Education Committee   
Annual Report 2012-2013   

The committee completed its usual schedule of eight monthly meetings, as well as a joint meeting with the Information Technology and Libraries committees. While much of the work of the committee involves reviews of new program proposals and surveys of recently approved programs, the committee also informed itself on several aspects of online learning and the training of teaching assistants. A few guests were invited to the committee meetings.


Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, for a discussion on online learning issues, including

All programs with online components need to be reviewed and approved by the Education Committee.

Sree Sreenivasan will be part of the review process. He will ask specific questions and review the answers.

Briefly discussed was the conceivable need for an additional document to recognize completion of a course offered by a commercial vendor such as Coursera. Should Columbia’s name even be on such a document? If a document is considered it cannot be a Certificate. The New York State Education Department’s rules strictly limit the use of the term Certificate.

Akshay Shah, who introduced the subject of a possible teaching assistant policy.
The Education Committee supports the idea that all new teaching assistants, not just the GSAS TAs, require training in preparation for their duties to ensure quality of instruction. A subcommittee was formed to help find answers to many questions that were raised and to monitor the results of a survey conducted of the actual numbers of TAs and the academic units in which they are hired. Some form of training in certain schools may be needed, perhaps a one-day workshop or a handbook. While there is general agreement that providing training for TAs is a good idea, the committee wishes to explore various solutions and monitor the implementation of such a policy by the individual schools.

Paul McNeil (School of Continuing Education) and Art Lerner-Lam (Earth Institute) were invited by the committee to address its concerns about elective courses in two Certification of Professional Achievement programs: Certification of Professional Achievement in Environmental Risk Management (SCE/EI) and Certification of Professional Achievement in Climate Science and Policy (SCE/EI). They were accompanied by Marni Baker-Stein, Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction, SCE.

Glen Gillen (P&S), Associate Director of Occupational Therapy, was invited to answer questions on the Doctor of Occupational Therapy proposal.
The following proposals were approved by the Education Committee (plenary approval dates in parentheses)

Under review

Approved for online delivery of existing programs

Not approved

Certifications of Professional Achievement (approval by Education Committee)
We have seen a significant increase recently in proposals for Certifications of Professional Achievement. These programs originally were designed for graduate engineers, who required additional education in a specific new area of knowledge and/or skills and needed to present proof of such additional education to their employers. 
The availability of a proven platform for online education, which was pioneered by the School of Continuing Education, has led to a number of program proposals that have been developed in partnership between SCE and other units of the University. The online and blended formats are particularly well suited for these focused, 12-credit points programs, which are intended for individuals who need them to stay current or advance in their careers but cannot afford to commute regularly to the Columbia campus. The following proposals were approved:

Under review

A subcommittee has been set up to examine the current review process of proposals for Certifications of Professional Achievement and, if necessary, recommend new review procedures.

Five-year reviews

Resolutions for approval of new programs contain a clause requiring a review after five years to determine whether the new program meets its set goals.

Questionnaires are sent to and completed by the program directors. Currently a review is underway by a subcommittee of the Education Committee of six previously approved programs. The review will be completed during the summer.


The committee wishes to express its sincere appreciation to trustee emerita Anna Longobardo, trustee observer, for her interest and efforts on behalf of the committee, as well as for her active participation in the committee meetings.

J. H. Applegate
L. Moss-Salentijn


Education Committee 2012-2013
James Applegate, Professor of Astronomy
Peter Awn, Dean, School of General Studies
Judith Burton, Professor of Art Education, Teachers College
Matthew Chou, student, Columbia College
Nancy Friedland, Librarian for Butler Media, Film Studies and Performing Arts, non-senator
Philip Genty, Everett B. Birch Clinical Professor of Law
Bette Gordon, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts
Venkatesh Hariharan, SEAS graduate student
Anjelica Kelly, Student, School of Business
Jeffrey Kysar, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Carol Lin, Lecturer in Biological Sciences
Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, MSPH
Anna Longobardo, Trustee observer, non-senator
Edward Mendelson, Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities
Roosevelt Montas, alumnus, Columbia College, non-senator
Letty Moss-Salentijn, Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine
Raquel Munoz of Stephen Rittenberg’s office, non-senator
Stephen Rittenberg, Senior Vice Provost, non-senator
Samuel Silverstein, Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics
Foad Torshizi, GSAS/Humanities