ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of October 3, 2005
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center – HSC 505
Present: Bose, Cassidy, Hartenhoff, Johnson, Legg, Levin, Munroe, Musial, Otieno, Prawitz, Russo, Schoenbachler, Seaver, Thompson, Waas, Williams
Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Carolinda Douglass, Acting Coordinator, Assessment Services; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Laura Smart, Chair, School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences
The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. Williams announced that Musial had received the Presidential Teaching Professorship award, and the APC congratulated her. Legg added that Musial gave a great talk this afternoon at the lecture. Cassidy announced that at the last APC meeting the members received the 2005 Performance Report. This is normally part of the APC notebook, but the report was not ready in time to be distributed in the notebook. We will discuss the Performance Report in the spring semester. We always ask the APC to offer suggestions for items that might be included in next year’s report. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of September 19, 2005, as distributed, and the motion passed unanimously.
Legg introduced Laura Smart, Chair, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences; Aimee Prawitz, Coordinator, family and child studies area; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; and Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences. Legg turned the meeting over to Johnson for the presentation of the subcommittee report.
Johnson said that this was a well written report and where issues were identified, solutions were identified to address them. The assessment plan is clearly linked to the program goals. The review included discussion of what the school needs to do to address the issues, and the school should do what it said it was going to do to address these concerns.
Richmond applauded the school and noted that the school contributes to the mission of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Smart provided an overview for the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences. There are three academic areas within the school: nutrition and dietetics, apparel and textiles, and family and child studies. The school houses four undergraduate programs and two master’s programs; this is a complex academic unit. The school also offers teacher certification in family and child studies. At the master’s level there are options for professional credentialing in marriage and family therapy and registered dietician. The school also offers a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Eating Disorders and Obesity. The programs provide the application of scientific knowledge for solving and understanding problems. System theory is the broad framework for understanding the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences. Our students do more than understand how systems work; the programs have a strong focus on application. There are three public contact laboratories tied to the school and two other laboratories. Our graduates have strong interpersonal skills and are prepared to work with diverse clients, students, and coworkers.
Johnson highlighted some of the strengths of the school. The school has 19 full-time faculty members who are engaged in an exceptional amount of quality work. The school is very proactive at coordinating and recruiting internship sites, and the standards are very high. All the faculty are involved in advising students. The school is housed in a new facility since the last review, Wirtz Hall, and this is an improvement in faculty and instructional space.
Discussion points include the growth of the programs and the issues dealing with technology. There are not enough terminals available to meet the school’s needs, which restrict class size. Two of the laboratories are housed across campus and this creates some difficulty. The faculty/student ratio is high in some areas. In the hospitality and administration area the ratio is 1:40; the school has come up with solutions to address this issue. The high enrollment in this program shows the success that the school has had by the increase in enrollments.
Johnson said that the recommendations for the future include being more specific about stating one thing the school does well in the best practice section. There should be a clear framing thesis that states what you are doing. The internship, practicum, advising, etc. is a very seamless process.
Thompson asked if the chair could provide a sense of the size of the programs. Smart said for most programs the faculty/student ratio is 1:30. Thompson asked how many majors the programs have. Smart replied hospitality administration has 49 majors, nutrition and dietetics has 148, family and child studies has 180 undergraduates, and there are a total of 88 graduate students. Family and child studies has a few more graduate students than nutrition and dietetics. Williams asked how the faculty/student ratio compares to other institutions. Is 1:40 an average? Smart replied that this is unusual, but this is also a new program. Most programs would have three or more faculty members. Richmond added that the program has grown very fast. The college did receive a faculty position from the Office of the Provost and we will use this money to hire a person in this area. Bose said that since the school has such a large faculty to student ratio, are you looking at funding opportunities. Do you have a plan? Smart responded yes, we are looking into funding opportunities. Because the school is so diverse, funding sources come from many places. Some areas don’t have many opportunities, but other areas have many opportunities.
Johnson turned to the review of the B.S. in Family and Child Studies. The assessment program is exceptional. The plan clearly connects assessment procedures with program goals, and the assessment outcomes are identified and, if necessary, recommendations for improvements are made. The practicum and internship experiences are an integral element of the program. Another strength of the program is that it requires 100 hours of community service, and state comparison reveals other institutions range from an “optional” service to 20 hours. Faculty diversity is high (40 percent).
The discussion point for the program in family and child studies is how the “use of self understanding” is assessed. Prawitz explained that from the beginning to the end of the program we track student progress and help with the maturing process. We are trying to assess if students understand what their strengths are. We suggest classes in our advising where a student might need to strengthen their skills. The internship supervisor also provides feedback, and a portfolio is required.
Smart added that when the program was last reviewed, the school was advised to change “volunteer” requirements to “community service.” Several years ago I met with a director of a community service agency, and I asked her what opportunities were available for community service at her agency. She didn’t know what I meant. Community service means something completely different here. I want to change this language back to “volunteer” hours. Seaver added that the term we use now is “service learning.” You need to be clear that there is an educational mission for the service component. Smart stated in the family social sciences area this would imply that it is a course and the hours are in addition to the course hours. Schoenbachler asked why this was the case. Smart replied that in her discipline the term service learning is tied to a course. Douglass asked if the hours are supervised and if there were any objectives to be met. Smart responded that this is supervised by the agency, and the main objective is to become familiar with a service agency. Douglass asked how hard it would be to make this part of a course. Smart replied that it would probably mean creating a new course. Schoenbachler asked about the model music has, a zero credit hour course that students must attend so many hours of recitals. Johnson added that the School of Music does keep track of these hours. Smart said that perhaps we could talk more to you about this. Cassidy asked if there was a preferred list of agencies for student placements. Smart replied that there is a short list of local agencies and a list of agencies where students have served as interns. Cassidy asked if students have to say where they’re thinking about doing service hours. Smart replied that the school usually knows because students often have questions, but the school does not have to approve the site. Cassidy asked why it’s important that students have the extended period of volunteering. Can these hours be done in more than one agency? Smart replied yes, we like students to volunteer at two or three agencies. We award students between seven and fifteen credits in the spring and between seven and twelve credits in the summer. There is a huge variation in programs nationally in how many hours people are required to volunteer. The 100 hours seems to work because internship sites repeatedly stress that our interns are so well prepared. Cassidy asked if anyone had looked at a critical cutoff. How about 75 hours? Smart said that the agencies probably wouldn’t like that because sometimes there is training required. Cassidy asked if the training hours were part of the 100 hour requirement. Smart indicated that the training hours are counted by NIU, but the agency won’t count them. Students make a commitment with the agency to stay on longer. Cassidy asked if this was a burden on students because there is more and more required of students these days. Smart replied that students don’t have to do this for free; they can work in a paraprofessional position, i.e. working with adolescents at a park district. Cassidy noted that it isn’t volunteerism then. Smart added that most students don’t get paid. Many of the students are volunteering anyway. They can do the hours before they come into the program too. Waas said that service learning communicates very clearly to both sides what is involved, and this would be the appropriate way for identifying the experience. Cassidy added that we can look at different ways to define the requirement. Prawitz stated that she has been advising family and child studies students for over 10 years and has never had a complaint about the 100 hour requirement from students. Most students have already done part of the volunteer hours. Cassidy clarified that her question was: is a 100 hours a critical point to achieve the desired outcomes. Smart said that a requirement of 100 hours at at least two sites helps students focus on where they want to do an internship.
Johnson turned to the review of the M.S. in Applied Family and Child Studies. Several of the strengths are similar to the strengths in the bachelor’s program. The strengths include that this is the only program of its kind in the state, the substantial increase in minority enrollment, and the Family Center’s new state-of-the art facilities. The Family Center has proven to be a very useful element in the program.
There was one discussion point. Is the “continuation of studies in doctoral programs” an appropriate outcome? Prawitz noted that this has been changed to “preparation.”
Johnson said that the recommendation for the future is to follow through on the plans identified in the program review document. Thompson said that since this is the only program in the state, what is the pool of students who come to NIU. Prawitz replied that it is the only program in the state that has a marriage therapy specialization housed in the family and child studies area.
Legg asked why the word “applied” was not used in the undergraduate degree title. The undergraduate program sounds like it is very applied. Smart replied that the faculty wanted to distinguish the names of the two programs. Legg asked if the master’s program was more applied than the undergraduate program. Smart replied that the graduate program is more applied than the undergraduate program. I would like to change the name of the program, but the faculty may not want to do this. Some programs in this area are now called “family science.” Cassidy asked if students would understand what this means. Smart replied that the undergraduates might not understand, but the graduate students would. We could call it human development and family science. Waas asked if there were accrediting bodies that accredit these types of programs. Smart replied that there were, and the specialization in marriage and family therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy. Graduates can also receive certification as a family life educator. We would like to have a family life educator program in the future. There is a curriculum that the accrediting body has approved. Interest is growing in the family life education area. Students can take the courses, but they would have to take extra courses. Cassidy asked if the emphasis couldn’t be modified. Smart responded that it could be, but we need to meet the needs of the social services students too. Cassidy added that there could be core courses and then students would move into the other courses. Smart stated that a fourth emphasis could be created within the family and child studies area.
Levin asked if the program was doing anything to get more males into the field. Prawitz replied that one of the problems with that is that the jobs in this field don’t pay very well, but we do encourage male students to come into the program. Do you have any suggestions? Levin responded that creating a greater consciousness about the need for men in this field would be helpful. Seaver asked if there were male faculty members in this area. Prawitz replied that there are two male faculty members. Seaver noted that male faculty members can make a big difference. Smart stated that the salaries are a bit on the low side.
Johnson turned to the Child Development Laboratory review. Strengths of the lab include the valuable opportunities for student internships, research opportunities for faculty and students, the increase in service to the community, the increase in the number of children of color and children with special needs, and the low adult to child ratio. The student internship opportunities is an essential element of the program. There have been several improvements to the facility.
The discussion points are the concerns about needed facility improvements, a greater need for university financial support to address staffing issues, and the distance between the lab and faculty offices. The lab is located in Gable Hall. A new associate director position has been created, and there will be a faculty director of the lab. Smart explained that there was a director of the lab, and now there will be an associate director and a director. The associate director will be an SPS master’s degree required position, and a tenured faculty member will be the director of the lab. The director will have a 10 hours per week appointment at the lab, and will supervise research being conducted there. The associate director will do much of the work that the director has done in the past running the day-to-day operations. There was a problem with having the lab director being prepared at the master’s level. More expertise was needed to have a strong research background. We are piloting this new structure.
We inherited the space from the Campus Childcare Center, which was set up for young children. Various renovations have had to be done. Screens were installed on the windows and the heating vent covers will be replaced soon. We currently need a wheel chair ramp. The lab is pulled in different directions: we need to meet DCFS, curricular, and accreditation requirements. Askins asked if the accreditation process would be put on hold due to some of the problems. Smart replied that the ramp could be a problem, but we are pretty much there. Cassidy asked what the timeline was for the accreditation process. Smart responded that the accrediting group will come sometime in the mid- to late-spring. Cassidy clarified that the only issue with the physical facilities is the ramp. Smart replied that is the main one; we are working on the other issues. A concrete ramp would cost about $9,000.
Bose stated that he came from an institution that had an interdisciplinary program similar to yours but they had more faculty on board from psychology and education. This group received a $2 million grant partnership with a local children’s hospital. What are the opportunities for NIU to create something like this? Smart asked what Bose’s former institution was. Bose replied Kent State, and you can look at the web site to find out about this initiative. Prawitz asked what they do. Bose replied some of the same things you are doing. Smart asked if they were also a training lab for child development specialists; some are focused on research. Bose responded that this group’s was more focused on training.
Thompson said that the CDL provides child care to community families, and asked if the other families were NIU families. Smart stated yes, and now there is less funding for community families. Thompson noted that the practicum used to be 16 hours per week, and now it is 30 hours per week. Smart explained that the students used to do external internships, but they no longer have the off-campus experience. Pritchard added that students are not taking many other classes when they are in the practicum.
Johnson said that the strengths of The Family Center are that it is the only family training/service clinic in this region, the center provides an exceptional student focused clinical training program that is closely monitored by faculty, and the center offers quality affordable service to NIU students, staff, and residents in DeKalb and the surrounding communities. The program also has a history of attracting international students, which is a reflection of the quality of the program. The assessment outcomes are identified and, if necessary, recommendations for improvement are made.
Data collection for assessment has been problematic, but the center has developed new plans to collect data that will measure performance outcomes. Also, there is not as much research going on as the center would like. Prawitz said that the center plans to start with some basic satisfaction type of information to see if clients are getting what they had hoped to get. One faculty member is starting to do some research. We are also encouraging students who are doing theses to work in The Family Center to collect data. Cassidy noted that one of the points in our discussion this past summer was that the research mission had not been addressed at all. There was some discussion about implementing plans to begin systematic data collection. Prawitz responded that a form has been completed to collect some of this information. Cassidy asked if theses students could do case studies at the center. Prawitz replied that the accrediting body’s curriculum is so tight that many students do not choose the thesis option. Cassidy asked that if there was no research mission attached to the center, would that affect accreditation. Smart replied that she didn’t know. Cassidy added that this might be something to look at; faculty are also not doing research in the center. Would it be an appropriate time to evaluate this research mission? Pritchard noted that one constraint was that informed consent had not been obtained. Cassidy asked if client satisfaction was really research or an evaluation of the unit. Smart replied that it was both. Smart said that the other thing that we are doing is assessing the clients as they first come into the center and then later after they have been using the center. We have been doing this all along, but we have now kicked this into high gear. Prawitz stated that she thought they are still working on this.
Legg asked if there was any overlap between the Family Center and the Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Smart replied that the Family Center focuses on practice and the Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault focuses on research. We do have a new master’s level family center director with clinical expertise in the child sexual abuse area. Waas added that it might be helpful to look at other centers on campus, i.e., the Psychological Services Center. Some of these centers are primarily service centers, but they have a research component as well. You could also look at the counseling center. Smart noted that both of these centers serve doctoral students, and we serve master’s students. Thompson asked if faculty were frustrated by these issues, can they really do research in the center, and does the center provide a good match for faculty supervising student’s training. Smart replied that there is a partial match. Seaver said that you might want to look at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic too.
Legg said there has been significant growth in the hospitality administration program. Why is this happening and how long will it last? How do you want to address this growth? Smart responded that the faculty hired to start the hospitality administration program worked hard to forge links with corporations. The industry is very excited about our program and wants this type of program in the state. I would anticipate more growth. Legg asked if it was possible that some funding will come from corporations. Smart replied that the corporations have helped with getting a software vender to give us software. We need a server for this software, but we can’t afford one. We are trying to work with IBM, but they don’t want to do this. Hyatt has been very helpful, and they have good advice. Hyatt’s corporate vice president in charge of kitchens came to visit and had great things to tell us. Pritchard added that industries have been very helpful in offering scholarships, and Richmond said that we are cultivating these relationships.
Cassidy said that she had a general comment to the school and to other programs that have laboratories and centers that provide services across campus. Continuing to portray the distance between these centers/labs as problematic is not to our advantage. This is a big campus. If we can talk about the importance of the service that we provide that would be a good approach. Trying to make sure we have the best facilities available for the services is more important that the location. Talk about the quality of what we do well and how well the facilities serve us in serving students, faculty, and the community. Think about ways to refocus this discussion. Richmond stated that she thought some of this thinking is in the NIU culture more so than other universities culture. We have grown so much, but faculty think this is a problem now. I think we are seeing this change. One of the roles of the administration is to talk with faculty about these issues. Legg said that we still have the challenge of trying to get faculty to work together. Richmond added that this is true, but it will take all of us to address this issue. Seaver said that we need to focus on the student; the faculty is a hard sell. Levin stated that we need to be aware of the fact that faculty are asked to do more things. Cassidy added that on this campus this is common practice, and it would not be raised as an issue at other campuses. Smart said that she heard what Cassidy was saying. This particular lab is a very complex operation. The lab serves six week old infants up to seven years of age. Also, the distance of the lab makes it hard for graduate students to drop by. Cassidy asked why graduate students can’t drop by. Smart replied that they could, but it is a longer way for them to go. It is not just about the faculty; it does present more of a challenge to students. Richmond added that having a faculty director for 10 hours a week is encouraging. Cassidy asked if web cams could address some of these issues. Smart replied that it could, and the lab would like to have web cams so parents can observe. One drawback is that there is no sound with web cams.
Legg thanked Johnson and his subcommittee for their hard work.
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Carolyn A. Cradduck