February 25, 2003 –Faculty Senate minutes



Senate Members Present:  Anderson, Andrews (for Bliss), Caster, Grim, Ferraris, Fung, Holmquist, Hoobler, Kelly, Leadley, Lincicium, McConnell , Perlman, Poston, Rhoads, Shay, Trevino, Turner (for Haberman), VanSteeter, Winningham, Zygmont, Conn


At 3:39 p.m. the meeting was called to order.


Minutes from last meeting were corrected and approved.


The representatives of the Social Science Division inquired why the issue about Faculty Senate drafting a resolution on the possible war on Iraq was not on the agenda.  Senate President Brian Caster explained that he had heard from only a few of the divisions, and most of them were against Faculty Senate taking a position on the possible conflict. It is not even clear whether the Senate should take up this issue, or perhaps Western Oregon University could go with the idea suggested by John Leadley to draft a campus-wide petition for interested parties to sign. It was decided that more input from divisions will be brought back at the next Faculty meeting.


President Conn's report consisted of an invitation to the Open Forum dealing with the Budget on 2/26 from 3-5 p.m. in Rice Auditorium. He also pointed out that WOU is next to host the Oregon Board of Higher Education Meeting on April 17th and 18th, and details of the agenda will be provided as the time nears.  Our objective would be to share our successful programs and to bring up our concerns over the budgetary shortfalls at the Open Forum.


ASWOU president Gregg Magnus was gone for a conference, so there was no report from him.


Old Business: The issue of priority registration (PR) was re-visited and there was a suggestion that ARC look at all the existing mechanisms and recommend who should get it and under what circumstances. However, an objection was raised to this idea. Since Faculty Senate as a whole heard from the various interest groups benefiting from PR, and things seemed to be going well for all involved groups, it was suggested that things be left the way they are unless a problem arises. This was put forth as a formal recommendation, and Faculty Senate unanimously voted on the following recommendation:  issues with PR will continue to be dealt with directly by the Central Advising Office, the Dean's and Provost Offices, and if any new decisions or problems arise, then those should be reported to Faculty Senate.


New Business:  The proposal regarding the reduction of LACC hours in the Bachelor's of Music program was brought to the table. Tom Bergeron made a presentation on behalf of the Division of Performing Arts.  He explained that the BM degree is a special professional degree that required 120 hours in the major, split between a 60 hour music core, a performance component and an upper-division music courses block (each at 30 hours). Currently the 55 hours of general education courses make it only theoretically possible for a student to complete this degree in 4 years, and leave him or her with no room for electives.


The current proposal seeks to reduce the number of general ed courses for only the BM students from 55 to 40 hours. Bergeron pointed out that this reduced number is still higher than some students (for example a biology major with an anthropology minor needs only 33 hours) on campus end up taking for their LACC and OGR hours because of double-counting. Moreover, the "liberal arts" component is higher for BM students than for BS students in most majors on campus and higher than some BA students.


Bergeron proceeded to address possible concerns. First he spoke to the objection that such a reduction contradicts the mission of WOU. He claimed our mission is not set in stone and should change with the times as the university diversifies by adding excellent professional programs. Then he spoke to the concern that the BM students will be restricted in their career paths by having a lower gen ed requirement by explaining that this reduction will give quite a few BM students a chance to enroll in language and business classes. Furthermore, Bergeron spoke of the concern that this reduction issue ought to be considered at the institutional level only, by suggesting that any department ought to be free to suggest a viable plan for improving the degrees they offer. Finally, he pointed out that the distribution of the 40 hours and the 15 ones to be freed up could be further discussed, and the current consideration should be limited to the reduction only. Three different possible plans were shown and distributed to senators electronically.


A discussion followed this presentation. It became clear that the BM program has been very successful at attracting excellent students and has produced graduates working throughout the music industry (publishing, management, recording, performance), in education, and in private instruction. The question was brought up of the implications of more than one program on campus deciding to follow this model and to increase its hours in the major at the expense of the LACC. The BM degree is special and different from all BA/BS degrees, yet it is an undergraduate degree so it must have a certain extent of breadth and thus the issue of whether this drop is too large was brought up


It was decided that at the next meeting the Senate would vote for or against the 15 hour gen ed reduction, and if approved try to reach a resolution about what the 40 hours should look like. Another possibility would be to move this into a more general LACC discussion.


Bob Turner and Solveig Holmquist, IFS representatives, are going to give the report from the IFS meeting at WOU at the next Faculty Senate Meeting.


A motion to adjourn was approved shortly after 5:10 p.m., after a ten minute extension had been approved and used up.