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December 2003

Faculty Senate Meeting- December 10, 2003

Biology Building 209

Roll call:

Excused: Arvanitis, Behre, Konzal, Li, Kravitz, Gerald Miller, Nicolosi, Palmer, Rao, Robertson, San Pedro, Strassman, Vincelette.

Absent: Klug, Knobler, Rice.

Crofts: First Seminar.  The Provost has asked eighty full time faculty to staff First Seminar sections next fall.  Each School will be asked to contribute some faculty, with the largest number expected from Culture and Society.  These sections will be capped at 15 students each.  They should be fun to teach.  You do need to submit a syllabus and cover document to Bob Anderson early in the new semester.

Crofts: introduced Mary-Elaine Perry, the Vice President for Student Life, and noted that it was timely for her to visit the Faculty Senate.  The college plans to assign rooms in the residence halls for incoming students next fall according to their enrollment in First Seminar sections.

Mary-Elaine Perry.  Important for students to balance their lives.  They work hard here.  They also need to have fun.  They also need to keep healthy: the numbers needing counseling and support and health center services multiply every year.  The influence of their peers is very important: students travel in groups of 10-15.   Student Life also runs the Student Center.  It will be hard work to get the students situated according to enrollment in Seminar, but it can be done.  Three courses will be assigned to each floor in the Towers (45 students per floor).

Jo Carney.  Had just taught two First Seminars living together.  Worked well.  They liked being together and talking about things in class.  The programming outside of class (community service?) proved difficult to organize.

Cindy Curtis.  Is concerned that if students live with those in their own field, they won’t interact with people who have other interests.  Importance of diversity.

Perry: The intent is not for them to take the seminar only with people in their own field. There are a variety of students in each seminar.   There are also three classes living on a floor.

Ralph Edelbach: Can the logistics be made to work?  When will students choose seminars?  When will they be assigned to rooms?

Perry: This is a new situation. They will be assigned rooms after they have selected a seminar.

Crofts: Are the student’s names just thrown into a computer and randomly chosen to live together?   Or are their characteristics matched up?

Perry: The floor selection is totally random but the roommates are matched up according to preferences i.e. sleeping, smoking, studying habits.  Will try to continue to do this.

Hank Fradella:  Experienced first year seminar when an undergraduate and bonded well.   Years later he is still friends with many.

Tom Hagedorn:  Would like coffee houses outside of campus.

Perry:  The new library will have a 24 hour café.  We are discussing the possibility of having things in the possible new residential complex for first year students, such as an ice cream parlor.

Crofts:  Have they decided to throw money into improving the Towers or will they start afresh with new freshman residences in the lakeside area?  What is your take?

Perry:  Lakeside plans are attractive.  Units would have 15 or 16 double rooms, with common lounges and shared baths.  Two First Seminar courses per unit.  Towers have some support among students, who see living there as bonding students together.

Perry:  If you see students in distress and dealing with heavy issues, please call Student Life or a community advisor.

Art Hohmuth: It is true that counseling services are a little more overwhelmed?

Perry: Yes, this is true.  We have been seeing a rise in student need.  There is a waiting period but not when there is an emergency.

Don Vandegrift: Are there legal concerns in regards to invasion of privacy?

Perry: There shouldn’t be any problem.

Crofts: introduced Caroline Miller, the Dean of Academic Services, accompanied by Frank Cooper, the Registrar, and Steve Briggs, the provost.

Miller: CAP document encourages a 4th hour of classes, though not a required fourth
Hour.  It makes it possible to use if you want it.  We have to provide alternative time schedules.

Wish list the planning committee has gotten: retain common meeting blocs, build an open slot into the middle of the day; allow for solid blocs; allow time for faculty research; don’t start too early or go too late; change my personal schedule as little as possible.  We can do our best to accommodate many concerns, but we cannot do everything for everyone.

Process to date: build models, circulate widely, get feedback, make adjustments, re-circulate, etc.  We have to build a schedule for Fall 2004 that includes the possibility of a fourth hour for each class.  There will be an open forum the first week of class.  We will need to move quickly through governance during February.

Current options:

Alpha Grid.  Don’t start at 8 a.m., instead move to 9 a.m.  Classes at 9, 11, 2, and 4.  Maximum faculty flexibility.  Can teach at 9:00 or 9:30, can teach for two hours if needed, can have disconnected fourth hour as well.  Downside, it may not provide enough slots for all classes.

Beta and Omega grids: classes at 8:30, 10:00, 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, along with detached fourth hours.  More class slots but less flexibility.   Plenty of general classroom space with this model; it works for the School of Science; need other Schools to decide whether it works for them.

Students want the open meeting bloc on Wednesday afternoons.

A general discussion ensued, keyed to color diagrams of the three grids that Dean Miller projected on the screen.  Various Senators weighed the pros and cons of the plans, speculated about which would best promote student learning, wondered how adjuncts might be affected, and worried about the procedural issues in making such an important change under such a tight deadline.

Although some hoped that the Senate might indicate a preference for one plan or the other, at least through a straw vote, this did not happen.  The meeting ran beyond the scheduled time and gradually lost a quorum.  The matter will run over to the new semester.