CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—October 8, 2012

VAC 105   3:05 PM

Present: Alewitz, M.; Anderson, C.; Antonucci, C.; Arena, J.; Ayalon, A.; Ball, K.; Battle, S.; Beck, M.; Bigelow, L.; Bilisoly, R.; Blake, E.; Blitz, D.; Boscarino, N.; Cappella, D.; Cohen, S.; Cox, S.; Durant, M.; Espelin, J.; Fothergill, W.; Garcia-Bowen, M.; Greenfield, B.; Hoopengardner, B.; Horowitz, S.; Hou, X.; Jackson, A.; Jackson, M.; Johnson, D.; Karpuk, P.; Kean, K.; Kershner, B.; Kovel, J.; Kullgren, A.; Kurkjian, C.; Larsen, K.; Latour, F.; Lisi, P.; Mamed, O.; McGuire, M.; Mejia, G.; Pancsofar, E.; Pearson, F.; Percy, V.; Perry, W.; Poirier, K.; Ragusett, J.; Santoro, K.; Sarisley, E.; Shen, X.; Slaga, S.; Snyder, J.; Tafrate, R.; Tellier, A.; Tully, J.; Walsh, S.; Williams, C.

: Lemma, P.

Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.

President of the Senate: Mulrooney, J.

Guests: Eric Bergenn (SGA President); Mary Pat Bigley (SEPS); Nancy Hoffman (Educational Leadership); Jeff Teitler (Communication)

1. Approval of Minutes, September 24, 2012

Approved unanimously

2. Announcements

a.  AAUP President (J. Jones)

AAUP leadership, CSU Senate Presidents and CSU Curriculum Committee chairs are meeting this weekend to discuss many important issues.

The next chapter meeting is on Monday, October 15, from 3 to 4pm, in the Connecticut Room.

SEBAC Attorney Dan Livingston will be giving a presentation on the Hybrid Retirement Plan on Tuesday, October 23, from 3 to 5pm, in Vance 105.

b.  SUOAF-AFSCME President (L. Hicks absent; O. Mamed made announcements)

SUOAF-AFSCME chapter election is delayed until BOR system office chapter is formed.

There will be a presentation on the SUOAF ARP Hybrid Plan at 8:30am on October 23.

c.  SGA (E. Bergenn)

No announcements.

d.  FAC to the BOR (S. Adair)

No announcements.

e.  President of the Senate (J. Mulrooney)

Due to the Banner upgrade, course enrollment information is no longer available on that system. It is still available on WebCentral.

An e-mail regarding the Sabbatical Leave policy was sent by the Provost's Office. Please remind members of your constituency that all proposals need to be sent to the AAUP office. The new timeline was included in the e-mail.

There will be a CSU Professor search this year, and we should expect an e-mail from the committee by October 15.

As many of you are aware, the retention rate has once again dropped this year to 75.8%. This is a 5.4% drop from our 2009 retention rate and the second consecutive year of a decrease. This past winter and summer, President Mulrooney worked with a team of his students to call every student from the Fall 2010 and Fall 2011 cohort in an effort to identify why students were leaving CCSU. The most common reason for students leaving CCSU is... there is not one. Students transferred from or left CCSU for a variety of reasons. When he takes this into consideration with all that he has heard and read, the Senate President is left scratching his head. The absence of a single reason raises the question of where to turn, what to do to stop this trend?

One thing President Mulrooney does know is that when students are engaged and feel connected to their program and university, they are much less likely to leave. He wants to share a story with that happened this past week and really got him thinking. His office is the go-to place for many Biomolecular Sciences students. It is stocked with Dum Dum pops, chocolates, apples, granola bars, a Keurig coffee maker, cups, etc. A freshman was led into the office by a more senior student, looking for a snack to hold her over until she finished her next class and could go and get some dinner. The student gratefully took the granola bar and as she was leaving she turned to me and said, “I really like BMS, I already feel a part of the program and that I matter. You really care about us, don’t you?” The more senior student responded “yeah, we are like one big family”.  This made President Mulrooney think about the little things we do that make a difference. In his past experience where he managed several businesses, the key to success was customer service. It really did not matter if his company had the best price, larger amounts of products, or great name brands. What mattered most was that customers felt important, that they were not just a dollar sign coming into the store. As a university, we too are a business, with education as the product we sell. Unfortunately, the competition is getting stiff, with all of the online programs and other universities, along with the fact that the cohort of graduating high school students is shrinking. The Senate President is not suggesting that everyone go out and stock their offices as he has, but to think about the little things that you can do to make a difference. Each of us in every unit can do little things to make a student feel noticed and a part of the CCSU community. Sometimes it is as simple as taking just a couple of extra minutes with a student to make sure they understand a process or where to get a particular form, or where a particular office is located.

Another way to make students feel connected and that they matter is to show that you care about your student’s success, which President Mulrooney knows we all do. He would like to proclaim October as Student Success month. Over the next couple of weeks, you will be hearing or already heard about actions we can take to show that we care about our student’s success.

    • Early Alert System – the vast majority of students are appreciative of being called out. For many of them it clearly demonstrates that we care.
    • Midterm Grades – the Registrar’s Office will be activating the midterm grade tool in WebCentral-Banner Web, beginning on October 15th. The Senate President encourages all to take a few minutes and enter grades. Many of us would be surprised at the number of students advisees who “think” they are doing well in a class. A midterm grade can confirm their performance and provide a desperately needed reality trip.
    • Academic Maps – we will be hearing about these shortly. The Senate President encourages us to go back to our departments and embrace this concept and get them done.
    • Academic Advising go the extra distance to ensure our students get the best advising.

A note on candy – it is a fantastic way to get to know our students and to have conversations with our students.

This speech led to many questions from Senators and guests. Highlights from the discussion include:

  • Some reasons given by students who leave are: CCSU doesn't offer their desired major, there are too few weekend activities or people on campus on weekends, they are too close to home, the commute is too long, they could not get into their desired major, they want to attend other schools (e.g. UCONN).
  • Does the new schedule have a negative effect on retention?
  • The study excluded students who were dismissed, on medical leave, etc.; over 250 students were succesfully contacted.
  • Will this be an annually recurring investigation? In the future, we should call the students immediately, because it becomes more difficult to get a response from them as time goes by.
  • It would be easier to get to know our students if we had more reasonable student/faculty ratios.

3. Committee Reports

a.  Elections Committee

The elections committee is still looking for Associate Professors from the School of Business for the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and for Librarians, Counselors or Coaches for the Sabbatical Leave Committee. The Grade Appeals Committee election will be held at the next Senate meeting.

b.  Curriculum Committee (M. Jackson) FS 12.13.003B

Items 3.1 and 3.2 (Program Deletions) generated some discussion; Dean Lemma explained that the programs would not truly be deleted until they are deleted by the BOR. She is willing to help the Curriculum Committee to make sure that they are deleted. Senator Ayalon stated that, since the general science major does is relevant to teaching middle school, low enrollment should be a reason to promote the program better, not to terminate it. Senator Larsen stated that our graduates, based on their experience, have stated that the deletion will not harm our students, and that the deletion will not prevent out students from teaching middle school, since they can obtain cross endorsement. Senator Karpuk stated that students who major in a scientific discipline can still do a minor in general science. Senator Ayalon asked if a minor in general science would prepare the students for the Praxis examination. Senator Larsen answered "yes".

Curriculum Committee Report approved, with one Senator opposed

c.  Academic Standards Committee (F. Latour)

Standards for admission to the Social Work program FS 12.13.004B

Approved unanimously

Revised Course Categorization Proposal

Senator Ayalon pointed out that, since many School of Education and Professional Studies programs require a C (not a C-) for some courses, it should be made clear that the proposal does not intend to change that.

Senator and Curriculum Committee Chair Jackson pointed out that many minors already state that "up to X credits from the major can be double-counted towards the minor". Language needs to be added to make sure that this is not overriden by the proposed policy.

Senator Blitz proposed that the number of credits from the Skill areas and the number of credits from the Study areas that can be double-counted towards the minor/major be increased from 8 to 9.

Senator Arena asked for a specific example of a program and course that is required for the major but does not require a minimum grade (other than passing); Senate President Mulrooney gave the example of the BMS program, which requires some Chemistry courses as "related requirements", but does not require the students to obtain a grade higher than D- in them.

Proposal sent back to the Academic Standards Committee

4. New Business

a.  Committee term limit exceptions FS 12.13.005B

Approved unanimously

b.  Student Success Team: Academic Maps (M. Bigley and N. Hoffman)

Academic Map Example: Biomolecular Sciences

Academic Map Example: Communication

Academic Map Example: Elementary Education (English)

Senator Cohen wants to make sure that students understand that the programs can be flexible, and that they do not lose all hope of graduating in 4 years because they did not take a general education course at the exact time stated on the Academic Map.

Senator Karpuk asks about the possibility of making an academic map for someone who is trying to complete a Secondary Education program along with the Honors program.

Why do the maps look so threatening? Stop signs, warning signs, mention of a "criminal background check". Does the Academic Map need to look so scary?

Senator Greenfield asks about how to use the Academic Map in advising, especially for students who are not trying to graduate in 4 years. Could the maps be labelled as "Proposed 4-year course of study"?

Professor Hoffman states that other universities, such as Florida State, have Academic Maps. We can look at them on that school's website.

Senator Cohen asks if the Academic Maps will replace curriculum sheets, or supplement them, and wonders if departments "have to" make Academic Maps. Senate President Mulrooney answers that he is "hoping" that departments will do it.

Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Yvonne Kirby stated that 3 institutions that have adopted Academic Maps have indicated that they have increased graduation rates. The maps will be live and accessible to students.

Senator Kovel stated that tools similar to the proposed Academic Maps are already in use by departments in his school.

Senator Bilisoly pointed out that students could use the map as a tool to help prevent the cancellation of a class that they need to graduate.

5. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:51.