This Week's Message
On behalf of the Curricular Study Task Force, I'd like to provide you with an update regarding our progress and forthcoming events. We have been busy since the end of September when our membership was determined, convening weekly toward compiling and assessing information pertinent to our mission. We met with faculty who oversaw previous related work and generously shared their knowledge, including Steve Klien, Margaret Farrar, Kristin Douglas, Bob Haak, Mike Augspurger, Jeff Abernathy, Ellen Hay and David Snowball. Through our membership representation, we have also been in continuous communication with EPC and Gen Ed. In addition, we consulted two peer institutions: 1) Knox College where we discussed faculty/student load reduction on the trimester system with colleagues from various disciplines and 2) Luther College via conference call with their Dean and faculty about their experience in reducing faculty/student load on the semester system. Please refer to our moodle site, accessible to all faculty, for relevant materials. In addition, we presented initial data, posted on moodle, to department/program chairs. We then conducted a chair survey to discern programmatic trends, followed by individual meetings of task force members with chairs who expressed concerns regarding possible faculty/student load reductions. We next sent our anonymous survey to all full-time faculty. Please see CSTF Summary Result Report Data for summaries of faculty responses to these two surveys.
Faculty senate chair Dave Crowe announced our scheduled Olin Auditorium faculty forum for April 20th at 11:30 a.m. We plan to begin the forum by presenting our findings and assessment from this year's research, and then to address anonymous questions and concerns from the faculty survey, and finally to open full faculty discussion related to our charge. We have not yet determined our recommendation for the following April 29th faculty meeting as we feel the forum is essential toward furthering faculty discussion and completing our insight on the issue of load at Augustana. I am grateful to task force members and contributing faculty and administrators-it has been a thoroughly collegial and illuminating process. I particularly want to thank Allen Bertsche for designing both surveys and collating responses as illustrated in the link above. Following the faculty forum, we will determine how best to proceed toward our recommendation, as charged, for your ultimate consideration at the April 29th faculty meeting.
Jeff Abernathy forwarded our charge (as moved by EPC and passed at the full faculty meeting on 25 August 2009):
"To create a short-term (1 year) Curricular Study Task Force composed of representatives of EPC, representatives of Gen Ed and representatives chosen at large from the faculty (in a process decided either by Faculty Senate or during a full faculty meeting.) This committee would use the materials gathered this past summer and the commentary from the Fall Retreat to coordinate an investigation into the possible effects, positive and negative, of a curricular change, in particular a change which reduces student load from 41 courses to a range from 35-37 (TBD) and which may include faculty course reduction from a standard load of 7 courses (21 credits) to 6 courses (18 credits).
This committee would offer regular faculty information sessions and work with Faculty Senate to schedule faculty fora or full faculty meetings at appropriate times throughout the year. They would work with departments to develop predictive models which might demonstrate the pedagogical ramifications of any possible curricular and possible ramifications of any proposed change on departmental offerings as well as report regularly with EPC and Gen Ed so as to examine the impact of possible curricular changes on a college-wide scale. The task force would complete their work with the introduction of a recommendation at a full faculty meeting in the Spring. This recommendation may push us to make a radical change, a modest change or encourage us to stand pat with our present structures intact, depending upon the data gathered and a cost-benefit assessment of the options before us."
We look forward to meeting with you soon and facilitating informed dialogue on this multi-faceted issue. In the meantime, please feel free to contact task force members with any ideas or concerns you might like to share. The April 20th faculty forum promises to elicit rich and important discussion. We truly value your input! Thank you.
Catherine Goebel, Chair
Curricular Study Task Force:
Allen Bertsche, Kurt Christoffel, Randall Hall, Peter Kivisto, Pat Shea, and Ritva Williams