Annual Report
Education Committee

The committee completed its usual meeting schedule of eight monthly meetings, in addition to a joint meeting with the IT and Libraries Committees. Much of the work of the committee involves reviews of new program proposals and surveys of recently approved programs.

New program proposals

The following programs were reviewed and resolutions for their approval were forwarded to the full Senate (approval dates in parentheses):

Two additional proposals, one for a master’s program, and another for a certificate, were reviewed and returned to the proponents without approval.
Pending (further review needed)

The committee received a number of proposals for Certifications of Professional Achievement. These proposals require committee approval only. 

Certification of Professional Achievement in Nutrition (P&S)
Pending (just received -- subcommittees have been appointed):
Sustainability Analytics  (SCE)
Graduate Foundations  (SCE)
International Relations (SCE)
United Nations Studies (SCE)
Human Rights (SCE)

The Education committee approved conversion of an existing program, Information Knowledge and Strategy (SCE), into a blended format of distance learning and three forty-hour on-campus residencies. The committee presented a brief report ( to the Senate on 12-2-2011, which was followed by a presentation by Dean Kristine Billmyer and faculty responsible for the distance learning initiatives. A more in-depth presentation was given by Dean Billmyer and her distance learning team during a combined meeting of the Education, IT, and Libraries Committees on February 17, 2012. At that meeting the new format was discussed in detail by the members of the three committees. We are confident that the blended format, which closely follows the guidelines generated by the Education Committee in 2006, provides a satisfactory learning experience for the students who are enrolled in the program. We anticipate that several other SCE programs will be proposed for similar conversions and other units of the University will develop new distance learning programs or convert existing programs along similar lines.

During the plenary meeting of the Senate on February 3, 2012, one of us (LMS) presented –  together with Zeid Sitnica of the Office of Vice Provost Rittenberg -- a joint interactive website ( with extensive information about the requirements for the various degrees, as well as the non-degree documents in use at Columbia.  We hope that this site will assist anyone who wishes to submit a proposal for a new program. Required documents and steps in the approval process are outlined. The website also features a page that shows the progress of each proposal in the approval process. 

Five-Year reviews

The committee, with the cooperation of the Vice Provost’s office, surveys new programs five years after their approval by the Senate. The survey is intended to assist the committee in determining whether a program has been implemented as originally proposed, whether it has met its purpose, and how many students have applied and matriculated. When applicable, the number and placement of graduates are considered as well. The survey is analyzed by a subcommittee composed of three education committee members.

This year, because of changes in the requirement for outcomes data, the subcommittee was established later than usual. It will work over the summer to conduct the five-year reviews and report in September 2012.

A new Institute
The committee reviewed and endorsed the proposal to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation in the School of Journalism (approved by the senate 3-2-2012).

Open course evaluation discussion
During two of its meetings, the committee discussed with representatives of the Student Affairs Committee the evolving proposal on open course evaluations. While the committee members appreciated the work of the proponents, they expressed concerns about the proposal. Further discussion is anticipated at the plenary of April 27. 

Finally, the Committee wishes to acknowledge with appreciation the continued interest and wholehearted participation of Anna Longobardo, Trustee Emerita, in the work of the Committee.

Respectfully submitted,

James H. Applegate and Letty Moss-Salentijn