Council for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

September 11, 2007, 12:15pm
Provost's Conference Room, ADM 350

In attendance: Ed Pratt, Chair, Scott Adams, Diane Alperin, Charles Brown, Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín, Sandy Norman, John Pritchett, Karl Stevens, Leslie Terry (rep for Gary Perry), Tim Lenz.

1.  The minutes of the May 18, 2007 meeting were approved as distributed.

2.  Mary Ann reported that there were over 1,000 students who attended the Freshman Convocation.  She received 600 rsvps.  The excellent turnout was due to the efforts of Orientation leaders, RAs, and Freshman Advising Services staff who were instrumental in getting the word out to freshmen.  She also received 50 rsvps from faculty but many more attended.  Discussion then ensued on the length of the Convocation.  The Provost stated that some faculty complained that it was too long; Sandy added that some parents had similar complaints.  Mary Ann said that the issue was brought up at the last meeting of the Freshman Convocation Committee, and the President remarked that future convocations should last no more than 60 minutes from start to finish.  Mary Ann went on to say that the Orchid Society received 12 new memberships at the reception.  She added that two scholarships of $2,500 each will be presented at next year's Convocation.

3.  Ed stated that the creation of a Freshman Reading Committee has been approved by UUPC.  Each college will have one representative and Barclay Barrios from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will serve as chair.  The committee, which will be a subcommittee of UUPC, will have a number of charges, including not only the selection of the reading but whether it should be incorporated into ENC 1101; whether to make the reading a requirement; and, if it is, how to handle those admitted in the spring term and those APing out of ENC 1101.  The committee will also discuss whether the reading program should continue to be linked to the convocation.

4.  Ed announced that the office of Student Retention has a new Assistant Director, Brooke Crossman, and that she will be responsible for the management of the LLCs.  Ed will be attending the National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA) conference at the end of the month.  Funds for Brooke's salary and travel to the NCLCA will be paid from CTESS.  Discussion ensued on the genesis of CTESS.  The Provost explained that it was part of Strategic Plan Objective 3, which is to promote the academic success and improve the retention rate of FTIC students.  Ed asked if anyone had an objection to changing the name to something that would more clearly indicate the center’s purpose. Tim Lenz had suggested naming it the Teaching Learning Center.  No one had an objection to this new name.

5.  Ed has been working on initiatives relating to the high DFW rates in freshman mathematics courses, in particular Math for the Liberal Arts and College Algebra.  The Provost and Ed met with the chair of the Mathematics Department and Dean Perry to discuss the general problem, and it was decided that Daniel Raviv from the College of Engineering would work with the College Algebra faculty to examine the course content, the manner in which it is presented, and the effects of smaller class size on DFW rates.  Another initiative underway is the start of Supplemental Instruction (SI), headed by Jennifer Bebergal.  Eight students who earned an "A" in MGF 1106 last year have been hired to help 600+ MGF students this semester succeed.  The SI program has been successful at other universities, and Ed hopes that it will increase the pass rate for student in these courses.  Eventually the SI program will be expanded to include many other “historically difficult” courses.  Another possible initiative in the future might be to start “refresher math” workshops in the summer to better prepare students who have not had math for several years.  Ed is meeting with Terry Mena, Matthew Jarrett, and Chris Mack to discuss possible SGA funding for the various math initiatives.  Ed also stated that money was transferred to the Mathematics department from CTESS for the hire of tutors to staff the math labs. 

6.  Ed met with Barry Rosson to discuss teaching enhancement workshops for GTAs on such topics as teaching critical thinking skills, the uses and misuses of technology (and Blackboard), teaching large lecture courses, generating discussion, teaching writing, etc.  They met with faculty who have been involved in such workshops in the past and asked for their input on how to structure them.  Ed and Barry are also organizing a communication skills workshop for GTAs who are non-native speaker of English.  The workshop will include accent reduction training, teaching techniques, and cross-cultural communications training.  Ed met with some TESOL faculty from the School of Education, and they will assist in locating web sites, CD-ROMS, and the like.  It might be too late in the semester to structure a larger project, so the emphasis now might best be placed on accent reduction.  He will ask Jeff Galin if any of the UCEW staff with TESL experience could assist.  Their job would be to assist the GTAs in their pronunciation and speaking styles and also to do some initial screening of the GTAs to determine those who need this assistance.  The GTAs would have to deliver a lecture for 5-10 minutes, and the screening committee would assign scores to each. 

7.  Ed stated that Jeff Galin continues his WAC Workshops.  There have been over 80 faculty attending so far this year.

8.  The UUPC meeting on September 7th charged Ed to come up with a composition to a new Core Curriculum Committee, which will replace the Core Curriculum Task Force and be a subcommittee to UUPC.  One way to possibly structure the new committee would be to have greater representation from Arts and Letters and Science, but each college represented on the committee would have only one vote.  Tim said that the new core curriculum needs to focus more on skills and that we need to have a better understanding of how the core is to be assessed.

9.  No objections were raised to holding CEUE meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 12:15 pm.

10.  Ed is working on an undergraduate research symposium for spring, which will include poster sessions and talks.

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

The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 12:15pm.

Meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

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