COLLEGE OF MARIN
MINUTES FOR OCTOBER 28, 2008
12:45 – 2:00
Student Services Building, Conference Rooms A & B
Senators Present: Carol Adair, Yolanda Bellisimo, Michael Dougan, Ron Gaiz, Erika Harkins, Robert Kennedy, Arthur Lutz, Sara McKinnon, Joe Mueller, Meg Pasquel, Radica Portello, Derek Wilson, Blaze Woodlief,
Senators Absent: Eric Dunmire, Patrick Kelly
Guests: Rinetta Early, John Sutherland, Susan Andrien
§ James Gonzalez was appointed to the position of Academic Senate representative to the Technology Committee. Consent.
§ Radica Portello was appointed to work with a committee of students to put together a list of options for students seeking lower textbook prices. Consent.
I. Approval and Adoption of the Agenda. Approved.
II. Minutes of October 23, 2008. Approved
President. Yolanda Bellisimo: Written. Attached. Senators discussed item one of the report concerning the numbers used by the administration to cancel a course for low enrollment. As it is now, courses are considered for cancellation if they have fewer than 20 students. Senators discussed whether a flat number, like 20 students, or a percentage, like 80% of class cap, should be considered. Either way, there should be a list of criteria, factors other than enrollment, to determine whether a class is cancelled. Blaze will create a list of possible considerations using the criteria developed for the discontinuance policy and a list of other determining factors developed a few years ago.
Vice President none
Curriculum Derek Wilson: The CC looked at three courses. Bob Balestreri, Dean of Enrollment Services, who will meet with the CC once a month in the spring, discussed issues of repeatability, distant ed and independent study, providing the committee with citations from Title V.
Senators asked Derek what faculty should do if they cannot answer a question when filling out course forms, for example when the form asks whether a course meets IGETSE requirements. Derek suggested that the faculty could contact their department’s curriculum rep or the chair of the department (who is the ex-officio rep in the absence of representation), contact another member of the Curriculum Committee or call Janice Austin, the Articulation Officer in the Office of Instructional Management.
Academic Standards Rinetta Early: The W grade is no longer being lined out. As is stipulated by law, students may repeat a course from which they have withdrawn, but even when they pass, the original grade of W remains on the transcript.
Community Education Erika Harkins: none
IV. Consent Agenda
a) Committee Appointments. We still need faculty members from PE and Health Sciences to be on the Equipment Committee.
b) James Gonzalez was appointed as Academic Senate representative to the Technology Committee. Consent.
a) English Department IS’s. John Sutherland, Susan Andrien, Director of Learning Resources:
John Sutherland reiterated the problem the English department has over the scheduling and distribution of Instructional Specialist hours. Over the past semesters, the distribution of IS hours has been taken from the high level English classes (English 150 and English 155) and directed toward the lower English classes (English 98 and English 120). John contends that this redistribution is unfair to faculty and damaging to transfer-level students who, in these higher classes, are required to tackle complex writing and thinking. Furthermore, this redistribution is against tradition and also against the recommendations of the English department’s program review which stressed the importance of Is’s at the upper levels. Finally, John pointed out that the redistribution of IS’s to the lower levels has not worked as the lower levels continue to have high attrition.
Susan Andrien allowed that the distribution must and will be allocated more fairly. Wherever we go with this, she told the Senate, English 150 and 155 will get more IS hours; the administration will somehow redeploy the 203 hours of instructional specialist help per semester.
However, Susan also countered that there were, traditionally, problems with how the IS’s were used. For example, in the past, there was no clear formula and part time faculty were given fewer IS hours than were full time faculty for the same class. Furthermore, IS’s were responsible for grading papers, a practice that is against Title V regulations. She understood from the department’s program review that the agreement to use IS’s in English classes came about because of the high class caps in the composition classes – English 98,120 - and the allocations had drifted toward the transfer-level courses. Susan was trying to make the assignments fair and to change what the IS job was, shifting it from grading papers to helping/tutoring students. The administration is willing to spread IS hours among classes but, since there are limited resources, needs help in working out the details.
Senators agreed that there is a specific problem with the distribution of IS units in the English program and that it is related to a general need to be more clear on the use of IS’s throughout the college. The Senate will ask IPC to conduct a campus wide study of Instructional Specialists including the questions of whether it is legal for Is’s to grade papers, whether it is legal for Is’s to work unsupervised in labs, and how we can coordinate math and science labs. Part of the study should include the high maximum course size of remedial classes. Finally, the study should look into the ways other community colleges use IS’s and be steered by the literature of good practices.
b) Textbook Costs & Higher Ed. Opportunity Act Yolanda Belissimo:
According to the Education Opportunity Act, a class’s text must be in the Course Schedule with its ISBN number so that students know what books to buy and how to get them most cheaply. The Senate appointed Radica Portello to work with a committee of students to put together a list of options for students seeking lower textbook prices. The list will be distributed to students and will be available on MyCOM Portal.
c) Blue Print & Master Plan MOU. Yolanda Bellisimo & Derek Wilson
The Senate discussed the MOU. One problem that arises is that each program addresses what it sees as a blue print from a localized point of view. Support “programs” such as English, math, speech and history don’t exist as majors but must fit into the student pathways. Therefore, we also need a master blueprint that shows all the requirements of transfer so that support classes can be scheduled in sync with degree-earning/transfer programs.
VI. Adjournment: 2:00 PM
For questions or information concerning the Academic Senate, please contact Carol Adair: email@example.com X7367
October 30, 2008
1. Course Cancellation Limits for Spring
I talked with the VP yesterday about the plan to cancel classes in the spring that have less than 20 students. I asked that they reconsider this floor especially since some of our departments (including mine) have used our program reviews and Blue Print to plan out a schedule that fulfills the academic goals of our student cohort. We are taking chances with some of the courses we are offering – given the times and days and offerings at IVC – and we would like the administration to support this effort. I would like to see us back this notion that we are data driven, student centered and living up to our charge to provide the optimum opportunities for students to complete their education here and move on. We talked about the possibility of leaving the floor at 17 and using Robert’s criteria for determining critical classes that should be left open even if they fall below that floor. The VP will talk to the president about this and get back to me. I’ll keep you posted.
2. TBA Hours Compliance Advice
The Systems Office sent a memo to the colleges about TBA questions that have been raised by the colleges. These were answered by the System Office General Counsel. Apparently, schools are being asked to carefully evaluate local procedures related to TBA course scheduling, “…to assure that all instructional, attendance accounting, and support documentation requirements are being met. An area of special focus should be TBA that is conducted in learning assistance centers or similar settings where the primary course instructor or other instructor who meets minimum qualifications for the particular course may not be present to provide and supervise the TBA instruction.” The Systems Office says it will continue compliance monitoring – never a good thing. According to the VP, Dong Nguyen will create a spread sheet with all the TBA classes and Cari will do an analysis for us so that we know where we stand.
3. Curriculum Committee Training
We also got a letter from the Chancellor’s Office telling us that our Curriculum Committee has been trained and the college is certified to approve stand-alone credit courses in the 08/09 academic year. We owe a thank you to the faculty members who serve on this committee. It is a tremendous commitment in time and training and these faculty members become our experts and advocates. Make sure you say thank you to them when you can – they are all unsung heroes.
4. Concerns about Distance Ed Cheating
When I was an undergraduate, we didn’t have distance ed. In fact, Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet. We did have a fraternity on campus that sent its black lab through an undergraduate program. The dog’s name was Bart and every pledge class of this fraternity was expected as a part of hazing to sign up and take classes for Bart. It took him several years to finish but the year my younger sister graduated, Bart was a member of her graduating class. In spite of the fact that this kind of cheating has been going on for years, schools didn’t start to take it seriously until the advent of distance education classes and now it has become a major concern. Apparently you can now pay people who are professional students and they will take on-line classes for you. This topic will be one of the featured issues at the plenary session of the State Academic Senate next week. We may want to put this on a future agenda so we can get up to date on what schools are doing to prevent this kind of cheating and we should also discuss new guidelines and compliance expectations. I’ve always wondered what Bart did with his degree in architecture.