Council for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

October 9, 2007, 12:15pm
Academic Affairs Conference room, ADM 350

In attendance: Ed Pratt (chair), Scott Adams, Diane Alperin, Sandy Norman, John Pritchett, Karl Stevens, Gary Perry, Tim Lenz

1.  The minutes of the September 11, 2007, meeting were approved as distributed.

2.  Ed stated that the Freshman Reading Committee (FRC) met last Friday and things are moving very quickly. Barclay Barrios, chair of the committee, and each college representative sent an email to their faculty asking for reading suggestions by Friday of this week.  The FRC will reduce the number to 2 or 3 books and make a decision.  Ed went on to say that the structure of the Core Curriculum Committee was approved by the UUPC.  It will be a subcommittee of the UUPC and will be represented by 3 faculty from Arts & Letters, 2 from Science, and 1 from each of the other colleges.  There will be one vote per college.

3.  Ed discussed some initial successes for Supplemental Instruction in Math for Liberal Arts and distributed preliminary data for the first exam.  For all 8 sections of MGF, of the 548 students who took the exam, the average grade was 47.96%.  The average of the 95 students who attended at least one SI session was 58.95%.  The average of the 43 students who attended two or more SI sessions was 63.05%.  Only 25% of students who took the exam earned a score of 70 or higher.  Of the students who attended SI, 32% had a grade of 70 or higher.  Of the students who attended two or more SI sessions, 43% had a grade of 70 or higher.  With SI, it is especially important that SI leaders and instructors publicize such data so as to encourage more students to attend.  Gary Perry said that motivation comes from the students and asked how we get them to understand that it is in their best interests to attend.  He stated there should be mandatory SI sessions; Ed said that the SI institute in St. Louis favors voluntary participation but that several institutions make it mandatory, especially in mathematics courses.  Ed expressed the concern that we might need space in the math labs for the SI sessions as space was limited now.  There is no preliminary data at this time for College Algebra. 

4.  Ed distributed a plan outlining a tentative structure of the Teaching Learning Center (TLC).  The Center will be comprised of a Writing Center and a mathematics center, which will oversee math tutoring, the math computing lab, math placement testing, and math review workshops.  He would like students to take a math placement test in the summer to help them prepare for fall.  Gary suggested a math boot camp; Ed said that could be considered if we had funding.  Ed said that the Lifelong Learning Center might contribute funds toward our initiatives with freshman mathematics courses.  Gary explained that some students are not interested in what they are taught or how they relate to it.  He feels that teaching enhancement workshops would be helpful, especially if they tackle issues like student motivation and student learning.  The TLC would also house SI coordination, learning community coordination, study skills workshops, and the coordination of SLS courses.  There will be a tutoring center for face-to-face tutoring – both scheduled and drop-in – for students in high risk courses, especially in math and science.  There should also be online and phone-in tutoring for commuting students.  There will be a teaching center that will support teaching enhancement workshops. Gary said that his college had a master teacher program.  It holds an intensive two-day seminar in which new faculty attend teaching workshops.  Experienced faculty become mentors of the new faculty, attending their classes and offering advice about their teaching style.  Tim Lenz commented that the UFS used to support teaching workshops, and he would like to see more of them.  Provost Pritchett suggested that Tim bring it up under new business at the next UFS meeting and he will back him up.  Ed said that he wanted the TLC to be a resource not just for students facing academic difficulty.  The TLC should house a service learning coordinator and an undergraduate research coordinator.  He also suggested that we should have someone in the Center who would assist students in finding answers to their questions and who would make sure that their questions were answered in a timely manner.  There have been too many complaints about this in the past.  Provost Pritchett suggested that this may be something that the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies might want to tackle now, before the TLC is operational.  Discussion then focused on how we are going to advertise the TLC and measure its success.  Scott Adams said that we need a TLC website and that we should strategize about what should go on the site and how to publicize it.  We should have software that lets us know how many students access the site.  We should also be able to track the students. 

5.  New Business
An announcement should be made about the name change of CTESS.

During the meeting, we enjoyed a fine lunch provided by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 12:15pm in the BOT room in Admin. 305.

Meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.

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