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UAlbany Middle States Self-Study
Subcommittee for Educational Offerings/General Education
10/15/2008 Meeting Minutes

Meeting began at 1:30 PM

Mary Applegate, Bruce Dieffenbach, Anne Hildreth, Karyn Loscocco, Rich Matyi, Chris Moore, Anita Rua Hanson, Gladys M. Santiago, Helene Scheck

Goals for the meeting:
•    Determine what, if any, changes are needed to the charge questions.
•    Determine if any data points regarding the questions could be obtained only surveying faculty/staff/students.  Bruce Szelest is planning on sending a survey to the community in mid-November.  We have a week or so to get any questions into the survey and the questions should be ONLY about data that we cannot obtain by other means.

Discussion of wiki use
The group agreed that it will be useful to have documents in the wiki for reference but that using the wiki to write the documents would become unwieldy and messy in terms of maintaining clarity about versioning.  We agreed that, in general, documents on the wiki should be posted for reference only and not "working" documents.  In cases where a document would be collaboratively modified, we should not delete previous content - only add new content.  If anyone is having trouble accessing the wiki, contact Bruce Szelest to troubleshoot. (login with NetID and UNIX password)

Changing the questions:

Part II #2 needs to be framed in a more analytic way.
Mary suggests.... "What are the barriers to timely student program completion; how can they be addressed?"

Mary agrees to redraft the question along these lines will post to wiki and send to Karyn.

The issue of student attendance was discussed regarding it's relation to educational offerings:
•    Should data about this issue be pursued more explicitly?
•    Should we survey faculty on their perspectives of attendance in their courses?
•    Should it be added as a charge question?
•    Is this related to "coherence" (Part I #9)?
•    Is this issue even under the charge of this subcommittee?

Rich agreed to look into whether another subcommittee is looking at student attitudes/motivation about the educational offerings.

What makes a coherent learning experience?  Are some questions too vague?  Perhaps we should approach the questions from the view of ideals (what do we want to see?) before delving into the data.

Part I #3
In evaluating "qualified faculty", perhaps we could look at percentage of course taught by FT faculty v. PT faculty/adjunct v. teaching assistants (what's the breakdown of who's doing the teaching?).

We should remove the second part of Part I #3 - we can recognize that faculty qualification metrics vary by department but we do not need to describe in detail how they differ.  Also, we may need to balance our view of "qualified faculty" between FT faculty as well as professionals/researchers who may not have a FT post at UAlbany.

It's likely that the subcommittee for Standard #10 (Faculty) may have or will develop an understanding/definition of "qualified faculty". 

Gladys will cross-reference with that subcommittee in regards to Part I #2.

Part II #s 4 & 6 are about students/learning outcomes rather than offerings/curricula.
Part II #4: 
•    option: survey faculty and/or students about whether students are able to integrate GenEd skills into degree programs.
•    Question: does this refer to the capability of students to integrate or that the degree programs provide the opportunity to integrate the skills?  We believe that it is the latter since we are reviewing offerings as opposed to assessment of student learning/capabilities.

Part II #6: 
•    learning outcomes are not posted in the UG bulletin anymore so prospective students are not able to access this information directly
•    current students find this information in course syllabi (as req'd by Faculty Senate).
•    can we reasonable expect a typical prospective student to be able to find this info (request it)?

Survey questions:

Part II #8 - Ask faculty (survey) if they perceive that there is support for undertaking such improvements.


The subcommittee will meet biweekly (location TBD):
•    Oct 29 1:30 - 3:00
•    Nov 12 1:30 - 3:00
•    Nov 26 1:30 - 3:00

Each of the subcommittee members will take responsibility for their charge question(s) in indicating the kinds of data that would be needed to analyze the question.  We don't necessarily need to know where the data is or how to get it but what data would be useful.  From there we can determine if the data is available and if it exists or can be obtained, or if we need to survey the community for this data.  If the data can only be obtained through a survey, we need to identify this before the next meeting in order to include this as part of a community survey.  We will need to be productive between meetings to accomplish our tasks.

Karyn will disseminate a list of who is working on which questions.  It is good if multiple people are looking at the same question(s). 

There was a discussion about finances and whether the report will compare to the past or would only look at present and future states.  We should look at all three; although we may not be able to do so to the same degree for all questions.  Such past/present/future comparisons will likely be easier where we could have qualitative data for the question(s).

There was discussion about how the report would treat levels of financial support for UAlbany; are we going downhill (qualitatively/competitiveness) as a result of declining financial resources?  We may include some analysis of this but there is another subcommittee addressing resources.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM

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