Undergraduate Council
Sept 11, 2007, 4:00 pm

Brian Colle (chair), Beverly Rivera, Donna di Donato, Scott Sutherland, Rick Gatteau, Arlene Feldman, Cheryl Hamilton, Norm Goodman, Cynthia Dietz, Kane Gillespie

1. Minutes of May 8, 2007
approved with corrections

2. Welcome to new members
Cynthia Dietz from the Library and Michael Barnhardt from History.  Welcome to both and thanks for serving

3. Next meeting
next meeting (scheduled for 9/26), Brian is unable to attend, and others suggest either moving the meeting to either Tuesday 9/25 or Wed Oct 3. 

4. Academic Reviews
Members volunteered as follows
meetings are held Tue 9:15-10:00 am in the Provost Conference Room, 407 Administration


Oct 23, 2007

Scott Sutherland


Nov 13, 2007

Beverly Rivera

5. Critical Incident Management Initiative
(a) In response to the recent murderous events at Virginia Tech, the Stony Brook Provost’s office has constructed a statement that should be included in all course syllabi.

The University at Stony Brook expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of the institution; to observe national, state, and local laws and University regulations; and to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people.  Faculty is required to report to Judicial Affairs disruptive behavior that impedes an instructor's ability to teach, the safety of learning environment, and/or student's opportunity to learn.

(b) The Provost’s office will also require that all department chairs and program directors to attend an emergency response training session.  Members of the Council agree that language should be added to the Provost’s office requirement that facilitates participation by the campus community (other faculty, staff, students) or language that requires chairs to relay information to the campus community.

6. Southampton
Members of the council express continued concern that actions and progress at Stony Brook Southampton are not transparent or apparent to the Council.  Based on collective knowledge of events, the Council understands that Southampton is doing well, but emphasizes the need to clarify the process of faculty appointments at SBS.  Members report that consensus among west campus departments is that it is unclear how it is currently done and how it will be done in the future.  Members assert that department inclusion in the process is critical for delivery of the curriculum.

7. DEC
Last year, Mark Aronoff asked the Council to start the process of reviewing the Diversified Education Curriculum (DEC).  Over the summer, the Office of Institutional Research completed a report on enrollments in all DEC courses for the past 5 years.  This report sparked several comments and questions from the group:

  • Should underutilized courses be removed from the DEC?
  • Is the DEC doing what was originally intended?
  •  Given that content of courses is known to evolve over time, should we re-evaluate every DEC course to determine if it satisfies the specified DEC; this would require participation by the A/S Curriculum Committee
  • If courses in the DEC are either too specialized or too broad, then are they considered “general education?”  Should these courses be removed from the DEC?
  • What if a course satisfies a DEC but whose primary enrollment is from Majors?   Ex: an upper div DEC H Math course with heavy prerequisites; is that a valid classification of H?
  • Donna suggests a special task force is needed between the Council, the A/S Curriculum Committee and the CTPC to tackle the issues.
  • Suggestion to review H, I, J, K courses; these were intended as upper division courses, but there are a few lower division courses with these classifications
  • Norman originally supported a core curriculum for three reasons, and indicates that the current DEC was a compromise.  His rationale for supporting a core curriculum is threefold (below), however, it was anticipated that the DEC would have the same results.  Does it?  (a) Focus a small number of courses on each SUNY Gen Ed requirement. (b) Give students a common experience that they can talk about and (c) broaden students’ academic experiences away from their major
  • There are some indications that the DEC discourages interdisciplinary course offerings. 
  • Does DEC have negative or positive effect on departments?  Are lower division DEC categories responsible for feeding majors into certain departments, or is this a myth?  A study is needed.
  • Suggestion to reevaluate the policy of allowing students to double count a DEC course for both a major and a university requirement
  • Suggestion that one improvement on the DEC would be how it is communicated to students.  Currently, students view the DEC as a checklist and it is unclear if students grasp the academic purpose of the DEC.

The members wonder what is our charge in this discussion.

  • What do we do next?
  • What are the issues?
  • What are the possibilities and limitations of each possibility?
  • What are the problems (if any) with the current DEC?
  • Does the DEC accomplish its original intended purpose?

Rick offered to serve alphabet soup at the next meeting.  Bring your spoons and bibs. 

Meeting adjourned 5:10 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Kane Gillespie