UMES Faculty Assembly
November 18, 2009
Approved February 16, 2010
I. The meeting was called to order at 11:04 a.m. by Dr. Bill Chapin.
II. Approval of the minutes of previous meeting(s) [already distributed electronically] – approved as written
III. Reports from committees and representatives to other bodies
a. Brief report from across the Bay – the papers will shortly have information on what the Board of Public Works will be deciding on Wednesday November 18, 2009. It appears that statewide we are short $300 million more. This is likely to result in a cut to the Maryland budget of $25 million. All agencies will be hit. The fund balance is used for emergencies and the loan market to show loan worthiness (i.e. a AA credit rating). There may allow us to use a fair amount of the fund balance instead of the operating budget. The downside is that it can not be done again. The money is never replaced. We are likely to be $2-3 billion short in Maryland State income. When the cuts come next year, there will be no fund balance to take stuff out. Most state agencies due not have a fund balance.
b. MHEC University College’s on line program which will be able to operate everywhere except in Maryland. No new developments.
c. The Board of Reagents said that we will not have any policy at the USM system on the showing of movies etc, (the porn policy). There is really no way of doing it without law suits for violation of freedom of speech.
d. There is a question about the status of part-time students and faculty, a committee was set up to look into it. They have come up with a set of recommendations. If you are interested email Dr. Chapin, and he will send it to you. It is a large document (47 pages).
e. A longitudinal data system has been worked on for a while. It allows the students tracked from k-12. It has been determined by the current federal administration that the system should go up through graduate school. The state has been working on the data processing portion of it. The greatest difficulties are in the areas of privacy and security. We will be hearing more about this. It may be required in order to get federal assistance.
f. Reagents are working on an adjustment in the admission expectations for kids coming from high school. The key change is to require a 4th unit of math; all students will need to take math in their senior year of high school. There is some indication that the courses have something to do with use of algebra skills. It will probably be voted on at the next reagent’s meeting
g. The Reagents tried to establish a textbook policy last year. It took 3.5 months for the attorney’s to agree on what the policy said. Eventually each campus will have to have its own textbook policy. Dr. Chapin will probably mail the one from College Park which seems to be the clearest. Whenever you use a different textbook a form will need to be filled out verifying that you have followed certain procedures before making the changes. College Park has made it so that the policy is available on line. On a small campus, it may not be a big deal, but on large campuses with many sections of courses it could be a big problem. The legislature passed a bill passed a bill which mandated how textbooks will be chosen and purchased. It was a difficult document to understand. The original bill stated that if you changed an edition 37% of the content had to be changed. Much of the document does not reflect understanding of how books are selected, publishing practices, etc. Per Dr. Sims-Tucker the bookstore must post the ISBN number of the book so that students can go elsewhere to get the books for less (i.e. Amazon, Half.com, etc). It is therefore crucial to get the orders to the bookstore early so that the ISBN numbers can be posted.
h. Other Committee Reports – None reported
IV. Old Business
a. Proposed adjustments to Summer School Procedures: report, discussion and vote – Dr. Chapin presented the material at the Dean’s meeting. Dr. Holden has communicated that he has no problem with any of the proposed changes except for the financial changes. Under the possible adjustments, they questioned the compensation adjustment under 3A was questioned. One Dean was concerned that if courses became more financially equitable faculty might choose to teach instead of doing research which he prefers his faculty do. We have not formally recommended the policy. A motion was made that with the exception of 3A we recommend this policy to Academic Affairs and the UMES Senate. The motion was passed unanimously.
V. New Business
a. The status and modification of General Education at UMES – Faculty input is needed on this. A committee was originally formed one V.P of Academic affairs as does the current V.P. We are coming up on a new printing of the campus catalog. But there has been no campus-wide discussion of changes to general education classes. Dr. Sims-Tucker stated that a lot of work has been done on identifying learning outcomes. Last year they looked at general education courses and making sure they meet the guidelines. A whitepaper will be written explaining what has been done and where they are now. Per Dr. Chapin the problems with general education courses is not just local. One problem is what we need to do to get remediation. Students need to have 12 credits to be full-time. If they need Math101, for example, they may be forced to take courses they are not prepared to take. General education courses in college should be on a higher level than their counterparts in the secondary school system. We have some students who come in not only unprepared academically in content areas, but in that they haven’t learned that they need to complete a certain amount of work to pass a course. We do not want to get into the business of designing courses for students who can not read, write, and/or do math. If we are to serve the students and teach the students on the level the courses are supposed to be a solution is needed very shortly. One question is whether we need to start some of this at ground zero. Some courses are listed as general education because some department or program was low on credits. Some of been very good, but others not so much. Dr. Sims-Tucker stated they are looking at the competencies should be. The next step is to decide how it will be taught. The State of Maryland has asked all school’s to pick an assessment tool. It is being piloted this year to see how much value added we have with our students by doing this. To make general education courses successful, we need to be sure that students are ready for the courses when they take them. The question was raised as to what would happen to students who are not ready for the courses. The question was raised as to if these students will be put in separate sections. Per Dr. Sims-Tucker they are only gathering data at this time. Dr. Boyd mentioned that students’ are admitted to the university at lower levels is also part of the problem. Dr. Sims-Tucker will also be making presentations about this to the various schools across campus. The committee’s goal is to have the paper completed by the end of the semester.
b. The authorization of the used of secure electronic balloting in faculty elections (such as the election last week of members of the campus-wide tenure and promotion committee) – It has been suggested that since we have a secure balloting system on campus, that we recommend to the UMES Senate that it be used in elections involving faculty matters. Dr. Mark Williams mentioned that in the past this topic has been tabled because of non-action. Some faculty were raised that people could stuff the ballot box. A motion was made and passed with no objections. The Senate will be asked to work on this matter.
c. (From Vice President Williams:) By copy of this memorandum, I am requesting that the Academic Policy on Other Accepted Sources of Non-Traditional Learning Credit be discontinued. Noted below is the current policy:
CURRENT POLICY - Other Accepted Sources of Non-traditional Learning Credit
Complete information regarding acceptable sources for non-traditional learning credit is available from the Office of the Registrar. Elective and required credit can be earned utilizing the following sources: CLEP*; Departmental Exams from other colleges*: Portfolio Credits from other colleges*: Proprietary School, Public Agencies, etc. with articulation agreements*: Other types of experience may apply. Check with the Office of the Registrar. *Some restrictions apply.
Per Dr. Sims-Tucker the above policy allows students to take exams at other universities and use it for credit at UMES. This will not affect advance placement courses. Dr. Chapin requested that Dr. Sims-Tucker either send to Dr. Chapin or come to the next meeting all the policies which currently are related to this.
VI. Announcements – About 3,000 students have enrolled for Spring Semester per Dr. Sims-Tucker. Dr. Lamb reported that the School of Arts * Professions has a new legislative program which allows students to work in the state legislature. The Library is conducting a library satisfaction survey; please take a few minutes to complete it.
VII. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 11:57 a.m.
Anne Driscoll, Faculty Assembly Secretary
The Questions of General Education at UMES
Generally agreed ideas:
1. General Education is not remedial education
2. General Education is not for filling in deficiencies in student backgrounds.
3. General Education courses need to be on a college level; that is, they begin where corresponding high school curricula ended and move ahead from there.
4. General Education courses should give all UMES undergraduates a minimal common educational background in those areas in which faculty feel all students should be competent: while some well-prepared students may substitute more advanced courses in the same areas for the “usual” General Education courses, no students should be substituting lower-level or specially-crafted courses made because ‘students majoring in X have a lot of trouble with General Education area Y”.
5. Students who come to UMES with strong backgrounds in some General Education areas should be allowed to substitute more advanced courses in those area for the normal General Education courses, but should not simply be allowed to skip such an area: a UMES education should move students forward from their position at entrance in all areas that we agree are part of General Education.
6. Moving to a more credible model of General Education at UMES will take time and may well require new or reallocated resources to provide for the needs of our students.
Current Perceived Problems:
1. Students coming to UMES and needing remediation still need to take at least twelve credits their first semester and so often schedule both remedial work and some general education courses during this first semester. This means that General Education courses expecting good reading and writing skills may be forced to lower their expectation in the face of numbers of students in the classes that do not have these skills. A similar situation arises for General Education courses that require even a minimum amount of arithmetic or algebras skills when there are students in the classes who do not possess these skills. Beyond this, some of the incoming students are also lacking in study skills and in the recognition that they need to participate in their own education and may need a semester to become more academically mature and responsible. All of these factors seem to weaken the General Education experiences of all the students in the classes and can easily lead to lowered expectations.
2. Over the years, courses have been added as alternatives to the General Education schedule for reasons that, in retrospect, seem to have not much to do with providing a good strong common educational core to our students, for example, adding course to try to attract students into taking some credits in a department whose credit-hour generation is too low, or arranging an in-house course in a department to satisfy some General Education requirement for its majors instead of having them participate in the courses that other UMES students take for the purpose.
3. Some General Education Areas provide a graduated set of courses from whatever is considered the absolute minimal acceptable level up through courses for students who come to UMES with more advanced preparation in that area. Other General Education Areas provide a ‘one size fits all’ course or courses. Some General Education Areas seem to have so many different options that it is difficult to assure that there is a common core of knowledge that is part of a UMES education.
Questions for Consideration:
1. What are the core areas for General Education in the twenty-first century (English?, Math?, Science?, Social Science/History? Arts?, Foreign Languages?, Literature?)
2. How much work is wise in each selected area? Minimally at what level?
3. How much commonality and how much variety should be available in each area?
4. How do we assure that there is a clear distinction between remedial and General Education courses (and how can we arrange that, for students needing remediation, that the remediation is completed before the skills and knowledge remediated is needed in the General Education courses)?
5. Should we officially start over at ground zero in the consideration of what courses should be in the General Education areas (even if just to avoid fights about the continued inclusion of some of the more unlikely currently approved courses for this purpose)?
6. How can we be sure, during a transition from one set of General Education requirements to another, that we meet the need of the “old catalogue” students as well as the newer students (and, if we really believe that we have improved General Education, how can we encourage some of the “old catalogue” students to do things the new way anyway)?
(FROM LAST MONTH:
Possible Adjustments to Summer School Procedures (with comments)
1. Planning Adjustments
a. When departments are preparing the spring schedule, they will also prepare a first version of the summer schedule (based on the anticipated availability of faculty to teach courses, the anticipated needs of their major students and anticipated needs for service courses): this is no new burden for departments, just a change in time of year when the first summer school schedules are prepared.
b. As faculty advise students during the fall on their selection of courses for spring, they will also encourage students to be selecting courses for the coming summer, based on student interests, student needs to catch up, student desires to move ahead, and the Board of Regents expectation of 12 credits of work for each student outside the Fall and Spring semesters.
c. Discussion during this fall period of courses that students want for summer may lead to adjustments in the offerings made by the departments (for example, additional courses where there is demonstrated student interest).
d. When faculty are advising students in the spring about their fall semester courses, they will also work to encourage students to take needed courses during the summer sessions (and to adjust their summer registration to reflect current reality: in particular, students with D’s or F’s a midterm time in the spring should be highly encouraged to consider enrolling in those courses during the summer “just in case”).
2. Course Offering Adjustments:
a. By the Monday after the last day of final examinations, announcement will be made to all students and faculty about which summer courses will actually be offered. These courses will be in three categories:
i. Courses that clearly have enough enrollment to be offered (or for which the faculty member has agreed to teach the course even with low enrollment).
ii. Courses which, because of low enrollment, are in doubt;
iii. Courses which although originally planned, can no longer be offered.
b. Since these announcements are being made earlier than under the current plan, and so are being made with less sure data, the preliminary number of students needed to have a course automatically end up in category i. above may be higher than the current minimum number.
c. In order to assure that summer school courses are available to assist as much as possible with student retention, the preliminary number of students needed for a course to end up in category i. above and the final number of students required to run such a course at full pay shall be lower (proposed number: 5) for 100-level general education courses which students may need to repeat (or which students may need to take to get back on schedule after taking a remedial course in an earlier semester) than for other summer courses (current minimum number of students: 7).
3. Compensation Adjustments (may need to be phased in, given the current economic climate)
a. Compensation for a regular 3-credit summer course shall be one-twelfth on the average salary of a UMES assistant professor during the academic year just ending. (While normal course load during the fall and the spring is four such courses, faculty members are also expected to be doing research and service. Thus the one-twelfth figure represents a reasonably approximation for the amount of total time expected to be spent in the teaching of one course during the academic year.)
b. Both the full pay and the partial payment (for courses with fewer than the minimum number of students) will be corresponding adjusted for 4-credit and other courses not fitting the standard 3-credit model.
c. When a faculty member is teaching more than one course during summer school, the determination of full pay for a course will be based on the total number of students in all of her courses being at least as large and the sum of the minimum totals for all the summer school courses that she is teaching. [For example, if she is teaching two minimum-seven courses and has fifteen students in one course, but only five students in the other, she will be paid the full rate for both courses.] This is a return to a UMES policy of many years ago.
d. The averaging method in c. above will be extended to averaging over all the courses offered by a department during summer school within three years. [This parallels the current reporting expectation of Fall/Spring course loads to the Board of Regents, something done not on an individual faculty basis, but on the basis of department and campus averages.]
Summary of Summer School Challenges
1. Students in academic difficulty during Spring semester often do not sign up for the courses they need in summer until the last minute.
2. Some students are reluctant to sign up for any summer courses, thinking that they will have paid someone a month’s rent and then the course will be cancelled.
3. The same is true for some faculty who need an assured source of summer income.
4. As a result of number one, no one knows which sections of which summer courses will survive until after the courses have started.
1. Summer school is an ‘auxiliary enterprise’ so that tuition dollars must cover all expenses connected with the students being on campus.
2. Most financial aid does not support summer courses, something that impacts heavily on our students most of whom need all the financial aid they can get.
3. Summary salary levels are so low that many faculty who might be the best teachers for these courses opt out of the whole process.
Desired Outcomes/Wishful Thinking
1. Early enough registration by all students for summer school that it is clear by the Spring Examination period which courses have survived.
2. A source (or sources) of dollars so that all students wishing to take summer courses can do so, especially those for whom summer courses may play a significant role in their retention at UMES, whether they are repeating courses in which they did not succeed or taking additional courses to get back on schedule after completing remedial courses.
3. A pay scale for summer courses that makes them an attractive summer employment choice.
4. An offering by all departments of summer courses not only for students needing to repeat low-level requirements, but also departmental courses that students can take to help satisfy the Board of Regents 12-credits-outside-the-regular-Fall/Spring course mandate.