THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES
January 15, 1998
Signal Mountain Room
Elected Members Present: Tatiana Allen, Ralph Anderson, Boris Belinsky, Mike Biderman, Martha Butterfield, Karen Casey, Valerie Copeland-Rutledge, Prakash Damshala, Joe Dumas, Fritz Efaw, Marvin Ernst, Gene Ezell, Phil Giffin, Jim Hiestand, Renée Lorraine, Deborah McAllister, Jonathan Mies, Greg O'Dea, Laurie Prather, Verbie Prevost, Laurie Prather, Farhad Raiszadeh, Marea Rankin, Rebecca Rochat, Mac Smotherman, Ann Stapleton, Felicia Sturzer, Vicki Steinberg, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Bruce Wallace, Randy Whitson
Elected Members Absent: Jim Avery, Diane Halstead, Judy Miler, Jim Stroud, Larry Tillman
Ex-Officio Members Present: Jane Harbaugh, Bill Stacy, George Ross, Tim Summerlin
Among the Guests Present: Deborah Arfken, Laura Baker, Eugene Bartoo, Marilyn Benson, Tom Bibler, Richard Brown, Herb Burhenn, Terry Carney, Betsy Darken, Brenda Davis, Robert Duffy, Nick Honerkamp, Lanny Janeksela, Steve Kuhn, Chris Mawata, Mark Mendenhall, Gene Schlereth, Greg Sedrick, Ken Smith, Mary Tanner, Roger Thompson
Important Action and Announcements
*The Council passed the new General Education proposal by a vote of 18-3-3. The proposal will be discussed at the full faculty meeting on January 22 at 3:15 in Grote 129.
Call to Order
President Gene Ezell called the meeting to order at 3:15 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Professors Margaret Trimpey and Bruce Wallace moved and seconded approval of the minutes of 12-4-97. The minutes were approved unanimously as written.
Executive Committee: President Ezell
President Ezell announced that there will be a full faculty meeting at 3:15 PM on January 22 in Grote 129. Provost-Elect Bill Berry will be in attendance, and a reception will be held for him 30 minutes prior to the meeting. President Ezell then asked the Council to think about the possibility of using reading day as a makeup for snow days. Professor Jim Hiestand mentioned that the Council had voted to do so in the past. President Ezell noted that such a policy could interfere with faculty meetings generally held on reading day. This issue will be discussed at the next Council meeting.
The Council was then presented with the Executive Committee's proposal that faculty report to campus one week prior to the beginning of classes. President Ezell reported that positive action on the motion would result in a Handbook change. Professor Butterfield added that although the proposed policy would need to be approved by the Board of Trustees, it was intended, pending approval of the Chancellor, to be effective immediately. Director of Records Brenda Davis asked if the policy would apply to Spring as well as to Fall semesters, the answer was yes. Professor Joe Dumas pointed out that reporting to campus a week before Spring semester could sometimes involve reporting on New Year's Day. He asked what the Handbook currently had to say about reporting to campus at the beginning of a semester, and the reply was that faculty are instructed to report "a reasonable period" before classes begin. Professor Hiestand suggested that reporting the Monday before classes begin might be a better option than reporting one week before. Professor Marvin Ernst indicated that he felt uneasy about the proposed policy. Have the ramifications of this proposal been discussed with the faculty? Is a week long enough? Does "reporting to campus" mean sitting in one's office? Professor Felicia Sturzer felt that more justification was needed for the proposal, and noted that departments handle student advisement in various ways. President Ezell gathered that the issue needed further attention, and asked Director Davis if immediate action were needed in order to complete the 1998-9 Academic Calendar. Director Davis replied that while the current draft of the Academic Calendar specifies that faculty are to report to campus two weeks prior to the beginning of classes, a date for returning to campus has not been indicated on the past Academic Calendars. Acting Provost Tim Summerlin stated that faculty have been asked to report to campus two weeks prior to the beginning of classes not only for advisement purposes but because some Heads like to use this time for retreats, planning, discussion of outcomes and the like. Indicating a date on the Academic Calendar would provide faculty with ample notice of when they are expected to report. It was not intended for faculty to show up at 8:00 AM on the designated date and twiddle their thumbs, but for them to be prepared to attend meetings or activities. Professor Raiszadeh suggested that faculty be instructed to "be available" rather than to "report to campus," and other Council members expressed support for this suggestion. Professor John Trimpey noted that if given free reign, some Heads or Deans might schedule events or activities as early as three weeks before classes begin. Professor Ernst moved and Professor Sturzer seconded the motion to refer the proposal to the Handbook Committee with instructions to make a recommendation to the Council as soon as is feasible. The motion passed unanimously.
Professor Sturzer then apologized for being late and reported that she had a correction to the minutes of December 4. She indicated that Ms. Jennifer Dantzler, who was listed on an addendum to the minutes as having successfully completed her departmental honors project, had in fact not completed her project at that time and should not have been approved. Professor Valerie Copeland-Rutledge responded that Ms. Dantzler's name was submitted because it was expected that she would finish her project by semester's end and because the December 4 Council meeting was the last meeting her project could be approved before graduation. It was suggested that such students be accepted "provisionally" in the future.
Returning to the topic of the Academic Calendar, Professor Butterfield asked that the August 10 date for faculty to report to campus in the Fall be omitted from the 1998-9 Calendar. She also reported that concerns have been expressed about a) beginning a semester on a Friday, b) ending Fall semester relatively late in December, and c) holding Graduation on Mother's Day. She hopes these concerns will be addressed. Professor Terry Carney, who chaired a committee on the academic calendar in years past, stated that beginning classes on Friday in a Spring semester may be necessary in order to have a sufficient number of class periods in the semester.
Chancellor Bill Stacy expressed his thanks to Professor Verbie Prevost, the Provost Search Committee, and to the general faculty for their assistance in the provost search process. He offered a welcome to Provost-elect Berry. He also thanked the faculty for enduring the inconvenience of repairs in Lupton Library and Fletcher Hall. He reported that $1 million will be requested for planning for a two-year project on a new technology building, and that the $20-30 million needed for the project will be requested next year. The 2% raise received this January has been distributed across the board. On the topic of planning, the Chancellor urged the campus to chart its own destiny in terms of what kind of University we are to become; faculty "stake-holder" voices should be preeminent, and student input will be sought as well. Various surveys on the planning process will be distributed in the near future, and faculty participation is encouraged.
General Education Committee: Professor Betsy Darken
On behalf of the General Education Committee, Professor Darken moved approval of the proposed revisions of the General Education guidelines dated December 10, 1997. She pointed out that the Committee has been working on this proposal since 1994, and has been one of the most active committees on campus. The Committee has met with faculty, administrators and outside consultants, has collected and interpreted data, studied catalogues from other institutions, communicated with faculty by e mail, etc. The Committee believes the proposal is coherent and responsible, and will have a significant and positive effect on quality of education at UTC. There is no ideal General Education curriculum, and no clear national consensus on how General Education should be practiced. The proposed revisions have been tailored specifically for UTC; only through constructing our own program can we give it a heart and a soul. The program is not perfect, and the Committee has recommended that the Gen Ed guidelines be re-examined in several years. But just as one does not refrain from buying a computer because it will soon be out of date, we should not further delay Gen Ed revisions because they will not work perfectly or indefinitely.
A general education curriculum, Professor Darken continued, is not just a set of courses; it must have a purpose. This purpose is stated in the philosophy statement on page one of the Green Book. The Committee believes in this purpose and expects it to be taken seriously. The Committee sought to emphasize thinking, problem solving, and the development of a global perspective in the program, and to discourage the simple memorization, regurgitation, or replication of information. If the proposal is accepted, UTC will not continue business as usual.
The Committee tried its best to make the curriculum reasonably flexible. Courses in computer literacy, writing or oral communication may be integrated into the curriculum of individual departments. Programs that presently require more than 128 hours for graduation are free to require only 12 rather than the designated 15 hours in Category B. Core courses (such as Humanities I and II) may be offered in various departments. It will be left to departments to determine whether or not courses in a given category must be taken outside the discipline. Although the proposal indicates that courses in Category C are to be taken in the same discipline, departments may opt to have their majors elect courses in different disciplines.
There are many reasons, Professor Darken stated, why the proposed revisions are "worth it." There is a consensus that our students need improvement in the area of writing, so the proposal requires a third writing course. UTC students need improvement in the area of oral communication, so the proposal includes a speech requirement. UTC students need improvement in the area of computer literacy, so the proposal seeks to address that need as well. (It has been suggested that our students are on the whole more computer literate than our faculty. This, Professor Darken opined, is not saying much.) Because the Committee believes that University graduates should be able to interpret quantitative data, a course in statistics would be required of all UTC students.
The Committee worked to provide both breadth and depth in the curriculum. The thirty-one hours we presently require in General Education is a small number in comparison to the national average, and in comparison to the number required in neighboring institutions. Why do other institutions require more hours? Because unlike some of our graduates, other institutions want their graduates to have more than seven hours of science and math. Unlike some of our graduates, other institutions want their graduates to have at least one course in history or in literature. Unlike our graduates, other institutions want their graduates to know something about the Reformation, the French Revolution, the Viet Nam war, etc. Curricular depth is sought through the focused attention to significant works in Humanities I and II. There has been extensive debate, Professor Darken added, about whether a University education should stress process or product: whether learning should focus on the collection of information or on learning how to learn. The Committee has taken a middle ground on this issue, believing that students should both be presented with specific knowledge and taught how to think and solve problems.
Some faculty members have asked why we should bother with significant revisions when there appears to be no money to fund them. The Provost and Chancellor have indicated that they will do their best to fund whatever program the faculty considers most beneficial for our students. Clearly, we need something better than we have now. Concerns about money must be weighed against issues of intellectual value. Professor Darken announced that it is likely the Committee will receive $53,000 from the UC Foundation for Gen Ed summer workshops. She concluded her remarks by asking Council members to consider the potentially far-reaching and complex ramifications of any revisions they might bring to the proposal.
After a few moments of silence, Professor Butterfield expressed a concern of some deans and faculty that the additional faculty needed for the proposed Gen Ed curriculum will prevent hiring of other new faculty. Chancellor Bill Stacy replied that it would not be feasible to hire all at once the ten new faculty requested; five + five may be hired over the course of two years. There is always a need for prioritization when hiring new faculty; decisions must be made concerning what position is most urgently needed at a particular time. It is not necessarily true that hiring ten new faculty will kill any other possible lines. The ten lines proposed would cost around one-half million dollars to phase in, and this amount can be acquired. He stated that faculty are responsible for providing the best curriculum possible. Dean Herb Burhenn offered some historical perspective in reporting that over the past ten years, UTC enrollment has increased 25%, while state-funded teaching lines have increased by 9% (or 15 lines).
Professor John Trimpey addressed the proposal at some length. We should be concerned, he stated, with what students need to learn, and not how many hours are presently required in a given program. Departments have some choice about how many hours they require to graduate. If we are going to allow exceptions to the Gen Ed requirements for programs which have amassed a particularly high number of hours, exceptions should be made for all programs. Professor Trimpey also remarked that he was intrigued by some of the numbers in the impact study that accompanied the proposal. A determination of how many sections of a course are needed based on a class of graduating seniors would not hold for an incoming class. What percentage of our freshman graduate? It is important to consider what percentage of our students register for developmental math, for example. How will repeating of courses affect the new math requirement? Will the new math requirement send increasing numbers of students to Chattanooga State, and might these students then decide to take more General Education courses there? Professor Trimpey also noted that while the proposal claims that 70% of students take one or more computer classes, this is not the case among Humanities majors--where it is closer to 50%--and probably not the case in certain other majors like English. He further pointed out that there are more new net hours required by the proposal in the Humanities than in other areas. We should allow departments or programs more flexibility in determining what they wish to include in their programs. Not doing so destroys the rationale of the proposal. Professor Trimpey concluded by saying that just as mathematics puts a cap on our enrollment presently, this program is going to put another cap on our enrollment.
In response to Professor Trimpey's first point about exceptions for programs that require a high number of hours, Professor Darken pointed out that there are presently only four programs that require more than 128 hours. In determining the number of lines needed for the program, Professor Darken consulted at length with Director of Planning and Research Dick Gruetzemacher. It was established that a graduating class is very similar to the entire student population in terms of certain percentages; the percentage of seniors who are business majors, for example, is about the same as the percentage of total business majors to the entire student population. If 45% of a graduating class has taken a particular course, it may be assumed that around 45% of the student body has taken the course as well. The impact study is basing FTE's not on numbers in the graduating class, but on percentages of an incoming class. (Professor Trimpey doubted that there was a one-to-one correlation among all of these percentages, especially when comparing seniors and freshmen. Seniors are a self-selected group.) On the topic of the math requirement, Professor Darken reported that 14% of students have not taken a (nonstatistical) math course at UTC, and around 70% have not taken statistics. Humanities and Fine Arts students are least likely to take statistics. It is true that departments vary considerably in terms of percentages of students that take computer science. (Engineering students, she noted, have a great deal of breadth in their curriculum, taking more humanities and social science courses than is necessary). Based on a study of current multiple-section courses, the Gen Ed Committee has estimated that 38 sections of Humanities I and II could presently be staffed, and that new lines would be needed to staff 12 more sections. Dean Burhenn's office has calculated that only 30 sections could be staffed with present faculty.
Professor Ralph Anderson stated that he had been involved in many discussions of the proposed Gen Ed guidelines, and that the proposal contains lots of good stuff. While he has few problems with most of the revisions, he is concerned about the emphasis on research over content and social context in Category C. Most important, he has serious problems with the six hour requirement in Category F. Many departments already require statistics, and a statistics course (including statistics courses outside of the math department) should be adequate for the Category F requirement. Why, he asked, does the Green Book differ from the Yellow Book in this area? Professor Nick Honerkamp responded that the Committee changed the color because the Committee changed its mind. Because Committee members had no personal interest in increasing the hours required in Category F, it should be assumed the decision to change was a philosophical one. Professor Margaret Trimpey asked what level of mathematics would be required of UTC students, and which math courses would be used to fulfill the Category F requirement. (She pointed out that some students would simply not be able to follow Math 106 with Math 135.) Professor Darken answered that such decisions would be made by the Math Department, and suggested several current Math courses that could be submitted for Gen Ed certification if the Math Department wished to do so. Professor Chris Mawata stated that the Math department will need to extrapolate what content and courses are most appropriate for our students over time, and echoed the Committee's belief that all of our graduates will benefit from both basic mathematical thinking and the ability to deal with statistics.
Acting Dean Greg Sedrick addressed the issue of the high number of hours required to graduate in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The College is currently reviewing this issue, and attempting to balance pressures to lower the number of required hours with pressures related to accreditation. Someone mentioned that math caps enrollment; hours in Engineering also cap enrollment. Only a superior program can justify such a condition. Dean Sedrick pointed out that the School places 95% of their graduates, and that 83% remain in the area. When area employers were asked what they wanted of our graduates, responses were technical competence, a commitment to quality, an ability to assess the relationship of costs to benefits, an ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and to work effectively as a team. (Engineers are good people, Dean Sedrick offered, but don't much like working with others.) Because the new Gen Ed proposal will help the College of Engineering and Computer Science realize it goals, the College supports the proposal. There are plans to lower the number of hours presently required for graduation in the College, and the College does not plan to ask for exceptions to the General Education requirements. Exceptions will be requested only if absolutely necessary for accreditation.
Professor Robert Duffy expressed concern that only one new line is requested in the area of oral communication. Finding an adequate number of qualified adjuncts in the area will be extremely difficult. Professor Darken replied that she shared Professor Duffy's concern, and that the Committee had discussed the issue of oral communication at great length. The Chancellor, whose doctorate is in the field of oral communication, has encouraged the Committee to take this requirement seriously, and the Committee has recommended that all oral communication courses be taught by individuals with at least some training in the area. The Committee would like to request more than one new line for oral communication, but felt it necessary to keep the number of new lines requested as low as possible. It was reported that an oral communication course is required of all students at Chattanooga State, that is it taught by instructors with Master's degrees in Speech or English, and that the salaries of Chattanooga State adjuncts are higher than those of UTC adjuncts. Addressing the proposal for World Civilizations I, II and III, Professor Felicia Sturzer questioned the feasibility of teaching the history of civilization, including western and nonwestern humanities and fine arts, in three semesters. Professor Darken answered that History Department faculty are extremely fond of this option, and believe they can pull it off. Professor Sturzer wondered how all the material involved could be integrated. Dean Lanny Janeksela asked if resources would be available to develop oral communication and computer courses within departments. Professor Darken responded that UC Foundation monies should be available, and that departments would be encouraged to seek funds from other University sources as well. Professor Bruce Wallace encouraged the Council to focus on the intellectual merits of the proposal rather than on concerns about lines and funding. He expressed the hope that the efforts of individual departments to develop their own computer courses would be supported and respected. Professor Hiestand added that he hoped that courses in computer literacy, writing and oral communication would be developed with good faith and competence, and not just as a means to generate credit hours. Professor Greg O'Dea asked if the third writing course required in Category A would be elected within or outside the English the department. Professor Ken Smith responded that either option is acceptable, and that the choice would be made by the student's major department. Professor Trimpey asked if students would need to take Humanities I and II before the nonwestern course, and the response was that the order would be determined by the given department. Professor Ernst noted that there are different types of oral communication, and asked if the General Education Committee would determine if guidelines for oral communication are being met by a particular course. The answer was yes, and Professor Darken added that the oral communication requirement could be met by more than one course. Professor Ernst was also concerned about the impact on transfer students of requirements that must be met early in the student's curriculum (such as the computer literacy requirement); he hopes that the administration of the program will be humane to both departments and students. He asked if the Gen Ed Committee could address glitches that my arise in the program without reconsidering the entire program, and the answer was yes. Dean Janeksela asked if the present Gen Ed Committee would be responsible for implementation of the program. Professor Darken answered that the Committee will recommend that a joint Gen Ed and administrative committee tackle implementation.
At 4:55 PM, President Ezell announced that there would be only twenty minutes left to discuss the proposal, as some Council members (including President Ezell) had a 5:30 class. (He stressed that it was not necessary to use the entire twenty minutes.) Dean Burhenn asked which documents would be approved if the Council approved the proposal, and Professor Darken answered that the Council would be approving the Green Book (pp. 1-9). Professor Butterfield called the question, and Professor Anderson seconded the call. After some confusion over how many Council members were present, it was determined that the motion to call the question passed with a two/thirds majority. President Ezell then asked for a vote on the motion to approve the General Education proposal, and the motion passed 18, 3, 3. President Ezell thanked Professor Darken and her Committee for their hard work, and also thanked Professor Butterfield, who chaired the Gen Ed committee when revisions were first initiated in 1994. Professor Wallace asked if the proposal could be in effect by next Fall, and the response was that the approval process would take more time. President Ezell announced that the proposal would be considered at the full faculty meeting on January 22. Professor Darken has further recommendations concerning implementation of the proposal, and will offer them to the Council as soon as appropriate.
Old, New Business; Announcements; Adjournment
There was no Old or New Business or Announcements, and President Ezell adjourned the meeting at 5:04 PM.
Renée Cox Lorraine