Undergraduate Council Minutes

April 10, 2007
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Present: Ora Bouey, Janet Clarke, Brian Colle (Chair), Donna DiDonato, Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Kane Gillespie, Norman Goodman, Cheryl Hamilton, Beverly Rivera, Andrea Tyree

1st topic: A problem is emerging with the recently adopted joint BA/MA programs.  Students are continuing to take the graduate courses for these programs as undergraduates and only choose to join the programs when they have more than the 6 graduate credits students cannot exceed for admission to the programs.  By the rules now, they cannot join the programs; they should finish their BAs, then take a regular MA.  We reached no conclusion, but sent our Chair off to talk to Brent Lindquist.

Main topic: Martin Schoonen, the Interim Dean at Stony Brook-Southampton, visited us to brief us on what is going on.

There are now 120 students taking classes, all non-matriculating students except in the creative writing program.  The carried-over LIU faculty in Marine Sciences are reporting to David Conover, Dean of MSRC.  The facility has a dock leading out onto the bay, which is an improvement over the resources here at Stony Brook. The Middle States has approved Southampton as an “alternate location,” so that in principle any Stony Brook program can be duplicated at Southampton.  Schoonen’s present commitment however is to avoid having a degree program that competes with the SB campus–not even in the arts (where the East-End location might argue for this).  The focus of the new campus is to be Sustainability, with five majors being developed.

1. Environmental Science.  This is a major some have wanted on this campus, but Syracuse blocked it.  A BS in this also leverages the marine sciences facilities at Southampton.

2. Ecological Studies and Human Impact, focusing on natural environments, leveraging both Richard Leakey and Madagascar.  This major involves the students spending ½ year in Madagascar.

3. Environmental Design: Policy and Planning.  This one deals more with Long Island and sprawl, land use and the like.  This is really a pre-professional degree that requires internships.

4. Arts, Culture and Theory.  Stacy Olster et al. are contributing to this, which is also somehow linked to the environment.  Its required esthetics course overlaps with major #3.

5. Sustainability Studies.  Schoonen emphasized that this is not environmental studies repackaged, but this note taker didn’t manage to record what else it is.

The planners tried out making Southampton a capstone college (Jr and Sr years) for Stony Brook students, but rejected the notion for a number of persuasive reasons.  As a result the campus needs a curriculum that takes students through four years.  Schoonen expects more courses will be required for the majors than here, but things not counted here as major requirements (prerequisites and DEC courses) will be folded into the Southampton majors.  He wants to develop new courses that will meet SB’s DEC requirements.

At this point Dean Schoonen ran into concerns from Council members.  Goodman questioned the extent to which DEC courses can be tied to majors, expressing concern that this may defeat the purpose of the DEC, which is to produce breadth.

Sarah Fuller asked about a library–both as a physical place and as a collection.  Schoonen: we have $22M from the state to renovate, repair, make campus serviceable. It will include SINC sites, places to plug in laptops, a writing center, a café.  The books in the existing library are going back to LIU.  Schoonen does not foresee many books in the new library, but expects online resources to be primary.  Wanted books can be carted back and forth from Stony Brook on the twice daily van. (AT: this does not permit much rummaging though the stacks–except electronic rummaging.)  Schoonen feels majors are in emerging fields, so they won’t much need a large collection of books.  The information stream in these fields is coming through the internet.  Tyree asked if there is a local public library as good as the local ones here.  Yes, but not within walking distance.  Making a deal with one would entail providing transportation between it and the Southampton campus.

Fuller: Languages?
Schoonen: We’ve been teaching Spanish in response to local demand.
Tyree: Spanish won’t do much good in Madagascar.

Brian Colle wanted to explore how students might get a broader education, as in using Stony Brook for an advanced literature course.  While in principle this is possible, the practical impediments seem forbidding: taking a van in the morning and another back in the afternoon twice a week eats up a lot of time.  And students who select Southampton are choosing something that might be absorbing.

There are to be no departments and lots of courses will be co-taught by teams from what here would be different departments offering different courses.  For example, a systems course addressing the Yellow River and what is happening to it and the people who live or will live around it could involve environmental, economic, cultural pieces.  This would be difficult to pull off at Stony Brook, but Schoonen thinks it can be delivered with a non-departmental faculty.

Both Gillespie and Goodman took us back to the problem of DECs.  This is going to take a while to work out.

All Southampton courses must go through the Curriculum Committee at Stony Brook.  The proposed majors have to go through the usual SB procedures–and then get sent to Albany for approval.

The rest was about hiring. 
DiDonato: You are hunting for a Dean of Students.  Are you also going for an Undergraduate Academic Administrator?  She was really giving Schoonen administrative good advice, as he will be running a small place in a really complicated SUNY system.

Fuller: What about faculty appointments and hiring (we all noticed the Newsday ads–an unusual way to recruit faculty)?  Answer: the ads are for temporary positions.  MS didn’t want to go out and hire permanent faculty until the proposed programs get approved.  Permanent faculty would tie his hands.  He intends to have Stony Brook faculty help in selecting faculty for Southampton.  Tenure will be at Southampton, though the individual members could have affiliations with Stony Brook graduate programs (emphasis in tone of voice).

Respectfully submitted
Andrea Tyree