Undergraduate Academic Council

Meeting Date:
Thursday, April 1, 2004, 9:45 AM-11:19 AM.

Deborah Bernard, Gerald Burke, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Reed Hoyt, Trudi Jacobson, Clarence McNeill (Guest); Sue Phillips, Joan Savitt, Helene Scheck, Greg Stevens

Minutes from the March 25, 2004 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. The minutes, with required updates, were approved.

Chair’s Report:
- The Executive Committee requested Dick Collier to write a resolution for the next Senate
meeting concerning the SUNY-wide assessment proposal. This has been done and will be
presented at the April 19th meeting of the University Senate.
- The Committee is still struggling with the definition of applied electives. Can we better define
what we will and will not count for applied electives?

Other Business
Dick Collier mentioned he has not received paperwork from the School of Education regarding the revision of Earth Science BS and Social Studies BA. The Dean mentioned she will contact Michael Green to discuss the matter.

Classification of Courses and Limits on Transfer Credits

A first draft for classification of courses and limits on transfer credits was discussed. It was suggested we eliminate a definition of applied credits. Some courses will always be considered as falling within a not for credit category. In reviewing the classification of courses handout, it was noted that the wording incorporates current policy but eliminates reference to two and four year schools as well as the definition of applied electives. The wording “At the University at Albany, undergraduate courses are classified as ‘liberal arts and sciences’ that have a content, either formal or systematic, that provides the student in either a general or theoretical sense with a guide for appreciating the arts, the philosophical implications of life, or an understanding of the social or physical environment.” has been on the books for many years. The Dean mentioned that it is unclear what is meant by “an understanding of the social or physical environment”. For example, the Dean is a member of the IT Commons Steering Committee, which is beginning to explore ways that the School of Information Science and Policy school can partner with other departments including those in A&S for academic programs. There is an increasing blurring between computer science and information science classes. The “liberal” definition needs to be broadened for interdisciplinary studies outside A&S. There is no definition on why one is labeled liberal arts and another is not. Non-liberal arts degrees are skilled based. Can liberal arts teach you a particular skill? What if the skill is relevant for background and study in the discipline? The definition should embrace a broader list of disciplines such as math, sciences, etc. It was acknowledged that we could attempt to define it forever, and we should do the best as we can. Most social welfare classes are not A&S, but what is the difference between work in social welfare and criminal justice? The suggestion was made that applied elective decisions occur at the departmental level. What happens when two departments disagree, such as Political Science granting credit but Mathematics Department denying the same student credit? Can the Committee come up with a definition of principles for inclusion or exclusion? Bob Gibson mentioned in his review of HVCC, there are 194 existing applied credits and 207 non-credited courses. He is concerned about removing the “applied elective credits” terminology. If they are removed, the student is required to take more credits, will attend more semesters at a higher level, endure more tuition costs, etc. The Dean mentioned the Community and Public Service Programs Steering Committee was recently created. It includes all academic units and explores ways to provide service learning in disciplines in chemistry, music, biology, geography, etc. We would like to increase the use of service learning in the classroom as a learning process. It may become a one-credit add on. Another area of change is that the old definition is not applicable to upcoming changes in curriculum. Community service and service learning are two different definitions. The given example was a class learning about disability studies versus staffing a booth at a mall for Ronald McDonald House. Could we define both liberal arts and science and then have departmental reviews? All is up for re-designation. Per our definition, everything is liberal arts and science unless it’s specifically not. Perhaps it is simpler to define what is not counted than what is counted. It was agreed that there are three categories: courses with no credits, courses which are applied elective credits, and all others would be labeled as arts and science. For transfer courses, the categories are: classes which we will not count for credit, very limited number which are not significant academic component and are applied electives, and all others would be labeled as arts and sciences. Perhaps we should be more accepting of A&S credits and send all remaining ones to the departments for their decision? Should we remove non-liberal arts terminology but keep the applied credits wording?

The Dean mentioned that ROTC classes are not in Public Administration’s budget. Although Pub Admin approves these courses, it does not teach them. Students in ROTC and non-ROTC may both have 12 credits of applied electives. It was mentioned that there is a danger in making everything the same and not seeing distinctions. Before a blanket statement is written, we should study possible degree outcomes. The erasure of borders is of concern. Will departments be fused? A reminder was given of the need to meet Department of Education requirements with any update. There is a dated view on core disciplines and applied fields that draw on core disciplines. The major, minor, and gen ed are the strength of a degree. Should everything be A&S unless a department states it is not? The three basic categories are credits we take, credits taken in limited numbers, and credits having always been counted. There are many courses not counted towards the 120 credits. Transfer credits are limited by what is considered Albany’s core. All credits from transfer students are processed, but not all are applied credits, as is shown now on DARS. What of the 12 credit maximum when internships allow up to 15 credits? We want the best-informed decision. Dick Collier will present Draft #2 at the next Committee meeting.

Senior 100-level Registration

A few senior students have been denied 100 level course registration at the departmental level. The Dean will negotiate with the College of Arts and Science regarding this matter. Two course sequences also will be affected by departmental refusal to grant student access to requested classes. Departments need to better advise students in their major, minor, and gen ed.

Meeting adjourned at 11:19 AM.

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Thursday, 4/15/04, 9:45 AM, LC-31.

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies