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Deans Council Meeting

June 26, 2013

 B 120



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


Members:  Rich Cole, Tom Currin, Ruston Hunt, Thomas Nelson, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Zvi Szafran


Members Absent:   Jeffrey Ray


GuestsJoel Fowler, Faculty Observer, Jennifer Louten, Ronny Richardson for Jeff Ray



Item 1. Updates

Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:

  • Biotechnology degree – Tom Nelson met with Kennesaw State University to assure there will be no program duplication.  KSU had no objection to our degree and is stated to him that they are considering terminating their Biotechnology degree program.
  • MOOCs – Curt Carver from the Board of Regents was on campus yesterday for a meeting about MOOCs.  He estimated that approximately 10% of students will benefit from this type of course delivery and greatly reduced tuition of approximately $50 per credit hour.  The System Office wants us to be aware of different learning platforms.  Szafran briefly talked about an article in Inside Higher Education that was not complimentary about MOOCs.
  • Budget – Szafran reported that Bill Prigge reported (from the Business and Finance Regents Advisory Committee) that there will be very little new construction money available.   No consideration of raises but there may be some money available for minor capital and MMR.  No talks about further budget cuts.
  • Formula Funding – down due to flat and declining enrollment in the USG.
  • Purchases/Spending – will be scrutinized more closely by the System Office.
  • Sigrid Burka – from the University of Rhode Island, met with Zvi yesterday about their International Engineering degree.  Linda Sun met Sigrid at the recent ASEE Conference and arranged for her to come to campus.  According to Sigrid, enrollment in this degree program, which also requires students to double major in a language, has a large fraction of female students (35%) compared to 18% in their traditional engineering program.  Szafran has more information and materials to share.
  • ABET – remaining engineering programs are up for accreditation this fall.
  • Lee Webster has started an Instructional Technology focus group.
  • Academic Research Group – SPSU has joined this group and Szafran will share the passwords to access data when available.
  • The Council congratulated Rich Cole on becoming the Dean of Architecture and Construction Management.  Cole thanks everyone for their support.
  • Russ Hunt announced that we now have a contract with Chemtronics.
  • Building I renovations are moving along well.



Item 2. Advising Task Force Recommendations

Jennifer Louten joined the Council meeting today to share a draft recommendations report from their committee and distributed a handout and data.  Data shows that 82% of departments assign advisors and 60% of departments use DegreeWorks.  The Taskforce made four recommendations:


  • The 2013-2014 mandatory advising update should cover the use of DegreeWorks
  • Require all students have a designed advisor and that this information be entered in DegreeWorks (if students are assigned to a professional advisor, they should also be assigned to a faculty advisor as the two have different roles and this should be made clear)
  • Faculty advising should be part of faculty annual evaluations, as part of teaching responsibilities
  • Deans should annually evaluate the Department Chairs for their role in managing the advising process within their departments.


Comments from the Council:

  • Reports regarding implementation of advising may be misleading—some program directors who have unusually high advising loads also get a course reduction.
  • DegreeWorks has some problems
  • Some faculty have large numbers of advisees; some have a small number
  • Usage of DegreeWorks should be mandatory
  • Students should have faculty advisor as well if assigned a professional advisor
  • There is inequity between programs in the number of majors and the number of faculty available to advise.  How do we address workload?  Professional advisors help to take on workload.
  • The majority of retention issues are with freshmen and sophomores in the core – suggest we have core department faculty available to advise all students as well.
  • Chairs should have the freedom to allow some faculty to do no advising.
  • Old survey showed many students were unaware of who their faculty advisor is.
  • Professional advisors should be on the Advising Committee.  Jennifer stated this is in progress [Martina McWilliams, one of the professional advisors, is a member of the Committee].  Also suggested to add faculty members from ETCMA, Business Administration, or Computer Science as they have large numbers of advisees.
  • Have a more interactive FAQ for advising.  The new website will have all advisors listed for each degree.
  • Have better and more specific training so that faculty can actually learn something new.


Records show that 99% of the faculty participated in the mandatory advising in year one but only 50% participated in year two.  Szafran will forward the names of those faculty who did not participate to their deans. 



Item 3. Discussion on article “Half of Faculty Say Their Job is More Difficult than Five Years Ago”

Szafran distributed this article (click here to see it) and asked for feedback from the Council and suggestions of what we might do to provide relief or support for our faculty who may be having the same feelings.  Comments from the Council:

  • Doubts were expressed as to the methodology used in the survey, and the small response rate.
  • Multiple surveys are out there from all types of career fields that say the same thing
  • Provide more support for faculty.
  • Survey faculty and ask the questions the right way.  What support do they need to do their jobs better?
  • Technology is constantly changing and many find this challenging.
  • Have CTE address technology issues for faculty
  • Have a suggestion box available in response to a specific issue.



Item 4. New Business

The following situation was explained:  A student currently taking a pre-requisite for another course registers for the next course assuming they will pass the pre-requisite.  However, the student fails the pre-requisite and is therefore not eligible to take the next class.  Is there an automated system in Banner to drop the students in this situation?  Currently departments have to manually remove the students and it is very time consuming.  It was not determined that Banner can do this.  Dr. Szafran then noted that some colleges have created a system whereby students who fail a course would be put into the next course and offered supplements to achieve competency in the failed course.   When asked how this could be done, Szafran responded this could be done with the use of technology, online tutorials, online quizzes, etc. 



Action Item(s):




Future Agenda Item(s):




The meeting adjourned at 3:46 PM