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Extended Deans Council Meeting

September 18, 2013

B 120


Note:  At times, issues of confidentiality may require that some items discussed in these meetings be excluded from these minutes.


Members:  Jill Brady, Dave Caudill, Rich Cole, Tom Currin, Steve Hamrick, Ruston Hunt, Yongli Ma, Thomas Nelson, Jeff Orr, Nikki Palamiotis, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Becky Rutherfoord, Zvi Szafran


Members Absent:  


Guests:  Li Chen for Yongli Ma, Leigh Ann Holton, Sylvia Carson


Item 1. Updates


Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:


  • The Biotechnology Proposal (BS and BAS) has been submitted to the System Office.
  • Searches:
    • Library Search - search concluded with a strong consensus by the committee members.  Szafran has submitted paperwork for approval and once approved by Dr. Rossbacher he will contact the candidate.
    • Director of International Programs - Ad/job posted with an October 1, 2013 deadline for applications.
    • Budget position - interviewing currently
    • Bursar - Nikki and Becky are on the search committee - Nikki is the chair of the search committee.
    • Dean of Students - Rich Cole is on that search committee
    • SACS Committees have been constituted and meeting; report is due March 2015.
    • International Center for Academic Integrity - associated with Samford University and others – has asked us to join.  The national membership fee is $650 and gives access to materials, free conferences, etc.   No opposition to joining therefore SPSU will join.
    • Physics faculty member visited Zvi to discuss ways of increasing support for student research
    • Szafran has submitted the names for the Regents advisory committees.
    • Mini-grants - Conn will sponsor 10 for up to $1,250 to create an on-line learning objects.  $75,000 is available again this year from Academic Affairs.  This will be finalized and announced in October.
    • CSE – Kia Qian received a NSF grant; two students received scholarships from the computing honor society.  SPSU is one of four universities to receive two scholarships from the honor society.
    • Graduate Studies – Nikki announced that Keanya Harris is now full-time; the Graduate Student Organization met last night.  Nikki asked all to encourage their students to join.
    • National Hispanic Heritage Month - events ongoing on campus
    • Fox News will be on campus this afternoon to interview Jon Preston about our gaming program and GameJam






Item 2. Update on Spring Course Scheduling


Leigh Ann - gave update on the progress she has made meeting with the admins about room scheduling.  The goal is to have the schedule in before phase 1.  Leigh Ann will be visiting the admins over the next few weeks.  It was suggested that Leigh Ann make sure department chairs are included in the meetings with the admins so that they have input.  She encouraged all to contact her with questions or concerns.  Szafran reminded the deans to encourage their chairs to be willing to be flexible.  CSE will be adding Friday and Saturday classes to see how it works.  Leigh Ann will be back in two weeks to follow up.



Item 3. Improving Enrollments in Various Programs


Szafran talked about low enrollment majors – those that are not meeting the Board of Regents' productivity guidelines of 10 graduates per year for undergraduate programs and 5 graduates per year for graduate programs.  None of our masters degrees have been flagged by the BoR (all have more than 5 graduates per year which is the minimum per the BoR).  Szafran asked how we can increase the low enrollment programs across the board, or are there some low producing programs we should eliminate?  What can we do, as a University and in Academic Affairs?  Comments from the Council:


  • Need to focus on retention and progression, not just increasing enrollment; look at courses with high D, F, W rates; allow students to register for fall classes during the spring when students are still on campus
  • Recruit more transfer students as they tend to have higher percentage of graduates
  • Noel Levitz - how will the information be shared with campus?  Szafran stated he was only there for the exit interview but shared some of the items suggested.  One suggestion was to have students register in the spring for fall classes; problems were noted with some of our gateway courses, etc.  They also stated that our problems are not uncommon.  Noel Levitz is preparing a final report that will be shared with the campus at a later date.
  • Marketing - What happened to the data gathered by the outside company on marketing our programs?  No follow up yet from that company that Szafran is aware of.
  • Micro loans for students - where do we stand?  We have nothing in place to do this.   Some universities are doing this but we do not have the ability to do this at this time.  Nelnet (short-term loans) are available now at SPSU.
  • Financial Aid appears to be cutting students off before the Federal guideline of 150 hours.  Zvi will talk to Financial Aid to see why it appears they are not allowing students to take the full 150 hours before cutting off their aid.
  • Recruitment - Nelson and Szafran have been meeting about this for Arts and Sciences.  There has been little marketing for any of the programs in their school.  Most billboards advertise Engineering only.  Large numbers of people do not even know what programs we offer here at SPSU.  Szafran stated that the Marketing Department has a limited staff and does not have the same advantages of larger schools who have been in existence much longer.  Szafran wanted to know what Academic Affairs can do to help market and recruit our programs.  
  • Departments and Graduate Studies were not included in Marketing meetings; more communication between Academic Affairs and the Marketing Department would be helpful.  Some departments are having difficulty getting materials, etc. approved by Marketing.  
  • Our website is another area that needs improvement - it is still not functioning as it should.  Szafran asked again what Academic Affairs can do to help market our own programs?  Suggested that we meet more often with Jim Cooper and share ideas - especially important that the deans and Nikki meet with him.  ETM has been sending a faculty member to high schools to talk to their students about ATET and has seen some increases in enrollment but it appears that it is cyclical.  
  • Talked about the differences in our ATET program and SCAD that seems to have no shortage of students.  Han mentioned that the gaming program is the same way - more of the back-end work instead of the front end creative, artistic work.  Szafran asked if our ATET program should be broader to attract more students.  Becky stated that we should talk to the departments before having this conversation.  
  • Szafran stated that we are going to have to answer questions about the viability of some of our programs. We will probably have three answers: the program is small and is going to stay small but we want to keep it because it is important to the university.  There is a cost involved because some class sizes will be small.  He will argue that we as a university are unique.
  • Work at building consortia programs with other institutions
  • Some of our programs are young and need a chance to grow
  • We need to see the Marketing consultant's report
  • USG may insist that universities consolidate smaller programs
  • Marketing should be a unified effort between recruiting, public relations, graduate studies, the departments, and the Marketing Department and all have the same understanding of our programs.
  • Sylvia - Marketing and Public Relations are now under the same division and there will be better communication and collaboration.  She suggested that the Deans Council should reach out and invite different units to meetings to strengthen communication and share information.  Becky has requested a meeting with the recruiters to give them information on her programs and suggested that we need to be more proactive.
  • Invite Jim Cooper to meetings on a regular basis; meet with recruiting and admissions, etc.  
  • Have individual plans for growth for smaller programs and make decisions about what to do if they don't grow and how long we would be willing to carry them
  • Look at similar institutions with more successful programs and emulate them
  • Consensus is to invite Jim Cooper from Communications and Marketing to the Council meetings on a regular basis
  • Develop a specific plan for our smaller programs that will be impacted by this directive from the Board of Regents
  • Sylvia talked about her positive experience of being invited to an academic department meeting with Nikki where a proposed program was being discussed and developed.  



Item 4. Follow-up from Early Warning Results


Szafran gave a report on the results of the early warning system.  Of interest, he stated, in SPSU 1001 or orientation courses, Math and Physics were the courses with the highest number of unengaged students.

Jeff asked about the data on SPSU 1001 and the QEP and if it is helping or not.   Ray feels that inappropriate students are being required to take this course and the only way to opt out if to pay a $50 fee to take the credit by exam test.  Currin objects to the faculty being required to teach sections of SPSU 1001.  Becky reminded the Council that we are bound by the QEP and wonders if part-time faculty could be used to teach these to take the load off the full-time faculty.  Currin stated that his faculty have extremely high numbers of advisees.  Becky agreed that Tom has a valid point.  Szafran stated that it was the department's choice to incorporate SPSU 1001 into their orientation course instead of requiring their students to take the course as a stand-alone course.  Many staff have been and continue to teach SPSU 1001.  Add to the next ALC agenda - balancing workloads.  Zvi commented that these types of courses have proven to benefit students.  Ray suggested registering students for the entire year at one time as a way to increase retention.



Item 5. New Business


  • Mini grants - Han suggested giving the faculty 2/3 of their summer salary for research to give them time to do their preliminary work when applying for NSF grants.  Add to the next Deans Council agenda - reports on mini grants from last year and how to go forward with the next round of awards.  Ray suggested getting the data from the results of the mini grant reports from last year before going forward with making any changes for the next round.
  • Zvi talked about a faculty member's idea of promoting research among students.  He suggested to her that she also collaborate with the Honors Program.  He further stated we need to support faculty research as well.
  • Volunteer Agreement Form - for use for unpaid volunteers such as high school students or visiting faculty.  Originally geared to address high school students doing work in our labs as part of their high school coursework.  Szafran asked the Council to review the document and give him feedback.
  • Becky met with new executive director of Institutional Research, Wendy Kallina, and suggested that she be included in the ALC or Extended Deans Council meetings.


Action Items:


  • Zvi will talk to Financial Aid to see why it appears they are not allowing students to take the full 150 hours before cutting off their aid.



Future Agenda Items:

  • Add to the next ALC agenda - balancing workloads
  • Invite Jim Cooper to meetings on a regular basis; meet with recruiting and admissions, etc.  
  • Add to the next Deans Council agenda - reports on mini grants from last year and how to go forward with the next round of awards.


Meeting adjourned at 4:19 PM