REPORT FALL 2001 TO SPRING 2002
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.