Faculty Senate >FSCC REPORT FALL 2001 TO SPRING 2002

Procedural changes

A majority of the work done by FSCC is related to program and course changes. Our schedule follows catalogue deadlines. This year we set earlier deadlines for receiving curriculum changes from the Schools, November 1st for major changes, December 31st for course additions or changes. We also requested that FSCC representatives email documents to the Committee before the meeting so that members have time to more carefully review the materials. Both of these changes improved the effectiveness of the Committee.

FS Constitution
With approval of the Faculty Senate, some of the titles of FSCC members were updated and corrected in the Constitution of the Faculty Senate.

FSCC Web Site
The FSCC web site, which was first created for school year 2000-2001, was updated and expanded to improve its use as resource for faculty and to serve as documentation of the policies and work of the Committee. In addition to listing FSCC members, meeting dates, and minutes, the site has course add, drop and change forms and guidelines for the following: syllabi, academic integrity statements, writing-intensive courses, and course approval and review. Guidelines posted include citations to original documents outlining policies.

School of Architecture
The following major changes in School of Architecture were approved:

For both undergraduate and graduate programs, the technology curriculum has been strengthened and the history/theory component has been expanded to integrate more urban issues and non-Western architecture to achieve a more global perspective.

There has been a reduction in the Design content. The required credits for the B Arch was increased from 160 to 168. (With the implementation of the 4 X 4 revisions, the
B Arch credits had been reduced from 168 to 160.)

The M Arch I curriculum remains at 112 credit hours, but there has been content restructuring, such as a case study course that integrates technology and history/theory. The Acoustic program has also been modified.

Although students had been involve throughout the process of developing the new curriculum and there was a preliminary and then a more formal presentation to the FSCC, the FSCC student representatives expressed concern that they needed more time to present such changes to their constituency.

School of Management
A preliminary overview of proposed changes to the MBA were presented to the Committee. Credit hours would remain the same, but each incoming class would become a cohort group with students taking the same classes the first year. Among other changes would be a new "transforming experience."

School of Science
The Committee approved an increase of credits for the Bachelor of Science from 124 to 128.

Hartford Campus
The question of Hartford Campus curriculum came up a number of times, but on the recommendation of the FSXC, further discussion will be postponed until next Fall.

Dissertation, Master's Theses, and Master's and Professional Projects
The Committee approved more clear and consistent catalogue listings of descriptions, options for archiving in the library, and credit hours for Dissertations, Master's Theses, Master's Projects, and Professional Projects.

Issues related to the Core were addressed throughout the year. The Dean of Undergraduate Education gave a report to the FSCC on the Committee evaluating the Core. One of the issues that was featured--the re-evaluation of writing and communication--has been raised a number of times in Committee discussions. There is an interest in enhancing and making more effective curriculum dealing with writing and communication skills. Evaluation of the Core will continue next year.

Writing-Intensive Course List
The writing-intensive course list was updated. Each school reviewed their writing-intensive courses to insure courses on the list met the guidelines. The new list is available on the student information system web site.

Graduate Tuition Policy
The Chair of the FSCC produced a report for the Faculty Senate dealing with the FSCC assessment of the changes in the graduate tuition policy. Key points were: The Committee endorses the need to improve graduate education, and the new policy's limits on the number of years for degree completion could be such an improvement. The Committee did have reservations regarding the transition and suggested that current students be "grandfathered." The other major unresolved issue is providing funding after the first year of a Master's and after the first two years for the Ph.D. The report will be posted on the FS web site.

Master's and Professional Master's
The differences between a Master's and Professional Master's has been an issue of discussion and was initiated when School of Science proposed an MS and Professional MS in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. The MS and Professional MS were approved in December. But the Committee made a commitment to do more research on the matter.

The following information was then obtained from the New York State Department of Education. There are two parts to a degree: the degree award, for example, an MS, and the degree title, for example, Biology. New York State has no Professional MS in Bioinformatics. To offer such as degree, Rensselaer would have to change New York State Law, specifically, the Regent's Rules, to create a new degree award. The degree title could be Bioinformatics, but the degree award would be an MS. If Rensselaer would like the degree award to be a Professional MS, there is a Master's of Professional Studies that could be the degree award. The New York State Department of Education representative pointed out that some in academia view the Master's of Professional Studies as less theoretical and academically rigorous and not equivalent to the MS, but that this is not necessarily the case.

Information Technology
At the beginning of school year, President of the Faculty Senate requested that FSCC examine curricular issues and Information Technology. The FSCC Chair did some preliminary research regarding this, but the key issue was hiring an Associate Dean for IT, which was done in November. FSCC has consistently believed that IT should have at least one representative on the Committee. The FSXC appointed the Associate Dean of IT as temporary FSCC representative for the Spring semester and suggested the Committee propose an amendment to the FS Constitution dealing with representation of interdisciplinary programs. The Committee felt that the amendment should deal specifically with IT and proposed that the Associate Dean of IT be a voting member. The FSXC reported to the Committee that this amendment would meet with resistance. The FSCC Committee continues to believe that it is extremely important for IT to be represented on the Committee and passed the following motion:

The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee requests the Provost clarify the status of Information Technology to the Faculty Senate and the FSCC strongly endorses the representation of IT on the Curriculum Committee by the Associate Dean for IT and an elected member from the list of IT faculty.

Current and future issues:
Undergraduate Culminating Experiences
The Committee has begun examining each School's Undergraduate Culminating Experiences. Dean of Undergraduate Education has asked the Committee to come up with criteria as was done for writing-intensive courses.

Academic Integrity:
FSCC is in the process of evaluating Academic Integrity Statements. The following motion was made:

The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee recommends the student handbook be modified to include a statement that a student may be dismissed for academic dishonesty.

This recommendation will be forwarded to the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The Committee is still examining this issue, and will eventually post examples of model Academic Integrity Statements on the FSCC web site.

June 15, 2004