Approved on 03/19/2002



February 26, 2002



The fourth meeting of the 2001-2002 academic year was called to order at 11:55 a.m. in UU-221B by Prof. Burrell Montz (Geography and Chair of the Faculty Senate).


1.     Minutes.  The minutes of the February 12 meeting were approved as distributed.


2.     Announcements/Questions.  Prof. Peter Knuepfer (Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies and University Faculty Senator) reported that a University Faculty Senate meeting was held at Binghamton in January.  At the meeting the University Faculty Senate passed a resolution urging the Chancellor, government bodies, other appropriate constituencies, etc. to develop a long term, rational fiscal policy to include increased state support for the SUNY system.  The Chancellor spoke at the meeting and commented that he believes his ‘behind-the-scenes’ negotiating strengths are good for the system.  He is hopeful that there will be increased funding for SUNY in the Governor’s budget.


Prof. David Payne, Dean of the Graduate School, reported that recent cuts in TA/GA allocations have been restored and next year there will be 511 total GA/TA lines.  Prof. Montz added that in a related issue, she and Prof. Randy McGuire (Anthropology and Chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee [FSEC]) met with Provost Mary Ann Swain about the search for a newly created management/confidential position when GA/TA lines had been cut.  Provost Swain informed them that the search had been suspended.


3.     New Business.  A) Faculty Senate University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee [UUCC] recommendation regarding revision to General Education Oral (O) Communication Guidelines (attached to agenda).  Prof. Richard Eckert (Computer Science and Co-Chair of the UUCC) gave background information on the three changes in the proposal:  1) require students to give at least two oral presentations in O designated class; 2) at least 15% of the grade will be based on the oral presentations; 3) limit O and J courses to 30 per class.  Prof. Montz reported that the proposal is moved and seconded from the FSEC.


Prof. Carrol Coates (Romance Languages & Literatures) asked why the courses should only be those in English?  Prof. Montz replied that the issue was discussed previously.  Prof. Eckert concurred and replied that the UUCC felt that there should be at least one class required in the English language. 


Prof. Liz Rosenberg (English) commented that having taught an O course, she believes the class size should be limited to 25. She proposed an amendment to keep the limit in class size of O and J courses to 25 and to substitute the word ‘equivalent’ for the word ‘sufficient’ in the paragraph beginning “O and J courses should be …”  The motion was seconded.


Prof. McGuire spoke in favor of the amendment saying that the logic behind the motion is not based on pedagogy but practicality and convenience.  If students cannot be accommodated then additional faculty are needed.  Also he commented that fewer faculty would want to teach O courses if the class size was increased.  Provost Swain commented that additional faculty lines would be ideal but realistically budgets are already constrained.


Prof. Richard McLain (English) agreed with the amendment and Prof. McGuire’s comments.  He asked about the length of the presentations.  Prof. Montz replied that the FSEC had voted to change the original proposal that the presentations be a total of 10 minutes believing it would be too restrictive.


Prof. Stanley Masters (Economics and Co-Chair of the UUCC) commented that there is nothing in the resolution that prohibits a department from setting its own limit of 25.  Prof. McGuire agreed but said that practically if the Senate approves the 30 student limit departments will be pressured to maintain that limit.


Prof. Knuepfer also agreed with the amendment stating that the amendment would ensure that students in larger classes have the same level of feedback as those in smaller classes. 


A vote was taken on the amendment.  The amendment carried, 25 in favor, 2 against, 1 abstention.  A vote was taken on the proposal as amended (changes underlined in italics): 


Proposed Revision to the General Education Oral Communication Guidelines:


O courses:

§         Are discipline (or program) based, just like Composition courses.

§         Require that each student give at least two presentations.

§         Base at least 15% of the course grade on oral presentations, including critiques of such presentations and other listening skills.

§         Provide ample opportunity for students to critique presentations, based on criteria such as:  rapport with audience; voice, projection, and audibility; clarity of purpose; originality of ideas; organization; persuasiveness of evidence; and ability to respond to questions.

§         Provide as much opportunity as possible for students to improve their oral presentations in response to feedback.

§         Should emphasize listening as well as speaking skills.


O and J courses should be limited to 25 students per class.  Larger class sizes will be considered if evidence is provided that additional arrangements have been made to assure that each student is getting equivalent individual attention from the instructor or TA.


The language of communication for O and J courses shall be English.


NOTE:  Any course designated as “O” or “J” prior to the approval of these guidelines will be grandfathered as meeting the Oral Communication requirement for a period of two academic years (2002-2003 and 2003-2004).


The motion carried, 27 in favor, 1 against, 1 abstention. 


B) Faculty Senate University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee [UUCC] recommendation regarding revision to General Education Foreign Language requirement (attached to agenda).  Prof. Masters explained that the present requirement was passed in December 1999 with the understanding that it be given more careful consideration at a later date.  In Spring 2001 the UUCC presented an interim proposal to the Senate and the Senate encouraged them to develop the proposal more fully.  After extensive discussion with the Chairs of the foreign language departments the UUCC now presents the proposal attached to today’s agenda.


Prof. Masters explained the current requirement: a passing grade of at least an 85 on the high school Regents exam after three years of high school study, or passing a third-semester course at Binghamton, or achieving second-semester competency in two foreign languages.  Watson engineering students are exempt from the requirement; computer science and Decker School of Nursing students are held to a less stringent requirement.  He commented further that foreign language faculty believe that an 85 on the Regents is second-semester competency, not third.  This new requirement is an attempt to create a balance and strengthen the requirement.  Prof. Masters stated further that Harpur College would bear most of the cost of the proposal if approved with the full support of the Dean.  Prof. Montz remarked that the proposal comes moved and seconded from the UUCC.


Prof. Kenneth Greene (Economics) offered a friendly amendment to include the word ‘one’ in the second sentence in the second paragraph that would now read: “Students can fulfill the foreign language requirement prior to enrolling in college either by completing four or more units of one high school foreign language …”.  Prof. Masters accepted the friendly amendment.


Prof. Greene asked if ancient foreign languages were acceptable and Prof. Masters replied affirmatively. 


Prof. Greene offered an amendment to change the second sentence in the second paragraph to read:  Students can fulfill the foreign-language requirement prior to enrolling in college either by completing four or more units of one high-school foreign language with a course grade in the fourth year of 85 or better or three units each of two high school languages with a course grade in the third unit of 85 or better or by passing the AP exam (or its equivalent) with a score of 3 or better, or by demonstrating equivalent competency in some other fashion.  The motion was seconded.


Prof. John Chaffee (History) suggested a friendly amendment to add the word ‘each’ before the words ‘third unit of 85’.  The friendly amendment was accepted.  A vote was taken on the amendment.  The motion carried, 28 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention.


Provost Swain cautioned that the third paragraph of the proposal, if approved, means reallocation of resources within Harpur. 


Prof. Knuepfer asked for clarification that three years of high school language is now equivalent to two college semesters, not three college semesters.  Prof. Masters replied affirmatively saying that it is the recommendation of many language faculty.  Prof. Rosemarie LaValva (Romance Languages and Literatures) agreed.


Prof. Knuepfer asked about the equivalency of a score of 3 in an AP exam.  Prof. Coates replied that in romance languages it would be equivalent to a third semester course.  He commented that the level of competency differs widely between students and high school language courses. 


Prof. Knuepfer suggested there be clarification of exactly what is meant by ‘some other significant activity’ and ‘some other fashion’ in the second paragraph of the proposal.  Prof. Masters replied the second phrase is meant for students born abroad where English is the second language; the intent of the first phrase is study abroad or an internship program done in another language.


Prof. John Affleck (Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics) asked how this requirement would impact students in high schools that could not offer a selection of languages.  Also he expressed concern about imposing requirements just for the sake of learning while recognizing the importance and value of knowing other languages.  Prof. Masters replied to the first comment that he does not have definite information but assumes that at least four years of a language could be available in most high schools.  He commented further than only about 30% of the student body will be affected by this revised requirement.


Prof. Greene asked Provost Swain to comment on her earlier remark about reallocation within Harpur College.  Provost Swain replied that since the proposal directly affects a department in Harpur it would be about reallocation of resources within Harpur.


Prof. Richard Pastore (Psychology) remarked that it is difficult to make decisions on proposals such as this when faculty are being asked to do more and more with less resources.  Prof. Greene agreed saying that he was in favor of the proposal.  However given the Provost’s remarks about funding he feels he cannot support it.  Prof. McGuire quoted data that showed a large increase in management/confidential and professional employees over the past few years and a small increase in faculty.  He urged support for the proposal citing quality of education and suggested there be reallocation of funding to allow for its establishment.  Provost Swain commented that the resource issue should be taken into consideration when voting on the proposal.


Prof. Knuepfer asked Prof. Masters for comment on the proposed cost of $136,000.  Prof. Masters replied that out of approximately 2,000 entering freshmen this requirement would apply to about 30% or 600 students.  Of those 600 it is estimated that about 500 students will take French or Spanish courses, 25 students per section, one lecturer would be hired to teach four sections, and some adjunct hires; it is estimated that about 50% of transfers will be affected by this requirement.


Prof. Pastore moved to table the motion to allow further consideration at a meeting where there will be more faculty representation.  A vote was taken on the motion to table, it carried, 15 in favor, 7 against, 6 abstentions.  Prof. Eckert then asked about the proposal’s status.  Prof. Pastore moved to amend his motion to take the motion off the table at the next meeting.  The motion was seconded.  After a vote the motion carried, 26 in favor, 0 against, 2 abstentions.


Prof. Montz suggested that the remaining agenda item, Assessment of the General Academic Experience and the Major, also be discussed at the next meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 12:51 p.m.





Excused:  Thomas Brunell, Michael Conlon, Steven Dickman, John Fillo, Albrecht Inhoff, Harry Kroger, Dennis McGee, Jean Schmittau, Srinivasa Venugopalan, W. Warren Wagar 


Absent:  Saligrama Agnihothri, Allan Arkush, Susan Bane, Bat-Ami Bar On, James Bohary, Gisela Brinker-Gabler, George Catalano, David Cingranelli, Charles Cobb, Lois DeFleur, Juanita Diaz, Vincent Grenier, David Hanson, Michael Kohler, Kevin Lacey, Donald Levis, Dale Madison, William Martin, Thomas McDonough, Rosmarie Morewedge, Charles Nelson, Isidore Okpewho, Erik Pedersen, Victor Skormin, Robert White