The minutes of the September 19, 2006 meeting of the Faculty Senate were approved as amended.
II. Report of the Faculty Senate Chairperson
III. Report of the Student Senate President
IV. Report of the Graduate Student Organization
V. Report of the Administrative Officers
Provost Prabhu invited Registrar Candace Deen to share information with Senate about the upcoming release of online registration and scheduling. Ms. Deen indicated that demonstrations are being held around campus to give faculty a chance to preview the new system that replaces both the online Course Locator function and the paper version of the schedule. She emphasized that the new system will allow open access to a single source of updated course information. She expressed openness to hearing feedback and suggestions from faculty about functionality of the system. She noted that the new format includes notes about courses that more easily define related pre-requisites or other requirements and can be modified as needed.
Dr. Prabhu shared that a major concern is that students might try to print out entire copies of the course schedule. Questions raised included how the system would show open seats and how the information at the front of the course schedule would be available. Ms. Deen reported that the Registrar’s website will be updated soon to include links to all this information and would have a complete pdf that would be updated periodically. Ms. Deen also indicated that the Registrar’s Office would be willing to visit groups to give a demo on using the system. Several faculty members expressed a desire to have a limited number of hard copies available as they are useful for faculty members, particularly when working with advisees. Ms. Deen noted that there would be a few printed versions this fall but the hope is to eliminate the need for these in the future.
Associate Provost for Academic Administration
Associate Provost Burns indicated that the University Theme Committee is welcoming faculty to submit ideas for a theme by October 23. He suggested they be broad concepts that could be relevant in multiple ways across disciplines.
VI. Committee Elections
As three election ballots had been completed, nominations for At-Large members were accepted for all remaining open seats. A Mowrey/Warmkessel motion to close At-Large nominations and cast a unanimous vote for all unopposed candidates was passed without dissent.
VII. Reports of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees
Senator Warmkessel distributed documents relating to the October 31 meeting planned to address General Education issues. Dr. Börger-Greco encouraged all senators to attend. Dr. Warmkessel noted that discussion would be centered around three topics, that discussion of each topic would be limited to 15 minutes at a time with the option to extend in 5-minute increments and that each topic would be concluded with a non-binding straw vote by senators. Dr. Warmkessel requested that senators review the topics with their departments and bring comments and input to the meeting.
GERC then addressed their proposal that Senate endorse continuation of UNIV179 courses within learning communities in the 2007-2008 academic year. This extension is needed since the General Education curriculum has not yet been modified to adopt this program. A question was raised regarding the faculty complement for teaching these courses. Dr. Prabhu noted that many departments are absorbing the complement and that, in some cases, the Provost’s Office has applied contingency complement to support offering these courses. He emphasized the success of the program in raising retention of students involved in UNIV179 courses. It was noted that this will need to be addressed in the future when the final position of UNIV179 in the General Education Curriculum is determined. Dr. Michelle White commented on behalf of Dr. Ralph Anttonen in support of using these courses to retain exploratory students who are at risk for dropping out of college programs. The GERC proposal to endorse continuation of the pilot-testing of UNIV179 Seminars (15-20 sections) linked with Fundamentals courses in a learning community through the 2007-2008 academic year was approved without dissent.
Additional discussion arose from a suggestion from the English Department that the Fundamentals courses mirror the theme of UNIV179 sections to which they are linked. It was noted that the extent to which this happens depends on the faculty members involved. An additional comment highlighted the fact that course assignments are not always made soon enough to allow for adequate cooperation. The recommendation was that plans for next year be made in a timely fashion to allow faculty sufficient time to effectively make this connection for these courses.
The GERC proposal to continue granting General Education equivalence for UNIV179 was approved without dissent.
The GERC proposal to continue the provisional authority granted to GERC to approve topics and General Education block designation for proposed sections of UNIV179, to be followed by review in the appropriate School Curriculum Committee for review and approval of General Education designation before counting for General Education credit, was approved without dissent.
Academic Outcomes and Assessment
Senator White expressed thanks and excitement about the attendance of 42 persons at the luncheon on General Education assessment.
Senators White and Mowrey distributed a memo to Senate regarding their findings in reviewing the progression of approval processes for DL format in MU courses. They concluded that, prior to the Local Meet and Discuss agreement shared with Faculty Senate on March 21, 2006, MU courses could be changed to a DL format based solely on review by the department in which they were taught. They recommended that any courses first taught as DL in any semester prior to Summer I 2006 would need to present evidence of approval by the department or could be voluntarily submitted to the current review policy, but course changes made after that point would be subject to the terms of the expedited approval process implemented by Meet and Discuss. Dr. Prabhu responded that the CBA contains a two-level review specification, allowing for each institution to establish its own implementation process. He expressed concern that the department-only approach did not meet this CBA policy that had been in place. A comment was made that periodic review would help ensure that quality is maintained. It was also mentioned that these policies should not be enforced retroactively. Dr. Burns noted that the previous CBA contained similar language regarding DL approval. It was recommended that discussion of this issue should move to Meet and Discuss.
Senator Mowrey distributed a proposal for review from GCPRC addressing the academic standing of graduate students receiving 2 C grades or an F grade. Dr. Mowrey also referenced the Governance Manual charge to GCPRC to name the Graduate Faculty and distributed the 2006-2007 list of Graduate Faculty at Millersville University.
VIII. Reports of the Faculty Senate Special Committees
IX. Proposed Courses and Programs
X. Faculty Emeritus
XI. University Planning Council
Dr. Prabhu introduced the members in attendance. Dr. Frank Bremer noted inclusion of comments from the online survey completed by faculty regarding our vision as well as identity information from external input. UPC now plans to present the draft statement across campus for feedback. He emphasized the need for the Vision Statement to reflect MU to a wide range of audiences. Specifically, he highlighted commitment to excellence, passion for learning, diversity and stewardship as reflecting common themes from faculty although not consensus. He also commented that the committee debated over a statement that is sufficiently visionary and that there needed to be a path somewhere between “as is with improvements” and a “whole new reality.” Furthermore, he noted that there should be ways to test our commitments since performance indicates a concrete reality needed to achieve the vision.
Dr. Jim Fenwick noted that the committee would now like to get faculty feedback on the vision statement and strategic directions. He noted that comments could be sent to Maureen Feller or shared with committee members. Discussion followed indicating that the drafted statement appears to be active but might benefit by elimination of mechanistic statements. Another issue was that use of the word “region” seemed limiting. Dr. Bremer noted that the intended region is large, citing perhaps the Mid-Atlantic or East Coast. He noted purposeful deletion of reference to the PASSHE system. A question was raised regarding whether departments would be specifically reviewed. Dr. Prabhu noted that the vision should provide more in the way of direction and framework. Dr. Bremer commented that this should also help us see the big picture of why our current evaluative processes are in place.
The UPC was asked which single sentence they felt could not be removed from the statement. It was noted that some of the statement helps to define what is meant by terms like “commitment to excellence” and “service to the Commonwealth.” The UPC was encouraged to consider further distilling the statement to more succinct phrasing.
XII. Other/New Business
Aimee L. Miller
Faculty Senate Secretary