Faculty Senate Minutes

May 9, 2006


  1. Meeting called to order at 3:35 PM

    1. Call of roll: Senate members present: Kit Andrews, Charles Anderson, Mary Bucy, Sarah Boomer, Keller Coker, Kristina Frankenberger, Maria Fung, Camila Gabaldón, Scott Grim, Jessica Henderson, Klay Kruzchek, Chloe Meyer, Peggy Pedersen, Emily Plec, John Rector (president), Doug Smith, Julia Smith, Jem Spectar.

  2. Minutes for previous meetings approved

  3. Reports of Presidents

    1. President of Faculty Senate, John Rector

      1. Next time Vice President Mark Weiss will report on non-instructional cuts due to the current budget.

      2. Students have for the most part been oblivious to the cuts, paying more attention to the good weather. At this point students may need reminding that their minds as well as their bodies need exercise.

      3. The next Faculty Senate meeting will be the last for this academic year. At that meeting new officers will be elected; both outgoing and incoming Faculty Senators should attend; incoming Senators will have voting rights.

      4. Since President Minahan is traveling, Provost Spectar will report for him.

    2. Jem Spectar, Provost (for John Minahan, President of WOU)

      1. Enrollment update:

        1. Enrollment is holding steady, overall slightly up, though lower than hoped. This is a time when enrollment is down throughout the OUS system. International student enrollment at WOU is up, though, 115%.

      2. Nursing Program Plans:

        1. Currently in discussion with OHSU concerning possibility of WOU serving as a satellite campus for OHSU’s nursing program.

        2. A partnership with OHSU would be a “win-win” situation which would help with recruiting students in nursing and related fields.

        3. The possibility exists for eventually developing a Masters in Nursing.

      3. International Program with China:

        1. Currently making additional efforts to develop a co-operative degree program with an institution in China, including business, economics, and science.

        2. Still working out how to deliver the curriculum in China.

        3. A reasonably good chance of completing negotiations so that by next year we may offer the program for students from China (which would help WOU financially)

        4. A plan to have a cohort of about 15-20 students from China attending the newly revised Information Technology program for a Masters in Education. We already have 5 students from China in this program.

        5. Progress has been very fast in the past 6 months. Currently there is the possibility of a donated facility where classes could be held. PSU is already doing something similar with China, and extending to Vietnam.

        6. Question from Sarah Boomer on the Nursing Program: We are very excited about the possibility of this program, but concerned that in previous talks with OHSU there was the possibility of OHSU just opening a branch on the WOU campus without WOU receiving tuition from the students in this program. Will there be revenue for WOU?

          • Provost Spectar: The discussions are ongoing, and WOU would not agree without our interests being served.

          • Sarah Boomer added that currently 50-60 pre-nursing students leave WOU each year to continue elsewhere, and this is seen as a retention loss, keeping those students here would help much.

          • Provost Spectar added that perhaps this would be decided by July, and had been discussed as recently as last Friday.

        7. Question from Kristina Frankenberger: What is the policy for approving proposals for new programs?

          • Provost Spectar: There is a definite process including the Faculty Senate, the Provost’s Council, and the OUS Board. Priorities for approval include:

            • Demand--a steady flow of students resulting in a fiscally sustainable program

            • Academic integrity—usually the Faculty Senate decides this

            • Mission—the new program must be compatible with the mission of WOU

          • Provost Spectar added that last year 4 degree programs completed the process: BFA in Art, BFA in Theatre, Masters in Music, BA in German. There must also be sufficient faculty for the program. Usually the Provost doesn’t exercise discretion until after it has gone through the course.

          • Question from Kristina Frankenberger: Given a budget crisis, how do we judge these new programs?

          • Provost Spectar: These four programs just mentioned were all created earlier, some beginning the process 2 years ago. If financially feasible, though, and meeting all the other criteria, a program should go forward. There are a lot of hoops, but if someone can jump through all of them, then it is still possible.

  4. Old Business

    1. Dean Scheck’s response to questions postponed due to Dean Scheck’s schedule

    2. Registrar’s Proposals

      1. GPA Policy Change (Presented by Nancy France)

        1. In order to align WOU with the OUS system, this proposal would base academic honors and/or academic standing only on credits earned at WOU.

        2. In a recent sampling of WOU students with 45 transfer credits, 66% had a lower transfer GPA than their WOU GPA, 34% a higher one. With this change in computing the GPA, 7 more graduating students would have received honors; none would have lost it.

        3. All other OUS campuses compute GPA without including grades of transfer courses.

        4. Solveig Holmquist and Julia Smith pointed out that students sometimes struggle before they come to WOU, thus these differences are developmental rather than institutional. In such cases this policy would reward those who transfer.

        5. Proposal passed 11 votes for, 4 votes opposed.

      2. Pass-No Credit Grading

        1. The proposed policy would align policy with current practice, allowing courses taken as P/NC to fulfill major, minor, LACC, and degree requirements, but only when the course is designated a P/NC course.

        2. Proposal passed unanimously.

    3. Music Department Course Listings Change Proposal

      1. Proposal passed unanimously.

    4. ASL Minor Proposal

      1. Question from Terry Gingrich: Can students master ASL with this minor degree?

        1. Since the proposal requires 15 upper division credit, as other WOU language minors do, the students must take 15 credits beyond the first 2 years of language classes.

      2. Question from Emily Plec: One justification was that this minor would serve students who don’t make it into the major program—is it also a stand-alone program?

        1. Other programs, including Masters programs, require a skill level that the student can attain through this minor. In this way the minor will serve many students, not just as a fall-back for those who do not continue with the major.

      3. Proposal passed unanimously.

    5. Teacher Education Program Change Proposal

      1. Proposal passed unanimously.

  5. New Business

    1. Nominating Committee for Next Year’s Faculty Senate Officers

      1. John Rector pointed out that the committee must include 2 members from the executive council (including the past president) and 2 other faculty senators.

      2. Emily Plec volunteered to serve; other members to be decided later.

    2. Appointment to Admissions Marketing Committee

      1. This committee needs 1 member from Faculty Senate. No nominees yet.

    3. History MA Proposal (Presented by Benedict Lowe)

      1. John Rector explained that although the proposal has not yet been approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, the Faculty Senate Executive Council decided to bring it forward for the Senate to discuss now. Pending its approval by the Graduate Studies Committee at their meetng the next week, it could be voted on at the next Faculty Senate meeting, giving it the possibility of being approved this year.

      2. The program would be 4-terms, 45 credits, with two options: 1) four consecutive terms, beginning in fall and ending in summer; and 2) four summer terms (primarily to serve teachers who would like to complete the program during their summer vacations).

      3. Dr. Lowe worked previously in a department offering a MA program like this, and it attracted many students.

      4. Changes in secondary teaching requirements have increased the demand for highly qualified history teachers.

      5. In Oregon not many competitors; as part of a Ph.D. program, the masters at UO is less attractive for some students than an MA only program.

      6. In a survey of WOU history majors, 66% expressed interest in an MA program at WOU. Interest has also been shown by queries from across the USA and around the world. Even without advertising the program would have sufficient students.

      7. The program would not require any additional funding.

      8. The WOU proposal has the support of the chairs of the history departments at OSU and UO, and from others outside Oregon.

      9. Camila Gabaldón pointed out that for the proposal to move forwarded it also needed official approval from the library.

      10. In response to questions, Professor Lowe said:

        1. The program could handle about 20 students.

        2. The courses would rotate every 4 years.

        3. The proposal includes some changes in curriculum, but mainly these are renumberings reflecting changes in the past 5 years.

        4. Most graduate programs in history require some 400/500 level courses, like this one. History programs are typically too small to limit all their graduate level offerings to graduate students.

        5. The proposal avoids any additional cost by having each of the 7 faculty members teach one less undergraduate course a year. This shift would be made possible by increasing the enrollment cap on undergraduate courses from 20 to 25.

        6. The undergraduate program would not suffer, however, since many undergraduate students would benefit as they continue for the Masters degree. Rather than sacrificing what we do well, this program would strengthen what we do well, serving the large percentage of potential students in the area who would come because of location.

      11. Emily Holmes, a WOU student, added her strong support for the proposal. Taking an introduction to Western Civilization course changed her from a student hating history to an enthusiastic history major. She personally is very interested in this Masters program, not only because of the quality of the undergraduate program but because PSU and UO are too far. She doubts the program will take long to fill up because there are many students like her who would want to do this as soon as possible.

      12. Max Geier added that WOU would also be filling a niche in its location close to Salem where many former WOU history students currently work in places such as state archives, the Oregon History Center, historical societies, etc. In such positions a Masters degree is often required for professional advancement. Many former students with this sort of job have already begun contacting the History program asking about the possibility of a Masters program.

      13. Terry Gingrich added that WOU must be proactive in developing new programs or else “the giants from the north and south” will take the wind from our sails as they have already done with other programs such as Criminal Justice.

  6. Meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.