Index of Topics 2/15/2011

DISCUSSION: Future Agendas:  GURs, Efficiency,

Curriculum Approval processes, defining

“Core, Quality, Mission”

     For Approval  3/1//11;  to Faculty Senate 3/14/ 2011




Meeting of February 15, 2011


Chair Roger Anderson called the meeting of the 2011 Academic Coordinating Commission to order at 4:06 pm on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.  There were twenty (20) people present including Commissioners, guests and recorder (see attached roster).


ACC Minutes of February 1, 2011 – Approved


Steve VanderStaay reported on legislative bills that might affect Western and on which ACC would have to take a leadership position, such as common course offerings, the Western Governors’ University (a virtual university for working adults), and a mechanism allowing students to get credit for experience.


Constituent Concerns:

Time to Degree.  One Commissioner asked for data on what percentage of our students graduate in 4-5 years.  While this percentage is about 35 to 40%, about 91% of our students are still in school or graduating from here.  Average time to degree is 4.5 years.  Finance majors, with a huge credit major finish in 4.2.  The figures have to include students who leave to work, take only 9 credits, take a quarter off here and there.  The average time is 4.2% but not lapsed time.

(The following section edited by Tracy Thorndike-Christ): “One of the bills referred to by VanderStaay is HB 1654 (see about increasing tuition for credits taken in excess of 125% of those needed to complete the degree program(s) in which the student in enrolled.  What the bill actually says is that universities will be required to charge students at a different rate for credits taken beyond 125% of those needed to complete whatever degree program(s) the student is officially enrolled in (225 credits or more). The choices of rate proposed are to charge (a) in-state graduate tuition rates (a very modest increase based on current the current tuition schedule) or out-of-state undergraduate rates (a substantial increase of almost 2.5 times the cost of undergraduate resident credits). The purpose is to encourage those 3-12% of students who hang around forever to graduate and improve access for other students.


The language in HB 1654 does not refer to any specific number of credits or to the amount of time it takes to get to degree. It states "125% of the credits needed for completion of the degree program," which would be highly variable depending on the credits in the major or whether people had more than one major or were completing a professional certificate in addition to a major, should be more expensive. If someone could graduate with 180 credits, we would be talking about an extra 45 credits of electives or 225. The number of students affected is estimated to be between 3 and 12% so clearly they aren't talking about all the people with double majors, etc.”

Credit Load.  A better way to ask the question is how many students graduate with 180 credits.  The registrar reported that a student should be enrolled in an average 15 credits a quarter to graduate in 4 years.  Only 12 credits is the minimal load essential to get financial aid and somehow this has morphed into an idea that 12 credits is a full load. At least 30% of our students work over 30 hours a week.  Time to degree has not improved even though students bring credits from high school.  We have the youngest student body in the State so it is natural they would change majors more often.  Western students do better with a full schedule.  Our students remarkably don’t seem to expect to graduate in 4 years. 

Transfer Interest Groups (TRIGs).  Time to degree is longer for Western transfers than Eastern or Central.  In part it reflects that our transfers are younger.  VanderStaay reported that we may pilot two programs next year in two of the most popular majors for transfers: one in English, with an intro class just for transfers to include advising; Psychology is considering using TA’s to assist with transfer support in the Fall.  Many departments don’t seem to like the idea of a TRIG because most transfers want to step right into the major. Unfortunately they are not always ready to do so in the sciences. Some Community Colleges do not offer the sophomore level science courses our students need to be major ready as transfers. However, we are working at the State level to try to ensure that transfers have access to courses that will make them transfer ready.

Community College Advising.  Students wishing to transfer to Western should be able to talk to Western advisors directly. There seems to be decent articulation but perhaps inattentive advising.  A student commissioner suggested that every department at Western should have an advising portal, a big “T” page just for transfers.

Advising FreshmenFreshman advisors need to focus on fundamental prerequisites, especially for students who wish to enter the sciences. VanderStaay reported that summer advisors will meet with associate deans so that science majors get GUR advising; science freshmen cannot participate in the FIGs.  John Bower reported on a 1-credit class taught by a Staff member who reiterates advising information all quarter long; a kind of continual advising is most essential for 18 year olds who generally are told something only once.  Roger Anderson suggested that if students didn’t start on a path and waited until spring quarter they should still be able to get thru in 4 years, or perhaps the major needs a second look. 

Student Outreach.  Ramon Rinonos-Diaz recommended that student outreach making calls to transfers ought to ask about potential majors and encourage them to seek advising.  Susann Yunker will talk with Anna Carey to find out if funding is still available for this.




Council on University Programs    




Honors Board




International Programs Advisory


ACCEPTED.  LeaAnn Martin addressed the question of parallel processes in approving study abroad courses.  Debra Jusak explained that now we have established just one process for faculty-led study abroad x37s in a Peabody format. These programs have grown so much that now it is important to have a good process in place. The process must be begun far in advance, possibly as much as a year, to confirm all the travel arrangements and required paperwork.  Lisa Zuzarte will only create the course after final IPAC approval.



Woodring College of Education




College Fine & Performing Arts


ACCEPTED.  Change wording to:  “Three topics courses selected from Theater 485 (repeatable (up to 12 credits))”  



Committee on Undergraduate

Education (CUE)


POSTPONED.  Commission will wait for next set of CUE minutes which will clarify the Geology prerequisities. In the meantime they will review the discussion items re GURs which are related to future ACC discussions.



To: Graduate Council thru Spring 2011: David Bover, for Jianna Zhang

Considerations for ACC 2011-2012.   Commissioners were asked to consider whether they will to serve another term.   Steve VanderStaay pointed out that a lot of human capital is invested in the learning curve in ACC, and it is helpful when people are willing to serve again. 


DISCUSSION – Deciding Future Agendas

Commissioners reviewed an outline of possible discussion items presented by Chair Anderson.  Commissioners will spend one meeting discussing the meaning of “Core”, “Quality”, and “Mission” and then plan to focus the discussion on the GURs.

o     Discussion revolved around four areas:  1) GURs and the majors; 2) Efficiency building and improving the curricular change process; 3) Helping faculty improve teaching outcomes; 4) Curriculum and relationship to possibility of elimination and reductions of academic programs.

o     Spencer Anthony-Cahill would like to see further standardization of what we see in the minutes and similar formats from college to college.  Susanna Yunker plans to work this summer with academic computing to help with the entire process to make processes better for the academic departments.

o     Improvements that can be made immediately include providing a checklist on a front cover summary that indicates which changes are major, and which are merely editorial.

o     Commissioners went on to discuss the priority of the four different areas and raised questions on assessment:  “Are we trying to link student course experience with learning assessment?”  These are two entirely different things.  In fact it might be more truthful to state a negative correlation between student dissatisfaction with the course and what was actually learned!  These are two entirely different animals. The important focus is self-evaluation, yet grades themselves are the evaluation on some level.

Commissioners decided to focus on what “Centrality”,  “Core”, and “Qualitymean, especially in light of the process document on elimination and mergers which the Senate will vote on shortly, and which is related to a policy document on the topic which can be found at at:    Susanna Yunker mentioned that early registration begins in May, and typically she has time to assess the number of students entering early to make arrangements for Fall registration.  With potential cuts she pointed out the need to be able to offer the classes that are advertised.


Commissioners decided that the next focus would be on GURs and majors curricula.  Given the impact of budget on curriculum overall, knowledge and perspective on our current condition is needed.  Possible changes in GURs must be seen as opportunities and ways to increase students’ abilities to gain entry to majors and achieve timely completion of their degrees.


Commissioners adjourned at 5:27 pm  - 2/1/2011

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder




Voting Membership (terms ending 2012)



James Hearne, Chair 2009-2010



B –  Billie Lindsey, PEHR



Roger Anderson, Chair 2010-11

Yvonne Durham , Interim Vice Chair 2010-11



C –  Holly Folk, Liberal Studies, CUE rep Wtr Qtr



Ex Officio



 At-Lg: Kristi Tyran, Management



Steve VanderStaay, VPUE for Provost Riordan



I – Peter Smith, Library



Susanna Yunker, Registrar (nv)






Lisa Zuzarte, Catalog Coordinator (nv)



Ramon Rinonos-Diaz,



David Brunnemer



Morgan Holmgren






Michael Renne:






Megan Housekeeper:



Lea Ann Martin – Associate Dean, CHSS






Debra Jusak – Special Assistant to Provost



Voting Membership (terms ending 2011)






H-Tracy Thorndike-Christ, Spec Ed






E- Yvonne Durham, Economics, Interim Vice Chair






D-Timothy Fitzpatrick, Choral Music Education



Rose Marie Norton-Nader (nv), Recorder



A-Roger Anderson, Biology, Chair,  UPRC rep



Members Present



A-Spencer Anthony-Cahill, SENATOR



Recorder  and Guests



G- David Shull, Huxley College



Meeting: 2/15//2011        TOTAL:



B- Kathleen Saunders, Anthropology, SENATOR





 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).