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Extended Deans Council Meeting

July 10, 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:   Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt


Guests:  Joel Fowler, Faculty Observer, Sarah Holliday, Brichaya Shah, Ronny Richardson for Jeff Ray



Item 1. Updates

Szafran updated the Council on the following:


  • Education Advisory Board - Distributed the handbooks to the Council
  • Congratulated Steve on his upcoming retirement and thanked him for his service.



Item 2. Report from RACAA Meeting

Szafran updated the Council on items discussed at the recent RACAA Summer meeting:


  • Amanda Seals, USG, talked about legislative complications for next year; all bills not acted on in the last session will be active in this session to include the gun bill and the bill to have technical colleges become community colleges - both of which are of interest to us.  The other speaker, a Regent, spoke about Complete College Georgia and acknowledged the difficulties associated with this initiative.  Houston Davis spoke about the Complete College Georgia goal of 250,000 as this has become the major focus.  He spoke about how small increases across the USG can (3%) can make a huge difference.
  • New funding formula - will assume the graduation rate will increase by 3% each year and funding will be allotted accordingly.  
  • MOOCs – The System is developing a taskforce to study this method of teaching and considers MOOCs to be a tool in the tool chest and not a replacement for other teaching methods according to Szafran. Curt Carver spoke about enabling student success through MOOCs as well as other affordable resources.  The goal is to offer courses in this model for $150 per 3-credit hour course.  The System will support Georgia Tech's MOOC, Columbus State’s Next Generation Learning Challenge project, MOOC partnership with DTL, and a system-wide consortium on MOOCs coordinated by Georgia State.  The University of Georgia and five other schools are working to develop a MOOC for pre-calculus.
  • The New Learning Models Advisory Committee will be chaired by Dr. Rossbacher.
  • International Education – There were discussions about how International education is funded.  
  • There was some discussion about the campus growth model prepared by Matthew Hauer - SPSU was expected to increase by a total of 15% over the next 10 years, but our growth has been actually closer to 6% per year.
  • New program approval process is unchanged.  Low-producing programs may be at risk if over the last three years the program did not produce at least an average of five graduates per year (at the graduate level) and 10 graduates per year (at the undergraduate level).  Cloned programs will be counted in the totals of the main program.
  • The System is tracking data on TCSG students transferring to the University System and assessing their success.
  • There was discussion about all universities offering transcripted associates degrees (automatic degrees transcripted when students achieve a certain number of credits or courses) and reverse transfer credit - both would have positive benefits for students and for formula funding for institutions.  Our goal should be to encourage completion of the bachelor’s degree but these options provide something for students who do not complete a bachelor’s degree.
  • The Board of Regents is laying out career pathways from high school to college and featured our Mechatronics program as an example.
  • John Fuchko talked about various audits and stated that the one of the most common mistakes include employee leave management - especially faculty sick leave not being reported. Faculty are required to take sick leave wherever they miss class even if it is covered by another faculty member.  The audit found that faculty rarely report sick leave.  Also, instances have occurred with employees signing up to go to a conference and plan to take vacation as well, which is fine.  However, in some cases the conference was cancelled but the faculty member went on vacation anyway and sought reimbursement as if they attended the conference as well.  
  • The System Office is willing to help with Federal grant compliance.
  • Lawful presence was discussed.
  • Concerns were raised about about enrollment, retention, pay raises, etc.  There were also discussions, not at RACAA but at other meetings, that there may be additional consolidations within the University System.  The Executive Vice-Chancellor has assured that no consolidations are being considered right now and stated that they are still studying the cost effectiveness of the consolidations to date.


Item 3. Report from Sarah Holliday on the QEP

Sarah Holliday gave a brief QEP update and stated they are ready to begin writing the 5-year report.  Holliday stated that retention campus-wide is up and students graduating in 6 years are expected to exceed our original target.  They are collecting as much data as best possible. Sarah also talked about convocation and other fall activities, the two-year plan of study, advising, and degree works issues.  They are looking for student mentors, have sufficient faculty available to teach SPSU 1001, and talked about the learning outcomes data.  She also stated they are still having difficulty missing some FCARs from faculty and are having difficulty getting FCARs in a timely manner and asked the deans to talk to faculty about complying with this important deadline.  Sarah asked Dr. Szafran what we do with signed honor code forms.  Zvi will find out and let her know.  Sarah will send Zvi all the data she has on the QEP for distribution to the Council.


Item 4. Discussion on Enhancing the Early Warning system

Szafran talked about the EAB handbook which has a section on how other institutions handle at-risk students.  The early warning system with more detailed options was one model Szafran talked about and suggested something like this could be embedded in D2L (learning management system) with an intelligent agent that would prompt the student to do certain things based on different scenarios or circumstances.  Brichaya explained what the intelligent agent can and can't do.  Concerns were raised that using this will increase the faculty workload since faculty might be expected to track things such as absences, tardiness, etc. to determine engagement.  Brichaya argued that many faculty use the same type of manual process already that the intelligent agent can do automatically, thus saving time in the long run, after initial set up time.  Comments/concerns/questions from the Council:


  • One Council member asked for an explanation of the purpose or goal of the early warning system and stated that we can’t make decisions to replace our current system if we don’t know if it is working.  Szafran responded that it is to identify students in trouble and provide help and that he is looking at any possible tool that will help.  
  • D2L may be inappropriate at this time since most of our classes are taught in the classroom.    
  • Most faculty don't even know the process of what happens when they report students as non-engaged.  
  • We need to see what the data says before making changes to what we are doing.  
  • The new data person should be able to provide significant information.  Zvi has also asked Jill Brady to gather information as well.  
  • Need to look at freshmen versus junior or senior courses and retention data.  
  • Doesn't have to be one size fits all.  
  • Faculty must be engaged with this and see the benefit.  
  • Next step?  Identifying the students who need help and give them information about the basic services available to them.  The first year we did the early warning Ron Koger sent letters out to the students.  The next year no letters were sent.  The third year Enrollment Services started to send the letters out again.  
  • Our early warning system is only applicable to undergraduate students only, not graduate students.  How far beyond what we are doing with these students (letters with services available) do we want to go.  Can't make this determination without data.  Need a better letter to go out to the students with more specific information about available resources.  Letters cannot be individualized for every student for every course they are taking but D2L can.
  • Next step will be to share data from Jill comparing the semester GPAs for the non-engaged students versus the engaged students to see if identifying the non-engaged students helped them or not.  
  •  One of the biggest issues may be for the faculty who do not teach on-line courses.  
  • Zvi wants input from the Council for discussion at the next meeting.



Item 5. Helping Prepare Faculty for Teaching in the “New Normal”

Szafran talked about the use of D2L and intelligent agents, DegreeWorks, TADL, etc., for those faculty already teaching online and as a means of helping other faculty become more proficient with teaching online. Brichaya stated that they are offering three versions of TADL - hybrid, fully online for faculty that cannot make the time the class is offered, and a self-paced refresher for those who took TADL previously.  They are in the process of developing (next fall) tools for use by faculty teaching face to face.  Which tool are important and to whom?  For advising it is the two-year plan and all faculty need to be familiar with DegreeWorks, which will  the topic of the mandatory advising sessions for 2013-14.

Dawn talked about the various workshops made available to all faculty and what kind of things are covered during new faculty orientation.  The Council discussed who should be required to take these workshops.  Comments from the Council:


  • All faculty should know D2L and DegreeWorks.
  • Faculty should have choices.  
  • Should D2L basic training be required?
  • Should Intro to D2L be mandatory for new faculty, all faculty?  What does it cover?  Brichaya replied that faculty should learn to upload a syllabus at a minimum after attending the one-hour introduction to D2L.  
  • Boot camp should be mandatory for fully online faculty.  
  • D2L should be mandatory for staff teaching the Hitchhikers class - require for all faculty and administrators and relevant staff.  
  • Should faculty be required to at least post their syllabus, grade book, office hours, etc. to D2L?    What if they don't comply?  This should be noted in their annual review.  
  • Brichaya will let the Council know what the basic deliverables are.  Intelligent agents are premature at this time and we need to see where analytics go.   Who decides when and if faculty should be required to start teaching online?  Leave it up to the department chair but give the faculty the skills they will need a little at a time to bring them up to teaching hybrid and eventually online.



Item 6. New Business

  • Webinar – “A New Way of Thinking about Students” - July 22nd.   Zvi can send information to those interested.
  • Russ Hunt – reported that according to Facilities, space will be tight in the fall but not enough space will be available next spring due to Building D being offline for renovations,.  Facilities further insinuated that faculty are inflexible when it comes to their schedules and this will make the situation worse.  Hunt stated that he disagreed with the comments regarding faculty and stated that faculty are willing to make concessions to improve scheduling. 
  • Extra Comp Form – due to findings from an audit, the extra comp form was revised.  Several people have complained about the new form.  Szafran asked the Council to send him information on this or any other issues they are having and he will seek resolution.




Action Items:

  • Deans are to develop a list and brief description of the top 3-5 goals for their school for 2013/2014 for discussion at the next Deans Council meeting.
  • Sarah asked Dr. Szafran what we do with signed honor code forms.  Zvi will find out and let her know.
  • Sarah will send Zvi all the data she has on the QEP for distribution to the Council.



Future Agenda Items: