34th Faculty Senate

Vol. 34, No. 13

March 23, 2000


I. Roll Call.

Present: Bange, Barmore, Grant, Heim, Hench, S. Kelly, Kraemer, R. LeDocq, Monte, L. Nelson, Nyatepe-Coo, Prucha, D. Riley, P. Taylor, VanVoorhis, Vogt, Voiku, Wingate

Excused: Duquette, Majak

II. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of the March 2, 2000 meeting were approved as distributed.

III. Reports.

A.  Chancellor’s Report:  The Chancellor reported on the state of three of UW-LaCrosse's international education opportunities. She told that Senate that although the Wisconsin in Scotland program has had excellent logistic support for both students and faculty, it is lacking an academic leader. She also indicated that she had just signed an agreement with Northeast London University. This is a great university for students who want to study, or faculty who want to a teaching or research experience, in an urban setting. It is incredibly diverse. This program will require a certain type of student due to the setting. She also mentioned that we haven't developed all the initiatives that we can at Swansea. Up to this point, it has been primarily associated with education. We need to further explore other opportunities there.

B.   Provost/Vice Chancellor’s Report:  The Provost announced that the presentation to the Board of Regents on our EM 21 plan was successful. The next step will be a session for chairs and program directors on April 12th to explain the plan. Invitations will be sent out soon, and senators will all be invited.
C.   Chair/Faculty Representative's Report:  The Chair indicated that two reports were distributed to the senators for their information. The first was a report on remedial education in the UW-System. The second was a draft memo from System on the transfer of credits from WWTC. Senators should direct any comments on this draft to Chair Bange by Wednesday, March 29th. He will forward these comments to the Provost who will write a campus response to the draft.

The Chair then informed the senators that the Supreme Court unanimously supported the UW-System in the Southworth case. This is the case where students claimed it violated their free speech rights to have portions of their segregated fees going to groups that the students did not agree with.
Finally, the chair informed the senators that WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation), which supports faculty at UW-Madison in securing patents and marketing products, is developing a subsidiary to offer these services to the other campuses in the System.

IV.    Strategic planning in Information Technology - a report by Kathy Lang.

Kathy Lang, CIO, addressed the Senate. She informed the senators that the ITS Strategic Planning Process is about to embark on the formal part of the process. Kathy discussed the three components of this planning process:

  • Instructional Technology - This component includes everything from being in contact with students via email to online courses. Kathy indicated that the use of technology enhances the learning process, but doesn't replace it. The role of ITS is to be a facilitator.
  • Support - This component includes all the people working in the background. ITS is currently working on enhancements to the support area. Two empty positions are being filled. One position will be to manage the NT server for managed student accounts. The second position will be someone to manage the support center. ITS is working on processes to improve response including cross training staff, and providing on site support in offices.
  • Infrastructure - This component includes everything from the network connections to electricity. We need a good base in order to deliver the technology effectively. ITS needs to make sure that the network has the capacity to keep pace with usage. They will continually analyze the system to make sure the infrastructure keeps pace.
Kathy indicated that the ultimate goal of the ITS Strategic Planning Process is to create a campus informational technology plan, not an ITS plan. ITS will then implement this plan. The driving force behind the entire process is to assist the faculty. ITS will be holding open forums to help assess the needs of the campus. She strongly encourages faculty to attend one or more of these sessions or send comments to her via email. The open forums will be held in Room 330 Cartwright at the following times:  Tuesday, April 4th and Wednesday April 5th, at 11:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Chair Bange thanked Kathy for addressing the Senate.

V. Report on the Accountability Review Task Force by John Tillman.

John Tillman addressed the Senate. He first gave some background on the issue. In response to issues raised by the Governor and legislators, UW-System was to be held accountable in 7 areas. They were to report their progress with an annual report using 18 accountability indicators. Each campus was also expected to do the same. After 6 years, this process was to be reviewed. In 1999, the Accountability Review Task Force was set up to review this process. The report provided to the senators is the final draft of the task force report that will be sent to System. The task force came up with new indicators that may actually be useful to System. The audience of the report was also changed from legislatures to the general public. The main change from the old report is that this will be a System report. Individual campuses will not be asked to do annual reports on accountability. Instead, the report will contain summary information for the System as a whole. The concern with the earlier process was that the reports would be used by the legislature to compare campuses.

The Chair thanked John for addressing the Senate and explaining this issue.

VI. Assessment of the General Education Program by Mary Hampton.

Mary Hampton, chair of the General Education Committee, joined the Senate. She first gave some introductory remarks concerning the committee's report to the Faculty Senate. Mary informed the Senate that in August of 1999, the General Education Committee was charged with responding to two questions:  1) Does the General Education program meet its stated goals?   2) Does the Committee provide effective leadership and oversight?

The committee determined that the process of assessment of the General Education Program is hampered by the fact that the course review process is not effective, and there is no follow through. Little is done with the results of the reviews to try to improve the program. This is in part due to the fact that the committee, as currently structured, does not provide effective leadership or oversight. There is high turnover, no consistent leadership and the committee seems to reinvent things every year. For these reasons, the committee makes three recommendations to the Faculty Senate.

1)  Appoint a General Education Director.
2)  Strengthen assessment of general education.
3)  Make changes to the current committee structure (in particular, change the membership to staggered terms of five years).
The floor was then opened up for questions/comments. The discussion on the floor included the following questions/comments/concerns.
  • Several senators expressed concern that appointing a director very likely may not fix the problems. The problems may be far more fundamental to the program itself. Once a position of director is created, how does it conflict with the assessment process within departments? Will this create something that is at odds with what already exists and make the problem worse? In response, it was noted that there are issues and concerns within the program itself, but we can't deal with them without an infrastructure. This is just the beginning of the solution of the problems.
  • It was brought up that some faculty feel apprehensive and threatened by the program. The approach may be very different from a faculty member's own philosophy. There is a concern that the program will be inhibiting and restrictive and that the outcomes will be attitudes rather than skills or critical thinking. The goals of the General Education Program themselves are problematic.
  • A question was asked concerning whether the summary statement of the report would be that we need to standardize and centralize the program? In response, it was indicated that the committee never thought of centralizing as a solution. The director would simply be a go-to person for the program. If there is any standardization, it would be of process, not of content. The idea of the committee was not to standardize the program, but simply to provide follow through and be proactive.
  • It was then asked to whom the director would report? Mary indicated that the committee hadn't determined this, but that the Faculty Senate would probably decide.
  • A question was raised concerning whether the heart of the problem is that the assessment process is not working. It was stated that Bill Cerbin has been working on assessment for years, and it is hard to believe that some other person would be the solution. Bill indicated that at this point what we have is not a program but a curriculum. A program needs someone in charge.
  • It was indicated that a director would need to provide leadership and not just maintain the status quo. In order to do this, they would need to have the backing of the administration.
  • The Chancellor indicated that up to this point, the discussions on general education have been on the mechanics. We need a vehicle for raising the more important questions of the design of the program. The model put forth by the committee provides this vehicle.
  • Several senators mentioned that the director's position as described is more than a half-time position.
M/S/P (by voice vote) that the Senate Chair charge the Article and Bylaws Committee to redraft the membership requirements of the General Education Committee.

M/S      The Senate recommend to the administration that a General Education Director be appointed to oversee the General Education Program.

Discussion continued on this motion. It was pointed out that it needs to be stated who the director would report to. A suggestion was that the director should report to the Faculty Senate. It was also mentioned that since we have voted to change the committee structure we may no longer need a director. There will be less turnover on the committee and thus a more consistent committee. The suggestion was also made that perhaps the chair of the committee could be given release time to basically act as the director of the program. A concern was raised that the director's position would take a half-time position out of the faculty. In response, this would be a position that would affect every student on campus. It was stated that we have nothing to lose by trying this, since we can always end the position if nothing improves. It was also noted that it is not reasonable to expect the Provost to provide the leadership for General Education. The Provost indicated that not only would the faculty not like this arrangement, but the Provost would not want to take on this role. The program needs a leader from within the faculty to work with the Provost, the chairs and the Chancellor.

M/S/P  (by voice vote) to amend the motion to state that the Director's position be a minimum of a 50% appointment out of the faculty at this institution.

M/S/P  (by voice vote)  to table the motion until the next meeting of the Senate.

VII. Old Business.   There was no old business.

VIII. New Business.   There was no new business.

X. Adjournment.  The meeting adjourned at approximately 5:40 p.m.

Rebecca Lewin LeDocq, Secretary