Education Committee

Annual Report 2003-2004


The Education Committee met eight times, and reviewed, discussed, and made decisions on a wide range of subjects in its meetings during the past year. Each Committee member served on at least one subcommittee or taskforce.


Reviews of proposals for new programs and a new Institute

Among the regular duties of the Committee is the review of proposals for new programs, which have been forwarded by the Provost’s Office. The following proposals were approved by the Education Committee and resolutions were forwarded for their approval by the Senate:

  • DrNP (SON)   approved 12/12/2003

This proposal was received in the spring semester of 2002. It has been the subject of intensive debate in subcommittee, the Education Committee, and the Senate.

Over a year ago the Senate directed the Education Committee, collaboratively with the Health Sciences administration, to develop standards for Clinical Doctoral Degrees that might serve as guidelines in the evaluation of new programs wishing to offer such degrees. After receiving the fourth iteration of this document the subcommittee approved it as an acceptable working document for future program evaluations (see attachment).

Meanwhile, a committee with representatives of all faculties of the Health Sciences was appointed by the Executive Vice President of the Health Sciences to revise the original DrNP proposal. The revised proposal, which addressed most of the earlier reservations and met the new standards for Clinical Doctoral Degrees, was sent to the Education Committee for review. The Committee forwarded a resolution to the Senate endorsing the program based on academic content, while not addressing clinical practice and societal issues that are not in the Committee’s purview.

  • PhD in Sustainable Development (GSAS/SIPA/ Earth Institute)
    approved 12/12/2003
  • MA in Climate and Society (GSAS/SIPA/Earth Institute)
    approved 12/12/2003
  • Exec. MS in Technology Management (SCE)
    approved 3/26/2004
  • MPH/JD (MSPH, Law)
    approval pending 4/30/2004
  • MS In Fundraising Management in Non-Profit Administration (SCE)
    approval pending 4/30/2004

Two dual degree proposals were reviewed and returned to the provost’s office: dual MPA/MA in Jewish studies (SIPA/JTS) and dual MPA/MSUP (SIPA/SAAP). The subcommittees studying the proposals had requested specific information from the sponsors to assist them in evaluating the program proposals. After three months of fruitless efforts on the subcommittees’ part the Committee concluded that it would be better to return the proposals until such time that needed information is supplied.


·        Establishment of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science
approved 3/26/2004

This proposal was noncontroversial and received strong support in the Committee. However, as has occurred on previous occasions, the establishment of the Kavli Institute was made public before the Senate vote could take place. The Committee suggests that either a more timely submission of new proposals be made to allow for due diligence in the proposal review and a proper Senate vote, and/or that public announcements be postponed until approval has in fact been granted.


The full Committee consulted with the following administrators:

Provost Alan Brinkley

A wide range of issues that are within the purview of the Education Committee were reviewed and the role of the Committee especially in its interactions with the Provost’s Office was discussed. An important topic of discussion was the School of Continuing Education and its proposals for new programs that had been received during the current Senate session. While several concerns remain about the lack of full-time Columbia faculty in the School and about the perceived quality of its programs, there was agreement that the school, once established, should be able to fulfill its mission if its proposals did not duplicate existing programs.

Vice Dean Morton Friedman (FFSEAS)

Dean Friedman addressed the Committee to discuss the objections of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering administration and faculty to the SCE proposal for an Executive MS degree program in Technology Management. Dean Friedman explained the history of the development of the proposal and the nature of the objections to it from some of his faculty.

Deans Henry Pinkham and Steve Laymon (GSAS)

As part of its five-year review of new programs the Committee asked Deans Pinkham and Laymon to report on a group of stand-alone MA programs that have been approved recently. Many of these new programs are interdisciplinary or professional in nature and some are offered by Institutes rather than Departments. Statistics were provided on the programs under review. The program on Conservation Biology was mentioned specifically, as a very successful model, getting good students, and receiving good faculty support. Programs that were considered problematic by both Deans were in fact identified by the subcommittee that had performed the five-year review.

Dr. Michael Shelansky (Health Sciences)

Dr. Shelansky had chaired the Health Sciences Committee responsible for the revisions of the DrNP proposal. He met with the Committee to review the changes that had been made in the newly submitted proposal and urged its approval.


Five-year reviews

During the academic year 2002-2003 the Committee, with assistance from the Office of the Vice Provost, put into effect a new process for the “evaluation after 5 years” of newly approved educational programs.

A total of 18 programs approved between 1/26/96 and 3/27/98 were reviewed. Most of them were found to be successful and meeting the goals that were set at the time of their proposal.


One program was no longer extant: M.A. Degree in Romance Languages.

A second program, M.A. Degree in Slavic Cultures, has had no enrollment since its inception. The Committee has recommended to the Provost that the program should be terminated.


Six additional programs that were approved in the 1998-1999 session were reviewed: four MA programs (GSAS) and two MS programs (FFSEAS). All programs are successful and meet the goals that were set at the time of their proposal.


Reviewed and approved in committee

  • The new Standards for Clinical Doctoral Degrees were reviewed and approved as a working document to help guide the Committee in its review of new proposals for clinical doctoral degree programs.
  • Two certificate programs in periodontics and in orthodontics (SDOS) were re-instated in an extended three-year format. Previously these programs had existed as two-year programs. In recent years, under pressure of their specialty boards, the programs were extended to three years. At that time they were converted to three-year MS degree programs. While these programs continue to exist, the need is felt for three-year certificate programs as well. The Certificate programs are similar to the MS degree programs in educational and clinical requirements. The Certificate programs do not have the research components of the MS degree programs.


Other business

The Committee has monitored the implementation of the Dual Degree guidelines that were approved by the Senate in April 2002. Good progress has been made especially as the result of efforts by University Registrar John Lenzi and VP for Student Services
Lisa Hogarty.

The Committee ended its work this year by nominating four candidates (two students and two faculty) for the ROTC Taskforce.



The Committee expresses its sincere appreciation to Trustee emerita Anna Longobardo, Trustee observer, and Paul Thompson, Alumni representative, for their continued interest, efforts on behalf of the Committee, and participation in the Committee meetings. Their advice and perspectives have greatly assisted the Committee in its activities during this year.


Education Committee