Stony Brook University
Undergraduate Council Meeting Minutes
December 1, 2011

Attendance:  Kathleen Bratby, Janet Clarke, Donna Di Donato, Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Rick Gatteau, Jeff Ge, Kane Gillespie, Norm Goodman, Cheryl Hamilton, Peter Khost, Deborah Machalow, Joe Mitchell, Anne Moyer, Scott Sutherland, Katie Watt, Alice Wong. 
The minutes of the November 17, 2011 meeting were approved without correction.
The Committee agreed on a spring meeting date of Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m.  Scott Sutherland will send out the meeting schedule.
Foreign Language Placement:  Sarah Jordain from European Languages was invited to speak about foreign language placement for incoming students.  Effective spring 2012, foreign language Regents exams will no longer be offered in New York.  As a result, the University needs to develop a placement process starting in summer 2012.  Sarah said she and her colleagues were considering two computer-based options.  One exam is web based, multiple choice, and used by 1200 schools; it is a 15-25 minute exam.  The second exam has a speaking and writing component; it is a 45-60 minute exam, but costs more.  Different languages are covered by each of the two exam options.  Students enrolled this spring in 111 and 112 classes would take the placement exam to help calibrate placement scores.
Sarah indicated that language needed to be changed in the Undergraduate Bulletin, specifically omitting the statement that an 85 or higher in a 3rd year language class (outside of NY) would exempt a student from the skill 3 requirement.  She noted that this current policy gives no proof that a student knows an elementary level of a language given that there are varied grading practices across high schools.  The new proposal is to replace the 3rd year language and Regents exam exemptions with the placement exam, but still exempt students based upon their placement score.  Sarah will return to a spring Undergraduate Council meeting with a formal proposal.
Discussion areas included:

  • Encouraging more students to study abroad as a means to satisfy their foreign language requirement.
  • Maintaining our language requirement to be on par with our AAU and benchmark institutions, some which require 3 semesters of a language. 
  • Being able to meet the student demand if more students are required to take a skill 3 class as a result of the placement exam.
  • Staffing implications as a result of implementing a placement exam. 
  • Finding out what percent of students are currently exempt from skill 3.
  • Needing to continue to accept the 85 or higher on the Regents exam for skill 3 exemption for transfer students.

General Education Proposal:  Scott Sutherland reported that Gene Hammond is working with a committee on the proposal and implementation plans.
ROTC Proposal:  Scott Sutherland reported that we should be receiving this proposal from Fred Walter and the University Senate.  It was noted that this proposal is also going to relevant areas for feedback.  We need to ensure there are library resources for ROTC; start up monies for library materials should be included in the proposal.  It is not clear if the proposal will be to create a new department at Stony Brook or partner with Hofstra’s ROTC.
Academic Calendar:  Concerns were raised about the lack of faculty membership on the academic calendar committee.  Charlie Robbins will be presenting the calendar at Monday’s faculty senate meeting.  A question was raised whether faculty are obligated to teach on days when they are religiously observant.
Respectfully submitted,
Rick Gatteau