This Week's Message
Welcome to the end of Fall term!
This has been a very busy term for all of us especially as we continue to work on curricular and workload reform. Thank you for your active participation in these college-wide discussions.
Here is a brief recap on how far we have come and where we are going.
After 3 years of discussion on curricular reform, a successful faculty vote to adopt the 6-35 Proposal was passed in May 2011.
At a faculty meeting on August 23, 2011 the following motions were introduced and passed:
- To adopt the committee structure, charge and timeline on curricular reform investigation proposed by Academic Affairs at the 2011 Faculty Retreat, and proceed with the work on that proposal, culminating in a final 6/35 case and implementation proposal to be submitted to the Board of Trustees; and
- To hold at least one faculty forum during March 2012, and at least one full faculty meeting between April 9-20, 2012 (spring term weeks 6-7), culminating in a vote on the final 6/35 proposal; and
- To commence the formation of the 6/35 CRiTiC committee immediately upon the board's approval of a curriculum reform policy
The "RISE committee structure" went to work and soon realized that we would have to resolve the "4-credit issue" first before we could go deeper into curriculum reform. We presented information to faculty and sought input at a Faculty Senate meeting, a Friday Conversation, and at a faculty forum.
Based on all the feedback and input we received, and the research and analysis we conducted, we (RISE Steering) agreed that the cleanest way to move forward would be to rescind the approved May 2011 proposal and propose a new plan that honors the fundamental part of the original proposal: the 6-course faculty workload and 35 courses for graduation for our students.
So at the October 27, 2011 Faculty meeting, RISE presented three motions to move us forward. The first was a motion to rescind the 6/35 proposal adopted by faculty last spring. After this motion passed (by a very strong vote of 115-18-2), a second motion, this one akin to a vote of confidence on the 6/35 concept of restructured student and faculty load, was moved. This motion was also approved with a strong 2-1 majority (88-44-3).
With the faculty having chosen not to move to allow absentee ballots, discussion of the third motion began with a motion to amend. The third motion, to move forward by modeling a trimester calendar with 3.5 credit courses, was, after discussion, amended (by a vote of 76-59-2) to one which asked RISE to model a 4-1-4 semester model and to return in December to the faculty with a specific semester calendar and credit model proposal. This amended motion was brought to a vote, to charge RISE with this specific task, and was approved by a noteworthy majority (80-53-2).
And so we now find ourselves with a significant task before us. Over the course of the year we will ask college committees, academic departments and programs and nearly every office of campus to work together to study and model a 4-1-4 semester calendar with a 35-course graduation requirement and a standard faculty load of 6 courses. As RISE works towards a December proposal of a specific calendar and credit model, all constituencies on campus will begin to envision the impact, challenges and opportunities that this realignment will present. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and there are certain to be difficult decisions as well as exciting prospects as we envision a new calendar, a new curriculum and a new model for the Augustana experience.
As we move forward, let us all remember that even while we may differ in our priorities, our expectations and our methods, we all share a common goal: to provide our students with the best possible Augustana experience and a lasting and life-altering education. Though we may not always see eye to eye, let us agree to treat each other with respect and move the college forward for that common mission.
RISE has many people to thank without whose work we would not be where we are today on curricular reform. We are also confident that by the end of this process, we will have the entire Augustana community to thank for their effort, their trust and their passion. So we want to start the next term by thanking you now for your part in our collective work to date and to come.
Pareena Lawrence and Allen Bertsche
Dean of the College and Director of International Programs
Members, RISE Committee