APC Minutes April 5, 2010

APPROVED

ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL

Minutes of April 5, 2010

3 p.m., Holmes Student CenteróHSC 505

Present:           Alden, Brantley, Cassidy, Dawson, Erman, Falkoff, Goldblum, Gorman, House, Jung, Lee, Otieno, Seaver

Guests:            Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Carolinda Douglass, Director, Office of Assessment Services; Janice Hamlet, Department of Communication

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of March 22, 2010, and the motion passed unanimously.

There are three new program requests on todayís agenda. All new program requests are brought to the APC for endorsement after receiving all curricular approvals. Once a new program request receives endorsement, it is presented to the NIU Board of Trustees. After Board of Trustees approval, the request is submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for approval.

The first new program request is for a B.S. in Athletic Training. Currently there is an emphasis in athletic training within the B.S. in Kinesiology, and the new B.S. in Athletic Training will replace this emphasis. The B.S. in Kinesiology will not be eliminated. The accrediting body is moving toward requiring athletic training in the degree title, and the emphasis in athletic training within the B.S. in Kinesiology will not meet this requirement. A question was asked about how there could be no new resources required if the department is keeping the other degree program. The numbers reported in the request are only those students in the athletic training emphasis. There are theoretically no new costs associated with offering this new degree program, but there are administrative costs.

A motion was made to endorse the B.S. in Athletic Training degree program, and the motion passed unanimously.

The next new program on the agenda is the B.A./B.S. in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement that is part of the new non-governmental organizations initiative. This initiative arose from strategic planning. There is also a NGO center that provides opportunities for students to develop skills and knowledge in this area. Students will choose from one of several emphases that cover an array of course work in the Colleges of Business, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. The new degree will be housed in the NGO Leadership and Development Center, which reports to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. There is no minor in this area at this time, but there have been discussions about developing graduate programs in the future.  

A motion was made to endorse the B.A./B.S. in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement degree program, and the motion passed unanimously.

The final new degree request on the agenda today is for a B.A./B.S. in Environmental Studies. This new degree request also arose from the strategic planning initiative. This is a multidisciplinary and multi-college endeavor. In response to a question about whether the program might draw students from existing programs, it was stated that this degree program will provide another landing spot for students. For a university our size, the number of majors available to students is quite low. We have about half the number of undergraduate programs than many other universities our size.

A motion was made to endorse the B.A./B.S. in Environmental Studies degree program, and the motion passed unanimously.

The next item on the agenda is the consent agenda for the follow-up reports. The reports included on the consent agenda are the following: B.S. in Electrical Engineering; B.S. and M.S. in Communicative Disorders; Doctor of Jurisprudence; B.A. in Russian; B.A., M.A., and M.S. in Art; B.A. in Art History; B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Art; and B.S.Ed. in Art Education. Anyone can bring out one or more of these reports if they want to have a discussion on these reports. At the Agenda Committee meeting in February it was decided that if we had follow-up reports that fully addressed the items and information requested, they could be put on a consent agenda.

A motion was made to approve the consent agenda items as a block. The motion passed unanimously.

The APC turned to the follow-up reports listed in item number 5 on the agenda. The APC has had ongoing discussions about these follow-up reports because there have been several follow-up reports completed on these issues. The APC should continue requesting follow-up reports until there is closure on the issues.

The B.G.S. degree program was asked to provide a follow-up report on the creation of learning outcomes, a capstone experience, and an advisory group; development and implementation of an assessment plan; and enrollment and demand data. The B.G.S. belongs to the university, and the Colleges of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) and Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) both have high enrollments and award the B.G.S. degree. A couple of other colleges award the B.G.S. contract major, but due to the structure of the contract major there are small enrollments in these programs. Primarily LAS has been the college that has marketed the B.G.S. and worked with students off campus. When the LAS B.G.S. degree program was started, its focus was on providing a degree completion program for place-bound, working off-campus students. HHS was looking for a broadly defined degree program to serve their students who have applied associate of science degrees, and the degree in HHS is oriented toward leadership. The students who enroll in this program already have their content area covered. The B.G.S. in HHS and LAS serve different populations, but they are both general in their scope. The enrollment in the B.G.S. in both colleges is growing substantially.

The two items that remain unresolved are the learning outcomes and the assessment plan. The HHS program is very different from the program in LAS. Having one set of learning outcomes for both colleges will not be possible. The HHS B.G.S. goals will look more like goals for a specific major, but every major should talk about what the major gives back to the baccalaureate goals. The baccalaureate goals are for everybody. The ILAS 390 capstone course ties the course work all together. Could we suggest that they split the emphases and come up with learning outcomes for the different emphases? That is OK to do, but we still need to have a set of outcomes for the degree program. This will be difficult because there are two different curricula, two sets of learning outcomes, two different sets of students, etc. The Baccalaureate Review Task Force should be informed that the APC discussed these issues and because the B.G.S. is quite different in HHS and LAS, the task force needs to think about general overarching goals and specific goals.

A question was asked about how many students are seeking the B.G.S. degree in LAS; is this number increasing and is it a different type of student. A person can obtain a baccalaureate credential without majoring in anything. When students are in a specific major they are taking courses that are overseen by professorial faculty, so the faculty decide who receives a degree. One large audience for this degree is off-campus students who are working full time and want to complete a bachelorís degree. These students want a broad based degree because they have career goals in mind that are not degree specific, and the program also provides an opportunity for NIU to keep students here who may have been denied acceptance into limited admissions programs. There is a structure to the degree, and the departments pick the faculty who teach these courses. This degree has been well thought out and planned by the faculty. Think of this like the difference between a generalist and a specialist. At some schools the best students pick the bachelor of liberal studies or the bachelor of general sciences.

A motion was made to ask the Baccalaureate Review Task Force to consider the APC concerns and to provide a follow-up report next year on the learning outcomes and the implementation of an assessment plan. The motion passed unanimously.

A program report on the curriculum revisions and the implementation of the assessment plan were requested for the M.S. in Management Information Systems degree program. The program did a nice job on documenting the curriculum revisions, but there was no information about the assessment plan other than they were planning to develop their plan. This program was reviewed in 2005-2006. 

A motion was made to ask for another follow-up report next year on the implementation of the assessment plan for the M.S. in Management Information Systems. The motion passed unanimously.

All the programs in the School of Theatre and Dance were asked to address the same questions. In the program review process we ask programs to identify internal indicators to measure their own progress, and we asked programs to report on a minimum of four indicators. The school has provided some information on these indicators, but it is incomplete. In addition there are statements on learning outcomes, but some of them are not learning outcomes. This makes it difficult to implement an assessment plan. The programs were also asked to report assessment findings. There is some information in the follow-up report on assessment findings, but it is not comprehensive. There is no information that shows a systematic implementation of their assessment plans. It might be helpful if there was a discussion about these issues to help the school clarify what is being requested.

A motion was made to request another follow-up report next year on benchmarking indicators, learning outcomes at the program level, and findings from the implementation of the assessment plans. An offer will be made to consult with individuals who can help the school with this information. The motion passed unanimously.

The Office of Economic Education was asked to provide a follow-up report on the activities of the office since the 2007 review and plans for the future. When the office was reviewed in 2007, concerns were raised about the level of activity and the number of individuals engaged in these activities. Last year the APC received a follow-up report that didnít clarify future plans very much. There was a meeting held to discuss possible alternatives to revitalizing this office as it works with Econ Illinois, and there has been some correspondence going back and forth regarding these issues. Right now we donít have an answer for you about the future direction of this office, but we can come back next year to talk about this issue again. It is clear that Econ Illinois is pointing to other programs at other universities that have viable opportunities. There are resources available to work on this issue. There are some schools that teach students to be economically literate and they need to get teachers up to speed on how to teach this information to their students.

A motion was made to ask for a follow-up report next year regarding plans for the future of the office. The motion passed unanimously.

The next APC meeting will be held on April 26.

The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn Cradduck

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