AFLS Curriculum Minutes -- Sept. 16, 2010

Minutes, AFLS Curriculum Committee Meeting on September 16, 2010
10 – 11:30 a.m., AFLS Honors Hall
Call to order: 10 a.m.
Members in attendance: David Kreider (chair), Ed Gbur, Luke Parsch, Leslie Edgar (secretary), Dick Oliver (for Mary Savin), Curt Rom, Jim Correll, and Ashley Dowling
Non-voting members: Dean Michael Vayda, Alice Griffin, Jody Davis
Visitors: Steve Boss and Tahar Messadi
Note. This meeting was initially scheduled as informational only so notes are limited.
Open meeting David Kreider
Discussion regarding Sustainability minor
Dean Vayda discussed the minor's progression over the past two to three years, encouraged the curriculum committee to identify role, and noted the committee should serve as faculty governance not focus on procedural issues. Posed the question: How much do you look at the course/program at the departmental or college level? Committee should serve as advisory council to the faculty council and should have a meaningful outcome to the committee.
Boss elaborated on the history of the sustainability minor. In January 2010 the provost appointed faculty to create the program with the goal to maximize courses on campus; specifically those courses that had the capacity to handle additional students. The curriculum was supposed to go beyond departments and colleges and serve as an interdisciplinary minor where all colleges were involved in the program.
The minor is 18 hours. It consists of two gateway courses (to gain a foundation in sustainability): SUST 1103 and SUST 2103. Students then select nine hours of elective courses from four thematic themes: Sustainability of Social Systems (Law, Political & Social Sciences); Sustainability of Natural Systems (Physical & Biological); Sustainability of Built Systems (Architecture & Engineering); and Sustainability of Managed Systems (Agriculture & Business). Last, students participate in a capstone course to complete research, service or an internship. At the end of the capstone, students will present their project. A steering committee (2 directors, an administrator, and a representative from each college) will serve as an oversight committee for the minor.
Kreider asked who approves the student's capstone project. Boss indicated it would be the student's mentor. A mentor and student will be matched based on student needs / elective focus.
Rom voiced his support of this type of program and asked for the business plan behind the program. Boss noted that the business plan is still being developed. However, more than 500 UA students support the program based on a Facebook group. In spring 2011, the SUST 1103 course will be offered for the first time as a special topics course. The course is capped at 200 students.
Rom asked who the steering committee was accountable to. Boss noted that the program was currently being directed from the provost office.
Rom asked if the program was not college owned then when faculty taught would they claim their hours as teaching or service, and will the Dean or instructor's unit head support the program since it is not a college administered course. Boss noted that this had to be decided at the college level; but it is an opportunity for departments to gain students into their programs because multiple faculty will be teaching the course and because multiple programs are represented in the gateway courses. Also, three of the courses (SUST 1103, 2103 and capstone course) are being created but the courses have been approved by UCPC. The gatekeeper courses have been passed through the Fulbright College and are moving to faculty senate.
Boss noted there is a broad menu for electives. Students in theory can get the sustainability minor by only picking up the gatekeeper courses. Also, the program will only be successful by faculty and administrative support.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has examples of sustainability program success on other campuses.
Boss noted that four faculty will be teaching the first gateway course. However, that may not be the case in the future.
Dean Vayda asked if the gateway course could substitute for other introduction program courses. Boss noted that there would probably be deficiencies between the courses.
At the request of Curt Rom, and with the unanimous consent of the committee, the following business was conducted:
Motion: to endorse the sustainability minor program for first reading and take back to departments for comment/review (motion by Rom, seconded by Correl)
Adjourned at 11:15 a.m.