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March 3, 2005

Academic Affairs Committee

Minutes of March 3, 2005

McCaffrey Center Spruce Room

Present: Vivian Snyder, Jean Purnell, Chris Goff, Amber Miller, Dave Keefe, Robert Coburn, Mel Thomas, Barbara Shaw (ex-officio), Ravi Jain (ex-officio)

Absent: Joe King, Berit Gundersen, Newman Peery, Dave Thomas

Guests: Robert Cox, Bill Ford, Marisa Kelly, Janice Krueger, Brian Klunk

Vivian Snyder, Chairperson, called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.


I.        Approval of Minutes

Motion: Chris Goff moved, Mel Thomas seconded to approve the February 3, 2005 minutes with an amendment.   The document titled Undergraduate Graduation with Honors Campus-Wide Policy Proposal dated 1/24/05 is to be included in the minutes.  

Motion unanimously approved.

II.       Consent Agenda

Motion: Mel Thomas moved, David Keefe seconded to approve the Consent Agenda items.

Motion unanimously approved.

III.     Course Numbering Practices

Barbara Shaw, Assistant Provost commented on the proposed Standardized Course Numbering System. There is a sentence under the Center for Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE) implying that all 9000 series course numbers are CPCE courses. The 9000 series is used for specific professional development courses that are graduate level non-degree courses offered by the CPCE. There was an agreement that this should be listed under the Graduate Courses category.

EXTN courses do not have prerequisites. These courses are generally 1 to 2 units. Vivian Snyder will edit the document, consult with Barbara Shaw on the wording and the edited document will be shared with the committee. This will be an action item at the April meeting.         

IV.      Program Review

           Computer Science

The department did not submit a written response. A verbal response accepting the report was presented to the committee by Bill Ford, Department Chairperson. Robert Cox, Panel Chairperson (English), stated the sources of information that were used to prepare the report and the panel’s recommendations. Ravi Jain, Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Sciences stated he was pleased with the recommendations and is satisfied. Dean Jain fully supports the department in implementing these recommendations.

1. The University and SOECS administration should work with the CS department to develop and commit to a plan to maintain a sufficient number of faculty members to support academic programs. Two members of the tenured faculty in CS are currently beginning phased retirement; two more are approaching retirement age. The lack of such a plan and commitment to it contributes to uncertainty about the viability, as well as the future direction of both CS and CIS. The lack of a plan and institutional commitment to it was cited as a “weakness” in both programs by the ABET/CAC visitors.

2. The University and SOECS administration should work with the CS department to develop and commit to a program of ongoing replacement of adequate computing resources. Although current hardware and software is said to be adequate by both faculty and students, the Review Panel found widespread concern about its timely replacement. Lack of institutional commitment to a reasonable replacement cycle was cited as a “concern” in both programs by the ABET/CAC visitors.

3. The CS department should continue to improve and implement its student learning assessment plans. Certain direct measures of learning objectives have been planned, but not implemented. Furthermore, the Review Panel found that student concerns about the appropriateness and adequacy of their preparation in both programs was more widespread than reported by the department’s own measures. Delay in developing and implementing better assessments was also cited as a “concern” in both programs by the ABET/CAC visitors.

4. The University administration should appoint and convene an ad hoc group of faculty stakeholders to consider and recommend future directions for both programs. The University administration should also convene the deans of SOECS, ESB, and COP to participate in the operational aspects of this discussion. The faculty group should include representation from the departments of CS and CE in SOECS, from the MIS concentration in ESB, and from two or more programs in COP that have been exploring or considering joint or collaborative programs with CS/CIS. The Panel understands these to include currently Economics, Chemistry, Biology, and possibly Geosciences and Physics. The Panel found that lack of resource sharing between programs in CS/CIS and CE in SOECS, and between CIS and MIS in ESB, has led to inefficiencies and missed opportunities in the first case and contributed to failure to gain accreditation for CIS in the second. The Panel also found that the success of joint or collaborative programs, while deemed desirable or in some cases inevitable by programs in COP, depends crucially upon how the CS/CIS is developed, what new faculty are recruited, how existing faculty are utilized, and how departments and schools cooperate internally and externally over the next half decade. The Panel believes that the University has an opportunity to develop a set of undergraduate programs utilizing computation and information management that could move to the forefront nationally. A program in Computational Economics has already been formally proposed. A course in bio-informatics is being taught. Students in CS/CIS the Panel interviewed are asking for courses in artificial intelligence and robotics. According to InformationWeek (Chabrow, “By the Book,” August 18-23, 2004), forward looking programs in CS/CIS across the country are turning to the challenge of partnering with other disciplines to develop the more interdisciplinary programs of the future. The Panel intends for this recommendation not only to help the University correct “deficiencies” in the CIS program noted by the ABET/CAC visitors, but also to provide it with a renewed vision and strategic plan to strengthen all associated programs in the future. There is, we heard repeatedly, a convergence underway between many disciplines and various forms of computer science and information management. The Panel believes this deserves a careful and informed review at this time by those most likely to be affected by it.

Motion: Chris Goff moved, Robert Coburn seconded to approve the procedure and guidelines followed by the Computer Science Program Review panel.  

Motion unanimously approved.

Motion: Robert Coburn moved, Chris Goff seconded to endorse the recommendations of the Computer Science Program Review panel.

Motion unanimously approved.

Political Science

Janice Krueger, Panel Chairperson (Library), presented the Program Review recommendations to the committee and added commentary on the procedures used in gathering the information.

Recommendation 1.  The Political Science Department should be allocated another FTE faculty member. Rationale: The department has spent a good deal of time and energy maintaining a positive relationship with the School of International Studies and the Jacoby Center because these units provide a number of the department’s courses. Even so, the department was not represented, nor were its needs apparently part of the consideration for hiring replacements for Professors Hewitt and Smith, who also taught in the department.  The department now finds itself understaffed with a new curriculum to be implemented shortly.  

Recommendation 2. The Political Science Department should be allocated the resources to hire 0.6 FTE required to deliver its curriculum when Dr. Benedetti retires or, alternatively, should have equal authority in the selection of any future replacement for the head of the Jacoby Center and the continuation of the Jacoby Center’s current policy of providing .6 FTE to the department. Rationale: Through no fault of its own, the department finds itself dependent on other units to fulfill its core requirements. Currently, the Jacoby Center provides three courses, or.6 FTE, to the department’s offerings. There is no procedure in place to assure department participation in the selection of any new Jacoby personnel, nor is there agreement from the administration to provide the .6 FTE that the department needs to deliver its curriculum.

Recommendation 3. The university administration needs to allocate sufficient funds to pay market rates.   Rationale: The Political Science department has been unable to fill the FTE position caused by Dr. Kelly’s move into administration because its salary offer was uncompetitive in terms of the local cost-of-living. At this point, the department may embark on its new curriculum short-handed.

Recommendation 4. The program review panel recommends that an assessment system be put into place to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the new major. The new curriculum in Political Science is both up-to-date with the field and open enough to allow considerable flexibility in developing concentrations to augment the major. Political science majors should be part of this assessment. The department voluntarily developed one of the early program assessments in the college and is positively disposed toward continuing this practice. Our assessment of departmental majors indicates great satisfaction with the department, but student concern about the scheduling of courses, including course scheduling conflicts and the need for more courses.  

Recommendation 5. There is a need for the department to evaluate the effectiveness of the 3+3 program with the law school. It is not clear how many admissions have resulted from this program, or even if the program offers any advantages that make it worth sustaining. The Admissions Office likes the idea of selling the program to prospective students, but historically the program has attracted weaker students when its intention was to attract strong students. Emily Randon, Assistant Director of Admissions at McGeorge, stated that the program is a good program that does not always work because students change their minds or cannot keep up the pace. McGeorge does not count on the program at all since they have enough applicants. Also, they usually admit students who have a four-year degree. She basically stated that it was up to the Stockton campus as to whether to maintain it or not, because McGeorge does not need it. 

Recommendation 6. The demands associated with the Stockton Pre-Law and internship programs warrant: a) .2 FTE per year release time to administer the program and secure internships locally; b) a small budget of $1000 per year to help run the program.  The adequacy of the budget should be reviewed yearly and adjusted if necessary. Rationale: The Pre-law and internship programs are useful for serving student needs and marketing the program. Because of scheduling issues, it is not always possible for students to work in Sacramento. The department developed the local internship program to be flexible enough to overcome some of the time constraints majors have because of scheduling requirements. The committee is satisfied that the department should house and run the local internship program because of its focus on Pre-Law opportunities. However, the programs are time consuming and costly. It should be pointed out that the department makes use of the Jacoby Center’s program in Sacramento, but has found it necessary to secure internships locally to fit the needs of its majors.  

Brian Klunk, Department Chairperson, appreciates the work done by the review panel and the recommendations. The department is committed to moving forward with the recommendations and assessing the curriculum. Marisa Kelly thanked the panel for their efforts and commented on the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1 - The reference to insufficient consultation with the department in hiring the replacement of two professors was not referring to the College. The dean’s office communicated with the department extensively on what the staffing plan would be given their retirement and the move of Marisa Kelly to the dean’s office.

Recommendation 2 - There is no conversation within the dean’s office on the retirement of Dr. Benedetti or that Political Science Department would not be active in the Jacoby Center. The goal for the College is to have as much integration as possible between the Department of Political Science, Sociology, and the Jacoby Center.

Recommendation 3 - This is a university-wide issue.

Recommendation 5 - There is not a strong interest to continue with the 3+3 program. This is separate from the Law School program.

Recommendation 6 - This work is important and should be supported but there is a resource issue related to how these programs should be supported, not just in this department but throughout the College.

Objection was noted by D. Keefe to the wording in Recommendation 1 mentioning the replacement of two retiring faculty. He noted that the hiring selection was done by the School of International Studies with the involvement of the Department of Political Science. Discussion followed by the members.

The Program Review panel used the Political Science self-study recommendations as a basis for understanding the position of the department. The panel report lists the resources and procedures used to gather their data.

Motion: Chris Goff moved, Robert Coburn seconded to approve the process followed by the Political Science Program Review panel.  

Motion passed unanimously.

Motion: Dave Keefe moved, Mel Thomas seconded that the Academic Affairs Committee heartily endorses the recommendations notwithstanding the wording in Recommendation 1 that implies disregard by the School of International Studies of the Department of Political Science’s needs.

Chris Goff made a friendly amendment to heartily endorse the recommendations of the Program Review but express concern at the wording in the rationale of Recommendation 1.   Dave Keefe accepted and Mel Thomas seconded the friendly amendment.  

Motion: 6 approved, 1 abstention

The School of International Studies will submit a written response to the Academic Council.


V.       Standards for On-Line Courses

Barbara Shaw, Assistant Provost, distributed a list of the on-line courses offered during the 2001-2004 and scheduled for 2005 summer sessions and information on the Sloan-C Series publications on on-line education. CPCE is a member of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). Some issues have been raised and the on-line faculty meets once a year for discussion. Sloan-C will be used to learn about the guidelines used by other institutions. On-line summer courses come under the same guidelines as traditional courses. This is a good time to consider institutional on-line policies. Other guidelines that are used by other institutions will be examined. WASC has a Statement of Commitment by the Regional Accrediting Commissions for the Evaluation of Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs. Although they have a firm commitment to the traditional format of university education, they do realize there is a growing body of courses that are being offered on-line. On-line courses are viewed under the same standards as traditional courses. Barbara Shaw will provide follow-up information in April.

VI.      Adjournment

           Meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.




Submitted by

Rosie Fox, Secretary

Academic Affairs Committee