Minutes of the Educational Policies Board, September 17, 2007

1. The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Steve Miller at 3:00 p.m. September 17, 2007. Roll was called and the following members were present: Chair Steve Miller, Vice Chair Steve Bachofer, Past Chair Barbara McGraw, Catherine Banbury, Ravi Bhandari, Tory Courtney, Craig Johnson, Carol Lashof, Yung-Jae Lee, Joseph Lupino, Lisa Manter, Cynthia Van Gilder, Paul Zarnoth, Sue Birkenseer, Sue Fallis, Charles Hamaker, Brother Charles Hilken, Christa Kell, and Dean Steve Woolpert. Absent was Ken Otter.

Also present were: Dean Tom Carter, Dean Frank Murray, Ellen Rigsby, Vice Provost Frances Sweeney, Russ Tiberii, and Leslie Welty.


2. Chairperson's Report – Chair Miller reported on the Provost's Council of Deans meeting. Two large agenda items were discussed: the strategic plan and the WASC follow-up visit. The Strategic Plan was reviewed to determine which action items require immediate attention. Item 1.5 directly involves the Admissions and Academic Regulations Committee (AARC) to assess academic advising. Team members from WASC are scheduled to visit on October 29, 30, and 31st to review diversity, library resources, and the adult and graduate programs. A calendar of events has been created for the visit. WASC team leaders are set to meet with representatives of the Senate, EPB, and Core Curriculum Task Force on Tuesday, October 30th from 2-3 p.m.

Chair Miller reported on the Graduate Council of Deans. Chris Sindt was introduced as the newly appointed associate dean for graduate programs for SOLA. Items pertaining to graduate programs from the Strategic Plan were reviewed. The charge to develop a metrics profile of graduate students was discussed. The GPC and AARC may become involved.

The Academic Senate met on September 13, 2007. Chair Miller reported that the Senate will meet every three weeks under the new structure. The Senate covered three issues: 1) overall discussion about the President's decision to withdraw from participation in the peer assessment portion of the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Michael Beseda reported for Brother Ronald. SMC has joined in with many other schools that have also decided not to participate.

Michael Beseda said the decision will not have a great impact on SMC's ranking. 2) The Senate voted to close the faculty email list. Only members of the list will be allowed to email to the entire ‘faculty' list. This will eliminate most of the spam. 3) Provost Stampp introduced the idea of tenure to a program or department rather than tenure to the college. She offered several reasons to consider the change. The Senate will conduct an open forum to discuss the issue on September 27th. A second forum devoted to the issue will be held on October 24th during community time and a third forum is schedule for November 28th during community time.

Chair Miller met with Senate Chair Bossard, Provost Stampp, and Brother Ronald for their monthly meeting. The Senate approved a Conflict of Interest proposal for the Faculty Handbook last year. The proposal is still being evaluated by administration.

The GPC and UPC met to discuss sabbatical proposals. Twenty-five proposals were received. The committees had to agree on the top 17 proposals and rank the remaining proposals. The recommendations were forwarded to Provost Stampp. Chair Miller said all of the proposals were deemed meritorious and it was a very difficult task to rank the proposals.

3. Graduate Policies Committee (GPC) - The GPC met to review sabbatical proposals as reported by Chair Miller (above). The next GPC meeting is scheduled for October 1st to review a proposal for an MS in Financial Analysis and Investment Management Program. This program received fast track approved and is now up for formal review. A recommendation will come before the EPB.

4. Undergraduate Policies Committee (UPC) - The UPC met to review sabbatical proposals as reported by Chair Miller (above). The next meeting of the UPC will be held on October 1st.

5. Program Review Committee (PRC) - Lisa Manter reported that the PRC met and welcomed the new members. The first review to be conduced is the Environmental Studies Program.

6. Admissions and Academic Regulations Committee (AARC) – Annalee Lamoreaux reported that the AARC met for the first time. There are several carry-over items from last year: assessment of community time and assessment of Turnitin.com. The AARC has also been charged with the additional task of assessing academic advising. Dean Murray added that community time involves faculty, students and staff. The Campus Deans and Directors Committee is co-responsible with the AARC for assessment. The three sets of recommendations regarding community time will go forward to the Provost and the President. It is possible that alternate time frames could be considered in the future given the availability of additional classrooms in the new Education building.

Annalee Lamoreaux reported that last year the number of papers submitted to Turnitin.com fell dramatically between fall and spring. The Implementation Committee is concerned that it will not be able to make a valid assessment. At the May EPB meeting the EPB charged the implementation committee to considered the possibility of adding sanctions for those students not submitting their essays to Turnitin.com. Dean Murray said the Implementation Committee agreed not to impose sanctions on either students or faculty. They agreed to reinforce community goals of the program. Faculty will be asked to submit essays randomly to test the system. He stated that the two-year pilot was to address the issue of academic honesty and also to allow two years to accumulate a significant data base of the essays submitted in English Composition and Seminar.

7. Core Curriculum Task Force (CCTF) – Ellen Rigsby reported that last spring the CCTF presented the campus community with three versions of learning goals. The CCTF is now consolidating the three drafts into one draft to include learning goals, rationales and outcomes. The CCTF will publish the goals by October 10th and will sponsor a community time event on October 17th to obtain feedback on the document. The next step will be to invite current stakeholders in the general education requirements for discussion. The CCTF will be present at an October 10th community time event sponsored by a Walk the Talk grant. The purpose of the grant is to look at social justice projects across the campus. Last year the CCTF asked that their charge be expanded to include some learning goals that are not entirely or necessarily academically based. The University of St. Thomas is beginning a core curriculum review and they will visit SMC to view St. Mary's process on October 1st. Vice Provost Sweeney explained that Walk the Talk grant has three areas of emphasis: curricular, assessment (how to educate students for personal and social responsibility), and student life (co-curricular engagement with issues of dialogue and justice, what is the method of decision making.)

Professor Rigsby said the goal for this year is to evaluate current stakeholders in the general education requirement, to find out what is working and what is not working now.

8. Provost Search Update – Brother Charles reported on the status of the Provost search. He reported that 37 applications have been received and seven semi-finalists were selected. Interviews will be held with the semi-finalists on September 29, and 30. Finalists will be brought to campus for interviews the first week of October. Faculty, staff and students will be included in the interview process. Recommendations for hiring will be forwarded to the President. The Provost job is to commence on January 1, 2008, or the position will remain open until filled.

9. Assessment of Academic Advising at SMC – Chair Miller reported that section 1.5 of the Strategic Plan charges the AARC, in conjunction with the vice provost for undergraduate academics and the dean of academic advising and achievement, to provide an assessment of undergraduate advising by February 1, 2008. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academics Frances Sweeney and Dean for Academic Advising and Achievement Russ Tiberii were present to discuss the plans for assessment of advising with the EPB. Russ Tiberii reported that he met with AARC Chair Annalee Lamoreaux to begin preliminary discussion of the charge from the Strategic Plan. He said it is critical to identify the role of faculty in the academic advising process, including the faculty workload rebalancing as it relates to the faculty role in advising. Also, a definition of academic advising must be established that states student learning outcomes, institutional outcomes, and the faculty role. Annalee Lamoreaux said it seems that one task is to discover what is happening right now; the load of the departments, and how many are advising first year students, advising majors, and advising others. Additionally, what the expectation is; how many views exist as to what advising should be. This is the beginning of a task that could take some time to sort through.

Russ Tiberii and currently, first year students are assigned to a cohort advisor by virtue of the seminar class, and the extent to which the faculty become involved in advising varies a great deal. There are no definitions or guidelines. Academic Advising Coordinators are responsible for working with students on academic probation. All sophomores who have not declared a major are being assigned to an Academic Advising Coordinator. Workshops are offered for students yet undeclared and for students on probation. Students are being mandated to participate, or they will be unable to register for classes.

Russ Tiberii reported that he was also charged with Strategic Plan 1.3, which addresses the issue of early indicators for students that may be at risk. He briefly mentioned several new programs that were started this year:
- Coordinators in academic advising center sent our notices to all students of color trying to reach out.
- A brown bag lunch will be held with faculty, students, and staff of color on a regular basis.
- Advising is working closely with Student Affairs staff to get the word out to students that recourses are available.
- Advising is working with the math department to develop a pilot program with students in the calculus track.
- Providing training for the high potential peer mentoring program.
- My SMC, a .25 freshmen year seminar being piloted this year. A large part of it has to do with academic advising and support as well as engaging students in the academic community, helping them to understand what the campus community is about and the types of activities available.

Vice Provost Sweeney said one of the top priorities to consider as we think about is what is the goal of engaging faculty and students together in advising. The number of students leaving the institution after one semester indicates they are not feeling a connection. There is a need to review the first year student advising structure.

Vice Chair Bachofer said that advising culturally was a part of rank and tenure before the rebalance or before the cohort. A number of cultural shifts have been made, it should not be connected with the rebalance. He questioned whether it needs to return to rank and tenure and become part of the culture, are faculty going to value it? Advising is different between graduate and undergraduate, how will reach all the various groups of students?

10. Announcement – Past Chair McGraw said several constituents on campus have been discussing options for conflict resolution outside of Human Resources. One suggestion is to have an ombudsman. She said the President indicated he was not inclined to hire an additional administrator, but he was still investigating other methods for conflict resolution. Past Chair McGraw said that Carole Swain and Kathryn Koo have joined her in discussions about various methods that could be adopted at SMC. An ombudsman from Stanford University will be on campus October 3rd to talk about the process at Stanford. She encouraged faculty to attend.

11. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Cathe Michalosky
Faculty Governance Coordinator