Minutes of the Undergraduate Council Meeting of April 10, 2017
Present: Leo Bachmair, Diane Bello, Jennifer Dellaposta, Kane Gillespie, Norm Goodman, Dana Haugh, Ellen Hopkins, Hanna Nekvasil, Alan Tucker.
1. The March 27th meeting minutes were provisionally
2. Discussion of a process for assessing and, if needed, modifying the Stony Brook Curriculum. The Senate Executive Committee wants the Council to move quickly to plan this process and start work by the end of this semester:
The Committee continued discussions from the March 27, 2017 meeting in regards to the Council’s role in assessing and modifying the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC). Alan discussed the issue of assessment with Provost Bernstein, who thought there was a draft SBC assessment plan that had been circulated to the Deans. It was also noted that there was no mid five-year report pressing the assessment of the SBC. Rather, assessment will be undertaken once a newly appointed Director of Assessment has been hired.
A discussion regarding the most recent Middle States reaccreditation process ensued. It was mentioned that Middle States is moving toward the implementation of learning objectives and learning outcomes. There was concern that there is very little institutional memory at the University, and that feedback was not provided after the Middle States assessment exercise.
On the topic of SBC assessment, it was suggested that Patricia Aceves receive an invitation to the next Undergraduate Council meeting, as she was the last person involved in the exercise, and has experience with assessment. Leo mentioned that Patricia attended a meeting of the CEAS Curriculum, Teaching and Policy Committee (CTPC) because concerns were raised about duplication of efforts and how the assessment plan fit into the CEAS ABET accreditation process. Patricia indicated that there was an overall plan of assessing the SBC on a rolling basis over the course of four years. The first phase was to have instructors submit course syllabi for SBC objectives WRTD, TECH, SNW and QPS. At the time, Patricia also mentioned that committees would be set up for the assessment of the initial four SBCs. The CTPC pointed out that information needed to be disseminated well in advance, to allow faculty adequate preparation time, and to determine when to collect the information (e.g. as part of an exam, an assignment). Members of the Council mentioned they had not received any information since course syllabi were collected.
Kane mentioned that he had an involvement in the writing of the SBC Assessment and Recertification plan which contains two pieces:
- Recertification of SBC courses: Courses would be reviewed periodically (every 4-5 years) to be recertified, unlike the DEC system, where once approved, courses were never looked at again. The reason for requesting the syllabi was to determine if the course does or does not address the learning objectives.
- Start with WRTD, TECH, SNW and QPS – it was thought that this would be the easiest place to start, however, after a staff change, no one was left to start the process. Kane mentioned that he was unsure of what/when the next stage will be, but that various stakeholders on campus needed to be included. He related that programs that are already accredited can probably use their current process. CAS will have a more difficult time as they may not have been doing such a systematic job collecting information.
A lively discussion ensued surrounding what assessment should include, and where it should begin. The discussion moved from SBC assessment to assessment of programs and departments. Leo explained the ABET assessment process for the Computer Science program, including program educational objectives, student outcomes, and course outcomes and how they are measured.
Kane pointed out that the new Director of Assessment will need to institute an appropriately comparable assessment plan. He also mentioned that CEAS has a culture of assessment. Potential challenges to building such a culture in CAS are to be expected by the incoming Director of Assessment.
The Council voted to invite Patricia Aceves to a subsequent meeting to determine what she had set out to achieve in her SBC assessment plan.
With a few minutes remaining, Hanna raised the following question: What proactive measures can be taken for students who are disabled? She mentioned that she was encountering more and more students who are suffering from mental illnesses. What can we do, if anything at all to make it easier for these students? How do we assess how successful we are as a university in helping /working with these students? Alan indicated he would take it upon himself to do some research and report back to the group.
The meeting adjourned at 5:04PM.