Reports from the Standing Committees:
Academic Affairs Committee (AA)
Christine Miller (Sacramento), Chair
Online education was front-and-center in our thoughts, in four distinct yet overlapping contexts.
First, the three ASCSU members of the Cal State Online Advisory Board reported to the Senate that dramatic changes were being made to Cal State Online without faculty input, and that the Board was to be dissolved. This report prompted the AA Committee to write a resolution expressing concerns and offering recommendations on how to proceed, which the Senate passed by waiving the first reading rule. Details can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
Next, AA considered online education from the standpoint of a request from the Executive Committee to provide information to Trustee Douglas Faigin. Trustee Faigin graciously accepted an invitation to visit the Senate during its plenary session, and he asked to be briefed on three specific issues: online education, bottleneck courses, and teacher education. AA was tasked with developing “position statements” expressing faculty views on the first two topics. Those who are interested in the AA position statements on online education and bottlenecks (which, in part, address how online education may or may not help solve bottlenecks) are welcome to contact me for further details.
Finally, AA had a brief joint meeting with the Faculty Affairs Committee to talk with Senior Director of Academic Technology Services, Gerard Hanley about the ways in which faculty development issues and course redesign initiatives intersect. Such intersections often feature faculty training and development to teach in online and hybrid environments, and emphasize using high-impact practices in course redesign that are delivered in full or in part via technology.
Beyond these online education issues, our committee also finalized work on the second reading of a resolution extending the Statway pilot project for two years. We also worked on a resolution endorsing changes to Title 5 requirements governing master’s degrees that were suggested by graduate deans and provosts. One change converts from units to percentages the amount of course work master’s students must complete in residence. The second stipulates that a certain percentage of courses must be designed for graduate study (as opposed to organized for graduate students). AA decided, though, to wait until after an upcoming meeting of graduate deans before offering the resolution to the ASCSU so that feedback from this group could be sought.
Finally, and rather importantly, AA pursued another Title 5 resolution that addresses unit limits in engineering programs, arguing that the current 120 semester / 180 quarter unit limits are too low, and an appropriate limit would be 132/198. The resolution was offered to the ASCSU in first reading, and anyone wishing to provide feedback to me is encouraged to do so. I need to receive this feedback prior to our next plenary meeting in January. So, in between raking leaves and holiday festivities, consider dropping an email to firstname.lastname@example.org