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The Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate
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New Freshman Seminar: Call for Proposals

The New Freshman Seminar Committee of the Faculty Senate invites faculty of all departments to submit proposals for Freshman Seminars to be offered in Fall 2006. Proposals should take the form of a two or three page account of the course (no syllabus required at this point) and how the course will address the goals outlined below. Submission deadline is Tuesday, November 29th, just back from Thanksgiving break. Summer money will be available for detailed development of successful proposals (see below for further details).

A Bit of Explanation

Following up on Faculty Senate recommendations approved by the Chancellor, and in conjunction with ongoing BRIDGE-work toward redesigning the General Education program, the goal is for half (approx. 850 students) of all incoming freshmen to take a New Freshman Seminar in 06, and for the entire entering class to do so in 07.

As defined in the Faculty Senate recommendations, the goals of all New Freshman Seminars will be:

1. To assist new freshmen in making the transition to college level work and expectations.

2. To orient students to the resources and culture of the University.

3. To engage students in an intellectual community of students and faculty.

Obviously there are many ways to go about achieving such goals, and the Committee hopes with this invitation to incite a wide range of creative responses. Some models are already established:

*** CIV 115 (integrated Introductory and / or Skills classes that are reduced in size and team-taught: 6 hours, 40 students),

*** HONS 120 (3 hours, 20 students),

*** UNIV 112 (team-taught, 2 hours, 20 students).

Our call for proposals includes new or ongoing versions of these courses. But we are also looking for new conceptions of Introductory (e.g. 111) or Distribution courses currently on the books, which would specifically address the goals listed above. And we are looking for proposals of Learning Communities consisting of linked General Education courses (e.g. a large section of 111 linked to a Skills course).

(Note and apology: we realize that at this point the schedule for Fall 06 has been essentially set, with faculty already assigned to their courses. So what we are asking for here are descriptions / proposals of courses already on the books for next Fall, which can be tailored to fit the guidelines given above. The timing is unfortunate-- i.e., asking for proposals *before* the schedule is set would make more sense-- but our Committee has itself just now been constituted, and we are being asked to catch up to a process already well in motion.)

Successful proposals will explain how this particular Introductory, Skills, or Distribution course looks different from a current Introductory, Skills, or Distribution course that is not a New Freshman Seminar. Proposals should address the focus of the course and the nature of the pedagogy involved that is designed to address the goals outlined above, including, for example:

* out of class activities for the instructor(s) and students to attend or engage in,

* in-class activities to acquaint students with the resources and culture of the University,

* interdisciplinary angles or elements to the coursework,

* as well as other readings / assignments / activities.

In line with the recommendations of the Task Force upon which the Faculty Senate recommendations are based, one of the elements of the conception of the New Freshman Seminar is reduced class size. The Committee's working assumption is that

this means 20-25 students per teacher involved, but this is a somewhat malleable and negotiable figure, and we invite faculty proposing Seminars with a higher ratio of students to teachers to explain, in the proposal, the reasoning behind this choice or, as it may be, necessity, and also explain how the class size will affect the pursuit of the Seminar's goals.

Because the question of class size is one among others that affect departments as a whole, we are asking too that faculty submitting proposals obtain the signatures of their Chairs and Deans (or Associate Deans)-- a simple cover sheet with the proposed course title and signatures will do-- to indicate their awareness of the project going forward, and to facilitate discussion as to potential repercussions for departmental programs / curriculum, course assignments, faculty assigned time (when required, as in the CIV model), credit hour production and the like. We ask faculty submitting proposals that create difficulties for their departments-- that stress the ability of departments to meet their existing and ongoing obligations and objectives-- to articulate these concerns in the proposal, and to suggest (in consultation with the Chair) what sorts of monetary and / or other support might help solve the problem.

Finally, money: all faculty submitting proposals will be eligible for development money in the Summer of 06, to prepare individually or in collaboration with others the Seminar syllabus, assignments, course materials, activities, etc. UNIV 112 proposals (because the course is 2 hours team-taught) will be eligible for $1250 per faculty; all others, for courses 3 hours or more, will be eligible for $2500 per faculty.

We recognize that all of this comes on rather short notice, but the Committee will be working quickly too. We aim to notify all faculty of the status of their proposals by the end of Fall Semester, leaving plenty of time for courses approved as Freshman Seminars to be tagged as such in the University's registration system by mid-January.

And I know I said "finally," but one last note: proposals that are judged not yet ready to be approved as New Freshman Seminars can still go forward as planned-- students taking such courses simply won't get credit for having taken a Freshman Seminar, but since this will not be required of them until the incoming class of 07, we have a year, at least, to tinker.

Please do consider submitting a proposal. If you have any questions at any point in the process, don't hesitate to contact me or one of the other members of the Committee. The proposals themselves should be sent to Krista Barrett, University Governance, Campus Box 1252.

Many thanks for reading this far.

Jeff Skoblow (Chair) for the New Freshman Seminar Committee:

Bijoy Bordoloi (School of Business)

David Cluphf (School of Education)

Cem Karacel (School of Engineering)

Alisa Williams (School of Nursing)

Connie Stamper-Carr (School of Pharmacy)

Julie Hansen (Library and Information Services)

Johanna Schmitz (College of Arts and Sciences)

Laura Strand (College of Arts and Sciences)

Karen Patty-Graham (Instructional Services)

Cheryle Tucker-Loewe (Academic Counseling and Advising)

Carl Springer (Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences)

David Sill (Associate Provost), ex officio

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