Clerk’s Committee Minutes, April 13, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday April 13, 2017 2:30 pm

  1.  Members gathered in silence at 2:35 pm. In attendance: Dave Dobson (Clerk), Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Gwen Erickson, Kathryn Shields, Don Smith (minute taker), Eva Lawrence, and Beth Rushing
  2. The minutes from April 6th were approved with minor amendments.  
  3. A proposal from Terry Hammond was received regarding the acquisition of new works of art, recently donated to the Hege Library collection.  The items seemed to fill gaps in our current collection, and most of them have relevance for multiple course offerings.

The proposal was approved.

  1. We considered a proposal from multiple departments, forwarded from Curriculum Committee, to create an interdisciplinary public health major.  

A concern was raised that the description of the three aspects of the program, as presented in the catalog language, was not clear without the clarifying language later in the proposal, and might not make sense when extracted and presented on its own.  We suggested breaking that list out into bullet points.  

A concern was raised whether the staffing of the program was appropriate, in terms of depending on part-time faculty to teach courses critical for the major.  The feeling is that the large student interest will allow the program to blossom and support the development of permanent staffing.

Historically, interdisciplinary (ID) programs have been mandatory double-major programs.  It’s not clear whether this is a stand-alone major, or whether it needs to piggy-back on a second major.  The course requirements seem lengthy, as compared to other ID programs at Guilford, which would seem to imply there would be no second major.  We would like the proposers to clarify whether a second major or minor is required and provide a short justification, as this issue was a primary sticking point for other, similar proposals.

A suggestion was made that they consider intermediate language courses (202-level) for the communications requirement.  For example, there is a need for public health workers in the US who are fluent in Spanish.

We approved returning the proposal to the authors with these requests for clarification and modification, although our general reaction was positive.  Given the closing window for the end of the semester, we will distribute the revised draft to the faculty in preparation for the April 26th meeting, where we will bring it forward for approval.

  1. We discussed our reactions from the Faculty Forum on 4/12 regarding the General Education curriculum revision and plans for 4/19.

We felt like the conversation yesterday was more about concerns than narrative.  Yesterday was much more focused on details, which makes us feel like we are further apart than we are (might be?).  If we have more vision-oriented conversations, we might be able find ways that the LAGER proposal can be structured to fit the narrative.  There’s a danger that “big picture questions” might move us backwards rather than forwards.  “How does this fit our *mission*?” might be a productive question.  On the other hand, our “mission” might not be clear or unifying.  

We spent some time discussing specific aspects of the 4.5 structure.  The FYS equivalent is a compromise between those who wanted more and those who wanted less.  The language requirement seems to only be troubling a few people.  Writing: no one is worried about 101/102 equivalent.  Tim Kircher’s suggestions for modifying the text were helpful.

It may be that we have been talking about it too much, and it might be time to put forward what we have and see what we can approve?  

The proposal seems to have drifted back to where we started.  Certain features have shifted in form, but play the same role.  We remove minors and put in the CiP, we take out HP, but there’s historical thinking in the writing classes.  The CPs are threaded in there… why not just keep the same curriculum we have if we’re not going to change it?

We discussed whether the pressure to approve something was pushing us in healthy directions.  The budget reality is that if we don’t change the curriculum now, resources will not be assigned to the faculty/curriculum.  There is a window that is closing — there is a bunch of money that is going to be allocated.  This is our chance to build something that will last.  That investment capital will not be there next year, if we delay.

These are all the negative themes that are dragging us down.  It would be very sad if, after all this, we can’t do anything at the end of the year, and we have to say that we’ll have to simply piggyback on whatever Jane does.  On the other hand, the new proposal does move interdisciplinary projects into the curriculum in ways that are new and can be innovative.  A student could write a play and stage it, or work with ECAR.  Activities that happen now as an extra; they could be centralized and supported.

Perhaps it is time to bring marketing staff into the process to help us with framing, narrative, and choice of words.  They were helpful with XD and the QEP — perhaps they could help here?  

Focus on the 19th: what are you excited about?  What are the opportunities?  Not to change minds, but to share ideas.  What is important for us to keep?

Clerk’s will start a “Clerk’s Version” of the proposal that we will take a stab at revising together.

  1. The meeting closed in silence at 4:02 pm