University Senate

April 28, 2000

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE: 1999-2000

New Programs

Among the routine functions of the Committee are reviews of newly proposed academic programs. During this academic year proposals have been received for five new programs. Four subcommittee reviews have been completed and presented to the full committee to date.

This proposal was for a statement of attendance, non-degree program requiring committee approval only:

· Advanced Information Technology Management (CESP [Continuing Education and Special Programs]); approved 1/21/00

Three were submitted to the Senate for approval:

· M.A. in African American Studies (GSAS); approved 12/17/99

· M.A. in Biotechnology (GSAS); approved 2/25/00

· M.A. in Museum Anthropology (GSAS); approved 3/31/00

The recent proposals for M.A. degree programs reveal a continued trend toward greater interdisciplinarity. To the extent that this is so, the Committee found that the rich intellectual resources of the University were not always exploited fully. The M.A. program proposals in biotechnology and museum anthropology were amended at the request of the committee in order to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of these programs.

The fifth proposal to the Committee is for TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) (CESP), a non-degree, certification of professional achievement program, composed of credit courses. It is still under review by the Committee.

New Departments and Institutes

During the summer of 1999 the Committee reviewed and recommended to the Senate for approval the following proposals. All were approved by the Senate on 9/24/99.

· Creation of a new Department of Biomedical Engineering (SEAS)

· Creation of the Taub Institute for Alzheimerís Disease and the Aging Brain

· Creation of the Institute for Cancer Genetics

· Reorganization of the faculties at the Health Sciences

The Committee noted that the creation of a new department should require a rigorous review process and broad consultation at all appropriate levels, including the faculty of the academic unit in which the new department is proposed. While an established protocol exists for the creation of new educational programs, there are no specific guidelines for the creation of a new department, arguably a matter of greater importance. The Committee has requested that the Provostís office generate a draft protocol suitable for proposals for new departments. A similar protocol is needed for the establishment of new institutes.

A degree program involving international agreements and the creation of an institute have been presented to the Committee and will be reviewed in fall 2000.

Support for Teaching

The Committee has been informed by GSAS that it continues to recognize the need to help graduate students develop their teaching skills in the GSAS Teaching Program. During this academic year four workshops were organized on lecturing; grading; teaching and technology; and responding to student writing. The programís website (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/tat/) includes a teaching manual, "Teaching at Columbia," as well as other resources. This encouraging initiative deserves strong support.

The Committee also met with Frank Moretti, Executive Director of the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, and his staff, to learn to what extent the Center has assisted Columbia faculty in developing new media enhancements for existing courses, and to see a demonstration of the range of projects that is supported at present by the Center. The consensus within the Committee was that the work of the Center has accelerated the use of new media in many courses and has had a positive effect in general. The general recognition of the value of new media in education has led to their ready acceptance.

Guests of the Committee

Professor Eugene Litwak, chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, met with the Committee to discuss the consequences of the proposed reorganization of the Health Sciences faculties. He strongly endorsed the proposal, which was subsequently approved by the Senate.

Teachers College Dean Karen Zumwalt and Associate Dean William Baldwin met with the Committee to discuss the impact of the proposed CESP TESOL program on the Teachers College TESOL degree programs presently offered. The Committee is now reviewing the arguments of both parties before coming to a decision on whether to approve the CESP proposal.

Distance Learning

The committee discussed this topic in several meetings. The rapidly evolving capabilities to deliver course-related materials, whole courses, and indeed full degree programs in electronic format over the Internet make it increasingly feasible to teach courses online or asynchronously. The Committee reviewed the range of practices within and outside Columbia University. The use of material placed on the web to supplement and enhance individual courses, including electronic discussions, is clearly under the control of the faculty responsible for their respective courses. Courses given for credit by units of the University remain under control of the faculty and their unitís committee on instruction (COI). The appropriateness of the medium of instruction is a pedagogical decision that must remain under faculty/COI control.

Other long-distance ventures are more commercial in nature: developing products for sale in the electronic marketplace, licensing technologies developed by faculty, and packaging educational programs (courses) to other institutions and perhaps to individuals. In the latter case there may not be any specific issues relating to the mission of the University if these educational services are offered not for credit (continuing education events). The Committee decided that it should conduct a regular (perhaps biannual) review of this rapidly developing educational spectrum of activities to assess whether they continue to be compatible with the mission of the University as a teaching and research institution.

Copyright Policy

The Committee at its meeting of April 14, 2000, discussed the released version of the proposed Columbia University Copyright Policy, as well as a more recent working version of section I.D-2 of the policy, which relates to course content and courseware.

Following the recommendations of the two-member subcommittee charged with the study of the document, the members of the Committee agreed that in general this was a good policy document, apparently well balanced between the rights of the Officers and of the University.

The Committee emphasized the importance of a standing Policy Review Committee in the further incremental development and implementation of the policy. Appropriate faculty representation on the Review Committee is essential, as is the need to give the highest priority to addressing educational concerns in any matters that may arise.

Acknowledgments

Finally, the Committee wishes to acknowledge the participation of Anna Longobardo, Trustee Emerita, and Carlos Muñoz, Alumnus, in the work of the Committee.

 

University Senate

April 21, 2000

Report for the Executive Committee from the Education Committee: 1999-2000

The Committee at its meeting of April 14, 2000, discussed the released version of the proposed Columbia University Copyright Policy, as well as a more recent working version of section I.D-2 of the policy, which relates to course content and courseware.

Following the recommendations of the two-member subcommittee charged with the study of the document, the members of the Committee agreed that in general this was a good policy document, apparently well balanced between the rights of the Officers and of the University.

The Committee emphasized the importance of a standing Policy Review Committee in the further incremental development and implementation of the policy. Appropriate faculty representation on the Review Committee is essential, as is the need to give the highest priority to addressing educational concerns in any matters that may arise.