ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of August 28, 2006
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center – HSC 505
Present: Alden, Bose, Cassidy, Dowen, Hartenhoff, House, Isley (for Wholeben), Jeris, Levin, Marcellus, Olson, Prawitz, Reynolds, Russo, Seaver, Stravers, Waas, Williams
Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Sarah Cosbey, Coordinator, Textiles, Apparel, and Merchandising program, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences; Carolinda Douglass, Coordinator, Assessment Services; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; and Laura Smart, Chair, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences
The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m., and Alden welcomed the members for the 2006–2007 academic year. There was an introduction of each member of the council. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of April 17, 2006, as distributed, and the motion passed unanimously.
Alden asked Cassidy to inform the APC about the assistant chair position. Cassidy stated that the assistant chair conducts the APC meetings in the absence of the provost and serves as the APC liaison to the University Council. Alden asked for nominations for assistant chair of the APC. The council voted unanimously to have Richard Dowen serve in this role.
Alden stated that this year there are three subcommittees to conduct the reviews of the academic programs and centers, and he introduced the chairs of the subcommittees: Richard Dowen, Nancy Russo, and Greg Waas.
Alden indicated that the election of the APC Agenda Committee was the next item of business. Cassidy stated that the constitution and bylaws specify that major committees have an agenda committee, which allows faculty to contribute to setting the agendas. In past years, the provost, vice provost for academic planning and development, the APC subcommittee chairs, and the APC assistant chair have served as the agenda committee. This is one option, and we would welcome any other suggestions. The major task for this committee is to create an agenda for the spring semester. All council members have the opportunity to give suggestions for items to be addressed by the council, particularly for the spring semester. The APC voted to continue this practice for 2006-2007. The committee will meet in January to set the agenda for the spring semester. Typically, there are only two to four meetings in the spring.
Alden stated that the APC needed to elect a representative to the University Assessment Panel (UAP). Cassidy explained that the UAP was comprised of continuing members and representatives from the curricular bodies (APC, GC, and UCC). The UAP bylaws specify that each group have an elected representative and that the provost appoint one individual from each group to obtain broad representation. The UAP usually meets five times during the fall semester. The panel meets on the first and third Fridays of the month from 10:00 to noon. The UAP’s major responsibilities are to review and provide feedback to programs regarding their assessment plans, make recommendations for funding projects, provide input on the alumni survey, and other initiatives. Aimee Prawitz was elected by affirmation to represent the APC on the UAP.
Cassidy stated that the APC’s major responsibility during the fall semester is the review of academic programs and public service and research centers. The Au.D. interim report will be reviewed in the fall semester when the APC reviews the Department of Communicative Disorders. The APC will review several follow-up reports in the spring semester, probably in March.
The programs that will be reviewed this year are: all the programs in the Departments of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communicative Disorders and the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences, and the J.D. program in the College of Law. Also, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and the Tri-County Community Health Center will be reviewed. Times are provided during regular APC slots so the subcommittees can meet with the department and college representatives to discuss the program reviews. The members received the reviews assigned to their subcommittees, and the subcommittee chairs are setting up meetings with the college and department representatives. The program review packages contain information that will help you prepare for those meetings.
Cassidy reviewed the notebook distributed to the council members. She stated that the first section of the notebook contains information about the committee and directed the council’s attention to the schedule. The schedule of planned meetings is listed for the fall, but council members were asked to hold all Mondays between 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in case additional meetings need to be scheduled. Members will receive an agenda prior to each scheduled meeting. Also, the subcommittee assignments and dates that the program reviews will be discussed are in this section of the notebook.
Cassidy said that the background information section of the notebook contains reference materials that should be particularly helpful to new subcommittee members, and this information should be reviewed prior to reading the program review documents. The IBHE focus statement was developed by the IBHE during the PQP years. Essentially, the Illinois Commitment has replaced the focus statement.
The IBHE has indicated respect for what is going on on-campus regarding the program review process. This is good because the oversight of our programs is kept on campus.
Cassidy turned to the guidelines section that contains the program review calendar and review formats. The format should be referred to as you read the reviews. Several years ago the program review format was revised to try and eliminate redundancy. The program review format now contains a departmental section where the departments report on resources, faculty, contributions to the university mission and Illinois Commitment, and effective practices. In spring 2006 the APC made some recommendations for changes in the review format, but those recommendations are not reflected in this format because the format was distributed to departments in fall 2005. Those changes will appear in the format that is used next year. The center review format is also in this section of the notebook. You will notice that it is an abbreviated format in comparison to the program review format. We might want to look at this format and see if we need to change it.
The data section contains data from the Office of Institutional Research for all programs in the university. You also have data in your packets assigned to your subcommittee, and the subcommittee chairs have additional data that can be referenced by subcommittee members. Reynolds asked what date was used to generate the enrollment figures. House replied these data are generated on the tenth day of classes.
Cassidy stated that after this meeting, the subcommittee chairs would like to meet with their subcommittees. Please stay for a few minutes after the meeting adjourns.
Alden turned to the strategic planning item on the agenda. It was clear from the time I had the interview and reviewed all the materials for this position that there was a sense that the university needed more strategic planning. There needs to be specific goals, refinement of the mission statement, and plans that could be used by the colleges to help them with their strategic plans. We should look at what direction the institution wants to move in. What is not clear to me is the way we should create a group to help with this effort. This is the first place I would come to, because you are a planning group and updating the university mission is part of the charge of this group, but your focus is on existing programs. Strategic goals should include academics as well as other units. I would like to have a discussion about the formation of a strategic planning task force. How would this group be represented, how would we include other on-campus and outside constituencies? The focus would be on the university’s strategic goals, making sure we were making progress and updating those goals over time. Any ideas about how to go about doing this would be welcomed.
Dowen said that the APC, the deans (because they know what is going on in the colleges), students, and representatives from other standing committees (UCC, GC, etc.) should be represented on the task force. Most colleges have a student advisory group, which would be a good source for obtaining student representation. The task force should have some broad representation and use the standing committee structure, but it should be broader than that. Significant alumni representation should be included. You might want to give Denise Schoenbachler a call because the College of Business has had a long experience with a Strategic Planning Council. Alden said that this is a balancing act because you want the group small enough so it can function but large enough to represent all groups. Once the task force gets moving, all people on campus would be included. What are the constituency groups we need to touch base with? I just don’t want to miss some group. Levin added that representatives from the curricular and diversity groups should be included. Williams suggested that community employers should be included, and these members could come from the advisory boards that most programs/colleges already have set up. Askins noted that SPS and operating staff should also be considered. Both of these groups have councils that represent these parties.
Reynolds asked how this can be successful as a university-wide enterprise apart from college-wide planning and activities. Alden replied that once the university goals are formed, the colleges and departments work on goals that tie into the university goals. The university determines its direction and then the departments/colleges say how they see their role in achieving these goals. This effort will not go anywhere if it does not have grassroots support. We need a university structure so the college structure can tie into it. We develop consensus on the big picture goals and look at what the colleges are doing. What specific goals do we want for the next five years? At my previous institution we looked at issues like when you are starting to define the overall mission of the university and you want to maintain the idea of being student centered within the context of a research mission. One goal was to make an institute where research and outreach were not exclusive of the students, but were tied into capstone and research experiences. The idea was not to make the mistake that faculty don’t teach undergraduate students. The goals were student centered. This was also similar for service. We also wanted to recognize diversity and freedom of speech as valued parts of the university community by making sure that the university was just and developing ways to make sure the administration was responsive to all of its constituencies. Another goal was to develop a technology infrastructure that would meet the future needs of the university. These goals were specifically developed for that institution. Rather than saying we want to be a flagship institution, we looked at the multidisciplinary areas that might have provided a new base at some future point. We called these areas macro themes. We have to determine what will work here at NIU. What major goals do we want to accomplish? What are the costs associated with these goals?
Jeris stated that Illinois is a very discouraging place to be. Should we bring in someone from the IBHE or input from legislators? Alden responded that this is a balancing act. How much involvement do you want early on? Should they be involved on a limited basis? We wouldn’t want the IBHE meddling in the workings of the consensus. I think we cannot plan and hope things get better, but without having a plan in hand, how do you invest new resources when they become available? Cassidy said that one thing that might work is to make sure that someone serves on the task force who is aware of what is going on with the IBHE, the legislature, and the governor’s office.
Alden went on to state that when we did get resources, we asked the colleges how they were supporting the work of this ad hoc group. The initiatives that were funded were ones that had support from many groups. We had fine arts and engineering coming together to form an entertainment engineering and design program, and we had joint hires for this program.
Dowen noted that the last time the mission and scope statement was changed was in January 1993. We are probably due for a look at our mission and scope statement. The IBHE focus statement was written in January 1994, and could use updating. Alden noted that most mission statements are a paragraph or two. Dowen stated that we do have The Illinois Commitment, and asked if this was a constraint? Alden said that any strategic planning statement has to keep in mind the outside issues. Cassidy noted that we do report on The Illinois Commitment annually, and the policy areas are so broad that they haven’t been obtrusive. I don’t think this would be a problem.
Alden stated that identifying issues is part of the strategic plan. Peters wants more consistency in branding the university. Please let me know if you think of anything else.
The meeting turned to the discussion of the M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences. Alden introduced Dean Richmond and asked her to introduce her team. Richmond introduced Laura Smart, chair of the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences; Sarah Cosbey, coordinator of the textiles, apparel, and merchandising area; and Mary Pritchard, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Smart said that the M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences has two specializations: apparel studies and family and consumer sciences education. The specialization in family and consumer sciences education will qualify as a professional development plan for middle school and secondary educators who seek to maintain teacher certification. Graduates of the apparel studies specialization may advance professionally in either industry or education. Furthermore, the specialization will support the specialization in family and consumer sciences education in that nine graduate credit hours in one of these three subject areas is a requirement of the specialization in apparel studies.
Bose stated that this is a well-written proposal and asked what the enrollments were at the three other institutions mentioned in the proposal. Cosbey responded that at Eastern and Illinois State individuals are invited to take classes related to these areas, but there are no formalized programs in these areas. We can research this. Bose said that the way the program is structured is unique. If you anticipate 20-30 students each year, do you have the faculty resources to handle this enrollment? Smart replied that we don’t anticipate bringing in this many students each year, and we have looked at the research requirements involved and various ways to gather the resources for this program. At the undergraduate level we could combine elective courses and offer them once a year instead of twice a year. Bose asked if the students in this program would benefit from taking courses in the College of Business, the Department of Economics, etc? Cosbey responded that Cassidy had asked us to put a sample two-year program together, and we would incorporate courses from other areas when appropriate. Richmond added that we have tried to do this in our undergraduate program, but the College of Business could not always accommodate us. Seaver asked if undergraduate enrollment would be cut. Cosbey responded that the undergraduate enrollment would not be cut. Cassidy asked if the program had thought about cross-listing courses. Cosbey replied that we have two courses that were cross-listed in the past. Pritchard added that sometimes we offer 400 and 500 level courses together. Bose said that this will be a problem with the new PeopleSoft software application. Cassidy asked if the two courses have the same instructor. Seaver added that graduate students will not be able to register for 400 level courses with the new PeopleSoft software application. Richmond noted that the faculty have been hired for this program. Seaver asked if we would be prolonging undergraduate students’ graduation. Richmond responded no, we should be OK.
Douglass stated that the thesis requirement is faculty intensive, and asked why this was necessary. Do doctoral programs require that students have a thesis first? Cosbey replied that all of the faculty want to start with the thesis being required. We might look at a non-thesis option down the road. We want to be able to say that we prepare students for doctoral work. Cassidy noted that one of the items that came up during the last program review was that the nutrition and dietetics students were not completing the thesis in a timely manner. Smart responded that this is different because students can become registered dietitians without completing the master’s degree. Employers will be drawing this line to get students to finish this degree.
Cassidy asked how the enrollment would be divided between the two specializations. Will you admit more students into the family consumer sciences education specialization because of the high demand? Cosbey said that they are limited on the number of students who can be enrolled because there is only one faculty member qualified in this area. To the extent resources allow, we would have to look at this. Other faculty members could oversee the thesis, which should help distribute the faculty load. Pritchard added that we expect that these will be part-time students.
Williams asked in terms of demand, which of the two specializations is more attractive. Cosbey replied that both specializations are attractive. It is a requirement that you have to continue your education for teacher certification, which is a constant demand. There are a lot of students interested in pursuing graduate work in the apparel studies area. Both have great potential.
Williams said that since there is only one faculty member in teaching, would you like to hire additional faculty. Cosbey replied that we would like to, but it depends on the number of students and resources. Bose asked if this was risky with only one faculty member. Smart replied that when we have someone retire, we are able to find people to teach these courses. Richmond added that other courses are being taught by other faculty. Smart noted that this one faculty member teaches the teaching methods courses. Seaver asked if the faculty member was responsible for all the students enrolled in FCNS 610. Cosbey replied that the faculty member is not totally responsible for the course, but responsible for teaching a unit in the course. Seaver asked if there is a teaching assistant in the class. Smart responded that someone who is being mentored into teaching would be in the class.
Cassidy asked what are the plans for marketing the program. Cosbey replied that we keep in touch with our alumni, word of mouth, department newsletter, web site, brochures, industrial contacts, and professional organizations. Alden asked if someone with a baccalaureate degree in business would be a target for this program. Cosbey replied very much so.
Alden asked if there were any other questions. Alden asked for an endorsement of the M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences proposal. It was moved and seconded to endorse the M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences proposal, and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.
Carolyn A. Cradduck