APPROVED
ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of October 20, 2003
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center Ė HSC 505


Present: Aase, Cassidy, Deskis, Dillman, House, Isabel, Jeris, Miller, Munroe, Musial, Payvar, Prawitz, Reynolds, Schoenbachler, Seaver, Thompson

Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Jeffrey B. Hecht, Chair, Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment; Diane Jackman, Associate Dean, College of Education; Lara Luetkehans, Assistant Chair, Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment
 

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m., and Prawitz announced that Legg was unable to attend todayís APC meeting.  Prawitz announced that the October 27 APC meeting will begin at 3:30.  This meeting will be held in HSC room 505.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of September 29, 2003, as distributed, and the motion passed unanimously.

Prawitz introduced Jeffrey Hecht, Chair, Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment; Lara Luetkehans, Assistant Chair, Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment; and Diane Jackman, Associate Dean, College of Education.  Prawitz turned the meeting over to Isabel for the discussion of the subcommittee report.

Isabel thanked her subcommittee members and informed the APC that this was a collaborative effort from the subcommittee.  Isabel explained that the review looked at the instructional technology programs and did not include all of the degree programs in the department, but departmental context was provided in the review process.

The strengths of the department include success with minority students, and one reason for this is the way degree delivery is set up.  The department also has an effective internship program and excellent physical resources, including equipment.  There are high enrollments in the programs.  The school library media certificate is being changed to library information specialist.  The department uses part-time SPS personnel for advising, and this has helped to take the advising load off of faculty.  There is also a high level of student satisfaction with the programs.  The department is able to sponsor a literature conference each year.

The discussion points for the departmental context section of the review include the structure of the department and faculty; this discussion should be clarified in the report.  Half of the faculty are devoted to instructional technology programs and the other half are devoted to the research and assessment program.  The research and assessment program is new, so it is not covered in this review.  The off-campus program delivery the department provides needs a funding mechanism to continue this best practice.  This initiative is also meeting the mission of the university and the goals of the Illinois Commitment.  Hecht responded that the department currently has more than 150 doctoral students and 300 masterís students, and the department provides a large number of service courses.  We have looked at a variety of options to be able to offer off-campus courses.  We need to find a different funding mechanism to allow us to continue this practice.  Cassidy said that the faculty are divided 50/50 between the programs and there is a strong service role in the college for providing research and methods courses.  Hecht replied that this department supplies the qualitative and quantitative methods courses across the college.  We are heavily invested in part-time faculty to meet the need.  Cassidy asked if the faculty composition is misaligned with the delivery of the programs in the department.  Hecht said not at all. The faculty in the two areas makes it possible to have cross energies.  One of the recent Raymond Grant recipients was a faculty member from our department, and his project will enhance the integration of instructional technologies into all the programs.  Schoenbachler added that from the information in the departmental context section we thought they had 16 faculty for the instructional technology programs, but it is really 8 faculty who teach in the programs.  Hecht stated that the department might want to put some of the information back in the departmental context that was removed.

Isabel said that a recommendation for the future was to continue to investigate funding mechanisms that would allow the department to deliver their programs to underserved areas.  Currently the department is serving cohorts in Chicago by offering the instructional technology programs at several sites.

Isabel turned to the review of the M.S.Ed. section of the review.  The strengths of the program are the library media certificate that is often completed as a part of this degree.  This may be a feeder for the M.S.Ed. program.  Another strength of the program is the increase in minority students.  The program has high visibility in the state and a flexible internship program that meets the needs of the students.  Hecht explained that there are internships in a variety of settings.  Students pick between educational or corporate settings.  The faculty fine-tuned the internship process recently, and this took place over a year and a half period.  We are going to evaluate our success with this process this year.  There have also been changes in the NCATE standards that now require students to participate in an internship experience.  We will also be seeking a new certification for technology professionals.  Cassidy asked if the technology professional certification was an addition or a reconfiguration of the existing certifications.  Hecht replied that the school library media specialists and the media specialists are both library certifications.  The technology professional certification is new.  These will be people certified to run wirings of the building, to work with administrators and teachers with software and other elements for supporting technology services.  We hope this will be an easy approval process and that it will be in place by fall 2004.  Cassidy clarified that the coursework is currently available; it is just not configured as a certification. Hecht replied that this was correct.

Thompson asked what the difference was between endorsement and certification.  Hecht replied that endorsement is adding an extra set of skills to a basic certification, and a new certification allows you to work in a new area at the same level. If a student wants to change settings (e.g., move from elementary to middle school), the endorsement would be insufficient.  The state is moving away from endorsements.  For years we have been approved to offer the school library media specialists and the media specialists certifications.  Thompson asked how many hours are required for endorsement and certification.  Hecht replied that endorsement requires 18 hours and certification requires 32 hours.

Isabel turned to the discussion points for the M.S.Ed.  Some of the terminology used in the objectives and learning outcomes needs clarification, specifically the software authoring information.  The report also indicated that a relatively high number of students admitted to the program did not matriculate.  One reason is that a large portion of the international students admitted to the program do not attend.  This group will be separated out from in the data in the future.  The distinction between the comprehensive exam requirements and the preparation of a thesis proposal needs to be clarified. Hecht replied that this relates to the doctoral degree.

Isabel said that recommendations for the future are to continue to assess student outcomes and the productive use of the School Library Media Advisory Council.  The advisory council is just getting started, and we encourage them to use this council.

Payvar asked if the masterís has a thesis option.  Hecht replied no; students do not have a thesis option, they are required to build a professional portfolio.  The student also has to defend the work in a public presentation in front of a committee of three faculty members.  This is a rigorous project.  Payvar asked if international students were trying to become teachers in the U.S.  Hecht replied that he didnít know.  In looking at the data we found that 10 Ė 24 percent of the students who are admitted to the program never matriculate, and we thought there might be a problem with the admissions process.  These students are also seeking entry into the country and financial support as well as admission to the university and the program.  We do not fund any students until they are admitted into the program.  Cassidy asked if Hecht thought they were turning away qualified students.  Hecht replied that right now we have not capped admissions, and all qualified students are admitted.

Isabel turned to the Ed.D. part of the review.  The strengths of the program are the high enrollment in the off-campus cohorts, the high occupational demand, and the mentoring of graduate students teaching undergraduate courses.  This program is provided to a large number of cohorts in the Chicago area.

Isabel said that one discussion point is that there were no NIU Graduate School reviewersí comments on dissertations.  The external evaluations were available, and these reviews included some negative comments.  The subcommittee wondered how the department followed-up on this information.  Hecht replied that he has received the dean designatesí report and this information will be incorporated into the review.  We felt quite good about the number of negative comments we received.  We approached top notch schools for comparisons, and their response to us was that you are doing a good job.  There are pieces in the reports that have been discussed by the faculty, and we are looking at what we can do better and what we can improve.  We would question it if we got responses that were all positive.  Payvar asked on average how many doctoral dissertations does a faculty member direct.  Hecht said that this varies, especially because of the cohort cycle, but a typical load would be for a faculty to direct five or six dissertations and serve on two to four other dissertation committees.  One faculty member who is in high demand directs 12-14 dissertations, but this faculty member also has a reduction in her teaching load. Jackman added that the college has a rule that a faculty member cannot direct more than 12 dissertations.  Deskis asked how many individuals graduate each year.  Hecht replied that at the doctoral level there are 6 to 14 graduates per year, and at the masterís level there was just under 100 graduates last year.  There are typically 40 to 50 masterís graduates per year.  Deskis said that this means that the faculty are still not responsible for more than one to one and a half students per year.  Hecht added that this is true.

Thompson asked if the program could talk about its comprehensive examination.  Hecht said that the program is looking at revising its doctoral process.  Students who drop out tend to do so once they have completed the coursework and right before they get to the dissertation stage.  Luetkehans added that most students have full-time jobs.  Hecht said that one thing that has been looked at is how to get students involved in thinking about their research for the dissertation prior to reaching the dissertation stage.  Our students are not the kind of students that can be in a lab all day, so we have moved elements of the writing process and literature review process earlier in the program. The completion of the doctoral seminar series parallels putting together a proposal, which should also shorten studentsí time to completion.  Payvar asked what the time to completion was.  Hecht responded that it was too long; it is about six years.  If students take a long time at this stage, we are much more likely to lose them, so we are trying to encourage them to finish the program sooner.  Deskis asked if the delay happened mostly at the dissertation stage.  Luetkehans replied that it also happens at the comprehensive examination stage, and Hecht added that it sometimes happens at the course stage.  The department is now requiring a minimum of three hours/semester of continuous enrollment in dissertation.  Cassidy noted that there was a mechanism in place limiting the time students had before their proposals are approved.  Hecht added that students cannot take any more than nine dissertation hours before their proposals are approved.  There is also a new student handbook outlining these and other requirements of the programs.  We want our students to finish the program and be successful.  Prawitz asked how long this plan has been in place.  Hecht responded that this is the first year.  Luetkehans added that by the end of summer we will know how this is working.  Hecht stated that we want students to start thinking about dissertation work while they are still engaged in regular classes.  We are trying to make the transition from coursework to working on their own easier. Cassidy asked if Hecht had any sense of whether the proposal students developed while they were enrolled in the seminars was carried out for the dissertation. Hecht responded that we have students who come in the door and know what their dissertation topic will be.  This is OK, but if it changes 38 times before they get to this stage, this is OK too. We are trying to change the mind set so that students think about dissertation research before they get to the ABD stage.  Thompson stated that students are not locked into a early proposal on what they want to do.  Hecht replied no they are not locked in.

Thompson asked where students get funding for their projects.  Hecht replied just about everywhere: state government, the National Science Foundation, ORI, and other sources.  There are many funding sources right now.  Thompson asked if many students use the same funding sources.  Hecht responded that there are some that are the same, but not a lot.  Thompson asked if the dissertation is fundable, do students take this route.  Hecht replied that he didnít know, many dissertations are applied work.  Cassidy asked if it was possible for students to get funding from their work setting.  Hecht responded that some do get funding from their work setting.

Prawitz asked about the source of the policy limiting the number of dissertations a faculty member can direct to 12.  Jackman replied that the College Council and Senate put in this rule several years ago.  A faculty member can serve on other committees, but they cannot direct more than 12 dissertations.  Sometimes there are exceptions made to this rule, but not very often.  Retirements sometimes make these exceptions necessary.

Isabel stated that the recommendations for the future are to continue to use top national institutions to obtain recommendations on dissertation reviews and to investigate options to replace the tuition sharing model to fund off-campus delivery of programs.  In the past a portion of the tuition money went directly to the department so they could deliver more off-campus courses, but the university stopped doing this in 2002.  Cassidy said that there will be more conversations about the universityís ability to meet the demands for serving students on and off campus due to budget cuts and state funding.  Deskis asked why the change in tuition sharing was made.  Cassidy responded that she thought it raised some audit questions.

Cassidy stated that the review made the point that the distribution of faculty scholarship in comparison to similar institutions showed less on the writing side, but that faculty made many more presentations.  How will you continue to support travel given the current state of the budget.  Hecht replied that in a field like instructional technology where the life cycle of information is measured in months and sometimes days, getting something in print is not necessarily the way to get the word out.  E-journals are a good method for disseminating information more quickly.  But we donít have this in the discipline, but what we have are meetings.  Publishing is important.  If the department is successful in being frugal, there might be some money to support attending meetings.  The department gave back all of its travel money in the general revenue account, but we are still supporting travel out of grant funds, and we are working with faculty on writing grants that include travel funds.  Thompson asked how many departments support travel through university funds.  In our department it is provided only to new faculty.  Cassidy said she didnít know of any department that supports all the travel costs.  Hecht replied that his department supports approximately $300 per faculty member per year.  Cassidy noted that the Graduate School has some indirect grant funds that are used to support faculty travel for presentations.  Jackman added that the college also supports travel.  The college gave back its general revenue travel money a couple of years ago, and now we use indirect money to support it.  Hecht stated that the department has also become more active in seeking donors.

Musial asked if the department was worried about losing the notion of a community of scholars.   The students do not desire to be part of this community.  Hecht replied that he didnít think was happening.  Our students are more focused on where they want to go, not where the faculty  want them to go.  The faculty all have interest areas, but they are respectful of what the studentsí interests are.  In terms of community of scholars, I would love to have students around all the time.  This year we made a concerted effort to fund seven graduate assistants through grant money.  We are also staffing computing laboratories, and students are coming in to work in the labs. We are still planning on have a retreat for faculty and students where students engage with the faculty.  Luetkehans added that we also have informal gatherings, such as think tanks, and we provide newsletters and communicate with students in other ways.  Jeris said in the cohort groups there is a real element of community, and the completion rates are good.  Cassidy said that students are creating a support system for themselves.  Hecht added that last year two cohort groups graduated at the same time.  There were 90 students, and when we had our department reception a large group of them decided to sit together at the college graduation so their names and the program name would be called at the same time.

Cassidy said that we didnít see all the changes in the reviews we asked for after the summer meetings, and asked the department to review the report of the summer meeting. Hecht stated that would be done.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn A. Cradduck