Minutes of the Meeting of the Undergraduate Council

 March 24 , 2010

Present: Michael Barnhart, Brian Colle, Donna Di Donato, Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Jeff Ge, Kane Gillespie, Norman Goodman, Cheryl Hamilton, Joe Mitchell, Beverly Rivera, Scott Sutherland.

1. The Minutes of the meeting of March 3, 2010 were approved.

2.  The Minutes of the meeting of March 3, 2010 were approved as emended.

3a.  Scott Sutherland discussed with the group the schedule for the remainder of this Spring semester.

Tom Hemmick who chairs the General Education Committee will be invited for an April 7 meeting.  (This is an extra meeting not previously scheduled.)  He will report on the current state of the Committee’s work.

Gene Hammond, Director of the Writing Program, will be invited for the April 14 meeting.

Mary Pearl, Dean of the Southampton campus will come on April 28. She will bring with her Jim Hoffman and Mary Scranton. 

We will save May 5 for a meeting in case it is needed.

Our official last meeting of the semester is on May 12. 

3b. In order to expedite discussions with our visitors of the 14th and the 28th, we will ask them to submit in advance  (a week before our meeting) a compact, 1-2 page statement about issues of concern to us and to each of them.  We would like Gene Hammond to provide us in advance a document that outlines:
a) what he has done so far to restructure the Writing Program;
b) what his plans are for the program over the next two years;
c) how the Upper Division Writing Requirement is being handled;
d) how ESL students are being integrated into the mainstream writing courses.

We would like Mary Pearl to submit a statement that includes:
a) DEC availability at Southampton;
b) assessment of course equivalency between the Stony Brook and the Southampton campuses; c) the hiring and evaluation of faculty at Southampton and the degree to which SBU Stony Brook faculty and departments are involved with hiring and assessments of faculty; 
d) curriculum initiatives envisioned for the next 3 years.
Beverly Rivera will provide us with data on the DEC courses offered at Southampton during the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters.

Members of the UGC are invited to add to these lists what they would like either Gene Hammond or Mary Pearl to include in the brief  “issues” document to be distributed to the UGC prior to our meeting with each of them.

4.  Scott Sutherland reported on proposed new initiatives from the Mathematics and European Languages departments to offer SBU courses taught by high school instructors at certain local high schools.  We already have arrangements of this sort for some courses in Marine Sciences and in Math. A qualified high school instructor is appointed as Stony Brook adjunct faculty (at no salary) in order to teach a designated Stony Brook course (for college credit) on site at a particular high school. For lack of an official label, we are referring to such programs as “Young Scholars—High School.” At present, such arrangements are limited to cases where the high school instructor is well-known to the SBU faculty, usually because of earning a degree from Stony Brook. A SBU faculty member is designated to supervise the high school instructor and to assure the quality of the course and of the instruction provided in the high school setting. 

We agreed that all proposals for a “Young Scholars—High School” arrangement should be reviewed and authorized by the Undergraduate Council.  There should be a standard template for presenting such proposals.  Scott Sutherland will create such a template.

All such programs should also be assessed on a regular basis— after the first year of offering and consistently every three years thereafter.  Each program must be supervised by a Stony Brook faculty member in the discipline who will assume responsibility for long-term oversight of the quality of the instructor and of the program. Continuity in faculty supervision is very important. It is probably time now to request an assessment of the Marine Sciences “Young Scholars—High School” programs.

Scott will contact the two departments who wish to initiate new “Young Scholars—High School” courses and give them the Marine Sciences document as a template for their proposals. We would like to see their written proposals as soon as possible.  We can probably evaluate the proposals from the written documents and would only need to meet with departmental representatives if we have questions about their plans.

The question was raised whether we as an institution are being exclusionary, even engaging in discrimination, by granting a few local high schools the advantage of “Young Scholars—High School” courses but not others. The arrangements are usually made on the basis of personal connections between a high school instructor who studied at Stony Brook, and Stony Brook faculty members. The question of favoritism is a valid concern. However, significant expansion of the “Young Scholars—High School” program could raise problematic issues of SBU resources and responsible oversight.  It was suggested that any projected significant expansion of such programs should be put on hold until we have conducted serious assessments of the programs currently in place.  If such programs were to be expanded, there should be a website that would describe them and indicate the standard procedures to be followed in getting them set up and approved.

Beverly Rivera questioned what would happen if a significant issue arises with a “Young Scholars—High School” instructor or program.  What sort of responsibility or liability would SBU assume?  University Counsel Lynette Phillips should be consulted on this matter.  Another issue is that the regular “Young Scholars” are currently allowed to earn no more than 24 college credits before matriculating at Stony Brook.  Would that limitation   still apply to the off-campus “High School” Young Scholars?  Jeff Ge remarked that problems of administrative oversight were getting intermixed with academic policies in this arena.
5. Following up on last week’s meeting, Kane Gillespie provided some information on the Undergraduate Bulletin.  He proposes establishing a “Bulletin Board” of a few faculty, staff, and students to serve as an advisory committee to him on UG Bulletin issues.  This small group would meet once a month to discuss academic issues related to the Bulletin and to formulate recommendations regarding print and on-line Bulletin versions.  The group would in effect serve as a subcommittee of the UGC.  Any of its recommendations would be brought to the UGC for discussion. There was positive response to this idea.

The meeting adjourned about 4:38 PM.

Respectfully submitted, 

Sarah Fuller

Summary of Meetings for the rest of the semester, all at 3:30 on Wednesday afternoons.

April 7
April 14
April 28
[May 5—keep the day and time free in case it is needed]
May 12