The Education Committee has met a total of eight times during the past academic year. The committee agenda has been substantial and several tasks will keep its members busy well into this summer, specifically the committee’s contribution to the Manhattanville campus template and the review of some new program proposals, which arrived too late to be included in the final committee and Senate meetings of the year.
The questionnaire used to evaluate new academic programs five years after Senate approval was modified by the committee during the 2006-2007 academic year. The questionnaire now has improved sections for outcomes assessment. The contents of the questionnaire have been added to the link on the Senate web page on “Starting a new academic program” to make new program directors aware in a timely fashion of the data that they are expected to provide for the five-year review.
Four programs have been reviewed with the aid of this new questionnaire:
This is a valuable program, which has been restructured after a bumpy start. It will be re-reviewed after 2 more years.
Some questions remain. The review continues.
The program is successful. Final approval will be pending the development of a mechanism for periodic outcomes evaluation by the program director.
(During this year the committee was informed that Teachers College has voted to terminate its professional training program in nutrition)
Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (approved 12/13/07)
The committee invited several guests to provide information about:
Elaine Larson, Professor of Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Research in the Faculty of Nursing and Professor of Epidemiology
Declan McCarroll, Director of Programs and Initiatives, Business
Paul Glasserman, Senior Vice Dean, Business
Ethan Hanabury, Associate Dean, Business
Alfred Stepan and Mark Taylor, co-directors
Andrew Stillman, co-director
Michael Sloat, intern
Jose Maldonado, Principal
During two meetings the committee informed itself about the current status of the Columbia Secondary School for Science, Math, and Engineering.
The Education Committee met with representatives of the School during each of these meetings. We met first with two teachers who have roles in defining the curriculum of the school, and then with Dr. Maldonado, the principal.
The school is planned to house grades 6-12 with about 100 students per grade. We have a sixth-grade class, which will advance to the seventh grade next year, and are currently admitting a new sixth grade class. The Committee was impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of both the teachers and Dr. Maldonado. However, the Committee was deeply concerned that construction of the building that will house the school has not begun, and the project does not seem to be proceeding with a sense of urgency. Our sixth-graders will enter high school as freshmen in Fall 2010, and the facilities, particularly laboratory facilities in science and engineering, that will allow the Columbia school to provide an education on a par with Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and Stuyvesant do not exist and it seems clear that they will not exist in time unless this project proceeds with considerable alacrity. We do not seem to have a fallback plan in case the building is not ready for the high school students.
“The likely scenario is that the School will establish its reputation in its initial years. If we do things well, the school will have a great reputation. If we do things badly, the School will have to be rescued, and will suffer from a bad reputation for some time to come.”
M.A.-only degrees (GSAS)
Most programs are functioning well. In past years, however, difficulties in a few programs have come to the attention of the committee (advising issues, unavailability of required courses, less attention given to M.A. students than to Ph.D. students). While the problems that were identified have been addressed by the GSAS administration, the committee discussed possible longer-term solutions for monitoring these programs. The chair of the Arts and Sciences faculty’s Academic Review Committee was contacted and found willing to include the administration of MA programs as an item in its departmental reviews.
Dual degree program administration
This is a recurrent item on the committee’s agenda. This year, students again reported several problems that continue to make life more difficult than it should be for those enrolled in dual degree programs. The committee’s consensus is that most of these problems would disappear if a separate registration category existed for students in dual degree programs. It is an issue that should be capable of resolution and we hope to work with the Registrar on this.
At its April meeting the committee had the unexpected pleasure of having the attendance of two officials from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Turkmenistan. They were particularly interested in observing how educational programs are evaluated and established in an American university. We sincerely hope we did not confuse these gentlemen too much.
The committee wishes to express its sincere appreciation to trustee emerita Anna Longobardo, trustee observer, and Jacquelynne Modeste, alumni representative, for their interest and efforts on behalf of the committee, as well as for their active participation in the committee meetings and tasks.
Letty Moss-Salentijn, Chair, Education Committee