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Faculty Senate Meeting - Senate Meeting Minutes: January 25, 2006

Meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to all members of the University community, but may be closed at the discretion of the Senate.

Meeting time 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. in McMurtry Auditorium, Duncan Hall

Agenda

I.   Announcements/Minutes

II.  Governance Documents
      a.  Correction to wording in Constitution
      b.  Bylaws - Selection of Speaker (Randy Stevenson)

III.  Nominations and Elections Committee
      a.  Two members to be elected from the floor
      b.  Two members to be appointed following meeting

IV.  Proposal for a Minors Program from Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

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Proceedings

January 25, 2006

Attendance: Approximately 40

Senators present:Jose Aranda, Kyriacos Athanasiou, Randy Batsell, Marj Corcoran (Speaker), Rebekah Drezek, Bruce Etnyre, Deborah Harter (Deputy Speaker), John Hempel, Brian Huberman, Ben Kamins, Tom Killian, Phil Kortum, David Leebron (ex officio), Eugene Levy (ex officio), Peter Mieszkowski, Nancy Niedzielski, Anthony Pinn, Carol Quillen, Dale Sawyer, David Schneider, Gautami Shah, Michael Stern, Randy Stevenson, Joe Warren, Duane Windsor

     

Senators absent: John Casbarian, Vicki Colvin, James Weston, Mark Wiesner, James Young

A verbatim recording of the proceedings is available by contacting the Faculty Senate at 713-348-5630.


Faculty Senate Speaker Marjorie Corcoran called to order the Faculty Senate meeting at 12 noon.


I. Announcements

  

Corcoran announced that she and Nancy Niedelski will work on the outstanding issues from the Final Examinations proposal.

  

Deborah Harter drafted a note of condolence to send to the parents of Mickael Rozwarski. Harter read the letter to the Senate; there were no recommendations for changes. 

  

Corcoran reminded Senators of the Plenary Faculty Meeting scheduled January 26, 2006 at 10 a.m. Faculty will approve degree candidates and Robin Forman, Dean of Undergraduates, will lead a short discussion about curriculum reform process.

  

II. Minutes: The minutes from the December 7, 2005 Faculty Senate meeting incorporated the changes circulated by email and were approved with those changes.

  

III. Governance Documents: The Senate considered clarifications and changes to the Constitution and the Bylaws.

  

Constitution: Section 5: Plenary Meetings of the Faculty currently states, “Each academic year on the day prior to Spring Commencement, the Speaker will convene a regular plenary meeting of the University Faculty to receive reports from the President, the Examinations and Standing Committee, and the Registrar, and will approve the candidates for graduation.” The proposed correction to the wording read, “Each academic year on the day prior to Spring Commencement, the Speaker will convene a regular plenary meeting of the University Faculty to receive reports from the President, the Examinations and Standing Committee, and the Registrar and to approve the candidates for graduation.” Corcoran pointed out that this change clarifies the intent of the Senate; the full faculty, not the Senate Speaker, approves candidates for graduation. The change was approved unanimously. 

  

Bylaws: The Senate approved the Bylaws at the December meeting, but Corcoran noted that there was extensive discussion about selection of the Speaker. Rather than address the issue at the end of the prior meeting, at which point many Senators had departed, the issue was slated to be addressed at the January meeting. 

  

Randy Stevenson described the method of selecting the Speaker and Deputy Speaker as outlined in the Bylaws as adopted: the Deputy Speaker will serve for a year and then automatically ascend to the position of Speaker. Elections will be held each year for the Deputy Speaker position. In December, debate had ensued about (1) the lack of a means to prevent the ascension of the Deputy Speaker to Speaker and (2) the rationale behind not holding direct elections for both positions each year. The Bylaws Committee was asked to bring two options forward for discussion today.

  

Stevenson described the two options drafted by the Bylaws Committee. Option 1 provides for the yearly election of both Speaker and Deputy Speaker. In the last meeting of the spring, the Senate would receive nominations for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Executive Committee. The nominations would be known over the summer, and at the first meeting of the academic year, additional nominees would be taken from the floor and elections would be held. Upon election, the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker would assume the responsibilities of their respective positions. No term limit is included in this option, because with yearly elections, the Senate would have the flexibility to manage length of service. Option 2 retains the provision whereby the Deputy Speaker becomes Speaker, but adds a section to the Bylaws that would allow for removal from office. Any ten Senators would be able to request a leadership election at any time; this feature would essentially serve as an impeachment clause.

  

Stevenson pointed out that if the Senate does not adopt either of the proposed options, the Bylaws will stand as adopted in December. Bruce Etnyre inquired whether an impeachment process is included in any alternative other than Option 2; Stevensonclarified that, as written, only Option 2 contains an impeachment clause, but a similar process could be included in Option 1. Given that the Bylaws can be changed at any time by a majority vote of the Senate, Gautami Shah did not see a need to add a clause to Option 1 unless the Senate expected to need an impeachment process during the year. Stevenson elaborated that essentially a majority vote of the Senate could remove a Speaker at any given time.

  

Joe Warren inquired whether the replacement of the Speaker was addressed in the case of being unable to serve for other reasons;Stevenson pointed out the provisions in Section 5.2, whereby the Deputy Speaker would serve in place of the Speaker if a vacancy occurs for any reason and an election for Deputy Speaker would be held.

  

Randy Batsell saw Option 1 as the perfect solution. Stevenson admitted that originally he had been a proponent of the Deputy Speaker moving up into the Speaker position, but the benefits of Option 1 became obvious to him as the Bylaws Committee fleshed out the options. He liked the simplicity and flexibility of yearly elections and his concerns about continuity had been assuaged by assuming that the Senate will make reasonable judgments in its nominations for Speaker. 

  

Harter spoke from the perspective of current Deputy Speaker, noting that a yearly election would give the Speaker a mandate as the group representative. An automatic ascension from Deputy Speaker to Speaker hamstrings the Senate, and requiring specific action to get rid of a Speaker would be rather harsh. Harter also raised the question of whether the Bylaws should state that a Speaker will normally serve for one year. She expressed concern that the Senate may be unwilling to suggest a change if an individual were to serve in a leadership position for several years.

  

Stevenson thought that because nominations are taken in the spring and then again before elections are held in the fall, the Senate will be encouraged to produce suitable nominations. The idea behind Option 1 is to institute a regular process by which new names can be brought forward for leadership roles, which in essence lessens the tumult surrounding a change in Speaker. And once again,Stevenson pointed out that if the process is not working, the Bylaws can be changed with a majority vote.

  

Option 1 was moved and seconded. Batsell offered a friendly amendment to the last sentence in Section 5.3. It currently reads “Only those Senators who have served already for one full year and who are slated to serve again in the following academic yearmay be put forth as nominees” and would be revised to “Only those Senators who have served already for one full year and who will be a Senator in the year in which they will serve may be put forth as nominees.” Batsell explained that, as currently written, if some nominations and the elections take place in the fall, only people in the second year of a three year term would be eligible. Stevensonacknowledged that was not the intent of the Bylaws Committee; since nominations initially take place in the spring, the objective was to ensure that the nominee would actually be serving as a Senator the following academic year. Batsell’s amendment addressed the suitability of candidates nominated in either the spring or the fall. 

  

The amendment was approved unanimously. Option 1, as amended, was approved unanimously. 

  

The Bylaws Committee will bring forward proposed Meeting Rules in February. 

  

IV. Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC): Now that the Bylaws have been adopted, Corcoran highlighted the importance of constructing the Nominations and Elections Committee to begin work on Promotion and Tenure Committee elections. Corcoran read the NEC responsibilities as outlined in the Bylaws, pointing out that the details and mechanics of the elections will be handled by the Assistant to the Faculty Senate. The NEC must ensure that there are strong candidates for all elected positions and propose slates for the Executive Committee and University Council. Two NEC members need to be elected today; Corcoran then planned to work with the Executive Committee and other Senators to appoint two members to balance out the NEC. In addition,Corcoran noted that the NEC may decide to form a subcommittee to handle the work previously managed by the Committee on Committees.

  

Corcoran opened the floor to nominations and encouraged Senators not currently serving on a committee or working group to get involved. Dave Schneider nominated Phil Kortum. Gautami Shah nominated Randy Batsell. No further nominations were put forward, and Kortum and Batsell were elected to the Nominations and Elections Committee.

  

V. Proposal for Minors from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee: Corcoran received a proposal for a Minors Program at Rice University from the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC). 

Bill Wilson, CUC Chair, and Robin Forman, Dean of Undergraduates, were present to help facilitate discussion. 

  

Wilson provided background information. The Deans Council and Robin Forman originally suggested the idea of a minors program to the CUC, which looked at the idea in some depth. The CUC supported institution of the program to encourage some new, innovative, interdisciplinary programs that would differ from the existing majors. At one time the proposal was seen as a possible mechanism for reducing the “rampant double and triple majoring”; however, when the committee reviewed data from the Registrar, it discovered that only about 160 students graduated with double majors, and a large number of those students double majored because they were required to (e.g. majored in Managerial Studies). Approximately 30 students were triple majors. The “multiple major” problem was not as widespread as originally believed. 

  

Wilson continued that the CUC was concerned that allowing minors in traditional programs would only serve to fuel competition between departments rather than generate useful alternatives for the university. The current proposal would create new fields of study for undergraduates without the same barriers to entry that exist for interdisciplinary majors. Batsell thought that this proposal would allow undergraduate students who matriculate with a lot of AP credit to have broader experience, but the constraint of prohibiting current major areas from creating minors bothered him. 

  

Wilson explained that the CUC was not adamant about that restriction. Forman elaborated that the sense of the CUC was that the restriction would be reexamined in a couple years. Forman is already receiving inquiries about new interdisciplinary minors. The most exciting outgrowth of the proposal was expected to be the new programs, and the CUC hoped to give them a chance to flourish before starting to handle more “standard” minors. Forman acknowledged that this point is clearly the most controversial in the proposal; it was discussed extensively and in earlier drafts the reexamination of the restriction was stated explicitly. 

  

Warren thought it would be helpful to see a sample minor that might be considered under this proposal. He also expressed concern that the proposal relies very heavily on a sole principal faculty member and inquired what provisions might be made in the case of a principal faculty member’s departure and what would become of the minor. 

  

Wilson confirmed that provisions for the departure of a principal faculty member were not included in the existing proposal, but since a student’s graduation status would not be affected, the harm would be relatively minor. Efforts would be made to keep the minor in place. Warren believed this provision would be very important. 

  

Eugene Levy questioned whether it would be wise to institute a minor or other institutional opportunity without having a part of the institution, such as a department or committee, take responsibility for it. He found the minor’s dependence on a single individual as the most troubling aspect of the proposal.  Wilson pointed out that Rice is very department-centric, which has left interdisciplinary activities in limbo. Levy believed a minor couldn’t be dependent on a single individual without another institutional mooring.

  

Peter Mieszkowski pointed out that the existing proposal sends proposed minors through the CUC and the Provost without coming before the Faculty Senate. He thought minors should come to the Senate for approval. Corcoran added that the Senate always approves majors. Wilson explained that the CUC tried to avoid burdening the Senate, but Corcoran thought the Senate would not mind this burden.

  

Forman noted that the CUC debated many of the questions being raised in the Senate. Anything affecting whether or not a student could graduate would clearly have to come to the Faculty Senate, but because minors do not play a role in graduation, it is not clear whether they would need to come before the Senate. Majors must be approved by the Senate, but new course offerings do not require Senate approval. Minors fall somewhere between the two. Mieszkowski felt that a minor fell much closer to a major than to a course. Corcoran pointed out that because there are no minors, there is no extant policy and the Senate must determine the policy direction.

  

Nancy Niedzielski asked whether the students had requested minors and whether they would appear on transcripts. Wilsonreiterated that the idea came to the CUC from the Deans Council and the Dean of Undergraduates and added that minors would be reflected on a student’s transcript. All of the undergraduate members of the CUC were in favor of the proposal.

     

Tom Killian asked whether the CUC envisioned minors listed in the General Announcements alongside departments. Wilson thought that would be one way to get information out to the students. Corcoran asked whether a minor would have a department. Wilsonresponded no, since the minors were envisioned as interdepartmental; a minor would have an identified principal faculty member instead.

  

Stevenson inquired whether there was a rush on this proposal, and if not, why this decision would be made now and not as part of the larger proposed undergraduate curriculum reform. Wilson said that this proposal had been in the works before talk of curriculum reform. 

  

Carol Quillen thought that new minors, as new academic programs, should come through the Senate to be vetted by the body elected by the faculty. She also expressed concern about utilizing a principal faculty member and asked Robin Forman whether these interdisciplinary minors could be housed in the Dean of Undergraduates Office. Forman thought that would be possible, but in many cases the minors may have a natural divisional home. He believes in this proposal and is happy to support it in any way. Quillenelaborated that it may be helpful to have one person with a broad view oversee the entire range of minors and identify potential overlaps and similarities.

  

Schneider saw no particular hurry on this proposal and expressed his concern that once passed, it might become one more obstacle to cope with during curriculum reform. He preferred to see a proposal for minors as a part of general curriculum reform as opposed to adopting one now and potentially disavowing it or orphaning it, depending on the outcomes of the curriculum reform process.

  

Etnyre noted that while he heard some dissension in the Senate, it sounded as if Senators were generally in favor of the idea. He thought the Senate should be aware that some faculty members are opposed to the idea, including two department chairs in Humanities. Their reasons for opposition to any minors system included: (1) minors would be a way of credentialing some areas that would not be of value to the students; (2) the existence of minors would put pressure on students to complete a minor; (3) minors would lead to professionalizing (as with a business minor), which runs counter to the philosophy of a liberal arts education; and (4) students would think minors will help their admission to graduate school, which may not be true. These particular faculty members were especially opposed to a business minor. Etnyre asked to hear input from other Humanities faculty.

  

Harter expressed her opinion in favor of both a minor system and a business minor. She did see the addition of something (in this case, a minor) to a liberal arts education as detracting from that education. Harter seconded the idea of thinking hard about minors in the larger context of the overall curriculum reform and advocated postponing a decision.

  

Warren followed up with a solution to his concern about the principal faculty member: a committee would be composed of one person from each department in which courses are offered for the minor. This arrangement would address some of the permanency issues; if one faculty member left, a portion of the committee would remain and the departed member could be replaced. The committee would also serve as a separate administrative entity that could continuously vet the minor and ensure it is properly administered. 

  

Corcoran commented on the restriction that the minor be interdisciplinary, since she thought a minor within existing departments would be of great benefit to many students. Physics majors find it difficult to double major, and minors within departments would provide those students with more opportunities. Wilson reiterated that the CUC wanted to prevent competition between the departments and felt that as a new program, the minors program should start small.

  

Michael Stern emphasized the importance of Warren’s point: dissolution of a minor based on the departure of a principal faculty would be unacceptable. The proposal should also make clear that a minor must be blessed by the department(s) and the Dean(s) in order to be approved. Creation of a minor should include an understanding that the department(s) and/or Dean(s) will identify replacement faculty if it should be necessary.

  

Tony Pinn asked whether this proposal entailed asking departments to release faculty members to design and teach new courses that do not necessarily directly address the needs of the department. Wilson said the CUC did not take up that question. Pinn did not see what benefit minors would bestow without curricular growth. Rearrangement of existing courses would not provide a unique learning experience.

  

Batsell thought postponement of a decision on the proposal would be misguided. He encouraged the Senate to vote on the proposal, maybe with some additional suggestions as to the wording, today. If the Senate awaits a systematic undergraduate curriculum review, at least a year and a half could pass before the proposal returns to the Senate. Batsell also hoped that Senators would not oppose the proposal because they were afraid it would take people away from their classes. He believes in competition, alternatives, freedom of choice; students ought to have more freedom rather than less. Batsell saw the proposal as a very good idea that could benefit many parts of the university and students. He asked to hear David Leebron’s opinion.

  

David Leebron said that he thinks this is a good idea. He assumed there would be amendments to the proposal, including (1) a specification that minor proposals must come to the Senate for approval and (2) provisions to prevent a minor from becoming a one-faculty project. Leebron thought each minor should have a committee with a minimum of four members rather than a principal faculty member, not only because a minor should have an institutional mooring but also because a minor should not be a pet area for just one faculty member. He saw this proposal as sending a signal about fostering interdisciplinary areas of study; Rice will be a dynamic university that fosters new ideas and creativity. Adoption of the proposal will make a statement to the university that we want to hear from faculty who have interdisciplinary ideas that don’t fit clearly in a department but have importance and appeal to students. While there will be barriers to entry, including pulling together faculty members, enlisting the support of the Deans, and bringing the proposal to the Senate, this is a statement of encouragement.

  

Leebron also stated, for the record, that he feels most strongly about the business minor. He values the statement that this is not a university hidebound by its departmental structure. Leebron acknowledged that some of the business minor talk originated with him. He argued that Rice can take greater advantage of the Jones School faculty, and in a competitive market in which the university is vying for undergraduate students, Rice must offer the academic programs that students are seeking. We’ve declared our goal of becoming a more national school, and we have to go after that goal aggressively. The creation of a business minor is a wonderful compromise between the sets of existing concerns in the community. Professional-based minors will help students who can major in Humanities and minor in business, feeling they have captured both the breadth of the liberal arts and the marketability of business skills. Leebron believes the study of institutions and institutional structures is important; just as he values the study of engineering, he believes in the study of business, management, and institutional structure.

  

Batsell expressed his belief that the large majority of faculty in the Jones Graduate School does not believe there should be an undergraduate business major, and they agree with the focus on the arts, sciences, and humanities. Wilson made it clear that he does not have a proposal on a business minor; the proposal on minors before the Senate was derived separately from any talk of a business minor. 

  

Stevenson agreed with the general idea that something could be done with this proposal, but disagreed with the notion that something needed to be done today. He thought one potential change would be a name change to “Proposal for Interdisciplinary Minors” with the wording changed appropriately throughout the proposal.  Stevenson did not think the system of oversight could be worked out today; he thought the appropriate course of action would be to create a Senate working group to make the changes discussed and return the proposal to the full Senate at the next meeting.

  

Corcoran took a straw poll on some of the key points proposed for amendment. Most Senators thought that each minor should be brought before the Senate for approval. Corcoran also sensed a desire to replace the principal faculty member for a minor with a committee. Wilson explained the CUC’s concern that one individual needs to be ultimately responsible, regardless of the administrative structure.

  

Etnyre wanted to express his personal belief that minors would help with graduate school applications, and he is in favor of the proposal. While two department chairs were opposed to the minors proposal, four others expressed their support.

  

Quillen once again raised the possibility of the Dean of Undergraduates Office housing minors. She also asked Forman to speak to the timing of this proposal. Forman first commented on the idea of the principal faculty member; he viewed this person not as responsible for everything, but instead in a role similar to that of department chairperson. This would be an individual to whom you could go who would then communicate to the rest of the team, much in the same way that interdisciplinary programs have a director. Complete responsibility was never meant to rest with a single person. Forman continued that on the issue of minors disappearing, of course a way would be found for students to complete their minor, just as is done for majors that are phased out. While that fact is not explicitly stated in the General Announcements, it is the practice, and consequently it wasn’t clear that statement needed to be included in the minors proposal. 

  

Forman said that the curriculum review is a multi-year process, and while he is pleased that everyone has so much faith in the process, he is reluctant to put everything into that review. A number of issues should be dealt with sooner rather than later, and if the outcomes are modified as a result of the curriculum review process, he sees that only as a positive. In many ways, Rice has been risk averse when it comes to dealing with curriculum. The goal to get everything into the curriculum review is to get everything right the first time, when trying a variety of things before the final outcome would actually help the analysis of our curriculum.

  

Forman has gotten the sense that faculty reaction has depended to some extent based on whether more or fewer students will take their classes. He does not know how this proposal will affect student behavior and does not wish to base a decision on that factor. This proposal is about encouraging faculty to think differently about the curriculum. He has the impression that students are largely in favor of this idea but senses the most excitement within the faculty; he has already received proposals for minors. Formanseconded Leebron’s point that this proposal changes the way we think about courses to align with the way we are thinking about the undergraduate experience. The idea of a minor is a collection of courses that add up to more than the sum of its parts. 

  

Batsell wanted to propose two amendments to the document and then to move it; Corcoran took additional comments.

  

Rebekah Drezek commented that she is strongly in favor of interdisciplinary minors; we ought to have educational aspirations in many of the areas in which we have strong research. Areas such as nanoscience and nanotechnology do not have an educational strategy, and this is one way to address that. Because the departments at Rice are smaller than most other places but still must cover the same curricular breadth, Drezek was concerned that without a high value placed on minors or high encouragement of the development of minors at the university level, she didn’t see at the Department Chair level the same interest as at the Dean’s level. She feared the Department Chairs will argue that while interdisciplinary minors are a great idea, they can barely cover their departmental curriculum as it is now. She doesn’t see a lack of faculty who would like to develop minors, but she sees a gap where department chairs, given the same amount of resources currently available, would be reluctant to free up faculty to develop new courses.

  

Schneider saw some practical difficulties; students currently have trouble fulfilling area majors because courses are not offered. It was not clear what control a chairperson of an interdisciplinary major has to make sure that relevant courses, many of which may be peripheral to a departmental major, actually are offered. His other issue is philosophical; Schneider agreed with the idea of the symbolic value of the interdisciplinary minor, but he would hate for interdisciplinary minors to undercut more significant attempts to offer greater interdisciplinary opportunities.

  

Killian understood the validity of the argument about resources, but he was surprised at the assumption that new course development would be integral to the success of the proposal. He saw an opportunity for courses to be grouped together in minors without necessarily requiring extensive new course development. Such grouping would entail the faculty coming together and encouraging students to recognize that courses can be grouped together in a cohesive fashion and formal recognition of that course of study. Drezek agreed this might be possible in some areas, but in other areas (such as nano) almost no undergraduate course work is offered.

  

Stevenson thought an interdisciplinary minor would have the positive effects discussed but found many gaps in this particular proposal. The administrative management is underspecified. A locus of responsibility is needed; perhaps a university committee on minors whose responsibility it is to keep track of minors and to know when they come up for re-approval. He suggested that the proposal could be approved in principle and the details in the language could be worked on. Schneider suggested voting on the principle of the minors proposal with the understanding some details may change and setting up a working group to coordinate with the CUC to compose detailed language.

  

Pinn stated he was not opposed to minors in theory, but he was unsure what students would gain from a minor without curricular innovation. For example, in the area of African American studies, students can certainly pull together a number of courses, but they do not get any theoretical or methodological foundations for the discipline of African American Studies. It is a mistake for students to take that experience, apply to graduate schools, and receive solid recognition for it. Forman agreed; that fact is the justification for the proposal in some cases. In some cases minors will be collections of existing courses, but if that’s all it is then we’ve missed something. This proposal is an encouragement for the faculty to think about how their courses relate to other courses and to create something a little bigger than what students can experience now. In some courses there is not a lot of flexibility, but in some upper level courses that flexibility exists.

  

Forman pointed out one small adjustment to the current thinking. As the proposal is written, a minor cannot be a subset of an existing major. The language has come to mean that it’s interdisciplinary. In Forman’s view, not being a subset of an existing major does not mean a minor cannot be a subset of an existing department. The language was chosen carefully. An example is bioengineering, where faculty are talking about designing classes explicitly not for majors. Majoring in engineering is a big commitment; the ability to create minors in engineering with much lower bars will enable students to get an understanding of what engineering is without being an engineering major. Courses specifically not designed for majors and not a part of the major still can reside within a single department. This will be an interesting way in which science and engineering, with a more restrained curriculum, can create dramatic new areas of opportunity for students to explore areas of thought that are not offered now.

  

Stern addressed the resource concern, noting that outside agencies might be interested in funding some of these initiatives. In fact, this may be a means of leveraging some of that money and generating resources. Quillen added that while this proposal will have the theoretical and intellectual support of Deans and Department Chairs, the allocation of faculty time will be more difficult. She advised the group that rewrites the proposal to take that point into consideration so that minors are overseen in a way that actually encourages faculty to participate. Corcoran could envision some faculty actually being punished for wanting to participate in minors if the Department Chair still insisted on the faculty member carrying his/her original load. Quillen said we need an advocate for the curriculum. She stated once again that the Dean of Undergraduates Office should be included in the oversight function. Formanvolunteered his services as the administrator who oversees minors and keeps track of regulations. 

  

Schneider moved that the Senate approve the minor and that a working group be appointed to work out the language and bring it back to the Senate in a timely manner. Batsell seconded the motion.

  

Dale Sawyer added that the smaller the number of courses required in a set, the more critical it is that every course be designed exactly for the intended purpose. In a major, a lot of courses can be strung together with capstones used to weave together the things that students learn. The notion of stringing six courses together with a coherence and relevance is more difficult. He is in favor of the idea of minors, but for them to work effectively new courses will have to be created. To do that, the Deans and Department Chairs must buy-in to the fact that it is important for this program to move forward. He expressed concern about reaching the level of buy-in that would make resources available and offer encouragement to faculty. Drezek also pointed out that the School ofEngineering deals with accreditation issues that constrain the curriculum more than that in some other areas of the university.

  

Harter stated she was compelled by Forman’s argument to move forward with this proposal ahead of curricular reform. To address her one lingering worry, she asked the working group to consider a limit on how many structures (majors and minors) a student can have. Wilson said the CUC talked about that issue at length and came to the conclusion that because there is not a restriction on the number of majors a student can pursue, it didn’t make much sense to limit the number of minors. Levy thought that perhaps the number of majors should be limited, although he left that to another discussion.

  

The question was called and the motion was repeated. Warren clarified that the Senate would not be bound to this proposal;Corcoran stated that a more fleshed out proposal would come forward this semester, at which point it would be debated again and voted on. Schneider did point out that the Senate is voting on the principle of a minor as outlined broadly in this proposal. 

  

The Senate voted on the motion to approve the idea of interdisciplinary minors in principle and to appoint a working group to collaborate with the CUC on the proposal details. The motion passed with a vote of 20 in favor and 3 against, with the understanding that the working group will return with a revised proposal this semester. 

  

VII. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 pm, with the next Faculty Senate meeting scheduled for February 15, 2006.