Undergraduate Studies Committee


Minutes for meeting of October 31, 2003


105 Hullihen Hall


     Present: Sarah Acuff, Douglas Buttrey, John Courtright, Joseph DiMartile, Louis Hirsh, Amy Johnson, Thomas Leitch, David Marshall, James Morrison.


     The first meeting of the Undergraduate Studies Committee this fall was called to order at 9:00 a.m. After briefly reviewing the nature of the Committee’s charge, the chair, citing requests from the chairs of the University Faculty Senate and the Arts and Science Senate to defer the review of multicultural courses originally scheduled for this month, asked the committee whether they would prefer to open a broader series of dialogues on the efficacy of the current requirement and possible revisions to it before conducting the review. After considerable discussion about the kinds of data that were reasonable to collect through anecdotal evidence, exit interviews, and outcome-based metrics, the committee voted 8-0-0 to defer the review while they gathered further information about the requirement. Committee members agreed to convene at least two open meetings to which all interested faculty members would be invited and two lunch meetings with interested students.


     Because of apparent inconsistencies in the name of the proposed new concentration in Interactive Media (which is described in different documents as a Concentration in Interactive Media and a Concentration in Interactive Design) and its course requirements (which are specified as 30 credits but seem to add up to 39 credits), the Committee agreed to return the proposal to the Art Department for clarification.


     The Committee took no action on the proposed Minor in Interactive Media on the understanding that it had already been approved by the Coordinating Committee.


     After discussion, the Committee voted 6-0-0 to approve a set of revisions to the Major in General Agriculture, beginning with its change in name to the Major in Agriculture and Natural Resources and including all requested changes in the requirements. Noting concerns about the newly required one-credit course AGRI 165 (Mastering the Freshman Year), however, the committee advised an academic review of this course, its requirements, and the basis on which its students would earn grades.


     After discussion, the Committee voted 6-0-0 to approve two proposals from the Department of Biological Sciences for Honors Bachelor of Science degrees in Biological Science with a concentration in Ecology and Organismic Biology and in Biological Science with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics.


     After discussion, the Committee voted 6-0-0 to approve a request from the Department of Art to change its name to the Department of Fine Arts and Visual Communications.


     A request for permanent approval of the Milford Professional Development School provoked more extended debate. Some members of the Committee expressed concern over the possible dilution of courses whose 3 credits could be earned over two semesters; some wondered whether the program, given its clinical emphasis, was strictly speaking equivalent to the Newark program in Elementary Teacher Education. The Committee agreed to return the request with its own request for a formal evaluation rather than the implementation report it had received, with the understanding that this report would define program and course objectives and outcomes more precisely, compare the experiences and outcomes of students completing the Milford program more closely to those completing Newark program by means of exit interviews and more detailed information about differences in particular courses and clinical experiences, and provide comparative documentation (e.g., syllabi and examinations) and a more complete rationale for the features that made the Milford program distinctive.


     Prompted to consider the apparent discrepancy between the minimum grade of C- required to fulfill the University requirements in English composition and multicultural courses and the minimum grade of D- to fulfill the Arts and Science requirements in mathematics and foreign languages, the Committee asked the chair to consult with the Arts and Science Senate on this discrepancy and with the Registrar’s Office on the likely impact on graduation rates if the minimum grades in required mathematics and foreign language courses were raised to C- before taking any further action.


     The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Thomas Leitch, Chair

November 4, 2003