University of Minnesota, Morris
MINUTES--1996-97 CURRICULUM COMMITTEE MEETING #25
May 9, 1997; 9:00 a.m.; Behmler Conference Room
Present: Ballou, Farrell, Frenier, Imholte, Korth, Schuman, Whelan
Absent: Bauer, Davis, Ellis, Hansen, Kissock, J. Lee, M. Lee, Thielke, Vickstrom
Guest(s): Jenny Nellis, Studio Art, and Tap Payne, Theatre Arts
Schuman thanked Nellis for coming to the meeting.
Farrell asked to preface Payne's responses. He said the issues in the
Humanities Division arise with studio art, music, and theatre arts. The
requirements for the major in ArtS total 52 credits, with 12 of those credits
coming from ArtH. The structure of disciplines needs to be taken into consideration.
In music and theatre arts, the history components are not separated into
new disciplines. Because of that structure difference, we question music
and theatre arts credit totals, but not studio art.
Schuman said, in other words, the requirements for the music and theatre
majors are well under the Science and Math majors, where more than one discipline
is involved, because music and theatre arts have no related fields at UMM.
Payne said the concept that we don't have a "theatre history"
department is true, but there are design courses, etc., that are also disparate
areas. It makes no sense, for instance, to combine costuming and stage lighting
in the same course. The major comes to 42-44 credits, which is one course
over the limit. To subtract the senior project or any other requirement
would be a serious loss to the major. Currently, we have a requirement in
dramatic literature. There is a prerequisite for the Shakespeare course,
so that is a hidden requirement for the major. For the semester major, the
discipline did not take that approach; there are no hidden requirements.
The semester major would not involve more work than the quarter major; in
fact, the semester major is very similar to the quarter major.
Whelan said he was more empathetic to these arguments now than he was
earlier. Will theatre majors still have to take 80 additional general education
credits, for a total of 124 credits, to graduate? Are we still beholden
to the liberal arts? He felt Payne was saying yes in his response. This
is a general question for the CC: Are we going to require 80 credits outside
the major to assure breadth?
Payne said that almost all majors graduate with more than 60 credits
in theatre under the quarter system. That is not unusual in studio art,
music, or theatre. In many of the sciences, students take courses in allied
fields. We assume the chemistry courses are also general education courses,
but they are actually required for the Science and Math majors.
Schuman wondered why the requirements for the major specify five particular
courses and at least three from a range of other courses. Why specify three
other courses instead of two or four? [Later: Schuman realized he was looking
at the minor, not the major requirements.] Payne said the major breaks down
to a requirement for two courses in each of the fields of theatre. Requiring
fewer courses takes away from the symmetry of the major. Farrell commented
that we should expect students to have more than an introductory course
in the areas covered.
Imholte asked Mooney about the number of double majors at UMM. Mooney
thought the average was about 25% of each graduating class. [Later: Mooney
checked percentage of students with more than one major: 1995-96--20%; 1994-95--23%;
1993-94--27%; 1992-93--25%; 1991-92--27%. The 5-year average is 24.4%.]
Imholte thought the total credits required for the major was a minor problem
alongside the number of double majors.
Korth thought the requests for an exemption from the major credit limit
should get at the root of the problem of how to achieve breadth. A lot of
disciplines could come in and say more courses are needed to provide sufficient
background in the discipline. His concern is that the reason for the standard
is honored. Other disciplines have made difficult decisions to maintain
the standard. Schuman wondered how the natural science faculty explain that
the combinations of requirements for many Science and Math majors total
much more than the 44 credits that theatre is requiring. Korth said he could
bring in biology and chemistry faculty who would say that those two disciplines
are wildly different.
Farrell commented that CC members seem to be comfortable with ArtS counting
12 credits outside the major because those 12 credits are "administratively"
counted in art history. They are certainly closely related disciplines.
It seemed to him that the "odd bird" is studio art, not music
Schuman said a way around this for the theatre major would be to require
the drama courses in English. Payne said that was true; they could also
put the senior project under the humanities rubric (Hum). But why play politics?
The English courses do not teach the precise literature that theatre faculty
want majors to study. For instance, English does not include Sam Shepherd.
It would be unreasonable for English faculty to teach their courses to meet
theatre major needs. Schuman thought there was some value in theatre majors
getting the English perspective.
Whelan thought there were greater differences in the geology major than
in theatre. He feels comfortable coming to the CC and asking for 90 credits
in Science and Math requirements. The major is important, but general education
and breadth is also important. In Theatre, he hopes that they encourage
students to take half of their work in something other than theatre. Payne
said it is not unusual for theatre majors to have double majors with computer
Schuman thanked Payne for attending the meeting.
Ballou said, if we do that, we are making exceptions to the standards.
Schuman said the CC would be recommending to Campus Assembly that there
be exceptions. Ballou said that she would have no objection to approving
these exceptions if we agree that there should be exceptions. She thought
there would be a lot of discussion on the floor of Campus Assembly about
making exceptions. Schuman noted that, if we approve 44-credit majors, some
other disciplines will want to come back to the CC with enhanced majors.
Korth agreed with Schuman's last point. He was not sure that the campus
should have made the 40-credit rule. If the discipline structure is arbitrary,
maybe it should have been a 60-credit major rule, not related to disciplines.
Farrell said that faculty remember hearing last spring that 40 credits was
a guideline or a target, not an absolute maximum. Imholte said Korth's point
was well taken. In terms of whether the 40-credit limit was a law or a guideline,
he thought the limit was a strict one. But it was never said that there
could be no exceptions. When there are too many exceptions, then the rule
becomes a fraud. Perhaps part of the CC discussion should be to re-examine
the 40-credit limit.
Whelan referred to Johnson's memo about the Music proposal, especially
the last sentence. All disciplines feel their proposals are reasonable.
There is a tension between the majors and general education. We are looking
for faculty to tell us what the major needs to be. If music and theatre
have 44-credit majors, Whelan would feel better if the discipline also made
it clear that general education is important. Farrell said that was not
the question asked of the disciplines. Whelan said he understood that, but
he wanted to hear from the campus about adhering to the 80-credit general
Schuman said, if push comes to shove, and it should soon, he thought
we should stick to the 40-credit limit. There is some virtue to having theatre
majors get their literature classes from English. If the major requires
more than one-third of the degree credits, at least getting it from a different
discipline's perspective is helpful. It wouldn't bother him to allow the
exceptions, but if he had a vote, he would send them back to the disciplines
to meet the 40-credit limit.
Farrell noted that studio art requires 42 credits in the discipline.
We are willing to say that is okay because of the way art is structured.
That is an administrative structure. It is not fair to have music and theatre
restricted, but not studio art.
Ballou said she was persuaded by Farrell's argument. She was confused
when she got to UMM about discipline-based majors that include other areas.
She is becoming convinced that this does not tell the whole story. Let's
recommend these exceptions to the Campus Assembly. She liked the idea of
written amendments in Assembly. Imholte noted that there is a groundswell
against the requirement for written amendments.
Frenier wondered if the 40-credit limit on majors was more important
than the point about double majors. Schuman said students choose to take
a second major. Frenier was also concerned that there were no students present
at the meeting. Imholte noted that there was not a quorum at the meeting.
Schuman said he did not want the CC to repeat this discussion at the next
meeting. There was agreement to defer the vote until the next meeting on
May 14, but to have people read the discussion in the minutes and not repeat
Meeting adjourned 9:55 a.m.
Submitted by Nancy Mooney
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