Minutes of October 21, 2009 Meeting of Undergraduate Council

Attending were Ora Bouey, Michael Barnhart, Arlene Feldman, Jian Cao, Brian Colle, Sarah Fuller, Cheryl Hamilton, Norm Goodman, Scott Sutherland and Cynthia Dietz.

The minutes of Sept. 16, 2009 minutes were approved as amended.

Attendees discussed what constitutes “critical courses”, and how to handle repeated classes by students.

Scott suggested that a critical course might be considered one that had a major impact on a student’s ability to fulfill a requirement for DEC, for his major, or for graduating. He thought that they should not be cut, that the university would have to offer enough seats for such courses.

Norm suggested that Departments might be told: “Don’t offer this abc course so that xyz course can be taught. You figure out how to do it.”

Sarah worried about DEC J and K courses. If they would be dropped it might cause a problem. She thought the University should be asked to fulfill its mandate.

The discussion was tabled until more information could be provided about courses that always have excess demand. Kane would be asked for the information.

Several problems with the SBU campus in Songdo, Incheon, Korea were perceived. It was agreed that our council should send a letter indicating that if Songdo were to go ahead, that several perceived problems associated with the curriculum and academic program need to be addressed:

  1. The delivery and breadth of General Ed. Who would deliver the courses?
  2. The impact on our campus of trying to build another campus half way around the world
  3. The breadth of the anticipated undergraduate research program
  4. The scope of the educational and research vision

There was a feeling that the Songdo proposal does not do credit to SBU.

Members would like to see more than one offering for DEC D, for instance.

Ora suggested that a coordinator was needed to select the DEC courses to be offered.

A suggestion was made to ramp up online courses so that students could “chose” courses for DEC and “major” requirements. If SBU is the first university at Songdo, it cannot rely on others to offer DEC courses.

Brian expressed that he is more worried about Southampton than Songdo. SBU alone is responsible for Southampton.

Cao worried that most Asian students go to the US not Korea. Norm recalled that a market study had been done by SBU and NCSU and that the findings indicated that second tier students would go to Korea.

Mention was made that online courses might help in math, business and science, but that the drop-out rate was higher than with campus offerings. Online courses require a different mode of delivery, and different design. There is a substantial upfront cost, and legal and copyright issues need to be addressed. SBU has some experience with online courses. SUNY has a learning network, access to the Sloan-C consortium and Graham Glynn’s team. If online courses are thought to be a solution, a distance education committee should be formed, and technology issues addressed.

Ora mentioned that she built a SBU graduate program in nursing in Eritrea. She said it was not a 9-5pm job, that it was labor intensive, exciting due in part to the fact that third year students came here, but that such a program cannot be forced on anyone.