EPAG Minutes
January 30, 2007
9:45-11:15, Campus Center 214

Kendrick Brown, Beth Cleary, Terri Fishel, Ellen Guyer, Diane Michelfelder, Jayne Niemi, Joan Ostrove, Wang Ping, Michael Schneider,  David Seitz, Peter Weisensel (co-chair), Karl Wirth (co-chair)

  1. Minutes:  The minutes from January 23rd were approved.  In reviewing those minutes, we revised our plans about bringing the calendar change to the faculty.  Because it is not a permanent change, the consensus is that we will announce it to the faculty as a one-time change, rather than bring it as a motion, which would be required if it was a permanent change to the academic year calendar.
  2. Course Change Proposals:  Jayne distributed a revised draft of the February 1st circulation memo.  The revisions reflected new requests since the January 23rd meeting.
  3. ES Department Review:  We discussed the review of the Environmental Studies department and the department’s response.  Overall the review was enthusiastic and positive.  EPAG members commented on the lack of science (particularly lab) courses and the impact that might have on the preparation of our students.  Addition of a lab to the required ES course (133) might assuage the concerns expressed.    Similar concerns were expressed about the movement away from statistics to a methods course, which may or may not be a statistics course.  There was some discussion of whether the perceptions of the ES program are an accident of historical geography – would the number of science courses be as much of a discussion point if the department had been situated in another building from its inception?   The reviewers comments about students of color disappointed some, but we were more encouraged by the department’s response to that issue.
  4. Dean’s List:  Currently, the College does not have an official Dean’s List, although the Provost sends a letter congratulating students on their academic achievement.  This letter is sent to any student with a term GPA of 3.70 at the time the letter is generated.  We have anecdotal evidence that students and others may wish to have a formal Dean’s List.  The group endorsed the idea, and we discussed the draft that Jayne provided.    Ellen and Jayne will come with a revised draft next week that will address the timing of the list.   They will also solicit information from Dan Balik about whether students who concentrate in particular divisions are disadvantaged by GPA-based honors of any sort. 
  5. Latin Honors:  It was agreed that the high number of recipients of Latin Honors is enough of a problem that we should reconsider the qualifications.  Ellen presented possible options based on an “acceptable” percentage of the graduating class receiving Latin Honors.  We thought that approximately 30 percent of the class would be an appropriate number, and reviewed some possible GPA cut-off points for the three types of honors.  Ellen will bring a revised set of options next week.
  6. General Education Requirements:  Procedures for requesting General Education designation may need to be streamlined.  The Subcommittees should get changes to Karl.  He’s also contacting those who submitted paper forms to see why they did them off-line.  To increase participation, subcommittees may suggest that certain introductory level courses be targeted first, assuming that most new students will start with those courses. 
  7. Religious Holidays:   We discussed the the visibility of the current list of religious holidays, and whether we should have a policy such as the one U of Penn has.   It would be helpful to have a list that indicates which holidays would require strict observance in lieu of other activities.  Joan and Beth volunteered to act as a subcommittee on the topic, and they will return with a report by the end of February.
  8. The Next Meeting:  Danny Kaplan and Dan Balik will be meeting with us next week to talk about assessment.  We’ll look again at Dean’s list and Latin Honors.  We’ll return to the construction of our agenda so that time for important discussion topics isn’t sacrificed to more routine items.

Adjourned 11:17 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jayne Niemi, Registrar