Undergraduate Council Meeting – 11/5/12

Present:  Kathleen Bratby, Janet Clarke, Jennifer Dellaposta, Arlene Feldman, Sarah Fuller, Rick Gatteau, Jeff Ge, Kane Gillespie, Norm Goodman,  Ellen Hopkins, Anna Lubitz, Joe Mitchell, Michael Mooney, Anne Moyer, Jean Peden, Peter Stephens, Scott Sutherland (Chair)- 17 in attendance
Minutes from 10/22/12 meeting were approved, with special thanks to Kane for the “energetic” recording efforts.

Honor Society request for recording membership on transcripts

Dr. Sutherland explained that in Spring, 2012, there was a request from the Athletic Training Honor Society to have membership documented on students’ transcripts.  There had been a 4-5 year hold on approving any honor societies’ similar requests.  Alpha Tau had also asked to be recorded on transcripts, as their members were informed that it would be so.  The process of collecting reasonable criteria was started but stymied, and currently there are approximately 15 societies documented on transcripts. 

It was agreed that a small working group would convene before the next meeting to clarify why the approval process was stopped and identify a plan for how requests/proposals should be developed based on established criteria.  The work group will be composed of Rick Gatteau (chair), Michael Mooney, and Kathy Bratby, and will gather pertinent information including national standards for honor societies, policies of AAU schools, and the current list of approved societies at Stony Brook.

Gen Ed Requirements

The Executive Committee Meeting will be at 1:30PM today, and the Faculty Senate meeting will be at 3:30PM.  The vote to approve/disapprove the Gen Ed requirements was deferred until December, so feedback can be obtained (specifically, wider-body Senate consensus on requiring a “C”grade or better vs. a “C” average) regarding issues being discussed, to facilitate further consideration by the Undergraduate Council for December.    
There is general agreement by the Council that some standard is needed, and the following options/issues were discussed:

  •  having the standard of obtaining a “C” grade or better vs. a standard of a “C” GPA
  • having the standard of obtaining a “C” grade or better at least on the Versatility courses
  •  Dr. Goodman suggested having a minimum grade of “C” in all categories (18 objects need “C’s”).  Ungraded course components, such as the speaking component, could be graded separately, as P/F or S/U.
  • Students may not realize they need a “C” grade or better to have a course count for their major, so this will need to be addressed. 
  • In certifying Part 3 courses, students should not pass a course with a “D” grade. 

A motion was made and seconded to have the standard of a “C” or better in all categories with graded components.  The motion passed with a vote of 12 in favor, 3 opposed. 
Further discussion of this issue was tabled at this time.

Gen Ed Requirements and Engineering

 Two (2) waivers to allow all Engineering majors to fulfill Gen Ed requirements without having to change course plans were discussed:
                -  waive language requirement in CEAS (currently no language requirement)
-  give an exemption to allow Engineering majors to take 2 courses in the 3 areas of Arts, Global Studies, or U.S. History, to fulfill requirements

    • Set a time limit, such as including a “sunset clause” to keep the exemption in place for 2 years, so the Provost can work with the Deans to ensure needed courses are developed to meet this requirement.

Discussion included the points that CEAS, as one of the three main units in the University, should make curriculum decisions; that HSC has its own requirements related to Gen Ed; and that the constitution allows University Senate to make decisions regarding Gen Ed and other University requirements.  It was agreed that Dr. Charles Robbins will need to clarify implications for the Health Sciences.
If CEAS wants “technology” to be a fundamental requirement, we will need to address how to accommodate about 4000 students/year.  “Technical literacy” rather than “technology” was the term used.  It was additionally noted that concerns for TASS remain.  Digital humanities and other areas use technical literacy; therefore, we should not be narrowly focused on CEAS, and we need to involve the Provost to move the curriculum forward.

Accepting the belief that “If it is good enough for Engineering, it is good enough for everyone” would mean that we should not make exceptions, but rather have Gen Ed requirements and then have the major add to them if necessary.  Concern was expressed that we have philosophy pitted against practical implementation, and academic necessities against pragmatic concerns.  It was also noted that second year language is required for Phi Beta Kappa.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathleen Bratby