University Senate                                                                                              April 25, 2003







The Education Committee looks back on an active year. The committee has met eight times and, in addition, eight subcommittees have worked intensively on items of business that were brought before the committee.


Reviews of proposals for new educational programs

Among the regular duties of the committee is the review of proposals for new programs, which are received from the Provost’s office. The following proposals were approved by the Education Committee and resolutions were forwarded for their approval by the Senate:


MS degree in Computer Engineering (FFSEAS)                   approved 1/31/2003

MS degree Adv. Education in Orthodontics (SDOS)             pending 4/25/2003

MIA/ Diplôme joint/dual degree program

(SIPA/ Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris)                   pending 4/25/2003

MPA/MPA joint/dual degree program

(SIPA/London School of Economics)                              pending 4/25/2003

MSW/MIA dual degree program

(SSW/SIPA)                                                                 pending 4/25/2003


Associate Dean Robert Garris (SIPA) met with the committee to assist it in its review of the joint/dual and dual degree programs proposed by SIPA (listed above).


DPT (P&S)                                                                       conditionally approved 1/31/2003

DrNP (SON)                                                                     pending


Two proposals for new clinical doctorates, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DrNP) and the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), were received and reviewed by the committee. The committee spent a considerable amount of time and effort, especially on the DrNP proposal. If approved, this degree would be a new degree in New York State. The DPT proposal was seen as less controversial. The degree is already registered in New York State. Furthermore, the program in physical therapy had prepared its proposal according to the standards of its accrediting agency, with an accreditation site visit scheduled for later in 2003.

The following individuals met with the committee in order to assist it in its review of the DrNP proposal:

Dean Mary Mundinger, with Professors Judy Hill and Jan Smolowitz (SON)

Executive Vice President Gerald Fischbach (Health and Biomedical Sciences)

In addition, four members of the committee met with Vice President Thomas Q. Morris (Health and Biomedical Sciences).

Individuals who met with the committee regarding the DPT proposal:

Associate Dean Donald Kornfeld (P&S) and Professor Risa Granick


            The committee expressed its discomfort with the absence of clear guidelines for the establishment of clinical doctorates. The two extant clinical doctorates (MD and DDS) were established more than eighty-five years ago.

            Despite some reservations, which were expressed by members of the subcommittee that had studied the DrNP proposal, the committee prepared resolutions for the two programs so that the proposals could be discussed in the broader forum of the Senate. After extensive discussions in the Senate, action was deferred until guidelines for clinical doctorates could be agreed upon.

A first draft of such guidelines, based on accreditation standards for the MD and DDS programs, was transmitted to the committee by the Office of the Executive Vice President of Health and Biomedical Sciences. This allowed the committee to prepare an amended resolution for conditional approval of the DPT program, as the proposal for this program appeared to meet the standards set forth in the guidelines.

            Further reviews and modifications of this first draft by a special committee of the Health Sciences led to a new version of the guidelines. Both versions were reviewed and compared by a subcommittee of the Education Committee. A report prepared by this subcommittee concluded that the present set of standards needed some further clarification. If the standards are to be used by the committee to appraise doctoral degree proposals, they must show robustness and clarity in delineating what makes a doctoral degree special. The report, along with some questions on matters that continued to trouble the members of the committee, was submitted to Dr. Fischbach.


Departmental name changes

The committee received two requests for departmental name changes:

1. From P&S:

From          Department of Medical Informatics

To              Department of Biomedical Informatics                                            Approved 12/13/2002

2. From FFSEAS:

From          Department of Mining, Mineral and Metallurgical Engineering

To              Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering                         Approved 3/28/2003


The following individuals met with the committee in order to assist it in its review of the FFSEAS departmental name change:

Vice Dean Morton Friedman and Professors Ponisseril Somasundaran and Nickolas Themelis


Review of programs approved by the Senate

Each resolution to establish a new program carries the provision that the program will be reviewed in five years. In previous years the Education Committee has searched for a more efficient way to conduct such reviews. A survey, which was developed and approved by the committee, was sent by Provost Rittenberg’s office to those units who are responsible for the programs that were currently due and those which came due during the development of the survey. During this year data were collected for a total of sixteen programs. During the summer of 2003 a subcommittee will review the responses that were received.


Other business

Francys Subiaul, a student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, met with the committee to express his concerns and those of a large group of students regarding the program in bioanthropology. The department of anthropology no longer considers bioanthropology (physical anthropology) within its purview. The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B), which was established in 2000, has assumed the responsibility for teaching the undergraduate courses in bioanthropology.

            The concern expressed by the students is that the limited number of faculty with interest in this subject will be reduced by impending retirement of at least one faculty member, while the interest of others has shifted to conservation and evolution. Human biology and human evolution as subjects of study are at risk of disappearing from Columbia.

            Three members of the committee met with Vice President of Arts and Sciences David Cohen to gain some additional insight into this matter and to express their concern.

            It is clear that under current conditions bioanthropology as a topic of graduate study at Columbia is no longer viable. The continued availability of bioanthropology courses to undergraduates will be ensured by the recent authorization of a line for a full-time lecturer. The question of the fate of the anthropology major was raised. At present, the major does not provide for instruction in the subject of bioanthropology. Interested students may take a concentration in bioanthropology through E3B. However, there is no way to articulate this concentration within the anthropology department major. Possible solutions discussed with Vice President Cohen were a bioanthropology concentration substituting for part of the anthropology program, or the possibility of a bioanthropology minor to be offered by E3B. Either solution will require the willingness of one or both departments to make certain changes.



The committee wishes to express 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

James Applegate

Ilona Bicsak

Paul Brandt-Rauf

Mary Byrne

Euan Cameron

William Enlow

Philip Genty

Ari Goldman

Matthew Lundquist











Jonathan Manes

Letty Moss-Salentijn, chair

Edward Mullen

Lorenzo Polvani

Stephen Rittenberg

Jeff Sult

Paul Thompson

Hervé Varenne

Frank Wolf