University of North Carolina at Asheville


Minutes, April 24, 2003

Members: M. Alm, R. Booker, K. Bramlett, M. Burchard, C. James, D. James, J. Konz, J. Kuhlman, H. Lee, ML Manns, S. Patch, J. Rackham, B. Reynolds, I. Rossell, J. Wood; M. Padilla.

Visitors: L. Cornett, J. Ferguson, E. Katz, G. Kormanik, K. Krumpe, P. McClellan, C. McKnight,  D. Peifer, M. Ruiz, A. Shope, B. Spellman, R. Tynes, A. White-Carter.


I. Call to Order

Dr. Rackham called the Special meeting to order at 3:20 pm and welcomed senators and guests.

II. Academic Policies Committee Report

Dr. Melissa Burchard gave the Academic Policies Committee Report.

Second Reading:

APC 61: Proposal for a Revised General Education Architecture.

Dr. Reynolds stated that the Environmental Studies department discussed the proposal and wanted clarification on the following points:

Does the Freshman Colloquium become the First Year Experience (FYE)?

Dr. Katz replied that the FYE is part of the Introductory Colloquium. The FYE, as it currently exists, facilitates student retention and creates different advisement options, but it is not a part of the curriculum per se -- it is an add-on to existing courses. In the Introductory Colloquium, GERTF is trying to have a more seamless and organically connected retention component embedded in a seminar that is academic in order to make that experience more meaningful for students.

Will FYE cease to exist? Will classes no longer have FYE designations?

Dr. Katz did not envision FYE designations because the Introductory Colloquium (IC) will serve in part as that. One of the functions of the IC is to introduce students to what it means to study at a liberal arts institution and to study in the disciplines in this context so they have a better sense of the university and what the opportunities and challenges are for them. The FYE designation may go away but the FYE function will not go away -- it is enhanced.

What is going to happen to HUM 414? Will it be subsumed within the first three humanities courses?

Dr. Katz stated that GERTF has not committed to a specific approach but whatever happens will be in consultation with humanities faculty as GERTF begins writing specific documents. One key element is the Senior Colloquium. One function of the Senior Colloquium is to encourage seniors in the general education experience to have a greater share in the construction of knowledge. GERTF is looking at this as an exit experience -- just as the Introductory Colloquium is an entry experience. The content could vary according the faculty interest. The Senior Colloquium could be an evolution of 414, it could be opened up like the Freshman Colloquium to different topical treatments, or possibly a combination thereof. Right now, 414 does not get subsumed, but GERTF is not at that level of specificity.

Is there the expectation that those presently teaching in 414 would be handling classes in the Senior Colloquium?

Dr. Katz stated not necessarily. In fact, faculty who otherwise would not have taught 414 might be interested in teaching a Senior Colloquium in a general education program. However, certainly for the next four or five years, 414 will be needed for current students on the old catalog and it has to be part of the implementation plan. This will allow time for conversations that can shape the content of the Senior Colloquium.

As presently constituted, 414 contains a sizable and growing component on environmental issues. How can we guarantee that all of our students are exposed to these important issues if we do not have 414?

Dr. Katz acknowledged that this was a real concern that should be discussed as we move from the structural phase to the next phase.

Mr. Kuhlman asked APC how the stipulations and questions were going to work in relation to the document.

Dr. Burchard stated that the Task Force will need to respond to the stipulations and questions in the development of the proposal and in the documents it produces to show how the proposal will be implemented. What APC is requesting in the questions and stipulations will have to be done before documents are passed in Catalog format.

Mr. Kuhlman asked if this would occur by next November. Dr. Burchard stated that APC is assuming that it might not be possible to address the questions entirely. Some things will probably have to come out in the actual working of the program to some extent. But some initial work on the program will have to be done so APC will have a relatively secure sense that they know how it is going to proceed and that APC will be able to deal with it, i.e., that it is feasible, that it is plausible, that we can actually cope with the complications that are going to come up, and that the resources will be there. Dr. Katz added that, from GERTF's perspective, these are the kinds of issues that go into studying the impact and into drafting actual documents. GERTF is grateful to APC for helping them form these issues.

Dr. Alm commented that given that the questions and stipulations are part of the document under consideration, they could be amended. Dr. Rackham concurred with her observation.

Dr. Wood stated that many questions concern the clusters -- how many, what scope, what level -- and asked Dr. Katz to address his vision and/or the various cluster models being considered.

Dr. Katz stated that initially it is important to limit the number of clusters to less than 10 while ensuring adequate seats for students. For example, UCLA has clustering for some parts of its program. They initially limited the number of clusters to a very few so they could have greater control over them and a greater ability to assess them. From a curricular, resource, and registrar point of view, UCLA develops clusters several years in advance. This allows time for faculty to work together and develop the courses, and for the university to address resource issues, and to market the courses and clusters to students. UNCA is not at that level of specificity yet.

Dr. Peifer stressed that the clusters need to include courses with prerequisites so the natural sciences could participate, particularly the math department. Upper level courses need to count in the clusters so science students will not end up with more general education requirements than they had before. And the courses the math faculty are currently teaching -- to their majors and in general education -- need to fit in the clusters so they will not have to create more courses than they have resources for.

Dr. Peifer stated that his biggest concern was that the clusters will not affect all students the same. He believes the new program should decrease the number of hours of general education requirements for all students in an even way. Some students will be able to double-count courses (fulfill more than one requirement with a single course).

Dr. Katz acknowledged that GERTF shares this concern. GERTF is going to have to run some semester-by-semester student samples to model what is likely to happen. They will also look at the research in preparation for writing impact statements to ensure that inequity is minimalized or eliminated. They want to facilitate the double-dipping opportunities in ways that maximize the amount of integration and interconnection between general education and the major, while not undermining the integrity of the liberal studies program or the major. They are also aware that majors have been expanding and they will keep an eye on the credit hours. The university and the departments will work together and assist GERTF's thinking as they enter the next phase. GERTF will use the same approach at the next level of specificity, i.e. visiting departments, communicating with faculty, and holding faculty fora.

Dr. Krumpe (a member of the Design Team) addressed the double-dipping issue. There was a lot of discussion on the Design Team and at the task force meetings about this issue. His sense is that no one has tried to come up with double-dipping opportunities that enable every student to take advantage of the same double-dip. This would result in a watered-down program that does not accomplish its goal. But they have discussed the issue that certain majors who fall into one discipline may be able to double-dip in a particular area, while majors in other disciplines may be able to double-dip in another area. At the end of the day, everybody -- even though they are double-dipping differently -- will be double-dipping to the same degree.

Dr. Krumpe added that he did not initially favor using clusters. A lot of his apprehension was the idea of prerequisites within the sciences and having the ability to have courses available for science students to use, as well as courses for non-science students to use. Many of the faculty in the sciences are teaching courses to other majors and there is an understanding that this is a potential problem. However, the clusters will provide opportunities for faculty to create general education type courses related to their own areas of interests. He believes the prerequisite issue will come to the surface and there may be some instances where courses with prerequisites are going to have to be in clusters. Not every course will have prerequisites -- but some courses will require them if we are going to achieve the ultimate goal of a vibrant, enthusiastic general education program with new ideas and a lot of energy.

Dr. Wood stated that concerns had been raised about the opportunities for natural science courses in the clusters. He asked Dr. Krumpe where he imagined cluster possibilities for the natural sciences.

Dr. Krumpe stated that -- given the history of UNCA and the nature of this campus -- the environment will always be on the list. Chemistry has a 400-level elective that has several prerequisites in environmental chemistry that would be a perfect course for a cluster. Allowing that course into the cluster brings the perspective of senior-level chemistry majors to the topic of the environment, which is the intent of the HUM 414 class, where different majors at the end of their career come together and bring their expertise. There are clearly opportunities in terms of medical-related clusters targeted for pre-med students, such as courses on aging and biology courses that deal with medicine -- some may have prerequisites and some may not. A hot topic in general education around the country from the science perspective is forensics. If forensics were a cluster, it would bring together psychology, sociology, biology, chemistry, and perhaps physics, depending on how the cluster is oriented. Global warming is another topic. There are a number of nature topics that fit very well with science students that could also bring other students into the sciences.

Dr. Charles James stated that the humanities courses are supposed to provide a common experience for students and the clusters will not provide commonality. Students may be in the same cluster but they will not necessary be experiencing -- especially in the upper-level courses -- the same experience. Environmental Studies' students may have a 400-level course and Chemistry students will have a 400-level course -- and hopefully there will be some common experience at the lower level. Is that what we are talking about?

Dr. Katz stated that initially some people wanted to get rid of the common experience, some wanted all common experience, and long discussions took place over a number of weeks. There are two ways to think about a common experience. One is a "common core content" experience where all students have the exact same type (or to a high degree) of experience, such as in the humanities program. GERTF wanted to maintain this part of our curriculum because this is part of UNCA's identity -- that when students graduate they have experience in this program that characterizes them as a UNCA graduate. Another kind of common experience is a "common method type" experience. For example, all students will have an introductory and senior colloquium -- they will all have that experience. It is not the same content but it is the same kind of course approach that will give them a context for entering and exiting a liberal studies program. This is a distinctive and common curricular experience that GERTF believes students will benefit from. Also, in the current distribution there is very little common experience in the sense that students are taking courses in many different areas and many different departments, and often at the end of their classes they do not have a point of contact between one distribution course and another. GERTF's proposal gives that kind of common experience. Everyone will not take the same cluster, but within a cluster there will be students who are having a kind of common pedagogical experience -- they will have a similar cross-disciplinary experience. And they will be within that cluster focusing on a similar topic that will be common in a sense. There will be an additional benefit of having cross-fertilization from students who are taking a different social science in a cluster and bringing that into the course at hand. Everyone is not going through the curriculum in lock step, but there will be different kinds of common experiences while also facilitating choice and facilitating faculty coming in from their point of intellectual expertise and pedagogical comfort. Students are allowed to pick their general education according to their interests so this maximizes commonality and flexibility of various kinds that were all indicated as faculty values. It is not the exact same experience but in some ways the integrated model maximizes common experience.

Dr. Charles James asked if there was a common context at any of these levels? When dealing with topics like the environment, with issues that are bigger than any one major -- what happens towards the end when there are only chemistry majors or political science majors? Where is the free flow of ideas or another view point? This will produce specialists as opposed to having people at the end of their college career contribute what they know from their own majors or their own experience.

Dr. Konz explained that this takes place in the Senior Colloquium. The intent is to have the topical focus there but outside of the major so students from multiple majors have experience in multiple clusters coming together in the same place at the same time. This model has a bit less core content -- with losing 414 and providing the alternate for the experience in the arts -- but significantly more common experience.

Dr. Katz did not believe that the preponderance of classes in the clusters will be single-discipline students. In fact, students will pick their clusters and the courses within the clusters according to their interests and there will be a lot of cross-fertilization because it will be a significantly different way to come at issues than they will experience in the major.

Dr. Krumpe added there is no guarantee that every student in the environmental chemistry course will have taken the environmental cluster. That allows students who did take the environmental cluster and ENVR 130 and got the perspective from those classes to now allow that general education perspective to come to light in a course that normally would have been very centered in environmental chemistry. We are enabling students with background from the cluster to bring that back into the major. Dr. Katz added that this frequently happens in Humanities 414. One of the pleasures of that class and the anticipated pleasure of the Senior Colloquium is that kind of action. People coming from their own disciplines and really looking differently at a body of content -- and the clusters structurally facilitate that more than a straight distribution does. The intention is integration, inner-connection, flexibility, and choice.

Dr. Rossell asked how the sciences will be worked in. There are many choices on campus to fulfill a 5-hour science requirement. Now the requirement will change to 4 hours but the science will have to be taken within a cluster.

Dr. Katz replied no, we will continue to have two different kinds of sciences -- a 4-hour lab science and then the 3-hour science. Four hours is the minimum. There are currently lab sciences that do everything a lab science does but are only four hours and cannot count for general education. The non-lab science will be in the cluster -- this remains essentially the same.

Dr. Rackham reminded everyone that the Senate is voting on the proposal for the new architecture, not the content of each of these programs or courses. All of the content will go through APC and the Senate so it will be reviewed several times. There will be plenty of occasion to attend APC meetings to hear the smaller and important details. Now we need to look at the structure itself and consider whether we wish to vote for or against this, or make changes in the architectural elements.

Dr. Burchard spoke on behalf of Dr. Mark Sidelnick who could not attend the meeting. The Senate accepted Dr. Sidelnick's friendly amendments:

Under 6 ADD "...different majors, minors, and programs...." to broaden the scope of inequities. Under 4 under Questions about Resource Impact ADD "...different majors, minors, and programs...".

Dr. Sidelnick questioned whether the stipulation for identifying and minimalizing potential inequities for non-traditional students and transfer students would impact our existing articulation agreements with community colleges and other institutions.

Dr. Katz stated that he has discussed this with Dr. Sidelnick and GERTF needs to take a hard look at this issue. There are a lot options we can use to facilitate transfer students. Non-traditional students are not part of the articulation agreement. The transfer issue is important.

Dr. McKnight added that there are two types of transfer students -- those with AA degrees and those without AA degrees -- they have different needs and will be addressed differently. Dr. Katz stated that students coming without an AA already have to fulfill all of our requirements that did not transfer in with them. And not all students who transfer in with an AA have satisfied the articulation agreement -- this will be a subset of that group.

Another question Dr. Sidelnick raised concerned Part II General Education and Faculty Reward. This section endorses faculty participation in general education for performance review and reward. He wanted assurance that non-participation due to myriad constraints on any given department or program not be viewed negatively or held against any department or faculty member. There should be no insinuation that every department must participate.

Dr. Burchard stated that it was her understanding that there actually is going to be some expectation that all departments will participate. Dr. Padilla concurred -- there would be an expectation that all departments would contribute. Dr. Katz noted that there will be more opportunity for the faculty to engage because the intensives can be in general education courses, in the major, and among electives. The Education program could create a set of intensive experiences that would suit the needs of the students in their program. Dr. Burchard assumed part of Dr. Sidelnick's concern was that faculty in the Education department are so burdened already with their courses that it will be very difficult for them either to create new courses or to add to their courses to satisfy general education. Dr. Dee James added that the Education department already has intensives as part of the requirement from the NC curriculum that do not count as participation in general education, but these would now. Dr. Alm noted that the research course where the students do extensive writing would now count as a writing intensive course.

Dr. Burchard asked if it would be fair to say that the spirit of the architecture is to expect that all departments and programs will participate but to make it possible for them to do so. Dr. Katz agreed. Dr. Padilla stated that most departments will be contributing in a variety of ways. There may be a year when a department is understaffed and cannot offer any courses to humanities or a cluster but can contribute through their writing courses alone. It will be a negotiation that can be worked out next year. The committee will want to look at staffing allocations each year. There will be a strong expectation that departments will participate but there will be an equitable distribution of the burden. Some departments can contribute easier than others and we have to take that into account. But this is a feature of our identity and we want our departments to contribute because we want them to have the same value system of that identity. Dr. McKnight noted that as GERTF studied this question, they discovered that most departments are contributing to what we consider general education under the new proposal only we cannot call it that right now.

Dr. Rossell asked how the criteria for intensive courses would be decided? (This is one of APC's stipulations.)

Dr. Katz stated that the model GERTF discussed the most for the "W" intensives is Mary Washington College. They have a Writing Intensive Committee but we may not choose to have a committee that specialized. The criteria are created in such a way as to ensure that writing is a significant part of the course -- in terms of how the content is learned and taught, and how the course is evaluated. But it is not so onerous as to prevent people from coming into a writing intensive curriculum. It is designed to facilitate growth of the intensives. Mary Washington began with two courses, in addition to a required writing course for all students. They now have the required Freshman writing course plus four intensives -- and nearly 80% of their faculty have either taught in or are going to teach in the writing intensive program.

How this is overseen depends on what will fit our faculty culture. GERTF plans to establish criteria for each of the intensives that will encourage faculty participation and growth of the program. In writing in particular, GERTF will consult with the writing faculty at UNCA, but also with faculty who do writing intensive work and the Writing Center -- whose function may evolve in ways that facilitate the growth of the writing intensive program.

Dr. Rossell asked if a course could have two designations.

Dr. Katz replied yes, we have that flexibility. He would encourage people to have more than one dimension in an intensive because it gives students a more intense educational experience. Dr. Padilla suggested limiting it to a maximum of two designations to encourage inclusion without undermining the curricular integrity.

Dr. Patch liked the idea of the intensives but thought it was important that the committee have just the right amount of teeth in the intensives so students are challenged -- yet without being too onerous on the students or the faculty. This will be a challenge. Dr. Burchard supported Dr. Padilla's idea of limiting the number of intensives in a course. The limitation makes sense from a pedagogical perspective.

Dr. Patch supported the various parts of the proposal but was concerned that it might be too much in toto. For example, the distribution requirement is 49 hours compared to 53 hours. When you add cluster courses beyond that and possibly intensive courses -- particularly for students whose majors are not going to take advantage of the clusters within their majors -- he envisions students having significantly more hours required outside the major for general education than we currently have.

Dr. Tynes shared Dr. Patch's concern, especially in the art department where the B.F.A. requires 70 hours in the major and leaves little room for general education and a few electives.

Dr. Krumpe stated that we need to have a legitimate general education program if we are going to maintain the identity and expand the identity that UNCA has. The departments have to assume some of the responsibility to protect their own students and deal with this by trying to reorganize information, distribute things differently, and double-dip as much as possible. If we look creatively, there are a lot of creative ways to decrease 49 hours to a more manageable number. Dr. Katz stated that if we follow the principle of being as inclusive as possible, while maintaining the integrity of the program, we will find that it really is a 49 hour program, plus electives. He trusts the faculty to assist in making this successful from the point of view of credit hour distribution. He is also confident that the intensives will actually be a curricular enhancement. For example, in writing intensive courses in literature, studies on writing as a pedagogical approach indicate that students value the course content to a greater degree when writing is a significant part of a course. If we think about how the intensives facilitate pedagogy as well as content, we will find that they will facilitate a deeper experience for students and for faculty without hidden credit hours.

Dr. Peifer hoped that the writing intensive definition is broad enough to incorporate math writing (proof writing) that is key in the math department -- to teach people to communicate mathematics verbally and in writing. If the clusters and intensives are open so it is possible to use courses that are currently part of the major and manipulate them so that they are built into the general education curriculum, that will be great. Dr. Katz stated that the intensives facilitate two things -- institutionalizing much current practice, therefore drawing our attention to what we are doing in a more thoughtful way, and allowing us to be conscious in the classroom of what we are aiming for. The intensives facilitate a pedagogical awareness that would revitalize general education.

Dr. Rossell remarked that three hours of "Q" classes are required. She asked if the 4-hour math class everyone will take would fulfill the "Q" requirement.

Dr. Katz replied no -- there are three additional hours of quantitative experience. Dr. Rossell supported the seven hour requirement. Dr. Katz cautioned that we need to be cognizant of Dr. Patch's earlier point about challenging-yet-not-onerous intensives because it is important. Mary Washington College conducted threshold studies of their intensives. When they saw that 75-80% of the students were doing an additional writing intensive course, they increased the writing intensive requirement to reflect that reality. That is how Mary Washington's intensive requirement has grown.

Dr. Rackham pointed out that while it is appropriate that these issues are raised and discussed, GERTF has already held three full faculty forums on general education; five focus sessions on the architecture components; two student forums; one additional student/faculty forum on diversity in the curriculum; 29 departmental and program Listening project sessions; two Faculty Senate reports; and

several meetings with members of APC. He suggested that the time has come to vote on the overall architectural and to move the dialogue into the appropriate two committees that will work on this -- a committee that will work this summer, plus APC which will review all of these steps. There is a time where we have to say, "Let us trust ourselves" (and the individuals who will be serving on these committees, notifying us of the meetings, and letting us know what issues will be discussed) to make the decision at this point--either yes or no--to go forward with this proposal at its conceptual level.

Dr. Patch asked for a clarification of Dr. Rackham's comment to give the committee the ability to move forward. Suppose as the committee moves forward, addressing the stipulations and concerns of the APC, they find that to address those appropriately they might have to change some of the details within the document. Would it be our understanding that they can do that? Or is it our understanding that they are locked into pages 3-5 -- the details that are provided.

Dr. Rackham replied that APC has an obligation to bring any structural changes to the Faculty Senate if they want to propose those changes. If we accept the document as it is -- any structural changes passed by APC would have to come back to the Senate for approval. Dr. Konz asked for clarification -- whether Dr. Rackham meant independently of catalog documents that come before APC in the fall"? For example, if it becomes clear over the summer that we can only manage one cluster -- would that require a document to APC amending this document or would that occur through the normal catalog process?

Mr. Kuhlman agreed with Dr. Rackham's comment that anything that is implemented has to go through APC again for catalog changes. We are only addressing the general architecture. Next year's Senate could vote against everything that comes through -- they are not bound by what we do today. APC would have to amend this document. Dr. Ruiz noted that we need to be creative. For example, if we find something does not work and we have a clever way to get the labs in somehow, we do not want to have to come back to the Senate this summer. Dr. Dee James stated that APC will make a decision about whether or not there needs to be an accompanying document which amends the proposal.

Dr. Lee asked if GERTF can still change the architecture? Are we allowing it or not? Dr. Alm stated that if it turns out, as they begin to flesh out the plan, that they need to move a wall, that is okay. But coming back with a French chateau instead of a German castle is not okay! Mr. Kuhlman noted if that next year's Senate approves it -- then it will be okay.

Dr. Padilla stated that we are going to spend a lot of resources working on this. We are trying to obtain money to allow the faculty to transform their curriculum, so this could not be open for Senate review every year. There has to be some sense that this is a project we are undertaking for five years. We will be able to see at the end of the cohort year what we have and review it. There really is a sense that we are starting a new way of looking at the curriculum. This is the curriculum of the university -- something very similar to this after the phase-in, for the next four years. He did not believe it was open to revision. Dr. Rackham stated that the focus today is that we are voting for revolution but evolution still continues.

Dr. Manns stated that we are still looking at things that need to be done, and indeed there are a lot, but she wanted to acknowledge what has already been done. She spent this past year looking at liberal arts schools for her daughter and has looked at a lot of curricula. She has confirmed that UNCA is a very good liberal arts school, but she envisions that this structure could lead us to be a really noteworthy liberal arts school. Regardless of the vote, she wanted to acknowledge the people who put in their sweat and time in getting us to this point. A round of applause followed.

Mr. Kuhlman called the question. APC 61 passed as amended by a vote of 13 to 1 and became Senate Document 7203S. Dr. Rackham thanked the General Education Review Task Force and Dr. Katz.

III. Adjournment

Dr. Rackham adjourned the meeting at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted by:    Sandra Gravely
                                           Mary Lynn Manns