Index of Topics 4/27/2010

Approval 5/11/2010;  to Faculty Senate 5/17/2010

Fairhaven Course Titles – Guidelines


University Wide Programs (ACC Hndbk)– MOTION Approved


Student Course Evaluations title change – MOTION Approved


Council on University Programs – (Postponed)





Regular Meeting  --  April 27, 2010


Chair James Hearne called the meeting of the 2010 Academic Coordinating Commission to order at 4:01 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010.  There were nineteen (19) people present including Commissioners and guests (see attached roster).

Approval of Minutes:  Commissioners approved the minutes of March 30, 2010 as amended, and the minutes of April 13,2010 as written.



Unapproved items from meeting of March 30, 2010


Fairhaven College



 --Exploration of Astronomy through Science and Philosophy

--Sustainable Design and Urban Planning


Huxley College of the Environment




International Programs Advisory Cte


ACCEPTED:   There is no additional new fee in IPE.



Fairhaven Course Title Guidelines

Dan Larner, Fairhaven, Senate President, was a guest at ACC, and with Niall O Murchu, Fairhaven representative, discussed the guidelines for titling Fairhaven courses. 

§  Chair Hearne explained that the purpose of the guidelines was to avoid overlap with titles of existing academic majors, but the consequence is that the titles are presented to ACC members with no context, and can be idiosyncratic and challenging to approve.  

§  Larner and O Murchu were open to the first item, and perhaps the couple of items in the suggested guidelines but not later ones, such as the one requiring a listing of all the courses the student had to take or the suggestion to include the names of a 3-person faculty committee for each student. 

§  Larner explained the extraordinarily rigorous and often lengthy process by which a student eventually decides on and obtains approval for the major title; the title is almost always modified in the student’s senior year.   A 3-person team of faculty mentors provides feedback on the proposed major title and course content as the student devises a rationale for the course list and develops and revises the list as the plan of study is conducted. Even the rejection of a title by ACC provides a learning opportunity for students. 

§  Larner pointed out that how Fairhaven students develop their plan of study is a much more rigorous process than what students face in many other areas in the university. 

§  Murchu and Larner questioned not only what they see as excessive scrutiny but also practicality if the ACC were to require a display of  the course lists and names of all the committee members for over 100 graduating Fairhaven students each year.  Larner quoted a noted scholar who remarked in Western Today that Fairhaven thirty years ago adopted what are now considered best practices in undergraduate education and has kept them alive today.

§  Members expressed appreciation and respect for the rigor in Fairhaven, which is unfamiliar to many in the rest of the university.  Presenting more detail than just the title of the students major may be a good public relations opportunity for Fairhaven. 

§  One recommendation was that the Interdisciplinary information section from Fairhaven in the Catalog might provide a header or footer on a template for their curricular minutes. 

§  Another recommendation suggested was that the Fairhaven College Curriculum Committee minutes might list how many credits in each discipline the student is expected to take, and how many faculty from each discipline listed are on the committee.  This would provide some context and be helpful to the ACC.  O Murchu and Larner agreed to think creatively about a way of presenting minutes to ACC  to solve the problem  in a public relations way, and to provide more substance for the historical record.



A. University Wide Programs -

Motion One:  Creation of  Council on University Programs.

Commissioners understood that Motion one and Motion Two are linked, and that at present there is insufficient curricular review of university-wide programs analogous to that of the general curriculum which must be reviewed by a college curriculum committee before being submitted to ACC.  Steve Vanderstaay mentioned that  colleges have indicated that they are disinclined to take on the vetting responsibility for these courses, given that interdisciplinary areas prefer to maintain their autonomy.  ACC chair Hearne reminded commissioners that requiring minutes from university-wide curricular committees not only would provide an historical record, but would allow the Council on University Programs (CUP)  to provide curricular oversight (akin to the level of a college curriculum council).  Having two additional faculty on CUP, and preferably individuals who are not direct participants in university-wide programs would broaden areas of discussion and would elevate the trust that faculty across the university would have in the rigor of the curricula in university wide programs.


The ACC Chair decided to postpone a vote on the charge until next meeting after Commissioners revised the charge as follows (new text underlined, deletions use strike-through):


It is proposed that:

ACC create a Council on University Programs to oversee the curriculum from all university programs not affiliated with a college, and to forward its minutes to ACC (proposed handbook language follows):

7.  Council on University Programs (CUP)



Members The Council on University Programs consists of seven (7) faculty members, including one faculty from each of the following Interdisciplinary programs: 

Honors Program, International Studies, Leadership Program, Studies, and Women Studies (4);

Two tenure-track faculty, preferably faculty from outside of university-wide programs, from any two of the Colleges including the Library, not Council representatives, from two separate colleges, with colleges rotating representation at the end of each term (2); and

The Associate Chair of ACC, who shall not be elected chair of the Council (1). 

Faculty serve two-year terms and may serve up to six consecutive years to provide continuity and to stagger the membership.

Chair:  The chairperson of the Council on University Programs shall be elected from among the members at the first meeting of Fall Quarter.

Reportage: The Council meets no less than twice a quarter or more often as required.

Sufficient copies of the approved minutes of each meeting shall be forwarded to ACC via the Office of the Faculty Senate (MS9020, OM350) within fourteen days of the meeting. 

The Council on University Programs reviews and approves curricular proposals from an interdisciplinary perspective, including seminars. 

The Council oversees effective ways of ensuring the quality of interdisciplinary and University-wide programs.

The Council serves as the college curriculum committee for programs not affiliated with a college, and as such is a standing committee of the ACC.

While Curricular authority over University-wide programs not affiliated with a college is vested entirely in the Council on University Programs.  However, implications regarding repeatability, prerequisites and equivalency or other implications for majors must be referred to the relevant department.  the Council may request additional evaluation and advice from departments, from programs associated with colleges, or from college curricular committees.  Recommendations that result from such consultations requests must be captured in the Council’s minutes to the ACC.


Proposed at ACC 3/30/2010, revised 4/13/2010, revised 4/27/2010.

--end text




MOTION TWO:    Approved University-Wide Programs

 Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the following language which defines University Wide programs and which will be added to the ACC Handbook:


“The following language to be added to the ACC Handbook to further identify University-Wide Programs:


University-wide programs not affiliated with a College, including Honors Program, International Studies, Leadership Studies and Women Studies; and any other programs not reporting to a college curriculum committee, require approval of the Council on University Programs, a standing committee of the ACC (See Chapter 8).


Each approved University-Wide Program shall have its own curriculum committee that drafts, reviews and proposes curricula.  The curriculum committee of each such University-Wide Program:


a)    Shall be composed of at least 5 members, 3/5ths or more of whom are tenure-line faculty.   The faculty on the committee must represent at least three different departments and at least two colleges.  The committee elects a chair at the start of each academic year.

b)    Shall have an approved and published mission and shall identify and publish expected course, program and degree learning outcomes.”
   -end text


MOTION THREE:   Change the title of “Student Course Evaluations”  

Commissioners voted to change the title of the student course evaluations to the following:

“Survey of Course Experience”

Commissioners expressed interest in what is seen as the primary issue, namely revising the surveys.

·      In a discussion which preceded the vote, Chair Hearne remarked that there are faculty who are nervous about evaluations and are afraid of some of the comments and remarks.  Students are not in the position of truly providing a teaching evaluation and the title ought to be more neutral.  Some other titles which had been suggested and then rejected included “response survey” and “reaction survey” neither of which seemed accurate.  A reaction seems a diminishment that undermines the process with the student.  “Course experience” seems to suggest something about which faculty care more.  “Course reaction” seems less important.

·      What perhaps really should be asked is a survey of the experience, not a course evaluation. We actually may want the students to include their views of this experience, which, of course, also would include their views of faculty performance.  According to at least one student member of ACC, it seems that most students didn’t think faculty took these surveys seriously, and whenever they did realize the seriousness and importance of the evaluations, they were surprised.  Thus, the student opined that calling the surveys “reactions” would appear to trivialize them even further.

·      Commissioners then pointed out that the name is not really very important – not as important as the process or even the form, which is considered inadequate and even “a joke” by some faculty.  Arguing about the name and title change may be arguing about the wrong issue.   But it also seems that changing the process itself seems like a huge can of worms and that the idea of changing the process has been opened periodically on this campus and then it gets closed quickly.  The student evaluation form is “a grab bag” of questions; some individuals take the data from the answers much more seriously than others. Before the UFWW contract required the current student evaluations be done for each class, a lot of faculty apparently didn’t even offer them.  It may be hard to lose tenure over student reactions to courses –as is apparent from the numerical scores and comments, but if you really care about your courses you are going to do other kinds of things to survey student learning and experience. The form itself and the process it represents probably does not give the feedback that would be most valuable for improving the course.

·      Proposing a new title, “Survey of Course Experience” should also be inferred by faculty as an encouragement to change the “student evaluations” to something more meaningful.  Some faculty really attempt to do a real survey of course experience, and also use forms for faculty to evaluate each other; these forms are used across the country and available as freeware; these forms are widely viewed as effective, but using them is a lot of work for faculty  Some provide peer review of course materials, other forms  provide peer review of in-class and in-lab faculty instruction  We want to get at the “nugget of teaching outcomes.”  These current “student evaluations” do not get at it, but are a mark of a whole mélange of responses.  Some faculty who are more “hardnosed” about their courses get below 3 and yet their students can be shown to achieve better scores in subsequent courses.  Other teachers get over 4.5 yet may be teaching disasters in terms of what their students are able to apply in later courses.

·      Commissioners asked if the forms will be revised to meet this challenge.  Chair Hearne said it should be on next year’s agenda for ACC.  Commissioners expressed genuine excitement at the thought of an opportunity to revise the forms.


Items reviewed at this meeting will be action items at the next meeting:

Ø  Approval of Catalog and Curricular Timeline for AY 2011-2012

Ø  Revised Honors Board Charge


Postponed Discussion

o      Considerations of the “Minor” at Western



Commissioners adjourned at 5:35 pm.

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder, April 27, 2010




Voting Membership (terms ending 2010)



Chair – James Hearne 2010



B –  Billie Lindsey, PEHR



Vice Chair – Roger Anderson 2010



C –  Robert Stoops, Liberal Studies



Ex Officio



 At-Lg: Kristi Tyran, Management



Steve VanderStaay, VPUE for Provost Riordan



I – Peter Smith, Library



Susanna Yunker, Registrar (nv)



A-Spencer Anthony-Cahill, SENATOR



Lisa Zuzarte, Catalog Coordinator (nv)



A-James Hearne, SENATOR, Chair






Ramon Rinonos-Diaz,



David Brunnemer, Associate Registrar



Matthew Osborne:



Daniel Larner, Fairhaven, Senate President



Michael Renne:



Doug Nord, International Programs



Jessica Terwisscha:   






Voting Membership (terms ending 2011)






H-Tracy Thorndike-Christ, Spec Ed, CUE  






E- Yvonne Durham, Economics



Rose Marie Norton-Nader (nv), Recorder



D-Mark Kuntz, Theater






A-Roger Anderson, Biology, Vice Chair,  UPRC rep



Members Present



F-Niall O Murchu, Fairhaven  



Recorder and Guests



G-David Shull, Huxley College



Date:  4/27/2010        TOTAL:


 Members (18):12 faculty (2yr terms) represent 9 areas and 1 at-large plus 2 Senators (1 yr terms).  6 additional members include:  Provost (v), Catalog Coordinator (nv), Registrar (nv) and 4 students (voting).  ACC sends reps to UPC and CUE.  Recorder attends (nv).