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February 7, 2012

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Chairs Meeting
February 7, 2012
3:30 p.m.

Building Stronger Programs and Departments

Members Present:   Richard Herman, Mick Luehrman, Don Melichar, Mary Kelly, Steven Moore, Michael Sekelsky, Michael Sawyer, Steven Boone, Michelle Magee, and Dean Nelson.   

1.   On-going Issues: 

  • Program Promotion:   The Dean emphasized the need for program quality, particularly as the college faces recent fiscal challenges.  He asked for updates on program promotion from each department.  The Art Department is working with Terry McNeely on promotional materials (banner) for prospective students.  Theatre has designed a portable flat screen TV/case to run a power point presentation on their program.  Communication Department is working on promotion through trading cards.  Women’s Studies is offering a week-long program of events during March – Women’s Week 2012.  Sociology is offering research services through their research class.  In discussing program promotion, Dr. Herman referenced an article found in USA Today regarding the importance of Liberal Arts education – an online copy of the January 25 article can be retrieved using the following link:

  • Student Government:  No report available
  • Preparing for Summer School:  The Dean asked that departments review historical data to determine the demand for and number of courses offered; Schedules are available for view at this time.
  • Faculty Fellows/Retention: There is an emerging retention initiative currently being developed by the Deans, specifically class attendance, formative assessment, and regular feedback to students – the trend is on “Teaching and Learning”.  Dean Nelson encouraged chairs to strive to lead faculty to improve student engagement as much as possible – suggestions included: 

    - Dr. Kelly shared that the Sociology Department presents a Teaching Showcase during yearly retreats to demonstrate effective techniques (usually 1 or 2 faculty each year);
    - Dr. Herman shared that the university used to hold periodic brown bag lunchtime seminars on best practices in teaching. 
    - Dr. Sawyer suggested all faculty be required to teach an online class.  The requirements for developing an online course are very concrete and descriptive, which can be transferred to classroom teaching.
    - Dr. Luehrman suggested the use of multiple assessment opportunities as a way to effectively engage students and provide additional ways to assess. 

    Dean Nelson believes a Showcase or Brown Bag Seminar type event would be useful and wants to pursue this in the future, particularly in reaching those faculty who are reluctant to change.  Dr. Melichar suggested using the Blackboard Workshops as a springboard into introducing faculty to innovative teaching practices.  Following this discussion, the Dean asked that the chairs review all syllabi to make sure they satisfy specific criteria.  The Deans will continue to discuss the initiative, including a piece dealing with class attendance and the keeping of records.  Departments should continue to collect names of students no longer attending and forward to the Dean’s office.

  • Innovation Campus:  Nothing concrete at this time; will be updated at Academic Council next week.

  • Why Choose the Liberal Arts:  New Strategy in the Wake of Thrust for Job PreparationNew book the Dean is making available to the Chairs
  • Large University Opportunity for Students:  Initiative to provide mentors for qualified students to receive national grants/scholarships; Dean asked for reports – Dr. Sawyer has faculty working with two promising students
  • New Faculty Category:  Proposal is under discussion by Deans; direct connection to the Innovative Campus – seeking their opinion and possible transferability to our college academic areas

2.    Report:  Steve Boone distributed a sample report for the chairs to review; can be used as a tool to improve scheduling and provide documented evidence to assist in justifying additional full-time faculty.  It captures the total number of sections, students registered, and credit hours generated.  Dean Nelson asked for any suggestions or additions to improve its usefulness.  After discussing, it was agreed the report should distinguish between graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as on campus and online courses.  Chairs should notify Steve of suggested additions.

3.    Announcements:

- Provost Search is down to three candidates; dates have been announced for campus visits.

- Steve provided a REN 5 update; final date for submissions is Monday, February 13; also asked for an update on those requiring an obituary – forward to Dean’s office

4.   Upcoming Events: 

  • Feb 15-18:  How I Learned to Drive – 7:30 Highlander Theatre
  • March 5-9:  Women’s Week events
  • Apr 4:  President’s Gala – 7:30 Hendricks Hall
  • Apr 5:  CAHSS Awards Reception – 4:00 pm UN 237A/B

Future Meetings:  Feb 21; Mar 6 and 20th, April 3 and 17, May 3.  All meetings are at 3:30 pm
Summer Meetings:  May 15, June 5 and 19 and Jul 17th.  All Meetings are at 2:30 pm.