Faculty Senate Minutes

November 23, 2004


I.                 Meeting called to order at 3:30 PM

II.              Roll:  All members present with the following exceptions:  Sylvain Frémaux, Mark Van Steeter, Claire Ferraris

III.           Minutes from November 9, 2004 meeting approved.

IV.           Reports of the presidents

A.              President of the Faculty Senate (Keller Coker)

1.                No report.

B.              President of Western Oregon University (Philip Conn)

1.                No report

C.              President of ASWOU (Ben Sappington)

1.                Oregon Student Association (OSA):  information packet and positions on issues was distributed as a packet to senators.  Issues of concern included the following:

a.                Child care:  Students feel that more access and support is needed.

b.                Oregon Opportunity Grant:  Would like to see full-funding, at it is the only need-based, state-wide grant.

c.                Access Scholarships for Education Trust (endowment funds):  OSA sees this as a great program and is supportive, but realizes that it will take awhile to generate significant funds.  Would like to see the Oregon Opportunity Grants funded fully as a priority before more money goes into this trust.

d.                Tuition and state funding:  OSA brochure provides information on this topic.

e.                Tuition equity

f.                  Parents as scholars:  OSA’s stand is that class credits should count as work hours for the purposes of obtaining funding for assistance programs.

g.                Tuition remissions

2.                Questions

a.                John Rector noted that the numbers of potential freshmen were up, but fewer are enrolling.  He suggested that increasing funding sources for students might help this trend.

b.                Gudrun Hoobler:  What about students not being helped, specifically those whose parents make more than the limits, but who are not being supported by their parents?

·                 Ben replies that this specific issue was not being addressed directly.

V.              Guest Speaker:  Provost Spectar on Freshman Learning Communities

A.              Dr. Spectar began by providing the rationale for developing learning communities.  Dr. Spectar’s meetings with faculty across disciplines pointed out some common themes.  Specifically, he saw that the faculty had concerns about the levels of freshmen engagement in their studies as well as their level of intellectual curiosity.  “College is not advanced high school.”  He is interested in finding ways to transition them into the academy.  Another issue he sought to address was that the LACC does not connect disciplines, and students often see the LACC as a hurdle.


Dr. Spectar stated that it was not enough to have an excellent teacher’s college and a reputation in teacher education.  More specifically, he stated that his 5-10 year goal for Western Oregon University is for this to be a “flagship campus” that is “cutting edge in the region” for stimulating intellectual engagement.


Key aspects of the learning communities now being created (to be implemented starting next fall) include:

1.                Courses are being created that link content in two or more areas, with students (freshmen) in groups of 15-18.

2.                Ideas have been solicited and there are various pilot programs emerging around campus, so that participation will be around 50, and perhaps even up to 100 freshmen.

3.                Will involve LACC courses.

4.                Courses will be subject to an approval process; the Provost hopes the Faculty Senate will be supportive of this process as it progresses.

5.                The program will “encourage flexibility”.


The key question to consider as we create these courses is this, “What does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st century?”  The Provost feels it is possible, through modest change, to address this question as we make connections across disciplines and foster intellectual interest in freshmen.  Our hope is that this will help them “engage in a rigorous liberal arts education”.


The Provost pointed out that one of the items in our strategic plan is to review/revise the LACC.  This needs to be done collaboratively and we need to make progress on this.  It would be only rhetoric if we do nothing.


Another point the Provost made is that the issues we face in terms of engaging our freshmen are not exclusive to WOU.  Curriculum review at Harvard found that their entering classes were too large and that their promise of close connections with faculty only reached sophomores and upper-classmen.


The Provost ended his talk by reiterating his desire for us to be a premiere liberal arts institution within this country.


B.               The Provost fielded several questions, most of which addressed the specifics of the program.


1.                Kristina Frankenberger asked at what level this had progressed and what the vision was for this.   The Provost indicated that a letter had been sent out requesting proposals.  He also reiterated that small groups of freshmen in this program would take at least one integrative, interdisciplinary seminar counting toward the LACC.

a.                Dean Chadney pointed out that most of the faculty involved currently teach in the LACC.

2.                Bryan Castor spoke as a proponent of flexibility, and saw a need for faculty in the College of Education to be equally engaged in this process.

3.                John Rector pointed out that what is being proposed is not uncommon at public institutions, but rare at private institutions.  He broached the subject of common reading lists (as an example of a corpus of common knowledge).  The Provost replied that we haven’t gone that far, and that we are starting off on a smaller scale right now.

4.                Tom Bergeron/Keller Coker presented some of the models that are coming out of Creative Arts.

a.                These courses would draw on two existing LACC plus a small seminar. The three courses together satisfy the creative arts LACC.

·                 Example:  Art History + Introduction to Theatre (both existing LACCs).  The seminar would then be “Art and World Domination”.

b.                Darryl Thomas and Tom Bergeron have a proposal that teams up “Dance and World Culture” with “Music in the 21st century”.  The seminar would then be “Music and Dance in Contemporary Culture”. 

c.                (Note that other examples were given but I didn’t write quickly enough.)

5.                The discussion turned to cost/benefit

a.                Dr. Spectar pointed out that studies have found that when students do stimulating and intellectually rigorous work, plus they realize that someone cares about their education, freshmen tend to stay at those institutions.

b.                While this is not meant to be specifically a retention program but rather a student-centered one, the program will pay for itself.

6.                Provost Spectar is calling this the “Freshmen Academy”, and also stated:

a.                “This faculty is as good as or better than any.” 

b.                “You don’t want to be too sexy for your institution.”

7.                Talk then turned to the importance of communicating ideas throughout campus as they develop, so that people don’t end up out of the loop. 

a.                One faculty member was concerned about this becoming exclusive in terms of students, and that it might leave out students who need it most.

8.                Dean Chadney:  This is a pilot program.  We will set this in motion and then assess the results.

9.                Mary Bucy suggested the potential of creating seminars across Ed and LAS.

10.            Provost Spectar was pleased by the enthusiasm, and asked us not to let the momentum die out, and to continue to engage each other on this topic.


C.              The Provost ended this session by asking for the support of the Faculty Senate as our proposals come forward.


VI.           Consideration of Old Business

A.              Consensual relationship policy:  Many questions came up here dealing with both wording as well as more substantive issues.

1.                “Administrator” needs to replace “administration” wherever “member is not specified.

2.                Gudrun Hoobler:  We need to address vagueness. What does “romantic” mean?  Flowers?

a.                John Rector:  Romantic is in the eye of the beholder.

3.                John Rector:  Who imitates the process?

4.                Brian Castor:  Has a lawyer been consulted?  Lots of mixing of “staff”, “student”, “administration”, etc… Are we the right people to be reviewing this legally?  What is the legal standard?

a.                Also suggested we come up with a term for all university employees.  Clearly the document is meant to address situations with direct power relationships (regardless of the particular affiliation).

5.                After a bit more discussion, a decision was made to table this until more work can be done.

B.              Discrimination and harassment policy

1.                Chehalis Strapp made requested revisions on the second page utilizing ideas from the AAUP website.

a.                Changes in the document are italicized and bolded.

2.                Motion to adopt the policy as amended was made, seconded and passed.

C.              B.A./B.S. guidelines (Gudrun Hoobler, 2 handouts)

1.                Gudrun Hoobler:  Saw need for this document as an advising tool.  For example, had a student who didn’t know that we would accept two years of Russian from another institution because we don’t offer Russian here.

2.                One aspect of our discussion centered on including the B.M. and B.F.A. as part of the document.  Some thought it would be useful, while others thought it might be too much information and that those were specialty degrees outside the pervue of a general advising document.

3.                Maria Fung:  Needs another proof-reading.  Also we need to refine the B.S. statement.

4.                Keller Coker:  Where do we want this to end up?

a.                Some discussion about how this would be distributed.  Part of catalog?  As a flier?   Posted in particular location?  (No resolution.)

5.                Keller Coker:  Look at these documents carefully prior to the next meeting and send any comments to Gudrun Hoobler via e-mail.

VII.        Consideration of New Business

A.              Catalog revisions.  Brought to our attention by Paul Baxter

1.                Several faculty supported the idea of looking into this issue, as the catalog is a real problem (“like doing literary analysis” says Kit Andrews).

2.                Keller Coker:  We will put a committee together that includes Paul Baxter, Gudrun Hoobler (volunteered).  Contact people in divisions to see who would like to be involved.

B.              Curriculum Committee:  Diversity Guidelines. (Chehalis Strapp)

1.                Provided with a handout from John Minahan (1994) as well as some information on a handout from Jim Chadney.

a.                Key question:  How should diversity proposals be evaluated?

2.                Previously, had thought about giving the “D” course approval process to the Writing Intensive Committee, but Chehalis Strapp reports that this is now beyond their scope, and Keller Coker also stated that committee now has lots of work.

3.                Discussion centered around

a.                 trying to clarify whether a certain proportion of the course should be devoted to diversity issues, and how you might determine this

b.                Who should be the governing body for this?  One suggestion made was to create a body parallel to the WI committee.  Another was that this fell under the auspices of the Academic Requirements committee.

VIII.     Reports of the Inter-institutional Faculty Senators (Bob Turner)

A.              The Oregon Transfer Module (OTM, previously known as GETM) was approved at the “summit” meeting (see previous minutes for list of attendees).  The next step:  The OTM comes before the Faculty Senates of all OUS institutions.

1.                We would need not only to vote on the proposal, but also to give a statement of the “sense” of the faculty on related topics such as :

a.                The need to strengthen advising and the need for resources to do so.

b.                Our attitude about even more of a move towards fully transferable courses for both LACC and majors

c.                NOTE:  Unclear how these “sense of the faculty” documents will be presented.  It depends upon an IFS vote at their next meeting.

2.                Dr. Turner asked how we should go about doing this, and it was decided that it will be considered new business at the next meeting.

a.                It was deemed quite important that our divisions discuss this prior to the next meeting, and Dr. Turner also sent a separate letter out to senators.


IX.           Meeting adjourned, 5:20 PM