Committees Educational Policy and Governance Macalester College

Educational Policy and Governance (EPAG)


EPAG Minutes
September 25, 2007
4:30-6:00, CC 215

Fahima Aziz, Kendrick Brown (chair), Pete Ferderer, Terri Fishel,  Ellen Guyer, Dan Keyser, Paul Maitland-McKinley, David Martyn, Diane Michelfelder,  Jayne Niemi, Manoj Vemula, Peter Weisensel,  Eric Wiertelak, Karl Wirth

Guests:  Dan Hornbach, Jan Serie

  1. The minutes from the September 18th meeting were approved.
  2. Course changes as described in the draft memo to the faculty were approved. 
  3. Jan Serie and Dan Hornbach joined us to provide their perspectives on the CST Director position.  One thing to note is that the original job description was written before there was an idea of what CST would be.   Some faculty consider it to be “one-stop shopping for faculty development”.  Jan commented that Jaine Strauss’s written commentary “said it all”.  The individual conversations between  faculty and the Director are probably not reflected adequately in any job description.  Confidentiality, trust, and listening skills are all essential for any director.  Question:  Is there any circumstance where the CST director would participate in the faculty evaluation process?  Answer:  That gets dicey.  Departmental colleagues were told that there should be no expectation of confidentiality.  Firewalls do not prevent all communication, just certain types of communication.  Some institutions have confidentiality agreements that are public and explicit.  The current director serves as a sounding board for problems, and brainstorming about possible solutions, and the person seeking help usually seeks out others for conversations, at their discretion.   Excellent administrative skill is essential as well.  Question:  Could an Associate Professor fill this job?  What about teaching load?  Answer:  It is important to teach and stay connected.  The closer you stay to faculty life, the better you are as a Director.  Some things (Wallace proposal process, grant directorships, for example) could be given up to other faculty members or administrators.  As for Associate Professors, it’s not that they could not do the job, but it might negatively affect the career path of an Associate Professor.  Asked about the relative importance of advising junior vs senior faculty, Jan said that she spent much of her time consulting with department chairs on matters that went beyond scholarship and teaching to include broader institutional concerns. Dan compared the function of the CST to that of what is sometimes called a "center for campus life" at other institutions. It could be thought of as a place for thinking about the institution, its mission and identity.  All of that is part of building a vibrant academic community.  The CST has more defined objectives, and that’s part of the reason that it’s been successful compared to other structures, such as the Academic Dean positions.  It also works well because it’s in the library!
  4. Kendrick had summarized EPAG-related issues from the Grants Committee meeting of September 19th.  Our discussion of concentrations will have to come up sooner rather than later.  Some concentrations emerge out of common interests.  Some emerge out of grant development. 
  5. We discussed the so-called “SARC Plus” proposal.  It did not include specific mention of responsibility for developing the “recommended” list, which seemed like it should be there.   Is it possible to get rid of the recommended list, if it is confusing instead of helping students and advisers?   Is this proposal essentially creating a fourth faculty committee?  There are faculty governance issues for some in the group.  Monahan was responding to questions brought up by EPAG last year.  Why not leave SARC as is, but ask the IC to have an advisory committee?  This might not help the department communication issues.  There seems to be consensus that SARC should be slightly larger, with a subcommittee reading applications  Their was concern expressed about the subcommittee only having one faculty member – we now have two.  Kendrick suggested that he ask Mike Monahan to rework the proposal, after some conversation about what the problems are that a revamped SARC would solve. 
  6. We discussed the proposal for a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism.  Resources are a big issue, particularly for the library.   Even though this particular proposal may be not as resource-intensive as others, it is representative of problems that will crop up in the future.  Some worry about the expansion of the list of courses – when does the focus become diluted?   There was concern about the work load for students when concentrations require some serious paper or senior seminar.  Faculty can be frustrated in their efforts to get the students together. There were particular questions and suggestions for this concentration proposal which Kendrick will bring to James Dawes for the next version of the proposal. 

Adjourned 6:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jayne Niemi, Registrar


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