EPAG Minutes

October 9, 2006

2:45-4:15, Campus Center 205


Kendrick Brown, Cheryl Contant,  Ellen Guyer,  Diane Michelfelder, Jayne Niemi, Wang Ping, Michael Schneider,  Jacob Wartman, Peter Weisensel (co-chair), Karl Wirth (co-chair)


  1. The minutes from the last meeting were approved. 
  2. The Study Abroad document of May 5, 2006 was reviewed quickly, and all of the SARC members will use it in judging and ranking proposals during this round of applications. 
  3. A request from an ad hoc committee for a concentration in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies was reviewed.  Diane reviewed some of the history of the development of the proposal.  There were questions about the need for a capstone in a concentration at all, in addition to concerns about whether students would have the prerequisites necessary for the departmental capstone courses suggested, and the work-load issues for students since they must complete a capstone in their major or majors.  The African Studies concentration seems to offer a broader set of options for an integrative course, and we like it better as a model.   While no one questioned the value of teaching Arabic here at Macalester (it would be offered through the Classics department), requiring it (or other languages) for the concentration would then require too many courses.  We prefer that it be strongly recommended, rather than required.   One thought was that some students might be attracted to the concentration through other courses and then will become interested in learning languages of the region.    We think the concentration’s language recommendations should be uncoupled from the College’s language requirement.  We have thought of other courses that could be on the list (for example, courses that deal with the resources of the region) and we think that the list should be expanded to include courses from other departments.  This would alleviate the concerns of sustainability that arose from seeing so many topics courses on the recommended list of courses. 
  4. The forms for General Education Requirement approval are nearly ready.  The department chair approval piece is still causing us headaches.  We decided that for this first time, we’ll ask instructors to print a copy for the chair to sign and have the chair send the signed form to the committee.   The committees will get a file printed from the electronic forms, and will then have to match that with the signed page from the department chair. No course will be considered without the signed copy from the chair.
  5. We returned to the discussion of a certificate program.  Diane thinks of it as a type of recognition like a “dean’s list”.   We need to ask directly:  Is this something that is intended to be on the student’s transcript?    Some of us still don’t see how it is different than a major, as it is currently presented.  What do students think?  A student last year characterized it as “mickey mouse”.  What would it look like on the resume of a graduate?    It’s our impression that this proposal still weighs too heavily on the curricular side if it’s not supposed to be a major or concentration.  We would like to see broader departmental participation in the development of this proposal.    No action will be taken until we have a more detailed proposal from the committee.



Adjourned 4:20 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Jayne Niemi, Registrar