USF Undergraduate Council - Minutes of January 11, 1999

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Present: Richard Dietrich, Nell Faucette, Thomas Johnson, Mary Hardy, Thomas Johnson, Ken Pothoven, John Robison (Chairperson), Edward Silbert

Absent: Ram Pendyala

Guests: Robert Sullins, Curtis Wienker

The meeting was called to order at 3:15 p.m.

  1. The minutes of December 7, 1998 were approved with the correction that "anthropological student of culture" be changed to "anthropological study of culture" in ANT 4285; that the course has been taught previously at the graduate level and is needed at the undergraduate level due to the interest of students; and that the instructor of the course have a Ph.D.

  2. Discussion of the General Education Council - John Robison reviewed the history of the General Education Council. The Council members discussed various methods of handling courses being submitted for general education/liberal arts review. Concerns were raised regarding the needs to expand the membership of the Undergraduate Council, the amount of work needed to complete the work assigned to both the Undergraduate Council and the old General Education Council, etc. Following this discussion, John Robison drafted the following document that was forwarded to the Faculty Senate Executive committee for review and passage by the entire Faculty Senate:

    To: The USF Faculty Senate
    From: The USF Undergraduate Council
    Date: January 20, 1999

    The Undergraduate Council has been asked to consider the incorporating of the General Education Council and its functions within the Undergraduate Council, since, technically, the concerns of the former group come within the overall purview of the Undergraduate Council. The problem is this: there is only one undergraduate curriculum, and Liberal Arts is subsumed under that, but the current General Education Council seems to operate as an autonomous body.

    The time seems to be right for a change of some sort. Although the General Education Council was probably needed at its inception to deal with the time consuming problems of defining the Liberal Arts mission and goals and setting up procedures for processing course applications, as well as to handle the considerable volume of applications that ensued in the first few years, it seems appropriate now to incorporate the committees functions within the Undergraduate Councils routine in keeping with a general, desirable trend toward simplifying and focusing bureaucratic procedures. This would also relieve the sense the Undergraduate Council often has when reviewing course proposals that are also to go before the General Education Council that there is unnecessary duplication of effort and compartmentalizing going on. The right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing. Sometimes the Council finds itself granting approval in cases which may end in disapproval by the Liberal Arts Committee, which means wasted effort if the courses success and viability depends upon the latters approval.

    We urge the Senate to incorporate the General Education Council within the Undergraduate Council. This can be accomplished by revising the charge of the Undergraduate Council as indicated below.

    If this change were to occur, the Undergraduate Council would devise new guidelines for course proposals that would efficiently combine the sorts of considerations the Undergraduate Council has traditionally given such proposals with the sorts of considerations the General Education Council has given. There is little doubt that applicants would be thankful for the much more streamlined process that would result and the removal of one more hoop to jump through in the often maddening process of getting course approval.

    If the Liberal Arts curriculum is better integrated into the overall undergraduate curriculum by the incorporation here proposed, it is understood that efficiencies of operation would have to be achieved by the Undergraduate Council, and care taken not to in any way weaken or short-change the Liberal Arts curriculum. We believe that the Undergraduate Council can accomplish these revised duties with its current membership of nine faculty members. If this task proves to be too difficult, then we may request an increase in membership to begin sometime after the academic year 1999-2000. That being understood, the Undergraduate Council hereby urges the Faculty Senate to approve this incorporation.

    We recommend that the charge of the Undergraduate Council be modified and clarified, as follows (new words are set off in brackets and are printed in italics):

    The Undergraduate Council is responsible for recommending to the President, Provost, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and for reporting to the Faculty Senate on matters pertaining to undergraduate courses, curricula, instructional programs, and degrees of the University. Responsibilities include [the evaluation of courses for the liberal arts curriculum, as well as the] periodic evaluation of the general education policy and other existing or proposed programs. The Council shall advise the President, Provost, and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies on the development of the future undergraduate academic program of the University and shall aid them in developing, reviewing, and updating the University's statement of academic goals and objectives.

  3. New course proposals were distributed to the Council members.

The next meeting will be Monday, January 25, 1999. The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

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