COMMITTEE:   Academic Standards Committee      


MEETING DATE:   April 21, 2008




REGULAR MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Linda Crane Mitchell, Mark Richardson, Nancy Spalding, and Yazid Finn (Student Body President Representative)


EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE:   George Bailey, Michael Brown, Linner Griffin, and Mark Sprague


OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE:  Dr. Sharon Ballard (Chair of the University Service Learning Advisory Committee), Dr. Nobuaki Takahashi (Department of Foreign Languages—Japanese) and Dr. Michael Poteat 






Agenda Item:     Approval of the minutes from the 3/17/08 meeting


Action Taken:   Minutes approved


Agenda Item: Discussion with Dr. Sharon Ballard, Chair of the University Service Learning Advisory Committee, regarding giving service learning courses that are approved by the committee and meet the established criteria for a service learning designation that would appear in the course catalog as well as the student’s transcript.


Discussion:   Dr. Sharon Ballard explained that the Service Learning Committee was formed to review courses that contain a service-learning component and do so in a way that directly connects with the course content.  The committee wants to propose a voluntary “Service Learning” designation for courses that include a service-learning component.  The designation would be helpful not only to students to identify courses that include such a component as part of the course requirements, but also later on for potential employers who are interested in seeing such community service when studying the transcript of a student applying for employment.  She clarified that the committee has emphasized that the service activities are integrated into course work because service learning is not just volunteer work or community service.  Academic study is the primary focus of all “SL” courses and the service component is designed to enhance the academic focus.  She distributed to the members of the committee a handout outlining the Service Learning Course submission process and the submission form. One committee member asked that in making such a designation if this is leading to an eventual requirement that more (or most) courses taught at ECU should carry such a designation as a requirement.  Dr. Ballard explained that the committee just wanted to recognize those courses that included a component and to recognize those instructors that took the time to include such a component as well as those students who elected to pursue such a course.  Dr. Bailey asked about those courses that do include service learning—do all need to go through the process to get such a designation—is it a requirement.  Dr. Ballard stated that the process is purely voluntary; courses may include service learning and not request a review for the special designation.  The committee has been actively trying to look at all the courses that do contain service learning so that they can be recognized as such.   Dr. Griffin explained that from her knowledge of being a member of the committee, that all 75 service-learning courses that were in existence at the time of the committee’s formation were submitted and reviewed.  The committee agreed that the process of review and recognition by the “SL” designation seemed acceptable.  A motion to approve the service learning designation for courses so reviewed was brought forward.


Action Taken:  The motion was approved.


Agenda Item:   Discussion of INTL 2004 (Introduction to Japanese Culture), a revision of an previous course, for Foundations Credit in the Area of Humanities


Discussion:  The instructor proposing the course from the Department of Foreign Languages, Dr. Nobuaki Takahashi, introduced the course to the committee, discussed its content, and outlined how the course met each of the three goals for Foundations credit.  He explained how the course was previously taught by a different Japanese instructor who has now since left ECU, and that the course has been redesigned to focus on issues of Japanese culture and how it differs from American culture.  Dr. Takahashi stated that he had some difficulties in preparing the materials for our committee (specifically understanding the three Foundation goals as they might apply to this revised course).  He tried in his justification to address how students would be developing their writing skills and brought some of the textbooks that will be used and cited Internet resources.  He stated that he wants to seek Humanities credit for this course (like similar courses in Korean and Chinese culture already offered at ECU).   One committee member asked how he intended to have an insightful comparison with American culture where there are no textbooks listed that that address this.  Takahashi answered that students will compare Japanese to American culture by drawing upon and sharing their own personal experience of American customs.  Dr. Bailey asked Dr. Takahasi why he was asking for Foundations credit in the area of Humanities rather than in the Social Sciences.  From the types of textbooks used and the nature of the activities described, it seemed more suitable for a course in the area of Social Science.  Dr. Wolfe explained that she had discussed this with Dr. Takahasi and recommended that he seek Humanities credit because in the organization of his course he doesn’t plan to teach social science methodology—a requirement for any Foundations course in this field.  Dr. Bailey countered, however, that the course as it now stands doesn’t truly reflect a course in the Humanities—especially not a Foundations credit course that should teach the research methodologies for courses in this discipline.  He said the Foundation goals must be addressed clearly—students MUST learn the methodologies for the discipline from the Foundations courses.  Bailey said that students are taking courses for Humanities credit but not getting the point of what the humanities are about.  Literature can put you in touch with what it is like to be Japanese.  Dr. Takahasi explained that he wants to adapt the course so that it meets our requirements, and that he is willing to change the course to get Humanities credit.  Linda Wolfe recommends that Dr. Takahasi think more about the revision of the course, seek help in reformatting the course into a Humanities or Social Science course by work closely with Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. George Bailey who offer their assistance, and return in the fall with a revised course for new consideration.


Action Taken:   The committee agreed with Dr. Wolfe’s recommendation and the revised course would be reconsidered in the fall for Foundations credit.


Agenda Item:  Discussion of the use of the SOIS for an instrument in evaluating teaching quality, the on-line version of the SOIS, and the ability for faculty and administrators to securely access the SOIS survey results on the internet.


Discussion:  The committee discussed the posting of the SOIS results on One-

Stop for access to specified faculty and administrators.  It was decided that this could be acceptable only if this could be made secure—that faculty members could only look at their own individual SOIS results through a secure gateway.  It was agreed that this should be our suggestion to be taken to the Faculty Senate for approval.  Additionally, the statement that the committee drafted concerning the role of the SOIS in faculty evaluation of teaching had been further refined—particularly with regard to how the data from the SOIS was to be evaluated.  Dr. Poteat brought several handouts to share showing different statistical models and how they demonstrated that the ratings from the SOIS instrument is not the best indicator for teaching effectiveness. 


The committee agreed to the following revision of the statement that the ASC would take to the faculty senate for their approval.  It represents our substitute proposal for the Appendix C. Section III statement of the Student Opinion of Instruction survey.  The statement that the ASC would like the faculty senate to consider is as follows:

“The quality of teaching must be evaluated by means of:

a.  formal methods of peer review, including direct observation of the classroom teaching of new and tenure-track faculty
b.  other methods of evaluation including materials such as syllabi, reading lists, outlines, examinations, audiovisual materials, student manuals, samples of student's work on assignments, projects, papers, examples of student achievement, and other materials prepared for or relevant to instruction.
c.  data from surveys of student opinion when an individual faculty member’s data is consistently (more than 2 semesters) and significantly different (in the top 10 percent or the bottom 10 percent of the distribution) when compared to similar courses in the unit.
d.  other procedures provided for in unit codes.”


Action Taken:  A motion was offered and seconded to approve the revised statement.  The committee approved the motion.


ADJOURNED:   3:30 p.m.