Committees Educational Policy and Governance Macalester College

Educational Policy and Governance (EPAG)


EPAG Minutes
November 27, 2007
4:30-6:00, CC 215

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

  1. The minutes from the previous meeting were approved, with thanks to Terri for volunteering. 
  2. Kendrick reported on the recent meeting of the Grants Committee.   The conversation focused on how to be strategic about staffing grant positions.  There was also some conversation about the proposed new sabbatical policy.
  3. Karl Wirth gave an update on IDEA center course evaluations.  Preparations are underway on instructions for the surveys that will be distributed this week.  More than 70 faculty have signed up.  Now is the time to add institutional questions.   We advised Karl to code for as many possible categories (FY courses, capstones, gen eds, depts., divisions, NT/TT) as might occur. 
  4. Kendrick gave an update on the Human Rights & Humanitarianism concentration.  An objection has been raised, and the individual who raised the objection has indicated that this objection is not separable from the larger issue of concentrations.  We discussed what might happen at the faculty meeting.
  5. CNS discussion.  Eric says it’s hard to respond to the set of questions presented by EPAG because CNS is operating in year 4 of a 6 year plan that was agreed on by multiple people.  The questions pre-suppose that CNS is a de facto department, when they are not officially a department – they need the EPAG decree of whether or not they are a department before they can really answer.  He’s happy to answer personally, but can’t answer for the program since there is not complete agreement among its faculty.   We asked for a clarification on allocation questions.  We learned that the replacement of the “Cousens” position in psychology is not the CNS position.  So, in Psychology there would be a Cognitive Psychologist that would contribute to the CNS curriculum, but who also covers general psychology courses.  The position in the CNS proposal would not be for a Cognitive neuroscientist – rather, someone much more biochemical.  To achieve the “floor” of 2 FTE in an interdisciplinary department of CNS, we would use half of Wiertelak, possibly half of Lea, and a full third person teach “molecular level” courses.  We wondered what the impact might be on the psychology curriculum?  We discussed overlap with other departments and the impact of that – we would hope there would not be a complete overlap, rather an expansion of the talents available at the College.   What is our next step?  Eric departed the room while we discussed the options.  Upon his return, we asked about the possibility of returning to the model of CNS and Psychology becoming one department with two majors.  We thought this option might be viable now and asked to see an updated proposal?  We plan to give courtesy notification to Biology of our plan.
  6. Jayne asked for comments, questions on the course change proposals that she had summarized.  Hearing no objections, the changes were approved, and will be circulated to the faculty on December 3.
  7. The History Department review and response were discussed.  Peter left the room for this discussion.   Kendrick will summarize our comments including positive changes since the last review, our agreement with the reviewers recommendation that visitors and others teach to the curriculum and not necessarily teach their specialty, the request to clarify the way the major is described so that non-history advisers and students alike can get a sense of where a potential major should start, and that mentoring and advising issues should be addressed and planned for.  
  8. We reviewed our email discussions about overlap in the AMS proposal.  In the discussion it was pointed out that the concern is about the integrity of disciplinary majors in general, not the student experience.  Kendrick asked us to convey our opinions to him via email by Wednesday afternoon, so that he could move ahead with communication with the department.

Adjourned 6:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jayne Niemi, Registrar


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