Approved on 03/19/2002

 

MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE MEETING

March 5, 2002

 

 

The fifth meeting of the 2001-2002 academic year was called to order at 11:50 a.m. in UU-221B by Prof. Burrell Montz (Geography and Chair of the Faculty Senate).

 

1.     Announcements/Questions.  There were none.

 

2.     Old Business.  A) Faculty Senate University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee [UUCC] recommendation regarding revision to General Education Foreign Language requirement (attached to February 26 agenda).

 

Prof. Jeffrey Barker (Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies) said that while his department supports the proposal in principle, they are against the reallocation of funds to increase faculty in romance languages.  Prof. Dora Polachek (Romance Languages and Literatures), speaking for herself and Prof. Rosemarie LaValva, suggested there be a campaign to inform high schools of the new language requirement to encourage students to take a series of language courses in high school.  This would enhance writing skills in other courses and improve the Languages Across the Curriculum program.

 

Prof. William Martin (Sociology) asked approximately how many entering students could meet the proposed requirement, and if there is information about language requirements at other SUNY schools.  He also asked how the costs were calculated.  Prof. Stanley Masters (Economics and Co-Chair of the UUCC) replied that it is estimated that only about 20% of incoming freshmen would not meet the requirement.  There is wide variety among other SUNY schools but Binghamton’s proposal is a little less than Cortland and more than Albany and Stony Brook.  The costs were generated by taking the number of incoming freshmen minus Watson and Decker students, which equaled approximately 2,000.  This amount was multiplied by 30% minus a small amount for languages other than French and Spanish.  That left approximately 500 students that would need to be served, 25 per class, 20 sections, served by one lecturer teaching four sections and adjuncts at a cost of $3,000 per section.

 

Prof. Sandra Michael (Biological Sciences) asked for comment about the reallocation of resources within Harpur College.  Dean Peter Mileur (Harpur College) replied that he is in favor of the proposal and urged the body to focus on developing curriculum without regard to resources.

 

Prof. Rosmarie Morewedge (German, Russian, East Asian Languages) commented that for some time high school foreign language teachers have asked that the college level foreign language requirement be increased to motivate students to continue with language studies; students are reluctant to do so.  She urged support for the motion.

 

Prof. Carrol Coates (Romance Languages and Literatures) agreed with both previous speakers and said that three years of a language does not constitute competency.  He made a friendly amendment to change the word ‘competency’ throughout the document to the word ‘proficiency’.  The amendment was accepted.

 

Prof. Randy McGuire (Anthropology and Chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee [FSEC]) stated that he is conflicted by the issue citing the importance of the foreign language requirement without regard to consideration of necessary resources.  He also said that he is against hiring adjuncts to teach these additional courses.  Prof. Richard Pastore (Psychology) also expressed concern about maintaining the quality and reputation of the institution when resources are shrinking.

 

Prof. Richard Eckert (Computer Science and Co-Chair of the UUCC) remarked that college level courses in foreign languages could be beneficial in gaining conversational proficiency in the language.  He stated further that an augmented foreign language requirement would enhance the internationalization goal of the university.  Prof. Morewedge suggested that the resource issue be separated from the foreign language requirement.  She urged more interaction with teachers at the high school level.

 

Prof. Steven Dickman (Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies) commented that high school resources are limited too.  He suggested that implementation be delayed until Fall 2005 to allow high school students to enroll in more foreign language courses in high school and to delay the burden on our campus resources.  He commented further that there are other curricular changes that should be addressed now such as the lack of writing skills in English.  Dean Mileur agreed that there are many curricular changes that have been delayed due to budget constraints but urged the body to continue to develop curriculum and not be held hostage to ongoing uncertain budgetary concerns.  He said that he believes over time there will be funding for these necessary curricular changes.  He again urged the group to consider the requirement separate from budgetary concerns.

 

Prof. John Chaffee (History) urged support for the proposal and suggested that if the proposal passes there be active immediate implementation.  He also agreed that there be more interaction with high school language departments regarding advanced courses.  He moved to add a sentence before the Commentary that would state that the UUCC would oversee implementation of the new requirement.  The motion was seconded.  Prof. Masters commented that he believed Harpur College would oversee implementation if approved.  Prof. Chaffee answered that he will amend his proposal if necessary and stressed the need for immediate implementation.

 

Prof. Peter Knuepfer (Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies and University Faculty Senator) commented that the issue goes beyond Harpur College since other students are affected as well.  Prof. Barker clarified that the current requirement is three semesters of a foreign language; this proposal is an attempt to allow students with less to satisfy the requirement and that implementation will be done in the usual manner.  A vote was taken on the amendment to add the sentence “The UUCC will oversee implementation of the requirement.” at the end of the fourth paragraph in the proposal.  The motion failed, 6 in favor, 25 against, 2 abstentions.

 

Prof. Liz Rosenberg (English) urged support for the proposal and moved to delay implementation for freshmen until 2004.  The motion was seconded.  After a vote the motion carried, 34 in favor, 6 against, 2 abstentions.  It was noted that the date for transfer student remains at 2004.

 

Prof. Rosenberg asked if the Commentary portion was official and Prof. Masters replied no.

 

Hearing no further discussion, Prof. Montz read the requirement as revised:

 

Proposed Revision to the General Education Foreign Language requirement

 

The University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee moves that the foreign language section of the General Education requirement be replaced by the following:

 

Students are required to pass either a third-semester college-level course in one foreign language or a second-semester course in two foreign languages or to satisfactorily complete some other significant activity that requires second-level foreign language proficiency as a prerequisite, such as study abroad in a non-English environment or an internship serving people who can communicate only in a language other than English.  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 3 units each of two high school languages with course grades in each 3rd 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 proficiency in some other fashion.

 

Watson engineering students will continue to be exempt from the foreign language requirement.  Decker students and Watson computer science students will continue to be subject only to the SUNY-wide requirement, which can be fulfilled by attaining a score of 85 or better on the NY State Regents foreign language exam (or its equivalent) or by passing one college course in a foreign language at any level.

 

The new requirement will become effective for freshmen who enter in Fall 2004 and for transfer students who enter in Fall 2004.  Transfer students entering prior to Fall 2004 will be subject only to the SUNY-wide requirement listed above.

 

Prof. McGuire moved to vote by secret ballot.  The motion was seconded.  A vote was taken on the motion; it carried.

 

A vote was taken on the entire proposal as amended.  The motion carried, 29 in favor, 10 against.

 

3.     New Business.  A) Assessment of the General Academic Experience and the Major (attached to February 26 agenda).  Prof. Knuepfer explained that the FSEC had charged the Faculty Senate Educational Policy and Priorities Committee to provide a framework for the campus for assessment.  The EPPC formed an assessment subcommittee that targeted three areas of assessment:  general academic experience, the major, and general education.  He explained further that System Administration required all campuses to present their plan for assessment of majors.  That information has been submitted and he summarized that Binghamton assesses majors by asking for comment from individual departments, and by administering a program of external evaluation.  Binghamton’s submission, therefore, for System Administration is complete but the assessment subcommittee felt that further assessment of majors was needed.

 

Regarding majors, the committee is requesting from each department a statement of goals and objectives by December 2002.  Also requested is a statement of criteria and methodology to be used for evaluation of majors.  Each program is to develop a mechanism for evaluating assessment results and recommend changes, collect data on a regular basis, and prepare a report.  The EPPC is to oversee the process.

 

Prof. Eckert proposed to add the following amendment to the end of #4:  “For those programs that prepare self-study reports for external accrediting bodies, these reports would be submitted to the EPPC in lieu of the departmental reports”.  The motion was seconded. 

 

Prof. Morewedge asked if the departmental reports already required would still need to be submitted.  Prof. Knuepfer replied he is not sure but believes this new process would supersede the Provost’s request for departmental evaluation.  Prof. John Fillo (Mechanical Engineering) urged support for the amendment stating that all the required information is already prepared for school accreditation reports.  Ms. Tammy Taraszkiewicz (Provost’s Office) reported that the reports requested each year from the various departments and schools are required by Middle States Accreditation (MSA); therefore, those reports would still be requested.  After a vote the amendment carried, 32 in favor.

 

Prof. Dickman asked if Middle States is an external accrediting body, why couldn’t those reports count in lieu of the reports requested in the proposal.  Prof. Montz replied that they could be used if all the information requested in the proposal is included.  Prof. Greene commented that much of the information requested by the Provost for MSA is the same and does not change often such as the goals of the department.  To duplicate the report on a yearly basis would be excessive.  Prof. McGuire commented that this discussion of the MSA reports is confusing the issue.  He agreed that yearly reports would be excessive.   He asked for clarification regarding the MSA reports.  Prof. Knuepfer stated that regarding departments in Harpur College, they do not have specific criteria for accreditation, as do the professional schools.  The committee felt that there should be a systematic way of reporting for all departments and schools.  Discussion will continue at the next meeting.

 

4.     Announcements/Questions.  Prof. McGuire announced that the FSEC is currently seeking faculty to be on the ballots for the next FSEC.  Candidates are needed from Harpur College Social Sciences and Humanities.  If anyone is interested please contact him or Prof. Montz.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 12:58 p.m.

 

 

 

Excused:  Thomas Brunell, Michael Conlon, Rosemarie LaValva, Alice Mitchell, Ted Rector, Jean Schmittau, Mary Ann Swain, Caryl Ward

 

Absent:  Susan Bane, Bat-Ami Bar On, Gisela Brinker-Gabler, George Catalano, David Cingranelli, Lois DeFleur, David Hanson, Margaret Iwobi, Kevin Lacey, Donald Levis, Harold Lewis, Thomas McDonough, Isidore Okpewho, Erik Pedersen, Max Pensky, Srinivasa Venugopalan, Robert White, Avninder Aujla