Undergraduate Council
Sept 11, 2008, 4:00 pm

Scott Sutherland (chair), Brian Colle, Beverly Rivera, Donna di Donato, Rick Gatteau, Cheryl Hamilton, Norm Goodman, Cynthia Dietz, Kane Gillespie, Jeff Ge, Joe Mitchell, Ora J Bouey, Chreyl Hamilton

1. Selection of note taker. 
Bev asked that we keep a list of note takers so that everyone gets a chance to take minutes. 

2. Welcome to new members
Jeff Ge from Mechanical Engineering returns after a hiatus.  Welcome back and thanks for serving again.

3. Next meeting
Next meeting scheduled for 9/26 4:00 pm. 

4. Copyright/ Course Packets
It appears that several units, including the Council and the Provost’s office, are discussing this issue simultaneously. The Council nominated M. Barnhart to research the issue, and Brent Lindquist presented documents today indicating that the Provost’s office is considering whether to enter into contract with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).  The efforts of the Council and the Provost appear to be independent; however, Lindquist has asked the Council to review CCC’s “service description.”  Members chose to review the document more fully following today’s meeting and to communicate more detailed responses via email or at the next meeting.  Scott offered to contact Dean Filstrup for more information. 

Following a brief review of the CCC document at the meeting, some questions arose:
What are the costs to students?
What are the costs to the institution?
What are the advantages and disadvantages to the administration?
Are other SUNYs using this?  See p.4.  Could there be an advantage for SUNY and SB if more than one SUNY is using this?  Is this agreement being made at the SUNY level or the campus level?


5. DEC
Like the first meeting of 2007-08, the first meeting of 2008-09 was predominated by discussion of the DEC and Gen Ed review.   [KG notes that we met exactly one year ago today]

Last year, the Council determined that the current DEC is philosophically appropriate, but that there might be some mechanical issues regarding the DEC that need refinement.  However, the Provost met with Scott and Brian over the summer, who report that the Provost wants a special committee on Gen Ed to discuss the future of Gen Ed.

Norm communicated his strong opposition to the Provost forming a special committee on Gen Ed because doing so would duplicate and undermine the purpose of the Council and set up the two groups as competitors.  However, Council members were also concerned that a continuous project on Gen Ed could dominate the Council’s agenda and therefore leave little time for other issues.  Subsequently, Norm suggested that the group of Distinguished Teaching Faculty, which includes Norm and Michael Barnhart, consider this topic and report back to the Council.  Members of the Council voiced no disagreement.

Scott also reported that the Provost is fond of Harvard’s recent revision of their Gen Ed, and that he’s concerned that SB’s DEC is too much of a checklist.  However, members indicate that any Gen Ed program is a checklist of sorts, but just presented in a different format.  Joe, whose daughter attends Harvard, confirmed that this is the case with Harvard’s old and new Gen Ed.

Jeff reports that ABET accreditation requirements have changed since the DEC was implemented and suggested one example enhancement to the DEC that would align it more closely with ABET requirements.

Although last year’s favorable review did not recommend philosophical changes to the DEC, members feel that one aspect of the DEC that could be enhanced is the perception of cohesiveness of the DEC from the student perspective. 

Norm indicates that many campuses are also requiring students to complete one “Experiential Education” (EE) course or activity as part of the Gen Ed requirement.  (Educational Experiences include credit bearing internships, study abroad, research, service learning, and public performances.)  Doing so at SB could strengthen the overall undergraduate experience by incorporating skills and concepts learned in prior courses. 

Meeting adjourned 5:15 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Kane Gillespie