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Senate Council Minutes - March 1, 2004

The Senate Council met on Monday, March 1, 2004 at 3:00 pm in the Gallery of the W.T. Young Library and took the following actions.

Approval of the February 23, 2004 Minutes

The Chair asked the Council members for corrections or changes to the minutes. There being none, the minutes were approved as written.

University Writing Program proposal

University Writing Program proposal (PDF)

The Chair thanked Associate Provost Kraemer for attending and introduced the visitors in attendance. The Council members introduced themselves. Kraemer provided some history on the item. Eldred outlined the proposal and Kraemer noted the various stages of approval the proposal has undergone, including approval by the English department, the Arts and Sciences college council, the Advising Network, the University deans, the Undergraduate Council and the University Studies Program.

Tagavi asked if it was the intention of the proposal to have the requirement fulfilled during the first year, noting that the proposal did not explicitly state as much. Eldred replied that students should complete the writing requirement within their first 45 credit hours. Tagavi reiterated that the proposal did not expressly state that requirement. Hoch noted that it was implicit in the various programs' curriculum management in that the pre-requisite system would not allow students to enroll in upper-division classes or be admitted to their various programs without fulfilling the writing requirement. Tagavi suggested not referring to the requirement as a first-year condition if students can enroll in the course their second year. Eldred noted that they have to stay enrolled in the course during their third semester, if they dropped it the previous two semesters, no matter what.

Debski asked if the accompanying course to this proposal was ENG 104 or ENG 105. Ms. Scott explained that the course should have been 104, but had been mistakenly put forth as 105. The error had been corrected at the Undergraduate Council, but the change had not been noted on the course form. Debski asked if the 200-level courses that would be used to fulfill the second tier of the writing requirement were writing courses, since they appeared to be literature courses. Eldred replied that those courses were just revised last year to be writing-intensive in anticipation of a revised writing requirement. Debski expressed concern about students who traditionally took one of the listed 200-level courses to fulfill their humanities requirement being able to take the same course to fulfill their writing requirement. She noted that students who previously took nine hours of English could potentially only need seven hours, adding that it seemed as if a requirement were being reduced rather than enhanced. Eldred replied that other courses could still be used to fulfill the humanities requirement, and that the various programs could require that.

Debski agreed with the vision of the proposal but had concerns about the content. She asked about the ten-page paper requirement and suggested that such a length might actually represent less writing than the current proposal. Eldred replied that the ten-page suggestion was a recommendation of the ad hoc committee formed by Kraemer to address this issue. She suggested programs could require more writing by integrating writing requirements into their own curricula, adding that students would be writing more than ten pages under the proposal as well.

Chard asked if the proposal required one ten-page paper or two five-page papers. Eldred replied the language regarding that requirement was intentionally ambiguous to accommodate a wider range of departments. Hoch added that the decisions of course management should be left to the faculty teaching the courses. Eldred added that lengthy writing did not necessarily entail quality writing.

Yanarella asked if a writing across the curriculum approach (WAC) would be considered in the future and if courses in other programs would be analyzed to fulfill the criteria. Eldred replied that an analysis of a WAC program was under review but would not be proposed until "further down the road when resources and assessments are in place". Hoch added that if a WAC approach were to eventually be employed the TA's and faculty would need to provide more writing instruction than just editing student papers. Rosenman noted that everybody was in favor of eventually moving to a WAC approach.

Grabau spoke in favor of the proposal but wondered how the decision would made as to which semester students would be required to take 104. Eldred replied that English will accommodate various programs and their needs for sections at different times of year. She added the TA's course loads would not be reduced.

Tagavi asked if he was correct that the proposal required C's on all essays and that if students got a D on an essay it wouldn't count. He also asked if there would be two designations in grading, because of the grade versus the lack of student performance. Eldred replied there were four possible grades in the course; A,B,C or E. She added that students can get a C on all major essays then fail to turn in homework, attend class and end up with a D in the class. She noted if students get a D or an E on their major essays they will not pass the course. Tagavi asked if it was possible for a student to get a D. Hoch replied that if a student got a D on a major essay they would fail the course. Rosenman added that the major essays are all a product of the draft and revision process. The Chair noted one of the major advantages of the proposal is that students learn to improve their writing due to the draft and revision opportunity.

Saunier asked if ENG 105 will remain on the course roster. Eldred relied it will still be taught at the community colleges, but that 101, 102 and 105 will not be taught at UK, except in transfer situations. Peggy noted that LCC does not currently intend to offer the proposed ENG 104 but asked if the community colleges could offer the course at some future time. Eldred replied that Diana Martin thought that the two-semester sequence was better suited for LCC's student population. Saunier asked again if the community colleges could teach the course if they so desired. Eldred replied that the course was only currently being proposed for instruction on the main campus. Saunier noted the existence of a state law allowing the community colleges to offer any 100 or 200-level course offered by UK at any of the community colleges. Hoch suggested that an agreement might be struck if such a course was offered at a community college to ensure that the course was equivalent for transfer purposes.

Saunier also asked if ENG 203 would be revised to become a reading-intensive course. Eldred replied that it had already been revised and would continue to be revised.

Debski reiterated her concern that this proposal represented a reduction in the overall requirement. She asked if Eldred had any figures showing how many students satisfy the USP humanities requirement by taking an English course. She expressed concern that students could "double-dip" and fulfill both their writing requirement and humanities requirement with the same course. Eldred replied that the 200-level courses listed were revised to satisfy WAC and humanities requirements. She added that if the proposal were not approved there would be no indication that the English courses in of themselves are writing intensive or not. Hoch noted students were not required to fulfill their humanities requirement by taking English courses. Debski restated her desire to see the numbers.

When asked by Debski who would teach ENG 104, Eldred replied that TA's and adjuncts would teach the course. Debski asked what the average grade is for ENG 101 and 102. Rosenman replied it was roughly a C+.

Blackwell asked if the 200-level courses in question would fulfill both the humanities requirement and the USP writing requirement. Kraemer replied that they would, noting that he'd rather the student "double-dipped" than continuing in the current system. Blackwell asked if the negative impact on other humanities programs had been considered, since enrollment in those courses might decrease as a result of students flocking to a course that will fulfill two requirements. Hoch replied that the English courses were relatively small in size. He noted that enrollment drawn to English courses would create smaller class sizes in other humanities courses, which would improve the student experience.

Eldred said that a WAC proposal was already being reviewed and noted that if the faculty and TA's were already prepared to present a WAC approach and if funds were available for assessment then USP could have a proposal ready to come forward. Hoch replied that many issues were involved in moving toward a WAC model, including faculty issues, training issues and financial issues. He noted the current proposal was a "baby step" in that direction.

Grabau suggested that retention might be aided by this proposal in that students who were failing would be permitted to drop. Kramer agreed, noting that the proposal would also benefit many student athletes who have a difficult time taking ENG 101 in the fall semester.

Edgerton discussed the frustration experienced by the advisors who were uncertain as to how to advise incoming students. He asked what would happen if the Senate approved the program for Fall 2005 instead of Fall 2004. Hoch replied that two full plans had been developed such that if the proposal is approved "Plan A" will be enacted and the current courses would be offered, or in the event of approval "Plan B" with the new requirements would be enacted. Edgerton said that Joanne Davis' told him that the advisors want to cancel merit weekend because of the uncertainty involved. Kraemer said that canceling merit weekend was not possible. Eldred agreed that the advisors want a decision as soon as possible.

Hoch said that, ideally, they would like the proposal to be heard by the Senate at the March meeting and added his understanding that Senate rule would need to be waived in order to accomplish that. He noted that an April decision would mean a whole month of advising without knowing the outcome of the Senate's deliberation. The Chair reminded the Council members that the Senate Council can call a special meeting of the Senate if deemed reasonable to do so.

Kraemer said he would rather not jeopardize the proposal by trying to move it ahead so quickly. He added that he would prefer it be heard at the March meeting, but that if would help the Senate be more comfortable with the proposal he and the advisors could work around merit weekend and wait for an April decision.

Tagavi asked if a grade of D could be assigned or not. Rosenman explained that a student could get a grade of D in the course but not on a major essay.

Cibull noted that the proposal had already been through a thorough review process and moved to approve the proposal and to ask the Senate for a waiver of the ten-day rule so the proposal could go to the March Senate meeting. Chard seconded the motion. Debski spoke against the motion, stating that it wasn't fair to give faculty very little notice about the proposal. She added that she was in favor of what Eldred was trying to do but wasn't "convinced this is the best way to go". Kraemer supported the idea of having a special called meeting in March. Edgerton asked how long it would take to make a new fall schedule. Eldred replied that it had already been built along with the current schedule, including times, room assignments and everything else.

After further discussion a vote was taken. Eight voted in favor of the motion, with Debski and Tagavi opposed. There were no abstentions. The motion passed. The Chair will ask the Senate to waive the rule. If they do not he will present the item for discussion only and will propose a special called Senate meeting forlater in March, at the direction of the Senate Council.

The Chair thanked the visitors who attended and answered questions and they departed.

Proposed Change to the Composition of the Graduate Council

Proposed Change to the Composition of the Graduate Council (PDF)

The Chair thanked Dean Blackwell for attending and asked her to present the item. Blackwell indicated the restructuring of the University necessitated the change in composition. Blackwell outlined the proposal and said it had been approved by the Graduate Council.

Chard expressed concern that the College of Education's representation on Graduate Council would be lessened. She noted that part of Agriculture might leave that college and be moved to Education. Blackwell replied that she would return to the Senate Council with another proposal if there was further shifting of academic units.

Jones asked if the intent was that the reapportionment would be examined annually. Blackwell replied it would be reviewed during times of academic restructuring. Jones noted that a period of stagnation might arise during which no academic restructuring occurred and wondered what provision would be in place to trigger the revisiting of the apportionment. Blackwell said the Graduate Council will place this issue on their agenda every year during the last meeting of the year.

Grabau asked if there was a mechanism by which representation from the broader groupings could circulate among the smaller units within the group every year. Blackwell replied that it was based on a straight vote of the graduate faculty within those areas and added that a sort of natural rotation tends to occur.

Saunier noted that only two members of the Graduate Council are appointed and asked if the others were elected. When Blackwell replied that the others were elected from their constituent groups, Saunier suggested including wording to that effect. Blackwell agreed.

Chard moved to approve the proposal with the addition of the word "elected" to the statement "14 elected faculty representatives". Kaalund seconded the motion. After further discussion a vote was taken. The motion passed without dissent. The proposed change to Senate Rules will appear on the April Senate agenda with a positive recommendation.

Approval of Distance Learning courses

The Chair provided background on the courses, noting that he had been present as the Senate Council's representative to the Undergraduate Council when the courses were presented to that group. He indicated that he did not find any problems with the courses and asked the Senate Council members if they had any questions. After brief discussion the courses were approved for offering in distance learning format by general consensus.

Other Business

Tagavi reminded the Senate Council members that they had charged the Rules and Elections Committee to determine which council was the appropriate Council of the Senate when considering distance learning courses. He said his committee decided not to rule on the issue since LCC may no longer be part of UK and that any conflict about the issue would arise from LCC. He suggested dealing with the distance learning courses in the manor they had been handled in the past. The Senate Council members expressed agreement with this assessment.

Academic Organization and Structure Report

Chard informed the Council members that the Minimally Invasive Surgery proposal (PDF) was not ready for the Senate Council because the input from the College of Medicine faculty and the Academic Council of the Medical Center had not been sought. She said the Visualization and Virtual Environments proposal received the approval of the College of Engineering faculty and the recommendation of her committee. After brief discussion Chard moved to forward the proposal to the Senate with a positive recommendation. Kaalund seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent. The proposal to create the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments (PDF) will be presented at the April Senate meeting.

Other Business

Tagavi suggested that a ten-day circulation process was too time consuming and suggested it be shorted to five days. Debski disagreed, noting that e-mail is not always reliable. Jones clarified Tagavi's position, suggesting his intent was to be able to approve an item for inclusion on a Senate agenda at the Senate Council meeting the week before the Senate meeting. Tagavi agreed, noting that Senators could still voice an objection during the five-day period. Bailey asked if there was a problem with the ten-day rule since the Senate rarely denied a request to waive the rule. Kaalund agreed, suggesting no need to go through the machinations of changing the rule if the Senate was willing to waive it where appropriate. Cibull spoke in favor of the idea, noting that the Council should speed the approval process when possible. Chard made a motion to ask the Rules Committee to consider this issue. Kaalund seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent. The Rules Committee will forward a proposal to the Senate Council.

The Chair asked the Council members to consider the Senate Rule pertaining to the appointment of the Ombud. The Council members discussed the ambiguity or the rule, wondering if the intent of the Rule was that a search committee be formed even during years when the Ombud was interested in reappointment, or if a committee should only be formed when a new search was to be conducted. Edgerton spoke in favor of convening a committee every year, noting that the committee's work is not very taxing. Jones agreed, noting the need for Senate Council oversight in the process. Cibull suggested having the Senate Council act as the appointment committee in cases where the Ombud sought reappointment. Edgerton thought that idea would work, since the number of students on the committee could remain the same and the ration could remain intact either way. But he added that faculty who are not usually involved could serve on the committee and become part of the governance process. Tagavi suggested that replacing one committee meeting with another committee meeting was a waste of time. He suggested that if the Provost, the Senate Council and the Ombud all agree that the Ombud should be reappointed, then it should just be approved. Cibull supported Tagavi's idea. Jones added that if any one of the three parties involved do not agree, then a new search should commence. The Chair will propose the idea to the Provost and, if he approves, will charge the Rules Committee to form a proposal to change the Senate Rule.

The Chair asked the Council members if they would like to schedule another breakfast with the Provost. The Council members expressed interest in waiting until after the Provost's address to determine what sort of discussion items might necessitate a breakfast meeting.

The Chair updated the Council members on the progress of the University Senate elections and the Board of Trustees faculty representative election.

Edgerton asked if the legislature had acted yet on the bill to move LCC to KCTCS. Saunier replied that she had not been informed of any legislative action.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:50 pm.

Respectfully submitted by
Jeff Dembo, Chair

Members present: Bailey, Chard, Cibull, Debski, Dembo, Edgerton, Grabau, Jones, Kaalund, Kennedy, Saunier, Tagavi, and Yanarella.

Guests present: Blackwell, Eldred, Hoch, Kraemer, Pica, Roorda, and Rosenman.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on Wednesday, March 03, 2004.