May 13th, 1997
- Location: Sayles-Hill 251
- Time: 4:15 pm
- Present: President Stephen Lewis; Deans Shelby Boardman, Mark Govoni, Clem Shearer; students Victor Chedid, Andrew Johnson, Kristina Kendall, Josh Rising, Eric Whittington; Professors Charles Carlin, Bill Titus; Staff persons Doug Foxgrover, Jill Tollefson; Trustee Observer Katherine Youngblood
- Absent: Professors Steve Durbin, Jerry Mohrig, Catherine Zuckert; Alumni Observer Alan Thiel
- Guests: Dave Arnold, Laura Leitner, Katie Leslie, Bill Martin, Bonnie-Jean Mork, Paul Thiboutot
- Secretary: Christine Fletcher
- Keywords: admissions, afac, campus groups, calendar, recreation center, dinning, multicultural houses,
The minutes for the April 14 meeting were approved by a voice vote without dissent with one correction: change Gratiof in list of visitors to Gratiot.
President Stephen Lewis updated the Council on the status of admissions, commenting that while the good news is a record number of applicants and continued high quality, there is continual concern over relative numbers of incoming African American students. President reported that the AFAC will be discussing this issue, and that there are two alumni groups in Chicago and Minneapolis which are organizing informational dinners about Carleton for potential applicants among African American high school students.
President Lewis also noted that Carleton students have been the recipients of a substantial number of national fellowships, and that campus groups such as the Model UN team, CUT and Syzygy have had an extremely successful year as well. He noted that fund raising endeavors this year had been very successful as the Assuring Excellence campaign has received commitments of over $106 million, and that the AAF continues to be 20-25% ahead of levels from 1995-1996. A new record for gifts received in a full year was passed on April 15, ten weeks before the end of the fiscal year.
President Lewis expressed his conviction that campaign activity should and does serve as an avenue to foster excitement and involvement in Carleton. He noted that registration for reunion is running at a record high. The 1997-1998 reaccreditation self study will allow more opportunity for review of long-term goals of the College. The reaccreditation committee will be formed in the fall of 1997, and will work closely with the Council.
In conclusion, President Lewis offered his public appreciation for all the efforts of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees and everyone who helps make Carleton what it is, and commented that Family weekend was a success and reflection of the good things that Carleton accomplishes. He also thanked Professor Charles Carlin for his three years as President of the Faculty, and Eric Whittington for his year as CSA President.
Dean Shelby Boardman apologized for the absence of the calendar discussion on the meeting agenda, explaining the faculty decision was only complete the evening prior to the meeting. Dean Boardman distributed a package of information on the calendar that was given to the faculty. Faculty members were provided with a summary of some preliminary student polling, and indicated by vote that they favored a modified calendar beginning in the 1998-1999 academic year by starting slightly earlier and maintaining winter break by shortening reading and exam days to a total of four days, and to similarly shorten reading and exam day periods for winter and spring terms, resulting in a slightly longer spring break and a slightly earlier beginning of summer. ECC unanimously moved to recommend this plan and the faculty voting showed strong endorsement of the plan. Dean Boardman outlined some potential consequences of changing the reading and exam days schedules, including the potential of self-scheduled exams, the probable shift to two-hour exams rather than three, and the overall necessity for faculty to reevaluate the way final exams figure into their classes. In voting for the calendar change, the faculty wanted to include the possibility for some longer exam offerings for courses that required a three-hour period. He indicated that ECC plans to work further in the coming academic year to clarify the details of this change if the endorsement was approved by the Council. The motion to recommend the calendar was raised and seconded, and the floor was opened for discussion.
Student Andy Johnson expressed the concern of students that the vote was to be held during the meeting since it was not noted on the agenda, and there was no time to garner more student input before making such a major decision. He also stated concern for the specific effects on students of the shortened reading and exam days period, and concern that there be a mechanism to ensure that the eventual implementation of the shortened end of the term would be structured in agreement with faculty so as to prevent any additional student stress at an already difficult time of the term. He suggested the Council might postpone a decision on the issue until a future meeting to allow for further reflection and infusion of comprehensive student input.
A discussion of the potential difficulties with shortened exam times followed. Student Kristina Kendall indicated that shorter exam periods would create a more hectic atmosphere. Professor Charles Carlin stated that he believes the faculty is aware that presently the work load for most courses is centered too strongly toward the end of the term, and that most of the faculty are amenable to changing the structure of classes to accommodate this change.
Dean Boardman clarified that the implementation of the changed calendar would most likely be contingent upon an acceptable proposal for the shortened reading and exam days period to be approved by the Council in the 1998-1999 academic year.
Staff person Doug Foxgrover questioned on what exactly was the Council voting; Dean Boardman explained that the actual item being voted on centers on the second paragraph of the first page of the memo he distributed. (A copy of this memo can be obtained from the College Council file in the Dean's Office.)
President Lewis offered a potential proviso to the calendar statement, that the ECC ensure the implementation of the four-day reading and exam period will adequately address concerns over excessive compaction of student work, and that the final regulations will be subject to approval by the faculty and the Council and expressed his concern for specific effects of the shortened end of term period. Mr. Johnson asked whether the details of the implementation would go through the same decision process as the initial calendar decision. President Lewis indicated that that would be reasonable.
Ms. Kendall questioned what would happen if ECC were unable to construct an acceptable model for implementation of the calendar. Dean Boardman replied that the actual implementation of the calendar itself requires an acceptable model for implementation but that the College will work on the assumption that it will be implemented. President Lewis indicated that by making the implementation subject to approval of the Council this problem might be avoided.
Student Bill Martin introduced himself to the Council as CSA president for the 1997-1998 year and expressed confusion as to why the Council was being prompted to vote immediately on this calendar with the expectation of continuing the process of refinement during the 1997-1998 fall term, instead of waiting to decide on a comprehensive plan once the details had been defined. Dean Boardman said he is optimistic about the potential of the calendar to work successfully, and he would like to avoid beginning the entire discussion again in the fall with a new committee for ECC.
Student Victor Chedid echoed concerns over the educational consequences of shorter exam periods and urged the Council to utilize the hold date for an additional Council meeting to decide the outcome of this issue at a point when the Council would be able to make a more informed vote.
Mr. Martin shared with the Council his belief that student input from senators largely showed that most students were very pleased with the current schedule, and he questioned whether those endorsing the shortened exam and reading days schedule were truly informed since the actual mechanism for such a change is still unknown. He also endorsed postponing a vote on the issue.
Staff person Foxgrover asked whether it was implicit that by adopting the calendar faculty members are committing to rethinking their use of exams. Dean Boardman replied that this issue had been addressed at the faculty meeting. It is his understanding that the calendar would require the faculty to rethink the way classes are structured at the end of the term and to ask less of students during the shortened reading and exam day period. He noted that in voting for the calendar faculty were committed to a corresponding change in their exam philosophies. Mr. Foxgrover also questioned the degree to which the faculty are in consensus on this commitment. Dean Boardman replied that his sense is that there is broad agreement among the faculty about the need for such commitment. Professor Bill Titus explained that for him the calendar represents an opportunity to reexamine how best to teach and structure a course.
Ms. Kendall expressed her feeling of reassurance that it would be appropriate to vote during the meeting. Mr. Chedid expressed skepticism that the change implicit in the implementation of the calendar would be successful without a more critical examination and discussion of the issue. Student Eric Whittington indicated that the student body is largely ignorant of the entire issue, and that he feels doubtful that there would be broad support for a policy that isnt completely formed yet.
Dean Govoni asked for a perspective on what the proposed calendar offers to students in order to inform his vote, and also noted some potential administrative concerns over scheduling conflicts with The Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield, and the need to travel on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Dean Boardman voiced his belief that the issue of rethinking pedagogical approaches is an ongoing process.
Ms. Kendall expressed appreciation for Professor Titus comments on the willingness of faculty members to rethink their teaching system. She also commented that the later start to the fall term would not benefit students, yet that having a longer spring break and an earlier start to summer offer important convenience and emotional benefits to students.
Student Josh Rising proposed that the decision could benefit from further thought and discussion, and he moved to table the vote until the next College Council meeting for May 26, 1997. The motion was recorded, and the Council voted by a hand vote of nine to three to table the vote on the calendar until the May 26 meeting.
Council members noted that the faculty would not meet before the May 26 meeting. Dean Boardman agreed to compose a clear draft of the resolution for the May 26 meeting.
Student Work Committee Report
Dean Paul Thiboutot reported that since the formation of the Council Subcommittee to examine student work in the winter of 1997 the committee has worked to define student employment and the value therein. The committee hopes to be able to present a written statement of such a definition and a recommendation for future action. He asked that the committee be allowed to continue to examine the issue and to keep their same membership. Mr. Whittington commented that the perspective of the senior class might be useful in the process. The Council voted by v oice vote without dissent to bless the continued work of the committee.
Recreation Center Update
Dean Mark Govoni announced that a public forum with President Lewis, the architects, and other people integrally involved in the process would be held the following evening with information on alternative siting possibilities and findings by a landscape ecologist regarding arboretum corridor concerns and the importance of the hill of three oaks. He noted that the meeting would be held with the continued assumptions that (1) the College is committed to the construction of the recreation center, and (2) it will be built east of the lakes. Dean Govoni further noted that the intention is to take a resolution to the Board of Trustees on the following weekend.
Deans Shearer and Govoni noted that the new information for the meeting mostly centered on environmental concerns, and that issues of budgeting and infrastructure change if the final plan involves a main building which is not connected to the Goodhue dining pavilion.
Dining Program Plan Update
Dean Govoni reported that plans for the new dining hall to be constructed between Myers and Nourse continue and that architects and a food consultant have been hired. He stated that a planning committee will be formed soon. He also commented on the move to implement a debit card dining system, renovations to the snack bar and improvement to the Burton dining facility. Emphasis is being placed on the effort to integrate all change in dining procedures to form a comprehensive workable program.
Dean Govoni told the Council about some concerns that two special interest houses, Womens Awareness House and African American House, had been denied renewal for the 1997-1998 year. He indicated that the process was fair and equitable, but it prompts reevaluation of the process of special interest houses allocations. He anticipated a task force to examine the possibility of institutionalizing some additional special interest houses in the future, and the effects of such an approach. Dean Govoni hopes to bring a recommendation on the issue to the Council by fall of 1997.
Budget Committee Report
Dean Clem Shearer reminded Council of the decision in spring of 1997 to allow departments to carry their budgets over from year to year to promote planning and efficient spending. This policy will be implemented for the current academic year for academic departments and the computing center, with the potential for inclusion of administrative departments in the future as well. Dean Shearer also reported that the Budget committee has examined the long range budget model which includes conservative investment projections, a 3.5-4% compensation growth, real growth for other expenses, 3/5% growth in student fees and 4.5% for financial aid, and accomplishment of the $2 million goal for annual maintenance. Dean Shearer noted that the budget is very healthy, and that continual goals include maintaining faculty compensation rates, controlling comprehensive fee increases, library collections, and implications for the future. He expressed his concerns for the financial implications of developing more interdisciplinary programs, faculty workload, diversity issues, and impending mass faculty retirement. He summarized the concerns of the Budget Committee as being involved with how to best add value to Carleton through budgeting issues.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m.