Academic Council


Minutes for October 19, 2001


Present:  Lisa Carloye, Jeff Clark, Joyce Davis, Gerry Francis, Don Grady, Pam Kiser, Leo Lambert, Todd Lee, Yoram Lubling, Buck McGregor, Becky Olive-Taylor, Tim Peeples, Jean Schwind (chair)


Guests:  Bob Anderson, Jim Murphy


I.                    The meeting of elected members convened at 2:30 p.m.  The meeting of all members was called to order at 2:55.


II.                 Minutes from the September 21st meeting were approved.


III.               Council discussed the Web-based Summer Pilot Final Report with Bob Anderson and Jim Murphy, who made the following points:


·        A typical pilot student was a sophomore, junior, or senior taking a general studies course or one required in their major.  These B or better average students took the summer course to keep on track with their academic goals.  They considered these courses demanding and conducted the course work between 3:00-11:00 p.m.

·        Students did not expect the courses to require as much work as they did, even though they expected to learn a lot.  Over 60% of the students felt that their course met or exceeded their expectations, and 89% said they would recommend web-based courses to other Elon students as well as take another one at Elon themselves.

·        Students reported that course materials, resources, and texts provided them with what they needed to achieve course goals.  High marks were given to clarity of the syllabus, organization of course content, and preparation of learning materials.

·        Communication with the professor and other students took place using the facilities of Blackboard, such as email and email lists, discussion forums, the digital drop-box, and -- at a minimal level -- chat.  Students gave extremely high marks to communications at all levels.

·        Ninety-nine requests for technical assistance were received by email, phone, Web-based learner website, and the Survival Guide for Web-based Courses.


Points raised in the ensuing discussion included:


·        Preliminary evaluations support continuing the pilot into summer of 2002.  Fifteen web-based courses taught by 9 returning faculty and 6 new faculty will be offered.

·        Council requested that departments be included in discussions of web-based course offerings so that curriculum goals, issues of pedagogy, and evaluations can be addressed.  For the next phase of web-based courses, department chairs are asked to approve the offering.

·        Bob Anderson reported that student performance was the best he has ever had in any course.  He added that an enormous amount of time and effort goes into course design and implementation.  Small class size is imperative for web-based courses due to the high level of instructor response per student throughout the term.

·        Registration in these courses will continue to be restricted to currently enrolled students. 

·        Web-based courses do not seem to be detracting from traditional summer course enrollment; students who were closed out of an online course sought other online courses as a replacement.

·        Web-based courses allow both faculty and students to learn more about information technology and to refine their technology skills.

·        Conversations about web-based courses should continue to take place within the context of alternative pedagogy rather than the context of delivery system.  This distinction is necessary to maintain a focus on teaching and learning.

·        Concerns were expressed that online courses may limit community and experiential learning.  It was noted that some summer web-based courses did include an experiential component and that students’ participation in online courses kept them more connected to campus than not enrolling in summer school at all or enrolling at another institution.

·        When comparing the report summary with the compilation of student comments, Council was concerned that the report did not reflect areas that may need improvement.  Suggestions for future evaluations include using a likert scale rather than yes-no questions.  Bob Anderson and Jim Murphy welcome further comments and suggestions from faculty.


IV.              Council continued to discuss the Professional Boundaries Statement to address issues of wording, Handbook placement, and grievance procedures.  A revised statement for consideration at the November faculty meeting will be distributed with the meeting agenda.


V.                 Dr. Lambert reported that the concept of establishing Distinguished Professorships at Elon was well received by Board members.  In late October or early November, Dr. Lambert will present this initiative to full professors for discussion.  At the December faculty meeting, Dr. Lambert, Dr. Francis, and Mr. Whittington will lead a discussion of this initiative within the broader context of faculty salaries and benefits.





VI.              A faculty member expressed concern to Council regarding section II-1, B, 5, of the Faculty Handbook  on the selection of teaching faculty:


5. The applicant should be willing and able to teach in Elon’s

                            Interdisciplinary general studies program.


                   The following points were raised:


·        This recommendation was made to the Provost by the General Studies Council in April 2000.  Acting as a representative body of teaching faculty, the General Studies Council made this recommendation because general studies is a university-wide commitment that should be reflected in the recruitment and hiring of new teaching faculty.

·        The proposal was approved by the Provost and Academic Dean’s Council.

·        This hiring criterion is not absolute.  The recommendation approved by the Provost at General Studies Council’s request stipulates that  Advertisements for full-time, permanent positions in all academic departments should specify whenever possible:  ‘Applicants should be willing and able to teach in our interdisciplinary general studies program.’”  (emphasis added)

·        Council suggests that future recommendations to the Provost made by standing committees should first be presented to the faculty through timely reporting of minutes in written or electronic form.


VII.            Council member Todd Lee represented the faculty in the search for a new campus shop manager.  He reported that faculty concerns regarding the operations of the campus bookstore were well-received and seriously considered in the hiring process for a campus store manager.  These concerns included:


·        Avoiding short orders and contacting faculty whenever orders are changed;

·        Giving status reports throughout the orders process;

·        Being proactive, so that faculty are not the last to know about problems with an order;

·        Integrating campus store personnel into the general community;

·        Working with a departmental liaison to strengthen the lines of communication -- similar to the system for library orders;

·        Continuing to report general statistics concerning short and missed orders.


       Vickie Somers, Joel Kriner (Barnes and Noble regional manager) and candidates Sheila Jefferson and Willie Williams are all committed to providing the kind of service the faculty expect.



VIII.         Jeff Clark reported on the Ad-Hoc Committee on Security and Access.

                  Topics this committee has discussed include:

·        Logistical problems related to shredding;

·        Review of security policies at other institutions;

·        Creation of overarching principles for proposed policy;

·        Creation of principles for specific areas:  FERPA, campus statistics, medical and counseling services, employee and financial information, library, electronic communication, institutional advancement, student organizations, crime information, and intellectual property.


To date, discussions have focused on issues of access and confidentiality.  In light of recent problems with viruses and servers, an outside firm will be conducting a security audit.


IX.              The athletics committee is continuing to address concerns regarding class

attendance by student athletes.


X.                 General announcements included:

·        The email survey of budget priorites is still available for faculty to complete and submit.

·        The Calendar Committee has approved the 2002/2003 calendar and copies of it are forthcoming.

·        Math forums concerning the new general studies math course are being

                  conducted and faculty are encouraged to attend and respond.


XI.              The meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


      Respectfully submitted by Becky Olive-Taylor