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PROGRAMS COMMITTEE

MINUTES

February 13th, 2009

MEMBERS PRESENT : Gary Denue for Linda Carlisle, Ayse Evrensel, Jane Gilllespie, Chair, Steve Hansen, John Hunt, Gameli Kumasi, Andrzej Lozowski, Stephanie McAndrews, Steve McCommas, Diane Sol, Valerie Yancey

MEMBERS EXCUSED : Scott Belobrajdic, Laura Fowler

GUESTS : Robert Dixon, Chair, Chemistry
David Duvernell, Graduate Program Director, Biological Sciences
Krzysztof Jarosz, Chair, Mathematics and Statistics
Zhiqing Lin, Director, Environmental Sciences
Leah O'Brien, Distinguished Research Professor, Chemistry
Steve Rigdon, Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Wendy Shaw, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Myung Song, Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Paul Wanda, Graduate Program Director, Biotechnology Management

I. Announcements

There were no announcements.

II. Minutes of January 23rd, 2009

Stephanie McAndrews made a motion to accept the minutes as submitted; Ayse Evrensel seconded. The motion passed with eight ayes and two abstentions.

III. Graduate Program Review Reports

From the instructions provided by the Office of Assessment: "The Self-Study, Internal Review Report, External Review Report, Chair Report, and Dean Report will be filed electronically in the Office of Assessment. The reports will be sent to the Curriculum Council for undergraduate review or the Graduate Council Programs Committee for graduate review. Programs that obtain a rating of "needs improvement" must make a plan, approved by the Curriculum Council for undergraduate programs or the Programs Committee for graduate programs, to address areas of concern. The Curriculum Council or Programs Committee can approved, approve with modification, or reject the Self-study and Reports. If accepted, the documents are sent to the Provost. If accepted with modifications, the Self-Study, External Review Report, Chair's Report and/or Dean's Report will be revised in collaboration with the program. If rejected, the Self-Study, External Review Report, Chair's Report and/or Dean's Report will be revised in collaboration with the program addressing concerns and suggestions of the Curriculum Council or Programs Committee. All programs accepted with modification or rejected must be re-evaluated and approved by either the Curriculum Council or Programs Committee. The Curriculum Council or Programs Committee will rate programs as either "in good standing", "flagged for priority review", or "enrollment suspended"."

A. Biological Sciences

The review committee felt that the graduate program was not offering enough summer courses and that the program should be more specific about the core curriculum. It also recommended that the program revise its assessment plan. Lastly, the committee worried that the number of undergraduates was overwhelming the graduate program making it difficult to schedule courses and to mentor students. It suggested that the program consider limiting the undergraduate enrollment.

Dave Duvernell, graduate program director, stated that the program review process provided guidance but that it did not identify any new problems. He felt that the external review was especially well done.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program in good standing unanimously.

B. Biotechnology Management

This graduate program is an interdisciplinary program involving biology and business, with an internship as its highlight. Currently, there is one student enrolled in the graduate program. The program reviews identified recruitment and enrollment of students as a major issue for the program. It also found that the program needed additional administrative support. The program's faculty perceive its biggest obstacle to be not having re-arranged internships for the students. Steve McCommas pointed out that almost no other program like this one supplies an internship. Paul Wanda, graduate program director, said that although they have many applications, the program admits only eight students but that most of the applications and the admitted students are international students who do not enroll. Steve Hansen suggested that the program accept two or three times the amount of student that they are accepting now.

Hansen asked if there is sufficient commitment for the professional science programs. Wendy Shaw, CAS Associate Dean, stated that it's not realistic to give resources to a program that has only one graduate student. There may come a time that CAS and the Graduate School may need to reassess both professional master's programs.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program flagged for priority review with nine ayes and one abstention.

C. Chemistry

The program review found that the program should strengthen its assessment plan, incorporate more writing into its plan of study, and address the issue of ethics and standards as a student learning goal. Robert Dixon, department chair, said that the Chemistry graduate program would strengthen the assessment plan and will work with the Graduate School to do so. It also would like to include a writing component in its assessment. Regarding the new program review process, Dixon felt that one on one meetings with external reviewers would be beneficial. For example, a discussion with the external reviewer would have clarified the questions regarding information on GA teaching loads, pay, benefits, and hours and on faculty workloads. The reviewers were appalled by SIUE offering Sunday evening labs, however there is nothing that can be done to change that.

Regarding whether there was anything learned through the reviews, Dixon said that both reviews commented on ethics and standards, and that they want a more formalized treatment of this. Leah O'Brien, graduate program director, commented that they have a TA training component but that they do not have ethics and standards built into their formal courses. Wendy Shaw stated that the process worked well although the outside reviewers may not know the system well enough. Steve McCommas asked whether relying on other departments for ethics training was a viable solution for the department.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program in good standing with nine ayes and one abstention.

D. Environmental Science Management

This graduate program is unique. It is the only one in the area and only one of four in the country. There are currently eight graduate students enrolled, four of whom have already found internships. They added a lecturer to enhance the graduate program. However, the performance of the Environmental Science Management degree program is not to the level expected. Only one student will graduate this year. The program has problems finding internships for students. One of the reviewers thought that the teaching load for the faculty is too high. Like the Biotechnology Management program, the review committee was concerned about the lack of administrative support and about the level of enrollment. McCommas said that the committee considered replacing the internship with a paper, but the internship is essential to this graduate program.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program flagged for priority review with eight ayes for that option and two votes to suspend enrollment.

E. Environmental Sciences

There are currently forty-two students enrolled in this graduate program. It features six options. One of the questions raised by the review was whether the program has the expertise to offer content in all six areas. Can they supplement their expertise with faculty from other departments? They are currently in the process of hiring a new faculty member in environmental geography and may consider reducing the number of options.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program in good standing unanimously.

F. Mathematics

The reviewers felt that the program should add more courses, include more literature review in courses, and make more effort to built collaborative relationships with area industry. The faculty felt that adding more courses is a good suggestion but not a priority, and the program would need to decide which courses to add if this route is taken. Steve Rigdon estimates that there are 10-20 enrolled in the graduate program. The review suggests that the graduate program has closer contacts with industry. Many of the faculty members are in pure or educational math, neither of which supports industry. Funding does not work the same in all departments. The program questioned whether the reviewers understand the reality of the SIUE budget. Steve Rigdon felt that the external review was helpful.

The Programs committee rated the graduate program in good standing unanimously.

The Programs Committee discussed the new program review process. Steve McCommas liked both the internal and external review process. Ayse Evrensel added that the questions should be different in internal and external reviews, thus giving a broader view of the graduate program. Valerie Yancey said that she was a little disappointed in the assessment process. The reviewers need to find the thread for ethics for any graduate program to be rated exemplary. Programs had better be demonstrating how the new assessment is done. Hansen said that he would talk to Vicki Scott about the time table since there was too much material to digest at once. Hansen did not feel that there was sufficient time to devote to each program review.

IV. Continuing Business

There was no continuing business.

V. New Business

There was no new business.

VI. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 3:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen L. Hansen
Associate Provost for Research and
Dean, The Graduate School

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