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Senate Council Minutes - April 17, 2006

The Senate Council met on Monday, April 17, 2006 at 3:00 pm in 103 Main Building. Below is a record of what transpired.

The meeting was called to order at 3:06 pm.

1. Minutes from April 3 and Announcements

There being no changes to the minutes other than those previously incorporated, they were approved as amended.

2. AAAC, Other Administrative Committees and Other Nominees

The Chair asked the Senate's Rules and Elections Committee (SREC) chair, Jones, to offer an update. Jones stated he had developed a short working list for area academic advisory committees (AAAC) nominees. He recently sent an email to all college deans, faculty councils and senators, and added that while there were extensive lists for a few of the committees, the remainders needed many nominees. Jones said that he understood several college councils would be acting on his request within the next couple of weeks. The Chair requested the information in as timely a manner as possible, recognizing the onerous task to be tackled.

Jones offered an update on the faculty trustee election. He said he had sent an email to college deans and faculty councils to request an effort to increase participation. He said approximately 20% of eligible faculty had voted; participation levels by college ranged from five to almost 60%. Tagavi suggested using some type of automated vote counter to help inform voters of the turnout levels.

The Chair shared that he had invited Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Phil Kraemer and Interim Provost Scott Smith to attend the meeting for the discussion on completer degrees. He added that the contact for the new minor had not yet been reached, so that agenda item would be postponed.

5. Changes to Senate Rules Section VI

Changes to Senate Rules Section VI(PDF)

SREC chair Jones said that the changes to Section VI were part of the committee's tireless effort to work their way through the entire Senate Rules sentence by sentence. He said most of the editorial changes were done to accommodate the changes to the Governing Regulations in June 2005. He offered a summary of the changes:

He said the section regarding academic offenses was not addressed. The Chair asked for questions. Grossman said changes to Section 6.3 were made at the December Senate meeting to add language stating that a failure to benefit from an alleged act of cheating did not mean the act was not cheating. Jones indicated those changes would be incorporated.

Liaison Greissman asked about references to LCC in the section regarding academic offenses. Grossman said that the language regarding LCC was removed when the Senate approved the revisions to the academic offenses section in December. Dembo asked about when the new academic offenses policy text would be available. Grossman said it was currently on the web. It was confirmed that the SREC did the front and book end of Section VI, but that the middle area addressing academic offenses was not touched.

Dembo asked if the end of the first paragraph of Section 6.1.1 regarding syllabi still protected a student from having to make any financial expenditure for a hard copy of the syllabus. He said that the spirit of the rule was to ensure a student would not have to pay for a syllabus. Jones opined that the rule did capture that intent.

After further wordsmithing among Senate Council (SC) members, a part of the section was revised to read as follows:

All students must be informed in writing of the course content and other matters listed in this rule at no cost to the student. Syllabi may be posted electronically, but if a student requests a hard copy, it must be provided free of charge.

Tagavi suggested that faculty be required to keep the syllabus posted on the web for an entire term. Grabau said there was some dissonance in language regarding when syllabi should be provided to students; the section referred both to "the first or second class meeting" and "the first class day." Grabau noted there could be differences in practice if both terms were used, due to varying class meeting schedules.

Discussion followed regarding the most appropriate phrase to use to indicate when the syllabus should be provided. It was decided that the preferred phrase to use was "first class meeting."

Tagavi asked about crossed out language in Section 6.2.0 regarding the half-time nature of the Ombud position. Jones referred him to Section 6.2.4.B, where the half-time amount was noted. Tagavi requested that language in Section 6.2.3 more clearly state that the position of chair would be an additional faculty member, not one of the two faculty members mentioned in 1).

Tagavi asked about the interpretations in Section 6.5.2.4 that were moved to the end of the first paragraph. He wondered who would decide if the UAB was constituted in violation of the Rule. After brief discussion, it was agreed to add the following comma phrase at the end of the second to last sentence: ", in the opinion of the chair of the University Appeals Board."

Grossman pointed out a missing "of" in the first sentence of Section 6.5.2. In response to Greissman, Jones stated that the language being discussed was not language that dovetails with that of the GRs.

In response to Lesnaw, the Chair explained that members would be voting on the "bookends" of Section VI - the unrevised sections were the rules regarding academic offenses and that section was approved by the Senate in December 2005. The changes to Section VI would be brought before the Senate in Fall 2006.

There being no further discussion on the agenda item, a vote was taken to approve the revised Section VI, including the revisions added during the meeting. The motion passed unanimously with a show of hands. The Chair thanked the SREC and Jones for their hard work.

3. Completer Degrees - Guests Jim Applegate and Nicole McDonald, CPE

Completer Degrees (PDF)

The Chair welcomed guests Jim Applegate and Nicole McDonald from the Council on Postsecondary Education. The Chair stated that he and the entire Senate Council had been kept apprised of the situation through communications with Interim Provost Smith, who had addressed the Senate Council recently on the issue. The Chair noted that Senate Council and Senate processes were unique among other public institutions in the Commonwealth in terms of faculty responsibility for curricular proposals, and added the invitation to meet with the SC was for the opportunity to learn more about the underlying rationale and expectations the CPE had with regard to completer degrees (cd).

Guest McDonald distributed handouts (PDF) she had brought. Individuals present introduced themselves.

Guest Applegate introduced McDonald as the person responsible for transfer issues and said completer degrees (cd) were a small piece of a larger picture. He prefaced his overview of the handout by stating the cd needed to be in effect to help accomplish the goals of House Bill 1 (HB1). Applegate proceeded to offer comments on the PowerPoint presentation in the handout, concentrating on the numbers of baccalaureate degrees needing to be awarded by 2020 to comply with HB1.

Grabau asked if the statistics quoted by Applegate were reasonable in comparison with UK's enrollment and graduation goals in the Top 20 Business Plan. Applegate affirmed that there were, saying that some things will have to be done differently in order to meet the goals. He said associate degree students were obvious targets of the push for increased numbers of baccalaureate degree holders. Applegate said that the teaching and business areas were very popular in the 2+2 degrees, in which a student completes an applied associate degree (aad) in an applied field (education or business) in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and then transfers to a four-year institution in the state, with all aad credits transferring. His primary concern was the creation of a cd at UK in which transferring students could complete their bachelor's degree in approximately the same (combined KCTCS plus UK) time as internal four-year students at UK. Applegate offered examples from the handout of how other institutions have more or less met the cd criteria.

Applegate stated that in the Bluegrass District of KCTCS (Fayette and surrounding counties), there were approximately 2,000 students with aad who could benefit from a cd. He noted that UK was the only state institution without a cd program. He compared a cd to an inverted baccalaureate degree - the student would be completing technical work first, and then the general education component afterwards. Applegate stated he wanted to be perfectly clear that he was not proposing the creation of a second-rate bachelor's degree. He said any cd program at UK would not be hard to market for students wanting to take advantage of it.

Grabau mentioned a former Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) offered through the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) many years ago. He said he knew some students would be delighted to sign up for a cd program that would ignore the rigors of a traditional UK bachelor's degree. He wondered if a disservice would be done to students by not pushing them to do their best. He asked what contingencies would be in place to ensure the good done for some cohorts would not be undone by a cd. Applegate said that a cd program could be limited to those transferring from KCTCS, and that he hoped a cd program would be rigorous for the incoming students who had previously demonstrated their educational abilities at KCTCS. He added that the quality of KCTCS students was higher than community college students in other states.

Thelin asked if the CPE had included Kentucky's independent colleges in the forecasting numbers. Applegate replied that meetings had been held with independent colleges and they were being asked to increase their degree completions overall by 52%, but added that the CPE did not have the responsibility of regulating them. Tagavi expressed confusion with the CPE's assertion that a cd could be completed with no more hours than regularly required for a traditional bachelor's degree, if a bachelor's degree required 120 credit hours but a cd student would be transferring 70-some hours. That would leave only 50-some hours for UK coursework. Applegate said that some universities required 128 hours for a bachelor's degree and that the numbers were approximate. He said that Northern Kentucky University cd program required a few additional hours, but that the cd at NKU would still cut back on required hours for a student to complete. He added he would not quibble over an additional six or nine credit hours, and would try to be as flexible as possible. Tagavi asked if "close" was acceptable. Applegate responded that if UK were to create a well-conceived, well-structured cd program, the CPE would work with UK. If UK thinks only 60-some credits could be transferred, as opposed to the 70-some earned, it would simply be necessary for students to be advised of this. Tagavi asked about a cd program requiring 135 credit hours, in which a student could transfer 60 credit hours, and fulfill the remaining 75 credit hour requirements at UK. Applegate preferred to avoid discussing specific credit-hour computations, expressing hope that UK could create a credible program for students, especially in the aad programs.

Grossman stated the goals of a cd program were laudable, but noted that all curricular proposals at UK began with a proposal from a faculty member or academic unit. He said that addressing the Provost or even the Senate Council was not the appropriate way to go about creating a new degree program. He suggested Applegate work with faculty in a designated area to start the process. He also expressed concern with the general nature of all the degrees referenced by Applegate in the handout. He said that merely increasing the number of bachelor's degrees was simply designating the bachelor's degree as a totem, but that there was no indication that a bachelor's degree signaled increased learning. He stated the statistics pointing to increased health and wealth among bachelor's degree holders was contingent upon the knowledge gained in the learning process, not the physical granting of a degree. Worrying about increasing the number of bachelor's degree holders before addressing curriculum issues was putting the cart before the horse.

Applegate said that Murray State University and Northern both had programs of substance; the intent was not to absolve the institution of offering a quality degree. He said the CPE wanted to see a degree program created by faculty. Applegate said that state law required certain transfers be accepted by all state institutions, but added that current practice was such that not every institution would accept all 60 hours that were mandated - some only accepted 48. Tagavi expressed concern with the implicit understanding that UK would be forced to accept any 60 transferred credit hours. Applegate clarified that the only transferring credit hours would be those in the degree program. Applegate said that 60 credit hours would have to be accepted to accommodate the spirit of the law and that of a cd program. Grossman spoke to the concern of specific work and programs and equivalencies; he expressed the same concerns as Tagavi regarding the "any" 60 hours being transferred.

Lesnaw said she shared Grossman and Tagavi's concerns regarding the value of a cd. She said it was not meaningful to say everyone needed a bachelor's degree and preferred an emphasis on information. She thought the biggest problem with any cd program would be the lack of a general education (gen ed) component. Lesnaw said the added interdisciplinary component would be great if it helped someone, but wondered what that student's job goal would be. What could be contributed to the state would be more important than the number of diplomas issued. Applegate replied that transfer students in other states tended to cluster around the medical health and information technology fields, and that the cd would offer interdisciplinary skills to a student. In response to another question from Lesnaw, he said distance learning could be utilized in a cd program. He said the benefits of a baccalaureate degree went beyond the workplace to include a healthier person and life-long learning.

Grossman initiated a brief discussion on the difference between cd and 2+2 agreements by suggesting there be more emphasis on 2+2 agreements and less emphasis on UK developing a cd. Jones expressed a general unsettledness with the process. He referred to other degree agreements with the Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in which BCTC worked with UK to ensure the courses involved in the program were academically appropriate. Jones stated that something similar should have happened with cd, but instead UK was being asked to create a degree program in a vacuum. Applegate responded that UK purposely was not offered a design for the program, so that UK could develop one to meet UK's standards. He added that the transferring students would not be intellectually inferior.

Tagavi stated his belief that most of the SC members agree that "many" students had and would demonstrate their academic abilities. His concern was that of the "any" students that UK would be required to admit. He noted that UK would have no oversight of the level and quality of coursework the students would be transferring.

Applegate said that community college students nationally were passing licensure exams at levels nationally equal to or exceeding those of four-year students. Thelin took exception to the assumption that performance on licensure and certification exams was illustrative of anything more than licensure and certification preparedness. Applegate was concerned that there was an assumption that students at KCTCS were questionably prepared, academically speaking. SC members did not agree with that statement, stating there was great concern about accepting "any" credit hours.

Greissman said that it was important for a student to receive a degree that contains sufficient academic merit. He offered numbers regarding what a program normally requires, including UK's admissions and graduation requirements. He said that by the time all those items were taken into consideration, a student would need to take an approximately 70 additional hours to meet UK's gen ed and graduation requirements. Applegate responded that Greissman had correctly computed the credit hour requirements, but that the hope was that UK could create a program in which a transferring cd student would not have to take that many courses. Greissman said that if the number of courses required were lessened, it would be difficult to conclude that the cd student received the same quality bachelor's degree as a student who had begun and finished their coursework at UK. In response to Applegate's suggestion that UK create a different type of degree program, Greissman asked how that was supposed to occur. Applegate replied that perhaps a portfolio could be used to demonstrate that a student had fulfilled, for example, a cross-cultural requirement by having lived for a period of years in a foreign country. He spoke to the different needs of a student desiring a cd.

Guest Interim Provost Smith stated a student who had fulfilled requirements for an associate's degree had chosen a different path than that of a student completing a bachelor's degree. He said the idea that a student was entitled to a four-year degree by virtue of completing an aad was akin to Smith feeling eligible to be an electrician due to completing eight years of college. Smith stated the CPE was trying to make the state institutions the same, but said that there were differences between UK and other state institutions. He said he was unaware of any major at UK that would allow 60 hours of electives to count toward a degree in the manner that a cd would transfer credit.

Applegate stated that he found it hard to believe that there was no creative way for UK to offer a cd, since all the other state institutions had found a way to do so. He reiterated that there were approximately 2,000 students in the Bluegrass District who had received an aad in the past three years, who could take advantage of a cd. He again stated his hope that UK would not be the only institution not to create a cd.

The Chair said that the discussion did not stem from intellectual arrogance, but that the debate turned on the issue of difference. He said Applegate made a compelling opportunistic case in that aad students lived in the Bluegrass District and would likely come if UK offered the cd, but emphasized Grossman and Lesnaw's concerns about what a student would do with a bachelor's degree. He offered a brief summary of the rigors that a new program undergoes when it is reviewed by the University Senate's instrumentalities, and the strong sense that it came from faculty. He said part of the issue was the peculiarity of UK and the faculty's sense of the UK's mission. He said it was possible to create an inverted bachelor's degree that emphasized the gen ed component once the student was at UK, and that it could enhance the lives of students with strong technical backgrounds. However, he cautioned, there would be pitched resistance in many faculty quarters regarding who would be teaching these courses.

The Chair stated that one of the virtues of a bottom-up approach was that it would be faculty driven, and would flow from identification of an emerging area in which a societal need was identified. He said part of the negativity surrounding the cd discussion stemmed from the failed BGS in A&S, saying that there was no particular interest currently in A&S to resurrect that sort of program. He went on to say that with regard to the civil engineering technology curriculum, there were many, many courses in the aad program that would not be acceptable for a civil engineering program at UK, citing the lack of a math or calculus requirement in KCTCS, among other issues. He openly wondered who would make the decision to decide what courses were essential to include or offer for a cd.

Applegate said a cd would satisfy a silent need, and that there was no intent to subvert quality - individuals receiving a cd would benefit themselves, and it would be a benefit to the Commonwealth. Lesnaw said it seemed the problem was that a square peg was being driven into a round hole; she suggested the creation of a cd designed for a quality, twenty-first century general education, to be offered by something similar to Murray State's University of the Mountains. Students could be permitted to take designated courses at any Kentucky institution offering such courses. The Chair reminded SC members that it was fifteen minutes past the normal adjournment time.

Jones asked if state law required a completer-type degree; he asked for confirmation that the CPE was the body regulating the number of credit hours that had to be approved upon transfer. Applegate said he thought the 1996 law mandated the number of credit hours. Jones said the only reference to 60 hours that he could find came from the CPE.

Grossman asked about his previous question regarding whether or not it would be acceptable to create a degree that targeted only certain associate degrees. He acknowledged that the technical knowledge of transferring cd students could be equal to that of graduates, but came back to the question of many versus any. He said a meeting could be arranged with KCTCS faculty to find out what was being offered so that a curriculum could be developed that would complement the totality of a bachelor's degree, similar to that of a 2+2 program. Grossman stated there was a benefit in knowing what a student had been taking. Not every credit would transfer, but a review could be done program by program to ascertain which programs could accommodate a cd, and that other programs simply would not a cd. McDonald said that a 2+2 was a wonderful option for those with a well-sketched plan prior to going to KCTCS, who had a sense of where they wanted to go. The concern was to offer something for students who currently had aad and wanted to go further, without starting from scratch at UK.

Jones asked if a cd would need to mesh with a pre-KCTCS degree. After brief discussion, Applegate said UK could address admissions options. Tagavi asked if a cd program that excluded aad holders would be acceptable. Applegate said that would defeat the purpose of offering a cd.

On behalf of the SC, the Chair thanked Applegate and McDonald for attending. He said the major dividend of the conversation was a much clearer sense of what was driving the cd initiative from CPE.

The Chair entertained a motion to adjourn at 5:37 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Yanarella
Senate Council Chair

Members present: Dembo, Grabau, Greissman, Grossman, Jones, Lesnaw, Randall, Tagavi, Thelin, Yanarella.

Liaison present: Greissman.

Guests present: Jim Applegate, Phil Kraemer, Nicole McDonald, Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby, Scott Smith.

Prepared by Sheila Brothers on April 18, 2006.