UMES Faculty Assembly Minutes
February 16, 2010
Approved March 30, 2010
- Call to Order –The meeting was called to order at 11:05 by Dr. Bill Chapin.
- Approval of the minutes – The November 18, 2009 minutes were approved with no changes
- Reports from committees and representatives to other bodies - None reported
- Old Business
- New Business
- Dan Mote the president at CP announced he is going to resign at the end of this academic year. He will be in place until sometime in August.
- Concerns were expressed about the Fy2011 budget. The governor’s proposed budget includes almost $400 million federal funds for which there is no legislation at this time. Stennie Hoyer feels it is not likely to come through. The legislature can not add to the budget, but they can reduce it. Because the USM system is such a large portion of the non-mandatory budget we could be in big trouble
- Two bills have been proposed in the senate Bill 604 College and Career Readiness Act of 2010. The fear is that the people who are writing it are not quite familiar with high school, college, and the relationship between the two. Suggestions include a common assessment tool to determine if they are ready for college. Senate Bill 8029 Teacher’s Retirement & Pension Systems Retired Higher Education Faculty – does not affect anyone’s normal pension or pension plans. It places some limitation on retired faculty who come back and how much they can be paid. See web for complete bills
- Making up for the class-time that we have missed because of the snow. The folks in Adelphi are polling the campus administrations for good ways to do this, since it is important from the students' point of view, particularly in classes in which there is a lot of material which the students need to master to be ready for the course(s) that follow. It can also be important from the point of view of the state rules concerning how many minutes of class we need to have to legally award three credits, etc. While there is recognition that there are great difficulties in eliminating planned breaks or extending the date of ending classes and giving exams, because of plans that both students and faculty may already be committed to (and recognition that the final decisions for changes, if any, are likely to be made on a campus-by-campus basis), we certainly should get together and let the world know what our best estimate is of what will be best for our UMES students. At this point the attitude of central administration is one of understanding. However, MHEC has stated that we need to commit ourselves to do something before they decide for us. Towson is having every faculty member for every section write a plan for every section which they teach. They then submit them to their department chairs. Towson has 25,000 students. It will be a record keeping nightmare. UMES proposed the following: In consideration of the recent loss of teaching time to inclement weather, the UMES Faculty reaffirm their commitment to the learning of their students and to making up for missed instruction time, in compliance with COMAR regulations, using methods suitable to each particular section of each course, including, where appropriate and feasible, the conversion of some office hours to class instructional hours, the scheduling of special student work sessions, and individual faculty working with individual students o meet the special needs of those students.” Per Dr. Thompson – she and the Vice Presidents are encouraged that the system does not have any formal plans. They have talked about extra assignments, increased use of the library, etc. The motion was approved as written.
- General Education. It was good to hear at Vice President Williams' meeting all the work that the General Education committee has been doing. It is good to know that there are recognized measurable goals that we hope we are achieving through our general education requirements, and how these measurable items are correlated with the various courses (and how they might be measured by an externally validated test). All of this work by the committee makes it easier for the faculty to consider any adjustments that seem wise, relating to the inclusion or exclusion of particular courses, any adjustments to the required categories, or to the adding of new courses that might be good for our students (or the adding of new categories). The presence of the framework created by the committee means that we will all be able to see the impact of any changes, and will have a clear background against which to design and measure any new courses or areas. Of the direct changes the one which may be most significant in the long run is the slight re-categorization which was sent via email. It makes the categories more specific and creates a category for foreign language. Several people have stated that we need to continue to work on the separation between general education and the preparatory courses which come before core courses. We need to have more than version of courses such as MATH101. Because our students have to take 12 credits, they may be taking MATH101 along with 9 credits of general education courses for which they may not be prepared for. According to Adelphi, it is permissible to create courses which would meet this need. The courses would not count towards graduation, but would count toward the 12 credits requirements. For the next meeting we need to be able to recommend things/courses which will help our students. The question was raised by DR. Boyd about 2b where arts, languages, foreign language are separated out into groups. Ms. Demanche stated that she understood that all of the areas of general education are not necessarily determined by us, but by the Maryland Higher education commission. Dr. Chapin stated there is some leeway in its interpretation of the COMAR requirements. All the requirements are addressed; they are just broken up into smaller pieces. Dr. Boyd does not think it is feasible to require 21 credits from the English Department. Ms. Demanche responded that we currently require 12 hours. Some people feel a literature course for all students. Some people feel think there should be 6 hours of foreign language. The question was raised as how we will facilitate all of these changes without increasing the credit count because most of the cores need to stay the same as they are in the various disciplines. Dr. Chapin stated that the credits in items1-8 add up to 40 credits, so it does not change the total count. Dr. Robert Johnson asked if health had been removed form the list. Dr. Charles Williams stated that we should hear from the committee which has made the proposal as to the logic behind the document and to let them respond to some of their concerns expressed today. We need to discuss this as a faculty. Nobody is questioning the framework, but there seem to be concerns about adjustments which should be made. Dr. Lamb stated that foreign languages are not always in the English department. There are very few schools which are not going to accept students without a foreign language component. The proposal is a bare minimum of requirements. President Thompson stated that we also have to discuss what courses should qualify for which category. Technical wiring could be embedded within the departments based on what students should know for instance science students how to write a technical report. Ms. Demanche stated that the best solution at this moment is for the general education committee which was brought together to create the system have them look at the recommendations as a committee and address how what we are doing satisfies or does not satisfy requirements. Dr. Seaton stated that his dean had a meeting with faculty to share what the general education committee was doing. What he hasn’t seen is anyone sharing what is being proposed and asking what their response is. Dr. Chapin stated there is not a proposal out there accept in the sense that we have a description in the catalog, the committee was analyzing it, they were not charged specifically with making changes to it. Ms. Demanche stated that the best way for this to resolve is to make the committee aware in some separate fashion of the random recommendations, codify them, and submitted to Dr. Sims-Tuck (committee chair). The committee will then meets and discuss the suggestions. Dr. Chapin will wait for exactly two weeks then he will send the information on to DR. Sims-Tucker,
- The next Faculty Assembly meeting will be in the Library Auditorium on Tuesday March 30 at the 11:00 hour. Items to be considered includes general education
- Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m.
Anne Driscoll, Faculty Assembly Secretary
General Education Summary
Listed below is the summary from last time about General Education. It has not been adjusted on the basis of more recent comments, since it seems best to let individual faculty members bring up their own proposals in more specific areas and explain them to the full faculty. The one area for which there continues to be the greatest concern is that of somehow providing the necessary preparatory courses before students enter the General Education courses, so that all students in General Educations courses are really prepared at the level we would hope that the school systems would have given them before graduating them and sending them on to us.
Below is a summary of where we were on General Education. (My apologies to some of you for turning the rhetoric down a little. You can turn it back up at the February meeting if you want. I have tried to put together a reasonably coherent version of the good thoughts of many folk and wanted a reasonably even tone.) Think about this so that we can be ready to send forth a strong proposal in the Spring.
- General Education is not preparatory/remedial education. When we admit students who are not fully prepared, we need to provide them with assistance in catching up, whether their challenges are in mathematics, in reading, in writing, or in understanding that they must participate fully in their own education. However, it is not enough to “move them forward from where they were”. This is certainly necessary but not sufficient in providing our students with a college-level education. To say that they are better off than they were before they came to us, even if they are not at the level that we would hope for is indeed a version of the racism that says “Oh, ‘those people’ will never be able to do this kind of work, so we’ll just pretend and ‘let them do the best they can’ and then pass them on”.
- We need to create more courses like MATH 101, specifically designed to meet the needs of our least-prepared students before they begin their General Education and major courses, giving them semester credit toward being full-time students but not credit toward graduation. In particular, we need two such preparatory courses in English and one more such preparatory course in Mathematics in order to allow our least prepared students the time needed to catch up and become proficient in mathematics, reading, writing, and in taking responsibility for their own education.
- The placement of students in either entry level college courses or in preparatory courses must continue to be made on the basis of the AccuPlacer or similar tests taken on campus, evidencing the students’ actual skills and knowledge, and not on the basis of work reportedly done in secondary school or elsewhere. Our concern must be for what are students can actually do, not what they have been reportedly exposed to.
- All freshman-level General Education courses and freshman-level major courses should clearly specify whether the taking of these particular courses is compatible with simultaneous enrollment in preparatory courses. For example, General Education science courses may well not be compatible with concurrent remedial work in mathematics. General Education history and literature courses might not be compatible with concurrent registration in remedial reading or writing. General Education courses in economics might not be compatible with either sort of preparatory work. The decisions about such General Education courses must rest with the departments offering the courses.
- General Education should furnish all UMES undergraduates with a common core of knowledge, well beyond the knowledge that they could have expected to obtain in secondary school, knowledge that will allow them to function at a high level in society after their graduation. This knowledge is not vocational and not directed toward advancement in their particular majors, but common to all Hawk graduates. It is not to be modified or watered down either for students in sciences, technologies, engineering, computing and other similar areas who complain about their lack of interest in “all that reading and writing” or for students in other areas who “don’t want to do that lab work” or “never could get the math part straight”. Our UMES graduates must be prepared for the world in which they will live and not just the areas in which they feel that they have strengths or interests. (We must also be aware that we are not preparing them for the world as it was when we, their faculty, we students.)
- General Education courses should be reviewed every five years for relevance and suitability for the students at UMES at that time. While, we may quickly agree each time that some of the General Education courses should continue from those approved earlier, these five year reviews should start from ground zero, with none of the courses previously approved given automatic guarantees that they will be continued as General Education courses in the future.
- General Education should include, in addition to the one-credit Freshman Experience course, at a minimum,
i. Twelve credits of English (currently ENGL 101, 102, 203 and a junior-level writing course);
ii. Seven credits of Natural Science (including at least one lab course)
iii. Three credits of Mathematics (currently MATH 102 or MATH 109 or higher)
iv. Three credits of History/ Social Sciences;
v. Three credits of Behavioral Sciences;
vi. Three credits of Arts;
vii. Three credits of Literature;
viii. Six credits of Foreign Language/International studies;
Note that these requirements closely require the current requirements but add specificity and uniformity in some places.
a. Departments may require that students fulfill General Education requirements at higher levels in some areas than the courses to be listed as standard General Education choices to meet special needs of their students. Such requirements must be negotiated between the Department wishing higher-level courses for its students and the Department offering the courses. Similarly, Departments may require up to seven credits of specific General Education beyond the agreed UMES core, again with negotiation with the Department offering the courses.
b. The regular availability of General Education courses for all UMES students must be a budgetary priority for the campus. Thus we should put no General Education requirement into effect until the faculty are in place to make the required course available to all the students desiring it. Students should not be forced to select General Education courses not required by their Departments and not chosen by the student because of the inability of the campus to provided sufficient sections of General Education courses. Faculty recognize that obtaining and allocating the resources to carry out General Education effectively may require delaying the implementation of an improved set of requirements for several semesters.
c. Since we recognize that we are likely to find ourselves in the position of demonstrating to the outside world that our General Education core has ‘improved’ our students’ knowledge and capabilities, all Departments must be willing to cooperate with Academic Affairs in assuring that there are measurable objectives for these courses (and to assist in the measuring process).
University of Maryland Eastern Shore