Minutes of the Meeting of the Undergraduate Council
Stony Brook University
8 April 2013

Present: Derek Cope, Rick Gatteau, Kathy Bratby, Jennifer Dellaposta, Jean Peden, Kane Gillespie, Peter Stephens, Scott Sutherland, Michael Mooney, Anne Moyer, Ellen Hopkins, Norm Goodman, Sarah Fuller, Jeff Ge, and Peter Khost.

  1. Charlie Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges, spoke about students changing their majors upon admission to the University.  Current policy requires students who wish to change their major to have a form signed by their current major’s department.  Academic advisors, as represented by Charlie, are asking to be able to change—at orientation—the major of students who have not yet begun coursework and would like to change a declaration they may have made during the process of applying for admission.  It was noted that this move would help to clarify the number of declared majors, which may (or may not) be linked to departmental funding in the future.  It was added that the wording of an approved policy toward this end should specify that this change of major without a departmental signature may happen only during orientation.  A question was raised about how much awareness students have about the ramifications of declaring a major during the application process.  Note: for restricted majors no change can be made.

    a) The motion was passed unanimously by the Council.

  2. Minutes of the 3/13/13 meeting were reviewed and approved.  Minutes of the 3/25/13 meeting were reviewed and approved with grammatical edits.

  3. The revised Undergraduate Bulletin entry for “Which Major and Minor Requirements Apply to Me?” was discussed.  Grammatical edits were made.  AOI will be changed to be hyperlinked.

    a) The new draft was approved by the Council.
  4. The question was taken up as to whether teachers may hold an optional review on a reading day.  Proposals were made that (1) a policy be clarified that review sessions held outside of class must not cover new material and must be optional, and that (2) departments should be discouraged from holding events during reading days.

    A) No vote was taken by the Council.

  5. The issue of how the new Gen Ed plan deals with second bachelor’s students was discussed.  It has been proposed that these students must complete two of the four big areas: the Deeper Understanding and Explore Interconnectedness sections, even if the equivalent of these requirements was fulfilled at another institution.  An exception would be if they were already fulfilled at SBU during completion of a student’s first bachelor’s degree.

    A) No vote was taken by the Council.

  6. A new course proposal for the Accelerated College Education (ACE) program was considered.  This is HIS 299 History Topics for advanced high school seniors and juniors, which does not correspond directly to any existing SBU course but would be offered for SBU credit, if approved.  The argument in favor is that the History department would be certifying the college-level equivalency of courses under this title.  An objection was raised that SBU credit should not be awarded for courses that do not already have a counterpart in the SBU curriculum.  The proposal was characterized as a “slippery slope,” such that too much variability may be granted to a “special topics” ACE course.  It was pointed out that the proposed move would not be completely unprecedented, given the existence of a “placeholder” course in Marine Science, for example.  It is also not unprecedented to have a “topics” course at the 200 level.

    A) A “sense of the Council” was taken.  One member was in favor, one member abstained, two members were undecided, and the rest of the Council appeared to be against approving the proposal

    b) It was declared that the Council is not ready to vote on this issue, which will be discussed at a later date.  The parties who have submitted the proposal will be notified that the Council has serious reservations about it.

Respectfully submitted by Peter Khost