SFSU Academic Senate

Minutes for October 24, 2000

The Academic Senate was called to order by Chair

Vaughn at 2:10 p.m.

Senate Members Present:

Aaron, Eunice; Alvarez, Alvin; Avila, Guadalupe;

Bernstein, Marian; Boyle, Andrea; Cancino, Herlinda; Chan, Jeffery; Cherny,

Robert; Collier, James; Colvin, Caran; Concolino, Christopher; Consoli, Andres;

Contreras, Rey; Cullers, Susan; de Vries, Brian; Duke, Jerry; Edwards, James;

Elia, John; Ferretti, Charlotte; Flowers, Will; Garcia, Oswaldo; Garcia, Velia;

Goldsmith, Helen; Gregory, Jan; Hu, Sung; Hubler, Barbara; Jerris, Scott; Johnson,

Dane; Johnson, Sharon; La Belle, Thomas; Nichols, Amy; Pasaporte, Erin; Raggio,

Marcia; Sayeed, Lutfus; Shrivastava, Vinay; Strong, Rob; Turitz, Mitch; Vaughn,

Pamela; Warren, Mary Anne; Warren, Penelope; Wong, Alfred; Yip, Yewmun.

Senate Members Absent: McKeon, Midori(exc.);

Loomis, Barbara; Smith, Miriam(exc.); Langbort, Carol(exc.); Blomberg, Judith;

Gillotte, Helen(exc.); Harnly, Caroline(exc.); Bartscher, Patricia(exc.); Kelley,

James(exc.); Scoble, Don(exc.); Corrigan, Robert(exc.); Sagisi, Jaymee.

Guests: J. Combs, P. Barnes, B. DeGuzman,

L. Falik, B. Blosser, R. Williams, G. Whitaker.

Announcements and Report

  • Vice-Chair Helen Goldsmith provided an

    update on Asilomar planning: they are taking program proposals for one more

    week, and they are now taking registration. It is guaranteed to be exciting,

    interesting, and even fun.

  • Chair Vaughn reported that there is no

    chair's report except to report that the Executive Committee is still very

    concerned about summer semester issues and will report back shortly.

Agenda Item #1 - Approval of Agenda for October

24, 2000

M/S/P (Wong, Duke) to remove Agenda Item

#4. Wong explained that this will be returned to committee for further discussion.

The agenda was approved as amended.

Agenda Item #2 - Approval of Minutes for October

10, 2000

The minutes were approved as printed.

Agenda Item #3 - Proposed Revision to the Minor

in Counseling

Alfred Wong, Chair of the Curriculum Review and

Approval Committee (CRAC), introduced this CRAC consent item. He stated

that the Department of Counseling is revising the undergraduate minor in Counseling

to respond to anticipated population, occupational, and technological trends

in the United States. Counseling 605 would be changed to "Peer Counseling Skills

Seminar," Counseling 606 would be changed to "Introduction to Peer Counseling

Skills." There are also some additional minor changes in bulletin copy and prerequisites.

Andres Consoli urged senators to approve this

step forward in the development of the Counseling undergraduate curriculum.

He added that these changes respond to definite needs in both campus and larger


Penelope Warren appreciated the inclusion

of "peer counseling" in the renamed courses. She asked for further information

on how these changes would enhance the Internet presence of this program as

stated in the rationale. Robert Williams explained that words were chosen

that would be attractive to students who were unsure about getting into the

counseling field but would be interested in the skills developed in this program:

words like "guidance," "career change." The department also believed it was

important to have references to sexual minorities and counseling in the same

description, and a reference to counseling and computers or technology in the


M/S/P (Hu, Shrivastava) to second reading.

The vote was taken and the proposal was approved.

Agenda Item #4 - Proposed Revisions to A.S. Policy

#F87-32 Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement

Chair of the Academic Policies Committee (APC),

Sung Hu, introduced this consent item from APC. He mentioned that this proposal

also has the blessing of the Graduate Council, while acknowledging that this

long-standing matter has no lack of passion on both sides of the issue. He summarized

that the main issue is who selects the awardees and how many students will get

it. He recalled the history of this measure and its most recent iteration coming

from an APC subcommittee; this has resulted in today's proposal with the added

phrase "rounding up to the nearest whole number" at the end of the second paragraph.

Dane Johnson spoke against this version of

the proposal and encouraged others to voice their opposition. He offered additional

history, recalling an almost completely opposite version of the proposal that

came out of small programs' fears of having their decisions about who their

distinguished students are misjudged by people above them. The alternative proposal

put the power of choosing in the hands of graduate departments and programs

with the idea that "a distinguished record of academic performance and contribution

in the major field"--the reason for the award--is best judged by the faculty

in the major field. As the decision goes further up, it creates more work while

diluting the ease with which people can make decisions about what is truly distinguished

work. This alternative program would allow for one award per graduate program

while providing some formula for large departments or colleges with large numbers

of graduate students to make additional awards.

Hu shared some of the APC basic philosophy

for this version of the proposal: this is a university-wide award, not a department

award, which the committee feels means there has to be input from more than

the department; they want to make this a "truly distinguished achievement award,"

so the number of awards has to be limited; in this revised proposal, every program

is part of the committee.

Betsy Blosser agreed in principle that departments

know best who deserves merit, but raised a concern about the nature of this

award as a university recognition. The committee was worried about overrepresentation

of smaller programs; it is not logical to expect that small programs will have

a distinguished student each year. Instead, this version looks within the college

to determine a number of truly meritorious students each year. Blosser added

that Donna Schafer claimed that the students named under the previous system

were not always meritorious.

Robert Cherny endorsed the perspective of

the previous speakers, suggesting that his large M.A. program was having to

bypass students who were clearly better in grade point average and GRE's than

those from other departments. He further suggested that this version addresses

some of Johnson's concerns about the role of departments because departments

make the nominations and staff the committee. He also endorsed basing the number

on the number receiving degrees rather than the number of degree programs.

Vaughn passed the gavel to speak as senator

rather than chair. She first contested the notion that the previous system was,

in Blosser's phrase, "turf-mindful," for that system was a percentage system.

She also mentioned that some small programs have routinely decided against nominating

a distinguished student when they felt that their criteria of excellence were

not being met by any of the graduates. She threw out the alternative perspectives

that perhaps we should go to the UC-Berkeley model of a single award or perhaps

we should set up an all-university committee. Hu replied to her last question

on the nature of the award by acknowledging that there is no money as part of

the award.

Consoli, a member of the subcommittee, spoke

in favor of the proposal, making the main point that these graduate students

will be judged by people outside of their field when they go out in the world,

which makes the college level review quite appropriate.

Johnson commented on Hu's criteria of "truly distinguished"

and "limited," suggesting that these criteria are not exclusive to the current

proposal, for the alternative proposal makes criteria clear and limits the number

of awards. He added that he endorses Consoli's idea of departments reaching

out to other colleagues but suggested that there are many other opportunities

for that in the myriad committees of the university. He concluded that he heard

disturbing echoes of the FMI process in the suggestions that this decision needs

to be pushed upward and in the suggestions for a strict percentage limit.

Betsy Blosser made a distinction between the theory

of the original structure and the way that it acted, suggesting that this proposal

is a move to looking at students who are truly distinguished without looking

at a department by department view of their distinguished achievement. She added

that this proposal also avoids recalculation of the number of awards each year

since it is based on a five-year mean.

Vinay Shrivastava supported Vaughn's suggestion

of one award, adding that it might be better to have one per college. He asked

for amplification on the choice of 7% and five years. Hu replied that 7% is

somewhat arbitrary, but that they wanted a limit. Blosser added that 7% calculates

to roughly 100 awards per year.

Penelope Warren offered an additional perspective

on the debate, while first admitting the bias of having been involved in one

of the committees that worked on this subject. She suggested there might be

some confusion about what we are doing here: some of what is being said suggests

that we are setting up the rules for a competition, and each department will

be allowed to enter certain competitors; this feels different than thinking

of people engaged in the process of forming scholars putting forward those people

they see as demonstrating distinguished performance. She added that there seem

to be lots of places in the institution in which our judgment of the interaction

between student and faculty is taken out of our hands with more and more decisions

at higher and higher levels of the institution--with this one perhaps placed

higher than it needs to be. She envisioned a point where we could challenge

departments to articulate what they do see as distinguished performance and

then trust them to make their decisions about who they feel meets those criteria.

She added that she would rather see the errors made in recognizing more rather

than fewer students, and she questioned the percentage limit.

Provost La Belle spoke in favor of APC's work,

suggesting that they have found some middle ground with the notion of merit

the principle issue. The Graduate Division and the Office of Academic Affairs

administers this award and its ceremony, and he added that it is nice to think

that one is sitting on the stage with the individuals that the university has

collectively recognized. He added that we all seek ways to build community at

smaller levels, and nothing precludes departments from recognizing students

as they wish, but there should be some systematic way of doing this at the university

level. He also suggested that we might put a time limit on it for future review.

Marian Bernstein suggested that one of the

most important things the committee has looked at is the fact that our students

come in with such different skills and to measure on any kind of an absolute

level makes very little sense. This kind of policy allows departments to look

carefully at the type of achievement a student may have made coming in with

more difficulties or less background than another student.

M/S/P (P. Warren, Gregory) to move the

agenda to bring this back at the next meeting.

The motion was approved.

Agenda Item #5 - Proposed Revisions to A.S. #S87-149

Policy for Articulation of Upper-Division and Lower-Division Courses

APC Chair Hu introduced the proposed revisions

to A.S. Policy #S87-149 for articulation of upper-division and lower-division

courses, a consent item from APC. The current articulation policy for community

colleges states that if a community college course is "equivalent" to an SFSU

upper division course they can only do two things: student repeats course; SFSU

upper division course is renumbered as a lower division course. This proposal

adds a third option.

Vaughn asked about the "CAN" numbers. Hu replied

that "CAN" is strictly a lower division to lower division transfer.

Cherny suggested rethinking some language

in the new section C: the language may suggest that a lower division course

is "comparable in content" to the SFSU course. We have definitions of the differences

between upper and lower division classes. He suggested more elaboration in the

first sentence, saying something to the effect that the courses are seen as

sufficiently similar so that the student should not be expected to re-take the

course even though we acknowledge that there are differences in the level of


Gregory suggested changing the word from "comparable"

to "similar" to solve this problem.

Jerald Combs and APC accepted this

as a friendly amendment.

Cherny added that he thinks more than that word may

be necessary to justify not giving upper division credit, which is why he wanted

the whole sentence. Combs replied that they thought the implication was clear

enough, adding that has been understood in this way with the community problems.

Shrivastava asked for further clarification

from APC about whether the intent is that a similar lower division class will

not be given credit. Hu replied that by law community colleges cannot offer

upper division transfer credit, even though there may be courses that could

be offered at either the sophomore or junior level.

Cherny read some new suggested language from Gregory

for the first sentence after C: "accept the course as similar enough in content

to justify lower division credit without need for the student to retake the

course, but not sufficiently similar to earn upper division credit." APC accepted

this as a friendly amendment.

Marcia Raggio wondered about cases where the

identical course is being taught at a community college as a lower division

course and here as an upper division course. Combs suggested that if the courses

are that similar, we might want to drop our courses back, but we have maintained

in these cases that, while the content may be similar enough so that a student

does not need to take it again, ours are given at a different level of delivery

and peer interaction, which marks a significant difference between the lower

and upper division course.

Cherny reiterated that his intent was echoed by Combs,

but there is a larger problem in that there may be community colleges that are

teaching things that really are upper division courses.

P. Warren suggested that one missing component--perhaps

in the advising process rather than in this policy--is some articulation for

the student's benefit of what it is that the student will miss by not taking

the upper division course here.

Mary Anne Warren asked if the following dilemma

is addressed: a student comes from the community college with fairly similar

courses of some of our upper division requirements, and she does not want them

to have to retake this same material.

Vaughn reiterated that community college courses

by definition cannot be upper division, but the dilemma above is what section

C is trying to address.

La Belle offered some background to the battle

going on behind this proposal, a battle over who gets credit for students enrolled

and over curricula. The legislature and the Chancellor are likely to address

this in the future. Prerequisites to the major are what is at question with

the notion that students should not be penalized for transferring while two

giant systems argue over the curriculum. He added that there are many vested

interests in favor of adding C.

Gregory suggested that the problem is that the first

sentence attempts to address at a very high level of generality a problem that

comes to us in many specific forms. She suggested that we need to decide what

we really mean with that first sentence. She further suggested putting the rest

of C in an explanatory note.

Cherny seconded what Gregory proposed and suggested

that this needed to be rewritten as a policy. He added that we need to protect

our degree requirements if we think it is important that courses be offered

at upper division levels.

Combs suggested we not worry too much about this

opening the floodgates. He added that these agreements are part of agreements

between our departments and other departments with this information put into

a statewide database that educates advisors as to which courses are given credit.

He also took another crack at language for that first sentence of C: "accept

the course as similar in content to the SFSU course but because it is offered

at a different level, no upper division credit will be granted."

Paul Barnes suggested changing this to guidelines

and principles, which provides flexibility to the advisor while offering guidelines.

Hu suggested that people need to understand that

this is a policy not a blank check. Each articulation agreement has to have

department approval.

P. Warren wondered whether the needs of students

might be just as well met at the department level rather than an articulation

agreement. Jerry Duke echoed Warren, suggesting that if you accept the

course content but not the course, there is no articulation agreement needed.

Combs commented that the last two suggestions provide no predictability for

the students; we are trying to provide some predictability so that it can be

published on the web so that counselors at all the junior colleges will know

what kind of credit they will get at any CSU campus.

Vaughn commented that the questions raised suggest

this needs to come back to committee; she added that APC should not be held

responsible for the form of this because it was composed as a resolution by

the 1987 Senate; she further suggested adding a restatement of the upper/lower

division distinctions in the first "whereas" and wrestling with those courses

that are "sufficiently similar despite their differences both in level of instruction

and in expected outcomes."

The proposed policy has been sent back

to APC; it is still in first reading.

Vaughn encouraged people to engage in on-line discussions

through the Academic Senate listserve.

The Senate was adjourned at 3:30.

Respectfully submitted,

Dane Johnson

Secretary to the Faculty