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November 4, 1993
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

ELECTED MEMBERS PRESENT: Valarie Adams, Will Bertin, Tom Bibler, Martha Butterfield, Ken Carson, Monte Coulter, Neal Coulter, Susan Davidson, Lloyd Davis, Aniekan Ebiefung, Fritz Efaw, Howard Finch, Jack Freeman, Nick Honerkamp, Doug Kingdon, David Levine, Renée Lorraine, Mike Russell, Ossama Saleh, Edgar Shawen, Clint Smullen, Larry Tillman, John Tinkler, Joe Trahan, Ling-Jun Wang, Carolyn Wiley, Sally Young

ELECTED MEMBERS ABSENT: Lawrence Akers, Jim Avery, Robert Duffy, John Garrett, Larry Ingle, Clifford Parten, Loretta Prater, Greg Sedrick, Terry Walters, David Wiley

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS PRESENT: Jane Harbaugh, Fred Obear, Charles Renneisen, Grayson Walker

AMONG THE GUESTS PRESENT: Bill Aiken, Mike Biderman, Brenda Davis, Ray P. Fox, Dick Gruetzemacher, Arlie Herron, Robert McNeely, Verbie Prevost, Roy Stinnett, Robert Swansbrough, Randy Walker

Call to Order

President Tom Bibler called the meeting to order at 3:17 p.m.

Approval of Minutes

Professor Edgar Shawen asked who had moved and seconded the motion to reaffirm the 30 Hour Rule. Professor Mike Russell recalled that he had moved and Professor Renée Lorraine that she had seconded the motion. The minutes were approved as corrected.

Committee on Committees

Professor Larry Tillman asked the Committee to find a replacement for him as the Ad Hoc representative to the Graduate Committee for the fall semester because he has a class at the time the committee meets. His replacement would have to be a member of Faculty Council from a department without a graduate program. No one volunteered, so Professor Tillman will continue to serve in absentia.


Report of the Committee to Evaluate the Freshman Seminar

President Bibler announced that the Council would hear the report and then refer the item to the Curriculum Committee. The Curriculum Committee will discuss it and bring a recommendation back to Faculty Council. The Council will then decide what recommendation to make to the full faculty. The Curriculum Committee will be charged with returning a recommendation by December 2 so that the matter can receive two readings before the full faculty.

Professor Mike Biderman, Chair of the Committee to Evaluate the Freshman Seminar, reported that the group began meeting last spring and decided what data should be gathered. Professor Biderman analyzed the data during the summer. The group began meeting again this fall to determine how to present the findings.

He explained that the results would be more nearly valid if students had been randomly assigned or not assigned to seminar, creating a better comparative group. Because seminar was required for all entering freshmen, the results are based on 60% taking the seminar in Fall 1990, 75% taking seminar in Fall 1991, and 80% taking seminar in Fall 1992. The group also used freshmen entering in the fall semesters of 1987, 1988, and 1989 as comparison groups.

Multiple regression analysis was done to statistically equate these non-equivalent groups. Retention results were analyzed using logistic regression. SAT and ACTE scores were converted to ACT scores.

Professor Biderman noted that the committee was particularly interested in GPA and retention. The first semester GPA (excluding students' seminar grade) of students taking USTU 101 was .15 higher than non-takers over the three-year period. The second semester GPA was also analyzed for all courses except the seminar. There was not a significant difference.

With respect to retention, seminar takers were more likely to register for the spring semester than non-takers. The retention rate, averaged over three years, was about 4% higher for takers. If you take totals of all students who took the seminar and those who didn't, you get 7.5%. Thus the retention rate is somewhere between 4 and 8%.

Chancellor Obear wondered how our results compared with other universities. Professor Verbie Prevost, Director of the Freshman Seminar Program, said ours were about average; most schools ranged from 4 to 8%. Professor Lorraine wondered about the effect on retention of a one-hour course. Dr. Prevost did not know, but commented that most institutions with a seminar offer a three-hour course.

Concerns were expressed about staffing costs.

Dr. Jane Harbaugh noted that the UC Foundation had paid for six faculty lines to staff the seminar for the first three years. Only this year was funding done by UTC. Without these lines, these faculty members would not have been on campus to teach anything; further, in the second semester, departments had the benefit of these teachers when there were fewer seminar sections.

Professor Russell suggested creating a one-hour course. Professor Arlie Herron said he believed it was important to have the student contact hours of a three-hour course. Many students think they spend more time on USTU 101 than on other courses. The three-hour course helps build rapport between student and teacher and student and the University. It's not just an "orientation" course, but contains much more.

Professor Biderman concluded his report by noting that the data show that the seminar has a positive effect on retention and GPA, but that the committee believed a study of costs should be done before a decision was made to retain the seminar.

Dr. Dick Gruetzemacher discussed some of the costs. Dr. William Aiken provided these figures: $25,000 for initial training of faculty; $228,000 for Year I; $281,000 for Year 2; and $404,000 for Year 3, for a total of $937,000.

Dr. Gruetzemacher then discussed estimates of revenues. Approximately $6,000 revenue is generated by a student enrolled for a year (from State funding and from student tuition and fees). Based on freshman enrollment of 800 and the differential retention rate, 56 more students persist if they have seminar. Multiplying 56 by $3,000 (half of $6,000) yields $168,000 (estimated value of increased retention to second semester). About 80% of those who persist from fall to spring also register for the following fall. Thus about 45 additional students would be retained; 45 times $3,000 equals $135,000. Adding $168,000 from the spring and $135,000 from the fall amounts to a $303,000 increase in revenue based on retention.

Dr. Shawen asked if the group these figures were based on was atypical. Dr. Gruetzemacher said yes. The figure might change either up or down. We also do not know the effect taking the seminar in the spring has on registration for the following fall. As yet, there is no data on the effect of the seminar on persistence to graduation.

Professor Lorraine asked about the average cost of the program for 1993-1994. Dr. Aiken said that he did not expect any large leaps this year. He also noted that the budgeted salaries did not all go for teaching the seminar. For example, one professor in the School of Business Administration whose salary is paid through seminar funds never teaches seminar. Dr. Harbaugh explained that the UC Foundation funded six lines. While the University must charge the State in accordance with where services occur, the Foundation does not work quite the same way.

Professor Biderman asked what it would cost to teach Freshman Seminar when we started figuring it the State way. Dr. Harbaugh said she would have to have some time to arrive at the figure.

Chancellor Obear noted that fringe benefits are about 29% of salary. Thus six lines (salary and fringe benefits) might cost about $312,000.

Dr. Harbaugh remarked that she was pleased that the retention rate was so high. She believed even 2% would have been good.

Dr. Robert Swansbrough asked if the higher retention rate wasn't to be expected because of the increase in ACT scores. Professor Biderman noted that the change in ACT requirements had been handled through the multiple regression analysis.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

There was no new business.


Dr. Jack Freeman asked when the STARS were to come out. Mrs. Brenda Davis thought they would be arriving from the printer Friday morning.



The meeting was adjourned at 4:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sally Young


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