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Senate Council Minutes - March 22, 2004

The Senate Council met on Monday, March 22, 2004 at 3:00 pm in the Gallery of the W. T. Young Library and took the following actions.

Approval of the Minutes from March 1

The Chair noted the addition of two sentences requested by Debski and asked if there were any other corrections. There being none, the minutes were approved as amended.


The Chair asked Tagavi to provide an update on the Board of Trustees faculty representative nominations. Tagavi said the Senate Council office received five nominations representing four colleges. He planned to contact the nominees to ascertain their willingness to serve before announcing the candidates. Bailey asked if candidate biographies will be available. Tagavi replied that according to the Senate Rules candidate biographies will be made available when the field is narrowed to three candidates.

The Chair asked for nomination of interested faculty to serve on an IRIS workgroup pertaining to payroll management. The Senate Council will submit some names to the Chair via e-mail.

Joint BS degrees in Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Joint BS degrees proposal (PDF)

Lineberry introduced the item and provided some history. The Provost provided some additional insight, detailing the potential involvement of the CPE and the state legislature if an agreement between WKU and UK is not reached.

Tagavi addressed the issue of the J courses and expressed support for the proposal. He suggested the J course compromise would be a way to protect regular Engineering courses from being influenced by WKU faculty. He added that J courses would only count for the joint degree programs. Tagavi asked, for the record, if the Provost agreed that J courses cannot be used for UK students for UK degrees. The Provost and Lineberry stated that J courses were only for students enrolled in the joint degree programs, not for UK students seeking a UK Engineering degree. Hancher said the faculty of Engineering supported the creation of J courses for the joint degree programs.

The Chair noted the existence of political pressure from without, some feelings of unrest from within and the added pressure of the existence of a group of students at WKU who are under the impression that they'll be receiving diplomas for a joint WKU/UK degree. He noted that, if passed by the Senate Council, the item would be posted to the Senate web site for a 10-day circulation period.

Hancher added that the joint program faculty will discuss all program matters with UK's regular Engineering faculty. He noted that there will be a review in two years that will help evaluate the quality of the program. Hancher, Nietzel and Lineberry all said that if program quality became an issue then UK would consider withdrawing from the program.

Kraemer reported on the Undergraduate Council's discussion of the issue, noting that no particular issue with the pedagogy of the programs had been discovered. He noted the Council's discussion of the J course issue and said it was the Undergraduate Council's understanding that the J courses were a way to segregate control over the courses in question.

Grossman reported on the Academic Program Committee's discussion of the issue. He said the committee voted 4 to 0 with one abstention in favor of the proposal. He said his committee examined the issue from the perspective of their Senate charter and were satisfied that the creation of the joint programs will not adversely affect other programs, that the proposal had undergone the appropriate approval processes and that the quality of the joint programs would be assessed for accreditation purposes.

Tagavi added, for the record, that UK has full control to both enter and leave the relationship. He noted that a small part of the authority will be delegated to the program faculty, half of whom are from UK.

Grabau asked if the admission to Engineering standing requirements were different for the joint program and UK's Engineering program. Hancher noted that UK's requirement was more stringent, but noted that the environment at WKU is different than at UK. Tagavi noted that graduates of that program also receive a different degree. The Provost added that WKU students seem to be doing quite well in the program.

After brief discussion as to whether the joint program was considered distance learning, Grossman asked if there were any concerns about the working relationship with the WKU Engineering faculty. Tagavi spoke to both the relationship with the faculty and the quality of the joint program students.

Tagavi made a motion to approve the joint degree programs in Mechanical and Civil Engineering with the additions set forth in the cover letter from Hancher to Undergraduate Council dated March 7, 2004. Kaalund seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The item will be posted to the Senate web site for ten days, after which the programs will be approved if no objections are raised.

Lineberry asked if the Minor Changes necessary to create the J courses could be accomplished via one comprehensive memo with a list of courses attached so as to avoid the paperwork of submitting a multitude of forms Tagavi suggested putting each course through as a Minor Change, since they will also be listed in the Bulletin. The Chair affirmed that, in view of the discussion to date about these joint programs, it would be acceptable and time-efficient to consider these new course submissions as minor changes, and he personally was in favor of it. There appeared to be general consensus among Council members that this was acceptable. Lineberry said Engineering will send a bulk Minor Change request through the Senate Council office, noting that only the number of the courses would change, not the content.

The visitors from Engineering departed.

Proposed Changes to the Senate Rules

Tagavi introduced the Board of Election Tie proposal (DOC) from the Rules and Elections Committee. He noted that the Rules to not address how to solve a tie in the third round of the election if the two remaining candidates are equal in both first choice and second choice votes, adding that the current Rules would necessitate a new election. Tagavi said the proposed Rule change would allow for a random process, perhaps a coin toss, to determine the winner. Bailey asked what would happen in the event of a tie for second and third place. Tagavi admitted not having considered the possibility. The Chair suggested revisiting the item at the next Senate Council meeting so the Rules and Elections Committee could reconsider the issue. There was general consensus among the Council members for this suggestion, though Kennedy wondered why the complexity of the Rule exists in the age of electronic elections. Tagavi suggested it would be inappropriate to completely change the Rule at this time, since the election is already underway, but recommended evaluating the Rule before the next Board of Trustees election. Tagavi suggested his committee should also address the issue of what to do if the elected representative becomes ineligible to serve prior to taking office. He suggested changing the words to read "Board of Trustees member-elect becomes ineligible". The Senate Council members expressed agreement with the idea.

Cibull expressed concern about the random process suggested by Tagavi. He suggested repeating voting rounds until the tie is broken. Bailey expressed support for running an election again in the event of a tie. Tagavi asked for a show of hands in support of the random process suggestion. Debski suggested examining the random process solution for only the current election with the goal of fixing the rule for future elections. Five Council members expressed support for the random process of this current election, while four supported running a new election. The Rules and Elections Committee will examine the issue for the next Senate Council meeting.

The next item from the Rules and Election Committee was a proposal for a six-day rule (DOC) to replace the existing ten-day rule for circulation of the Senate agenda prior to the Senate meetings. The Committee created language at the request of the Senate Council, but also forwarded the opinion (3 to 2) that the Rule should remain intact. Debski wondered by the Committee forwarded language they didn't intend to recommend. Saunier spoke against the proposal, suggesting that six days was not enough time to poll ones constituents. Bailey made a motion to send the proposal to the Senate with no recommendation and to inform the Senate of the deliberations of the Committee. Chard seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent. Cibull asked for a summary of how many times in the past year the 10-day rule had been waived, and for which items. Ms. Scott will research the question.

The third proposal from the Committee referenced the lasts Senate Council discussion regarding whether a new search committee should be formed every year to appoint a new Ombud (DOC) if the current Ombud was interested in serving again, and there was no objection from the Senate Council or the Provost. Tagavi presented language to change the Rules. He also presented the Committee's opinion that a third term for Ombud should not be allowed. Tagavi requested a vote on the proposed change to the Rule first, followed by a possible amendment to disallow a third term. The Chair suggested approving the wording and then initiating a campus-wide discussion as to how many terms an Ombud can serve. The Senate Council members expressed agreement.

Tagavi said the proposal was on the floor from the Committee as a motion. Kaalund seconded the motion. Edgerton asked about language in the proposal that referred to LCC. Tagavi noted that the legislation to relocate LCC had not yet been signed. Kaalund noted that many Rules will require revision once the legislation is signed. The motion passed without dissent. The proposal will be sent to the Senate with a positive recommendation.

Oral Communications Requirement

Oral Communications Requirement (PDF)

The Chair introduced the item expressed his opinion that the issue is symbolic of the difficult issue the Senate will have to deal with more frequently; the tension between curriculum and resources. The Chair invited members of the College of Communication to present the proposal and asked the Senate Council to reconsider the issue and its opinion. Harrington gave a PowerPoint presentation (PPT), which will be linked to these minutes. Harrington noted the lack of resources and qualified professionals as two reasons to support the proposal. Jones asked how much difference existed between paying for additional TA's versus hiring more lecturers. The Provost estimated the difference at around $100,000. Harrington noted a lack of office space, problems with teaching the skill across the curriculum, difficulty with SACS assessment issues, the additional pressures placed on the colleges due to the Graduation Agreement, and reviewed the various alternatives attempted in the past.

Yanarella spoke against the proposal, suggesting that Oral Communications is an integral part of liberal education. He requested that other solutions be investigated and presented. He suggested further investigation into the dispersion model in which Communications would play a dominant instructional role in helping departments offer a way of promoting Oral Communications competency.

Waldhart disagreed with Yanarella's suggestion, noting that the benchmarks teach Oral Communications, but not as a requirement. He also noted that the few schools who had attempted a "Communications across the Curriculum" model were now moving away from it. She noted that such programs were expensive and only worked well with small classes.

Yanarella strongly opposed the "stripping of Oral Communication" and expressed concern that Communications did not take Oral Communications seriously. Harrington disagreed, noting that removing the requirement from the USP requirements would allow the college to "do it right". The Chair interjected that a pedagogical discussion would have to take place at another time and requested the Council members focus their attention on a direction for the proposal. He suggested directing some of the resource and curricular questions to the Provost.

Chard suggested that Council members should be respectful and acknowledge the efforts expended by Communications. She noted that while a CAC approach had its benefits, she was uncertain as to the financial implications for the other departments.

The Provost suggested expanding the alternate routes to fulfilling the requirement as an option. He noted that SACS'criticism of the number of TA's and PTI's used to teach the required courses was correct. He said he would not use PTI's and TA's to teach extra sections and risk a serious accreditation issue. He would obtain the necessary funds to hire more lecturers from the other colleges, if the requirement remained unchanged.

Cibull expressed interest in hearing other alternatives presented. He asked how many sections would continue to be offered. Harrington said that 108 sections are currently offered, but if the requirement were removed it would be reduced to approximately 70 sections. Cibull asked if a proportional amount of resources would be removed. Harrington answered that they would retain the resources "to do what we need to do". Cibull expressed support for identifying courses in each college that could be targeted for interaction with Communication to develop those courses as those colleges' required courses for fulfillment of the requirement. Waldhart noted that increasing class size would make such a suggestion difficult.

Johnson said that his college could accommodate 2,600 students and there are approximately 4,000 students coming in, resulting in a 1,400 student gap. He said the college has considered alternative approaches and suggested declaring a moratorium on the requirement until a more integrated approach can be identified.

The Chair asked for guidance from the Senate Council members on the possible disposition of the proposal.

Bailey noted that it was difficult to "look after the quality of undergraduate education" when asked to remove the requirement due to resource problems. He suggested examining other alternatives, including the possibility of accepting fewer students. The Provost noted the need to serve the backlog of students who have been waiting to be able to register in one of the classes that fulfills the requirement.

Tagavi noted the documentation referred to in the presentation was not part of the proposal itself and requested that it be included. Kraemer apologized for not forwarding the results of the research gathered by USP when examining the issue.

Debski expressed her view that "resources should follow need". She expressed concern that the Graduation Agreement had been mentioned as an argument for removing a USP requirement. She added that many departments that teach service classes were not faring well with increased enrollment. She supported Cibull's point about creating an interim plan, and suggested the burden of teaching oral communication skills should not be placed on individual departments.

The Provost acknowledged that budget cuts do have a huge impact on education and said he expects resources to continue to dwindle. He suggested examining "what part of liberal education we can afford". He also noted that smaller class sizes in oral communication courses would allow Communication to do a better job of teaching those skills. He suggested finding ways to build oral communication skills into the rest of the curriculum. He also suggested putting a moratorium on the requirement now and reiterated the impossibility of putting more PTI's in the classroom. The Provost said he could easily fund the $600,000 shortfall necessary to maintain the requirement by taking the funds from the other colleges.

Kaalund said that lessening the burden on Communications by creating a moratorium and eliminating the backlog of students was the "best way to do this now" until new options can be explored. Kennedy asked if class size would change if the requirement was removed. Harrington replied that it would stay the same for the time being to take care of the backlog.

Chard made a motion to send the proposal to the Senate with no recommendation but with the Senate Council suggestion of implementing a moratorium with re-evaluation of the requirement in three years. Debski seconded the motion. Tagavi suggested making it more clear that if nothing changed in that time the requirement would revert to the current USP requirement. Bailey suggested changing "moratorium" to "suspension". Debski recommended specifying the student's year in school. Chard said it applied to incoming freshman. The Provost recommended including transfer students. Tagavi suggested making it a positive recommendation to the Senate, given that the proposal is now a suspension of USP requirement rather than a permanent change. The Chair asked who will re-evaluate the requirement. Johnson suggested sending it back to the Senate. The Chair suggested asking USP to develop criteria for re-evaluation.

The motion as amended was to suspend the Oral Communication requirement from USP for three years for entering freshmen and transfer students for Fall 2004 with re-evaluation by the Senate. The USP Committee will develop guidelines for re-evaluation. The suspension will apply to the incoming classes of 2004, 2005 and 2006. The motion will be before the Senate with a positive recommendation. The motion passed with one opposed and one abstention.

The visitors from Communication departed.

Recommendation from Admissions and Academic Standards Committee

Ferrier discussed the College of Pharmacy progress guidelines (PDF) and reminded the Council members there had been need for editorial follow-up work after this item was last heard by the Council. Ferrier noted that his committee had been unclear on which classes would count toward a Pharmacy GPA and reported that classes taken during the first through fourth professional years are included in that definition. Lubawy thanked Ferrier's committee for its "excellent suggestions".

Cibull moved to approve the proposal. Kaalund seconded the motion.

Edgerton asked if courses taken outside of Pharmacy would be subject to the guidelines. Lubawy said Pharmacy students should be able to handle the material in all classes taken. Cibull noted that petitions could be put forth by students in odd situations. Saunier noted that students could be suspended from the college without being suspended from UK. Lubawy said students would either petition to be readmitted to Pharmacy, another college in the University, or transfer to another University. Saunier noted that students could change majors and keep coming back to Pharmacy. Lebawy said that that sort of petition for readmission to Pharmacy would be heard by committee. Tagavi noted that there is no "dismissal" with reference to academic probations and suggested to drop that term. Lubawy agreed.

The motion passed with one Council member opposed. It will be forwarded to the Senate with a positive recommendation.

Ferrier and Lubawy departed.

The next item was the College of Medicine's graduation requirements (PDF). Cibull made a motion to approve the proposal. Kaalund seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent. The proposal will be forwarded to the Senate with a positive recommendation.

The next item addressed was the College of Communication and Information Studies admission deadline to the MA and PhD programs (PDF). Tagavi made a motion to approve the recommendation. Kaalund seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent and will be forwarded to the Senate with a positive recommendation.

The next item address was the College of Nursing's change in MSN requirements (PDF). Tagavi recommended the removal of a semi-colon in the proposal. The Chair agreed. Tagavi suggested changing the wording to make the proposal effective Fall 2004. Kaalund made a motion to approve the proposal. Jones seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent. The proposal, as amended, will be forwarded to the Senate with a positive recommendation.

The final item was the College of Business and Economics' change to the MSACC curriculum (PDF). Ms. Scott reported that the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee decided the proposal was not within their committee's scope so she had posted it to the Senate Council web site for Senate Council approval.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 5:22 pm.

Respectfully submitted by
Jeff Dembo, Chair

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

Guests present: Ferrier, Grossman, Hancher, Harrington, Johnson, Kramer, Lineberry, Lubawy, Nietzel, Waldhart.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on March 25, 2004.