APC Minutes 3/11/08

Present: Ken Abernethy, Kristy Maher, John Harris, John Beckford, Doug Cummins, Brad Barron, Linda Bartlett, and Robin Visel (recorder)

The meeting began at 3:00.

1) The Minutes from the February 21 meeting and subsequent email vote on a number of proposals were approved.

2) The committee approved the following course proposals:
ART 231 for AGRS credit 
ART 260 for LAS credit 
COM 435 for BCA and WGS credits

3) The committee decided to request more specific information in support of FYW: Veils ... for WGS.  

 4) Apropos of these courses, discussion ensued about the role of APC vis a vis the oversight committees for the concentrations.  If courses have been approved for concentration credit by the oversight committees, is it appropriate for APC to question them? Shouldn’t we treat concentrations more as we treat departments (whose major courses APC does not approve)? The committee decided to discuss this at a future meeting. It was also suggested that we should evaluate the concentration program as a whole, including policies, enrollment trends, etc. APC identified a need for a uniform system for concentration approval (e.g. a common proposal form).

5) APC considered the following question from Stan Crowe and the FYS Oversight Committee:

"For next year -- and probably some subsequent years as well -- we'll change a small number of approved FYS seminars to FYW.  This is happening now with Norman Whisnant's FYS, which FYS Oversight approved and sent on its way.  Can APC think of a procedure to adopt for such cases so that you can get the information you need to approve these FYS courses as FYWs?"
The committee concluded that the course approval process in this case should be a fast-track version of the regular course approval process. The FYS Oversight committee chair should forward the FYW course proposal questions to the proposer, who should submit the revised proposal to the FYS Oversight Committee. The FYS chair should send an email to APC with the answers to the FYW questions. If approved by the Oversight Committee and APC, it would go to the faculty for a vote and could be changed by the Registrar from FYS to FYW.

6) APC discussed information gathered by Brad Barron in his survey of other institutions on pass/fail and a draft questionnaire for faculty on the pass/fail issue being prepared by Kristy, Doug, and John.

Brad explained the process by which the P/F survey was conducted.  More than 50% of the ACS schools responded, along with a good sample of other colleges similar to Furman.  APC discussed Furman’s unique “option grade” provision. On the pro side, it is an incentive that motivates the students and thus has been supported by Furman faculty. We discussed Davidson’s retroactive P/F policy as a possible model for change.  A policy that allows students to declare P/F at any time encourages students to explore their major and career options without penalty and would be simpler to administer.  Such a policy could still exclude major courses and core requirements.  APC decided to poll the faculty on this option, among others. 

The committee discussed and edited the subcommittee’s proposed survey for the Furman faculty and will approve its final form over email by March 12. Then it will be placed on Survey Monkey with a 3 working-day response window beginning on March 16.

7) The committee discussed Melinda Menzer's course proposal, which was denied credit for ES (FYW "Who Speaks Bad ...").  We decided that it would not be fair to the faculty at large were we to allow her to make a direct appeal at a future APC meeting.  Ken will talk with her and ask her to email us more information, our main concern being the amount of and focus on empirical methods in the course, which is central to the requirement.  If the committee does not approve the course, she may bring it to the faculty meeting under “new business.”

8) In regards to course proposals, APC wondered if it should recommend a policy change so that if an issue is up for a faculty vote, it will be postponed if the proposer or a designated surrogate is not at the meeting to defend his or her proposal. We will put this on the agenda for a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 5:00.

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