the NCA would find that an acceptable plan. Farrell wondered who actually was responsible for assessment--the faculty? Schuman said that no one was going to tell the faculty that they had done a poor job. Korth said that is the Dean's job. The plan doesn't say that the Dean cannot do that. Schuman said it would be awkward for the Dean to develop separate procedures. Korth said the Dean could read the plans and tell Division Chairs that the plans from the disciplines were too uneven.

Sungur said that the assessment plans should not be used for any discussions about the disciplines at all. The assessment process must be faculty owned and faculty administered. Assessment could provide input for program reviews, for example, because it gives faculty the chance to measure student learning, but it should not be used for personnel decisions.

Whelan wondered if the assessment would be at the classroom level. Sungur said the "unit" will be defined as committees, disciplines, etc. Whelan thought it was overwhelming to be doing this in every committee. What is the purpose of the Assessment Committee if it does not approve plans? Is the Faculty Center involved? Sungur said the Faculty Center could be involved in doing workshops. Schuman said the Assessment Committee will document that assessment of student learning is taking place. A large chunk of assessment is driven by an external mandate from the NCA. We got a wakeup call from them because they were not satisfied with UMM's original assessment plan. Schuman's job is to be sure that the NCA is satisfied with the results of assessment on this campus. It would certainly be nice if the assessment process was helpful to UMM, in addition.

Hansen commented that this process will just collect information about what students are learning and go no further. What if, for instance, we find out that art students aren't learning what they need to learn. Nothing will happen. Schuman said we presume that the discipline, upon learning this, would take steps to remedy the problem. Hansen pointed out that the Assessment Committee could not make them do something. Schuman said that was true. Sungur said the problem in Hansen's hypothetical example could be a lack of resources. In that case, the discipline would take the assessment results to the appropriate place to ask for additional resources. He said this is not all that NCA wants from assessment. The process will open up channels. A faculty member could take assessment results to the Assessment Committee and find ways to make improvements. The assessment process is trying to create a common language.

Schuman commented that the assessment plan is based on the notion that people really want to do a good job. With mechanisms in place, people will try to improve. The assumption is that people will do that of their own free will.

Farrell was concerned about the timeline. Sungur said the timeline is on page 18 of the handout. There are five stages, the last being "assess the assessment process" by carrying out an academic cost/benefit analysis. Farrell wondered how this could be done by January 17. That is a workload issue--a responsibility of Division Chairs--and should not be allotted to any committee. Sungur said the survey only asks faculty to indicate where they are in the process. The final plans are due by March.

Schuman reminded CC members that the sign language proposal had come to the CC earlier and the CC had not taken any action. A revised Form C was distributed at the beginning of the meeting. Tom McRoberts, Assistant Director of University College, had been invited to this meeting. The question was how the courses could fit the E7 category of General Education.

Farrell said he found it strange that a course can meet the performance criteria simply by adding a segment to a course. Schuman said his understanding was that it is the job of the Curriculum Committee to make a decision about whether the courses fit the E7 criteria. Frenier said it is hard for students to find E7 courses. Hansen agreed that there is a shortage of E7 courses. Schuman said that students perform poems at the beginning of each class period for the course he is teaching this quarter, but he has not asked for E7 status. He supposed that he could. Farrell said everyone who teaches that course would have to include the performance segment, in that case.

Frenier wondered if the semester GER will include E7. Schuman said that, at the present time, the semester GER proposal is very similar to the current GER. The proposal is not in final form, however.

Hansen said he would like to see a stricter interpretation of the criteria. Korth felt that the sign language courses do meet the criteria. Schuman noted that students put on a musical play, presumably much like the American Theatre of the Deaf. Korth thought the proposal should be approved.

MOTION (Kissock, Farrell) [Farrell's second was later withdrawn]: To approve the proposal to add P6 and E7 to Ed 1014 and to add E7 to Ed 1042.

Whelan wondered if students had to take all three quarters of sign language to get the foreign language credit (P6). Mooney said Ed 1014 is Beginning Sign Language III, the third quarter of the beginning sequence. Ed 1042 is the third quarter of the Intermediate Sign Language sequence. Whelan wondered about getting performance credit for the third course of the sequence. It was pointed out that the plays are done in the spring only and that is why E7 goes with the third quarter of the sequence.

Farrell said the requirement should be called "second language" rather than "foreign language."

Schuman asked for a straw vote on approving the sign language proposals. The vote was 3 in favor of deferring action and 3 in favor of taking a vote now. Schuman said he was uncomfortable going ahead with the proposal and would invite McRoberts to the next meeting. [Note: McRoberts had been invited to this meeting but was detained by a conference call.]

Korth noted that the CC has recurring difficulties with University College courses. He wondered if there was a list of approved courses. Mooney said the plan is to have the approval of University College courses be mainstreamed when we convert to semesters. UC courses would then go through the same process and use the same forms that day school courses use. Schuman commented that McCannon and McRoberts are fully behind this plan.

Schuman said he would like to forward the daily semester schedule to Campus Assembly along with the annual calendar. He wondered if CC members were comfortable going ahead with a recommendation on the daily schedule. Farrell said he was not uncomfortable, but he remembered somewhere a discussion of the 20-minute break between classes. Is that too long? Schuman said the 20-minute break would only occur for Tuesday-Thursday classes which are 1.5 hours long.

MOTION (Whelan, Imholte): To approve the semester daily schedule proposal and forward it to Campus Assembly.

VOTE: Unanimous in favor (7-0-0).

The next meeting of the Curriculum Committee will be on Tuesday, January 21, at 3:00 p.m. in Education 211. Schuman said he has a meeting in the Twin Cities Tuesday morning. If he does not make it back to campus in time for the CC meeting, Korth will chair the meeting.

Meeting adjourned 3:55 p.m.
Submitted by Nancy Mooney

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