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Faculty Senate » Annual Report 2004-2005

Curriculum Council

Annual Report 2004-2005


Kate Hunter-Zaworski '05, Co-chair, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Walt Loveland '07, Co-chair, Chemistry
Mary Cluskey (v. Good) '05, Nutrition & Food Management
Steve Kim (v. Gross) '05, Business
Jeff Arthur '06, Statistics
Burke Hales '06, Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences
Bob Paasch '06, Mechanical Engineering
Rorie Spill Solberg '07, Political Science
Nicole von Germeten '07, History

The Curriculum Council continued to be a very active committee, holding 20 meetings, lasting a total of 38 hours during this academic year. Most of the business of the Council is conducted outside the regularly scheduled meetings, where Council members reviewed and approved 383 Category II curricular proposals, a slight increase from the previous year. These Category II proposals were reviewed in greater depth than previously to emphasize the need for suitable learner outcomes, assessment strategies and the assignment of course credits. Reviews of the undergraduate programs in Foreign Languages and Literatures, Microbiology, and Biochemistry and Biophysics were conducted. At its regular meetings, the Council discussed and approved 8 Category I proposals, involving Study Abroad programs in Dublin, Ireland, Segovia, Spain, and Rosario Argentina; a name change for the Department of Rangeland Resources; the change of status of the School of Education to the College of Education with re-organization; creation of the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences; the creation of a graduate certificate in the teaching of English as a second language (TESOL); and the termination of the graduate program in Plant Physiology. The Council prepared a set of changes to its standing rules which were approved by the Faculty Senate.

Among the larger issues that dominated the agenda of the Council during the year were:
(a) NMC—New Media Communication, an area of concentration within the Department of Liberal Studies, in CLA. At the beginning of the year, the Council found that this group had an illegal course designator, was teaching 30-45 courses that had never been approved as stand-alone courses by the Council, had enrolled ~ 250 students in these courses, and was promising or intimating, via written and web advertisements, the existence of an option, a minor and the possible establishment of a new Department in this area. The Council, working in close collaboration with the staff of Academic Programs and Academic Assessment and faculty in NMC, established a legal designator for the discipline, reviewed and approved some 30-40 courses in this area, helping to construct appropriate syllabi, learner outcomes, etc. The Council approved a minor and an option in this area, allowing the 20+ students who are graduating in June to receive that which they had been promised. The issue of a new Department of NMC was referred to the Faculty Senate Budgets and Fiscal Planning Committee, where it was determined that insufficient resources existed for a new department. The Council is deeply concerned about the attempted “end-run” around the usual system for approval of new courses, programs, etc.

(b) The electronic system for processing Category II proposals. The web-based system for processing Category II proposals presented several problems for the Council this year. Incompatibilities with non-Windows operating systems and open source software caused frustration for many members. Proposals involving multiple actions or documents were difficult to handle. The forms used frequently do not clearly display the needed information. Attempts to revise/update the system were not successful due to the high cost of such modifications. Of greatest importance is a philosophical issue that the system is geared only for a one-way flow of proposals towards approval.

(c) The number of credits for courses. University accreditation documents offer a “gold standard” for the assignment of credits for courses, defining 1 credit as 30 hours of work, in and out of class, per quarter. This definition allows flexibility between disciplines but adds a subjective element to the process, that is, the estimation of the number of hours students are spending outside of class on a given course. Widely differing standards for the assignment of credits to courses, even within closely related disciplines, exist and probably such decisions are influenced by the role of student credit hours in determining University budget allocations.

(d) Cascades campus. By policy, the Cascades campus courses are to be part of the OSU curriculum, that is, all OSU courses are automatically Cascades courses, etc. However, the Cascades campus is building programs that are tied to COCC and issues arose about Cascades courses that had non-OSU pre-requisites, i.e., COCC pre-requisites.

(e) The Council and Office of Academic Programs and Academic Assessment spent a large amount of time advising people on how to prepare and submit major (Category II) changes in curriculum.

We appreciate the aid given Council members by the various ex-officio members of the Council throughout the year. Academic Programs and Academic Assessment staff have been particularly effective in assisting people in implementing learner outcomes and assessment.