Index of Topics 4/13/2010

              For Approval 4/27/2010 ; to Faculty Senate 5/3/2010

Report on First Year Experience:  Steve VanderStaay


Vetting University-wide programs: Discussion


Use of X97s for all “temporary” courses – MOTION





Regular Meeting  --  April 13, 2010


Chair James Hearne called the meeting of the 2010 Academic Coordinating Commission to order at 4:03 pm on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.  There were twenty (20) people present including Commissioners and guests (see attached roster).

Approval of MinutesMinutes of March 30, 2010  (Exhibit A) -  Postponed

Minutes of 3/30/2010 were postponed pending a review of the last sentence under “Discussion”.  The text of concern is as follows:

“Proposal to change the title of Student Evaluations 

Commissioners discussed changing the title of “Student Evaluations” to some other name  such as “course reaction surveys” or “course value or satisfaction surveys,” neither of which seemed particularly appealing. Several Commissioners reiterated the principle that the purpose of these evaluations should be explained to students and that they should be used to evaluate what the student considered was learned in the course. “


One commissioner felt that the discussion was really about what the student evaluations should be and the sentence did not accurately reflect this. Some editing suggestions were made, including to break up the last sentence to read:  “The forms should be revised to assess student perceptions of what was learned in the course.”  Insufficient time remained to continue to attempt to edit during the meeting, so the minutes were postponed.  Commissioners are requested to forward their concerns to the Chair in a written form so that the paragraph provides an accurate record, and the minutes can be approved at the next meeting.


Report from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Steven VanderStaay

First Year Experience.  Steven VanderStaay presented data to Commissioners on the status of freshman retention, success, and overall satisfaction, and a new mission statement.  Everybody with a program of serving freshmen will be asked to keep the mission statement in mind.  VanderStaay would like ACC to “affirm” the statement if it so chooses.

Mission Statement of May 18, 2009

 “The first year at Western is a time of significant intellectual and personal development.  The entire Western community – faculty, administrators, staff, and students – is committed to helping students:

o     Understand the intellectual, moral, civic and personal purposes of their liberal arts education;

o     Connect to Western faculty and the larger campus community;

o     And negotiate successfully the academic and personal opportunities and challenges of their first year.”


Freshman Success:

ü Much is at stake in freshman success, and the return rate after freshman year is a predictor of how successful the university is.  Western seniors are extremely satisfied and 85% would come again; but freshmen are less satisfied than freshman elsewhere.

ü Academic challenged, success and satisfaction can be measured by asking questions such as “Have you given oral presentation, done service learning, raised your hand in class?”  “How many five  page papers have you written, how many 20 page papers?”  Seniors note greater academic challenge, and freshman note less of an academic challenge.  It is the same with active and collaborative learning.  What this tells us is that the freshman year is our weak link.  This reflects where we put our resources -- in our majors. Faculty and Student Affairs came together to establish a mission to organize and worked for a year to come up with ideas to help. 


Commissioners asked:

ü How can faculty get more engaged with freshman?  (VanderStaay promised data with percentages of freshmen who are taught by adjuncts and full time faculty)

ü What is the makeup of transfers in the senior groups, and is our senior group a very different group than other universities?

ü Freshman might feel underchallenged when they come in with a high GPA.  Are our freshman different kids, and thus less satisfied than other populations?

ü What is the general education program like now, does it creates a bonding experience for students?  A more formal program that everybody does together might provide that. (Core curriculum model).

ü We have a cafeteria model.  Is there something between those two models?  Or options?  You can have a core curriculum that students could choose to sign up for.  The chair predicts that if you had a group of 150 freshman who went thru a program in which you knew which week was” Machiavelli week” and which week was “Confucius” you would have a much more satisfied group.

ü Is there a way to discover what we told them they would get compared to what they actually got?  Is there some potential way to see if we are delivering what we say we deliver?  We think our freshmen are disappointed because they expect classes to be smaller in their freshman year. They don’t experience smaller classes until the majors in most cases.

ü Access limits how broadly we can advertise. We can’t say “Come to western and study the world” when there is a lack of access to some classes, for example Art and Music.

ü What is our definition of a small class?  How many get access to a small class freshman year?

ü At the U of WA 80% of freshmen are in a FIGs class.  We only put 15% of our students in the program. Their FIG program is deeply embedded and is taught by undergrads.  It is a great mark of prestige and students do it for free for credit.  The teacher of the 2-credit seminar is an undergraduate.  At the U of WA the retention is 93%  we are about 85%.  It is a resource issue, you lose a freshman you lose the resources spent on a freshman.  Our students are less successful with a reduced load, perhaps because they have too much time on their hands.

ü Regarding GPA we have been getting fewer of the high end students. That is changing this year because we offered more aid to the better students.  We get no National Merit students; but this year we are correcting this. We also have a pilot to expand the Honors program on the chance it will give us more non-resident students.

Viking Launch

VanderStaay explained the “Viking Launch”, created to provide incoming freshmen with a strong focused startup to college life, and to help them achieve the advantage of being prepared and ready for class, academically and socially integrated within a campus community, and focused on their future goals and plans all before fall classes begin

ü Viking Launch will start this fall.  We bring students to Western 10 days early for a 2-credit academic seminar.  They will move into their dorm 10 days early, and meet their roommates.  They will have an intensive 20 hours of contact with a faculty member before school starts.  There will be service learning on the weekend, recreational activities, and extended orientation from the Health Center, Advising, classes in Time Management and Study skills.  These students will then help other students move in, and will have a start on being socially and academically acculturated to Western.  The seminars will be something like “Get ready for calculus”  and “Get ready for Chemistry”.  We don’t yet know if there will be enough sessions. There will be a computer science course in animation and gaming, seminar in finance, technical writing, criminal law and justice, marine biology, and a neuroscience seminar.  These 2-credit experiences will provide more summer school teaching opportunities and create a revenue stream to pay the lecture pool. With Western starting so late VanderStaay would love to have 1000 freshman here to get 2 credits under their belt, and be socially and academically oriented.  There are dozens of faculty interested in teaching in the program.  The program this fall will have at least 100 students, and not more than 200 in the first pilot and will cost the student $700.  VanderStaay has applied for 2 grants so low income students can participate, with hopes that the National Science Foundation can support the program for the sciences. Students will live in Fairhaven (the cafeteria is open at the end of summer). These students tend to be retained, tend to build community.  There is also a website available for Viking Launch.

FIGs Programs.  VanderStaay reported on some major changes created as a result of input from faculty:  1) departments have more control over who will be selected to be the instructor, and they must be faculty;  2) the salary is raised to instructor average thru elimination of overhead; 3) the 14 FIGs this year have more academic content. 

VanderStaay will complete his report next meeting.




Committee on Undergraduate Education


ACCEPTED.  General education assessment plan discussion; St. Olaf as model


Committee on Undergraduate Education


ACCEPTED.  Held and approved GUR courses;  revision of GUR forms to note “outcomes”

Discussion of second year survey



A. University Wide Programs -

Motion One:  Creation of  Council on University Programs.

DISCUSSION:  Chair Hearne reviewed the history of vetting programs not affiliated with a college which simply do not have a college style committee to review curriculum before it comes to ACC.  Certain university wide and interdisciplinary programs want to remain independent from affiliation with a college.

o  Commissioners expressed some concern that there was a “routing process” but this is not the case.  The Council on University Programs could voluntarily send a course to a particular college to vet as a disciplinary course.  The college may choose to do so or not, or might make suggestions about the course.  Such comments ought to be included in the minutes from the Council, but there is no routine routing such as for certificate programs or GUR requirements.

o  The CHSS wants to look at any course that will be funded by it and give it their stamp of approval.  This is to ensure that courses are not created and approved without the knowledge of the college which has to then provide the faculty funding to teach the course.  There is a place on the e-form which now asks if there are resources to address concerns about creating a new course.

o  Niall O Murchu mentioned this as a core issue for International Studies which has no resources and can only get off the ground by way of cross-listing courses from different colleges. 

o  Chair Hearne proposed that the issue is the dialectical clash between funding, and teaching and learning. Faculty do the teaching and administration has the checkbook.  There does not seem to be a policy we could formulate that could synthesize that, and if the administration will not support the building of an academic program you fail, and there is no policy that solves that problem.


Motion Two:  Approved University Programs – POSTPONED.

MOTION ON THE USE OF x97’S FOR ALL “TEMPORARY” COURSES.  ACC approved the use of x97s for all temporary courses.  Commissioners voted unanimously in favor with one abstention.  (The following information is from the ACC minutes of March 2, 2010):

The use of x17s and x45s as temporary course offerings is discontinued and only x97s and alphas will be used for all temporary, one-time, special topics, seminars, current trends, and experimental course offerings.  Details in Class finder and Banner catalog must be updated to accurately reflect what is offered. 


§  The X97s may be offered up to 3 times, after which a permanent number must be assigned (and the temporary x97 course will be deactivated) 

§  If more than one x97 is offered for a given quarter alphas may be used to distinguish between offerings.

§  Each offering requires an ACC E-form to be approved by department and college.  But ACC approval is not required.  500-level courses may require approval by the Graduate Council.

§  Classfinder/Timetable will show accurate course details as per the E-form details which must include specific title, grade mode, schedule type, course level, description and number of credits.

An additional item would allow departments that offer several temporary courses every quarter the option to create a permanent course number as follows:

ü   Each dept creates two 300, 400-level permanent courses: One course letter graded; one course S/U.

ü   No need to fill out an E-form for each different topic offering, the generic course description which is approved the first time at ACC (or Graduate Council if appropriate) will be used.

ü   Titles can be edited in Schedule and will include an abbreviated main title, with longer title to also appear on the transcript.

ü   X45s and x17s (but not 117 which will remain for FYE courses) will be available for use as regular course numbers after seven years.

(end of information from 3/30/2010 minutes)

Agenda Items Postponed

Commissioners postponed further discussion on “Student Evaluations:  title change to ‘Survey of Course Experience’”, further discussion and a proposal related to Fairhaven course titles, and considerations of the Minor” at Western


Commissioners adjourned at 5:33 pm.

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder, April 13, 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:



Kathleen Knutzen, Associate Dean, CHSS



Michael Renne:






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:  3/30/2010        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).