Document Type

Program Change

Publication Date

Fall 2008


KEENE STATE COLLEGE 2008-2009 ACADEMIC PROGRAM PROPOSAL DATE OF SUBMISSION: February 2009 SPONSORING PROGRAM AND CHAIR: Helen Frink, Honors Program Director 8-2956; PROPOSAL SPONSOR: Honors Program Advisory Council PROPOSED ACTION: Program addition CURRENT PROGRAM: None PROPOSED PROGRAM: College Honors Program (CATALOG COPY) NB: Shaded areas are for clarification only and will not be included in the catalog. The College Honors Program provides academically motivated students with intellectual stimulation and rich experiences for personal and professional growth by offering courses that prepare them to produce exemplary, creative, and challenging work. As an option for meeting the College’s liberal arts requirements, it provides an alternative to the Integrative Studies Program and involves both residential and classroom opportunities. In addition to working closely with fellow students and professors to engage in creative and critical inquiry, honors students integrate and expand on what they are learning in Honors courses by participating in enrichment activities and events both on and off campus. Residential Honors students will be housed in a Living and Learning Community (LLC) in a College residence hall for their first year and may choose to continue in Living and Learning Communities in later years. The Director of the College Honors Program serves as the LLC faculty advisor. A distinctive feature of the College Honors Program is the requirement that students study abroad. Each year travel-study courses led by Keene State College faculty will be made available to sophomore Honors students. See HNRS 301 Global Engagement for details. Honors course requirements cannot be met with Advanced Placement credits or with credits from other institutions. College Honors Program (44 credits) Required Courses: HNRSTW 101 Honors Thinking and Writing (course proposal included) Three Honors Courses (12 credits) in the Arts and Sciences taken from three areas: HNRSA 290 Honors Arts, HNRSH 290 Honors Humanities, HNRSN 290 Honors Natural Sciences, and HNRSS 290 Honors Social Sciences. (Course proposals included). These Honors courses meet 2 Integrative Studies Program Outcomes and Honors Program outcomes appropriate to the area. Non-ISP Honors courses in the arts and sciences need to meet the ISP outcomes as those reflect outcomes appropriate to an education at a public liberal arts college. HNRS 301 Global Engagement (course proposal included) HNRSI 401 Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar (course proposal included) Integrative Studies Requirements IQL Quantitative Literacy Four additional Integrative Studies Perspectives courses (16 credits). Students must take one course from each area (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences). Admission to the College Honors Program: Students who apply to Keene State College are invited to submit an application and portfolio to the College Honors Program if they have a high school GPA of 3.25 or above. Details of the submission process can be found at the Honors Program website: A subcommittee of the Honors Program Advisory Committee reviews portfolios and makes decisions on admission. Beginning in 2011 early in the spring semester first year non-honors students at Keene State College who have completed between 16 and 28 credits, and who have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 will be invited to apply by February15th for admission effective in the fall semester. Students admitted after their first semester need not take an Honors Thinking and Writing course, but will be expected to complete other College Honors Program requirements. College Honors Program students must maintain a semester grade point average of 3.25 during their first semester. At the end of their second semester, they must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 in both Honors and non-Honors courses, and maintain that in all subsequent semesters in order to graduate with the designation College Honors Program. Students whose GPA falls below 3.25 at the end of the first semester or 3.50 at the end of the second semester will be on Honors probation for the following semester. Those whose semester GPA remains below the standard for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the Honors Program and will lose Honors scholarship funds. Students have a maximum of two non-consecutive semesters of probation before being dropped from the program. Catalog Copy ends here. Program Learning Outcomes: In addition to fulfilling the outcomes of the Integrative Studies Program, students who complete the College Honors Program will be able to: transcend boundaries between experiential and classroom learning 3 reflect upon and take responsibility for their continuing intellectual development view and discuss political and social issues from the perspective of the country visited during their required experience abroad present their creative or scholarly work orally or in writing outside the classroom Rationale for Creation of a College Honors Program: to address the Strategic Plan’s call for a “dynamic progression to a new level of academic excellence” to create, for academically motivated students, an intensive and challenging option for meeting the College’s liberal arts requirements to maintain parity with other comparator institutions (public liberal arts colleges) by offering a College Honors option to attract and retain students who are interested in pursuing intellectual inquiry in order to increase intellectual diversity on campus to offer high quality academic programs that are affordable and accessible to academically motivated students who may not be able to afford a private college or a more costly institution to reinforce the College’s commitment to high academic standards and to enhance the visibility of academic achievement to stimulate faculty enthusiasm for teaching innovative courses in small, student-centered classes to balance and complement the College’s long-standing dedication to support, engage, and challenge other groups such as student athletes, first generation college students, and students with disabilities. to augment and support existing departmental honors programs on campus and to stimulate the growth of similar programs. Background: The College created a new Honors Program in fall 2007 to address the Strategic Plan’s call for a “dynamic progression to a new level of academic excellence.” Between fall 2007 and spring 2009, over 25 faculty from numerous disciplines participated at various levels in the design and implementation of the Honors Program, serving on the original Honors Committee, the Ad Hoc Committee established by the College Senate, and/or the Honors Program Advisory Council, which began work in fall 2008: Beatriz Torres Communication Helen Frink, Modern Languages Nigel Malcolm, Communication Anne-Marie Mallon, English Anna Schur, English Mark Long, English Sara Hottinger, Philosophy and Women’s Studies Allyson Mount, Philosophy Phyllis Benay, Writing Center 4 Thomas Durnford, Modern Languages Peg Barrett, Library Ockle Johnson, Mathematics Kristen Porter-Utley, Biology Linda Hadden, Management Jo Beth Mullens, Geography Pru Cuper, Education Karen Honeycutt, Sociology Marie Duggan, Economics Melinda Treadwell, Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies; Safety Studies Peter Nielsen, Geology James Stemp, Anthropology and Sociology Yuan Pan, Art Stephen Lucey, Art Donna Smyth, Physical Education Karen Jennings, Psychology Nona Fienberg, Dean of Arts & Humanities; English Honors students who have participated include: Lizzy Malone Nicole Ferri Chelsey Rothermel Faculty who have taught or will teach honors courses are listed in the “Resources” section at the end of this proposal. In fall 2007 the Honors Program enrolled 36 students. A Program Proposal submitted to the Senate Curriculum Committee was not approved, and an ad hoc committee formed to suggest revisions but did not meet the Senate Executive Committee’s charge to submit “a revised Honor’s Council proposal.” However, the Senate did approve the provisional institution of an Honors Program until a suitable proposal could be crafted. Nineteen new students entered in fall 2008. The current proposal builds upon the success of Keene State College’s Integrative Studies Program, which has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. This proposal is consonant with the “Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors Program,” guidelines established by the National Collegiate Honors Council, of which Keene State College is a member (visit The current proposal incorporates features of the original proposal, the work of the ad hoc committee, the Honors Program Advisory Council, and input gathered in fall 2008 from the following constituencies: departmental advisory opinions, School Curriculum Committees, the Senate Curriculum Committee, the Executive Committee of the College Senate, the Senate itself, and a faculty survey which garnered responses from 63 full-time tenure-track faculty. Honors Courses: 5 Honors courses will meet the same outcomes as courses in the Integrative Studies Program. They also feature additional characteristics, as appropriate to their discipline. They use primary sources and scholarly readings that are intellectually challenging and they feature student-driven independent work. Capped at twenty students, honors courses contribute to or reinforce the student’s experience of participating in an intellectual community and demand a high level of intellectual engagement. Honors courses in the sciences engage students in active hands-on learning such as lab and field work and problem solving. Faculty who teach Honors courses may admit no more than 5 non-Honors students to under-enrolled sections by permission of instructor. This provision is intended to ensure access to courses which majors may need to take in a particular semester. Honors classes are capped at 20 students. An Honors course proposal will describe the course content and readings and demonstrate congruity with the Honors course characteristics above. Faculty should describe their teaching philosophy and explain their motivation for teaching in the College Honors Program. The proposal should delineate what is expected of Honors students and how they will become involved beyond the classroom to expand their learning environment. Existing courses proposed for the Honors designation must be approved by the HPAC. New courses must be approved by the HPAC, the appropriate School Curriculum Committees, the Senate Curriculum Committee, and the College Senate. These courses will indicate by prefix whether they are grounded in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences, e.g.: HNRSA 290, HNRSH 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSS 290. A projection of College Honors Program course offerings is attached to this proposal. Financial Aid: The Office of Student Financial Services grants the first 60 students entering Keene State College with a GPA of 3.25-3.49 a Dean’s Scholarship of $2,500 per year as long as they maintain that academic average. The first 20 students with a GPA of 3.5 or above receive a President’s Scholarship: $3,500 per year, as long as they maintain that average. These awards are made irrespective of whether students participate in the College Honors Program. Irrespective of Dean’s or President’s scholarships, Honors students receive a supplemental award of $1,000 per year ($500 for the fall 2007 cohort), funded by a grant to the Honors Program from the William T. Morris Foundation. The Morris Foundation also offers additional funding (currently $1,000 per student) to support the required study abroad. While Dean’s and President’s Scholarships are awarded on a first-come first-served basis to entering students with the appropriate qualifications, the Morris funds are targeted specifically for Honors students. Projected Enrollment and Graduation Initially the College Honors Program will remain small, enrolling around 20 incoming students per year, for a total of 80 over a four-year span. This small size reflects the developmental stage of the Program and supports student engagement. Our experience demonstrates that donors will 6 respond enthusiastically to the opportunity to sponsor and become identified with academic excellence, and as resources, particularly scholarship aid, permit, the Program may grow. The first cohort of Honors students entered in fall 2007. Of the 200 admitted students qualified to apply to Honors in spring of 2007, 50 did so; 40 were accepted, and 36 actually enrolled. Two-thirds of this first cohort (24 students) remained in the Program as of fall 2008. Eight failed to make the GPA required after their first two semesters but continue here as non-Honors students, one transferred, one dropped due to illness, and two have left college. These attrition statistics are consistent with comparable honors programs. In spring 2008 63 high school seniors submitted portfolios, 24 were accepted, and 19 enrolled for fall classes. Program Assessment The College Honors Program anticipates being included in the cycle established by the Program Review Process, beginning in 2011, when the first cohort of Honors students is ready to graduate. In addition, Honors courses will participate in the ongoing assessment procedures for the various skills areas and learning outcomes of the Integrative Studies Program. RESOURCES: Faculty: All full-time, tenure-track faculty are invited to propose Honors courses. It is important to recognize that Honors courses are not an addition to the curriculum, but constitute part of the regular offerings within Integrative Studies. Because only three Honors sections are projected for any given semester, the Honors Program has minimal impact on disciplines’ ability to service their majors or minors, as can be seen by examining the following list of faculty who have taught or will teach Honors courses from the Program’s inception in Fall 2007 through offerings projected for Fall 2009: Sara Hottinger, Philosophy and Women’s Studies Kristen Porter-Utley, Biology Mark Long, English Kirsti Sandy, English Nigel Malcolm, Communication Jo Beth Mullens, Geography Sander Lee, Philosophy and Holocaust Studies Karen Jennings, Psychology Helen Frink, Modern Languages Charlie Kerwin, Geology Brian Green, Sociology Frederick Wolf, Physics Pru Cuper, Education Anne-Marie Mallon, English 7 Ann Rancourt, Associate Provost All full-time, tenure-track faculty are most welcome to join the Honors Program Advisory Council, which includes representation from each of the three Schools: Arts and Humanities, Sciences, and Professional Studies. Faculty teaching Honors courses are expected to serve on the Council, at least during the semester when they teach those courses. These teaching faculty are listed on the Program’s website as Honors Faculty Fellows. The College Honors Program Director will be a tenure-track faculty member, appointed for a three-year term. This is a half-time reassigned time position and reports to the Associate Provost. Additional classroom or library resources are not required. Residential space is adequate to support the continuation of an Honors Living and Learning Community. Additional Financial Support The William T. Morris Foundation funds the College Honors Program with $100,000 per year awarded for student scholarships. In spring 2008 an additional $25,000 was given to support students studying abroad, and this gift is also likely to be renewed on a yearly basis. The College Honors Program will continue to seek funding for scholarships and for the travel study courses. The $225,000 awarded to date by the Morris Foundation demonstrates that donors are eager to support academic excellence, and we anticipate that once the College Honors Program is firmly established, it will become a magnet for further significant contributions. 8 Projected Course Offerings Projections assume approximately 20 Honors students in each year’s cohort. As some are dropped due to lower than minimum GPA, they will be replaced from second semester first-year applicants. Dates in parentheses identify a cohort of Honors students by the year in which they entered, e.g. (2007). Fall 2007 Spring 2008 ITW (2007) Skin, Sex, and Genes IH COMM 171 Public Speaking Science and Literature of Plants IS GEOG 100 Intro to Geography Fall 2008 Spring 2009 ITW Skin, Sex, and Genes (2008) IHENG 250 Lovers & Losers (2008) IH 399 Philosophy and the Holocaust (2007) IN GEOL 300 Geoscience Issues in Society (2007) IS 399 Mercury: Power, Poison & Privilege (2007) HNRS 301 Global Engagement (2007) Fall 2009 Spring 2010 HNRSTW 101 (2009) two sections from: HNRSH 290, HNRSS 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSA 290 (2008; 2009) IN Meteorology 225; IS Sociology 399 (2008) HNRS 301 Global Engagement (2008) Fall 2010 HNRSTW 101 (2010) two sections from: HNRSH 290, HNRSS 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSA 290 (2008; 2009) HNRSI 401 Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar (2007) Spring 2011 two sections from: HNRSH 290, HNRSS 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSA 290 (2009; 2010) HNRS 301 Global Engagement (2009) Fall 2011 HNRSTW 101 (2011) two sections from: HNRSH 290, HNRSS 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSA 290 (2009; 2010) HNRSI 401 Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar (2008) Spring 2012 two sections from: HNRSH 290, HNRSS 290, HNRSN 290, HNRSA 290 (2010; 2011) HNRS 301 Global Engagement (2010) 9 SIGNATURE PAGE 2008-2009 1. Sponsoring Program: College Honors Program Advisory Council_ Chair Signature: Helen Frink For _9_ Against_0_ Abstain _0__ Absent 3_ Date __February 13, 2009_______ For _7_ Against_0_ Abstain _0__ Absent 5_ Date __March 13, 2009_ 2. Integrative Studies Program Council: For _10__ Against_0_ Abstain __0_ Absent _2_ Chairs : Peter Nielsen and Ann Rancourt_ Date _February 16, 2009_ Integrative Studies Program Advisory Board: For _17__ Against_0_ Abstain __1_ Absent _6_ Chairs : Peter Nielsen and Ann Rancourt_ Date _February 23, 2009_ 3. Advisory Opinions: List the names of the affected departments and include department responses. The Art Department concerns: * that an entry level honors program still appears to be elitist * that the current proposal appears more as a renovation of the current iteration, and most Art faculty feel it should be looked at again from the ground up with more faculty input and discussion, as a new beginning * that the honors program works against the majors, with limited classes offered, students must choose between their major and the honors program *freshman acceptance into the honors program does not mean acceptance into a major. In the case of Art, there is at least one honors student who has been rejected twice from the Art major based on the quality of academic art work. What message does this send to the student, who believing they are honors material is now rejected as a major. Should there be coordination with majors? * some faculty felt there should be a broader and more generalized honors program that takes into account majors more than Integrative Studies. Students would would [work] towards honors in their major not arriving as an honors student their freshman year acceptance. Departmental programs such as the Art Departments BFA program should be considered a Studio Arts Honors Program. * at this point it is difficult to provide honors courses in many departments. For instance the Art Department's Art Historian's plate is full with providing for ISP and for the major. *With the restrictions placed on departmental offerings for ISP courses (ie no reserved seats for majors), it makes course offerings for Honors almost impossible. More flexibility is needed. The Art Department voted: 7 Against / 2 Abstain in support of this proposal. English Department Advisory Opinion We appreciate the revisions to the main proposal and the attention to earlier advisory opinions in this version, and we recognize that much effort has been made to involve the entire campus in the process. Some members of the department support the proposal and believe that it will greatly benefit our students. However, many members of the department continue to have concerns about the proposed program. While the majority of us do not object to an honors program on principle, many faculty in the English department shared concerns that the courses in the program, particularly the capstone, privilege the social sciences and service learning and devalue the humanities, in direct conflict with the college’s liberal arts mission. It was noted that the emphasis on “experiential” or “out-of-classroom” learning undercuts the value of work inside the classroom— reading, writing, thinking, discussing, and reflecting—that is at the heart of our discipline. This is most evident in 10 the program outcome that asks Honors Humanities courses to “transcend boundaries between experiential and classroom learning” and the Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar that asks students to “examine a complex current issue from multiple perspectives” in “interdisciplinary teams.” It is difficult to imagine what a “disciplinary argument” on a contemporary social issue from the perspective of English might look like, much less how this might develop as the result of working in an “interdisciplinary team.” To many of us, the 401 proposal is vague at best and, ultimately, disqualifies the majority of us from teaching the course. A related concern is the emphasis on global issues as a component of the program. While we appreciate the value of introducing students to new cultures and perspectives, does a visited country have one particular (“the”) perspective that our students can quickly ascertain? What is “the perspective” of a nation? And how can we claim to help them acquire a global perspective in a program without any foreign language requirement? Given the concern with “Global Engagement” named in several parts of this proposal, it would seem that Honors students should be charged with the acquisition of competence in a language other than English, even if this is not required of all Keene State students. It is still not clear to many in the department how most Honors courses differ substantively from other kinds of courses, particularly ISP courses. The learning outcomes for Honors ITW, for example, are identical to the outcomes for the non-honors ITW course. Many department members wondered about the oversight of the courses within the program. We appreciate the efforts that have been made to revise this proposal thus far. It is the hope of many members of the English department that if the program does go forward, it is a program to which we can all contribute equally, and one that honors our liberal arts mission. Advisory vote: 3 for, 8 against, 1 abstention, 2 absent Dear Helen: The English Department met on February 26th to discuss and make an advisory vote on the revised version of the Honors program. The attached document was edited collaboratively by those at the meeting (I was not there, though my vote is recorded) and includes our vote, which as you’ll see was 3 in favor, 8 opposed, 1 abstaining, and 2 absent. As you add this document to the others in your collection, please allow me to add two other points: 1) The English department, including many of those who voted against the proposal, has been gratified and delighted to see the request to continue shaping the capstone course that was communicated back to us through Professor Schur. We feel that many of our concerns are continually being addressed, and that this bodes well for the flexibility and receptiveness of this program. As you might imagine our meetings on these issues are complex and passionate, and we all appreciate the work of Anna and Anne Marie on individual proposals in this process. Even though the vote might not be what you would like to see, no one is saying that your committee is unresponsive, and we look forward to Anna being able to bring back suggestions from others in the department for these possible future refinements. 2) This second note might sound like it contradicts the first, but it’s an important one as far as the Senate is concerned. When a revised program proposal is sent out for advisory opinions (as with the request you made at the Chairs and Coordinators’ meeting) it is important that everyone reads the same document throughout the process. What you brought to the A&H chairs meeting on the 27th, for example, anticipates and speaks to some of the attached concerns raised on the 26th, AND YET, if those are now part of the proposal they need to go to everybody from the beginning or else it’s STILL outside of the cumbersome-but-reasonable need for different levels of curriculum review to have the same reference point. This, too, was a concern that came up in our subsequent discussions while we celebrated, paradoxically, the constant reflectiveness of your committee. Self-reflection is good, but something course-specific might simply have to wait until the first proposal has gone through the process. 11 Sociology/Anthropology Faculty Advisory Opinion on Honors Program VOTE: 3 Favor, 4 Opposed, 1 Abstention Comments from Faculty Members Below: After a lot of thought and reading all of the e-mails, I vote in favor of the Honors Program. While the program should have gone through the proper curriculum process, I believe Helen and the Honors Committee have worked hard on listening to faculty concerns and making changes to the program within the parameters of serving students already in the program. I know that one of the big concerns is lack of resources, but after looking at the program, I don’t see our department having to teach a lot of honors courses. In fact, I agree with one of my colleagues that we welcome the opportunity to teach a small class of very bright students. Also, since we are lucky to have adjuncts who can teach an array of courses and support them doing, I don’t think covering an occasional honors course will tax our department. Finally, the Honors Program clearly promotes academic excellence and encourages bright, academically motivated/successful students to come to KSC. I definitely support that. ****************************************************************************************** Hi everyone, I am voting for the program with confidence that the good questions and concerns raised in our department will be addressed over the next year by Helen Frink and others. ********************************************************************************************* I really appreciate Dr. Frink's efforts to make the changes, and taking the time to talk to us. However I share the reservations that some of you have, and am voting against it. ******************************************************************************************** I am also voting against the proposed Honors Program. There are serious resource implications so I won't restate what they have contributed. I do think it is important to add that when you combine the honors low-cap courses with demands of the ISP program (300/400 level classes that we have not been able to staff with TT faculty or anybody), there simply aren't enough TT faculty to teach these courses and stay committed to the department. The College continually responds that we will hire more adjuncts when TTfaculty are pulled away from their program to teach other courses: this is unacceptable to me. We already rely too much on adjuncts, just look at the ISP. If the College is committed to this program they should hire more TT faculty to cover the courses. KSC is generally understaffed and this only exacerbates the problem by adding more new courses. There are also too many unanswered questions and ongoing problems for me as well. Here are some of them: The changes thus far have been very superficial. The Ad Hoc committee has suggested many significant changes but they have generally been ignored. The program has been presented as one that was open to revision but that seems to have been understated. Most of the changes thus far have been technical not structural. What is the student getting honors in? Now that it is separate (sort of) from ISP what are they getting honors in? How do/will graduate schools interpret this? What if students can't afford to do the study abroad option? Do they get kicked out? I know of couple of honors students who are planning on not going cause can't afford the trip. I know they get support from the College but it does not cover the full cost, which is another (although different) resource issue. Those are just a few of problems I see, I could write more but I'll stop. These are the major ones from my perspective. ******************************************************************************************** I vote yes on the Honors proposal. It's not perfect, but then nothing that has to go through so many iterations with so many voices chiming in (which on many levels is a good process) ever is. I know that Helen Frink has worked very hard addressing the concerns of the dozens of departments and groups on campus that she has met with, and she and the Honors Program Advisory Council (which I have not been involved with this year) have made changes to the proposal in response to concerns. Part of the difficulty is that the original voice saying "we must have an Honors Program by the fall" was Helen Giles-Gee's. I think we have been scrambling ever since then (2 springs ago?) to come up with an acceptable program. Again, I think Helen Frink's work has been exemplary, and I support her and the Program, with the assumption that it is a work in progress. ********************************************************************************************* For similar reasons, I'm not voting in favor of this new iteration of the Honors Program. 1. For Honors, don't we usually ask the programs for a four year projection of the courses they will offer each 12 semester and who will teach them? 2. Also for Honors, can they use a new prefix HNRS and then use the generic IS courses already in the stable? With new HRNS course designations, wouldn't these need their own individual course descriptions? And does this create resource issues? The last part of question #2 also seems to be relevant if, in fact, an adjunct is teaching an Honors course. In a meeting last year, the Ad Hoc Honors Committee was told by the Honors Program representatives that adjuncts could not teach in the Honors Program. I think the new prefixes (HNRS) are an attempted end-run around issues between Honors and ISP that were brought up last year during the Ad Hoc Honors Committee meetings. ********************************************************************************************* There are many problems but the most serious is lack of resources. The proposal states that tenure-track faculty are invited to teach these courses. That is an interesting way to word it because right now they have Charlie Kerwin, an adjunct, teaching an INGEOL honors section. This speaks more loudly than anything that there are not enough tenure-track faculty to teach these classes. Whether it's because faculty, for whatever reason, do not like the program or because they do not have room in their schedule, doesn't ultimately matter. The fact that tenure-track faculty are not stepping up to do it does matter. There is no staffing listed for next fall, let alone for the next three years. The program is simply not sustainable. Also, by changing the prefixes in the way they propose, students in honors will not be held to the same standard as students in the regular ISP in terms of not being able to take two courses within a category (Art & Humanities or Sciences) from the same discipline because the discipline will no longer be listed in the prefix. So a student could for example, take an IHHIST and then an HNRSH taught by an historian (in fact, it could be the very same course) and there would be nothing to prevent it. There are other problems but I'll stop there. March 5, 2009 Library Faculty Advisory Vote: College Honors Program Vote: 7 in favor; 1 opposed; 0 abstentions; 0 absent Peg Barrett, Chair Department of Communication, Journalism and Philosophy College Honors Program Vote: 11-1-0-0 We support the program with the understanding that program changes for the Honors Program be allowed in the same way that they were amended to the Integrative Studies Program proposal when it passed in April 2007. This would bring the Honors Program more into line with our current curriculum model. The ISP Amendment Process that was passed unanimously by the Senate in April 2007 is included for your convenience: “The Integrative Studies Program Committee (ISPC), any faculty member(s), or academic department(s) may propose a change to the structure, principles, or policies of the Integrative Studies program by submitting the proposed change in writing to the ISPC. The ISPC will consult with the proposal originator(s), and within three weeks of receiving the proposal, the ISPC will submit the proposal with an advisory opinion to the School Curriculum Committees. The School Curriculum Committees will forward their recommendations to the Senate Curriculum Committee (SCC) and the Academic Standards Committee (ASC). The SCC and ASC will bring their recommendations to the Senate for approval.” HNRSTW Honors Thinking and Writing Vote: 10-1-1-0 As a department, we would be willing to contribute to this course only with significant additional resources. HNRSH Honors Humanities Vote: 11-1-0-0 13 We support the course proposal with the addition of ��or permission of instructor” to the last line of the proposed course description. HNRS 301 Global Engagement Vote: 10-1-1-0 While we understand that the issue of providing funding for students has been addressed, we continue to have reservations regarding the lack of solid funding for faculty and concern about the continued availability of faculty to participate. HNRSI 401 Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar Vote: 10-1-1-0 As a department, we would be willing to contribute to this capstone experience only with significant additional resources. Chemistry We are primarily concerned about the availability of the resources to teach this program from the sciences. As the program requires the creation of a new course, as opposed to modifying the existing courses within the major offerings, this would remove a faculty member from teaching in the major offerings. While the college has promised resources to cover the loss in teaching capability, they have provided only money, not the availability of expert personnel capable of safely instructing students in lab courses. We are also concerned that there seems to be very little guidance with respect to what constitutes an honors course. The language describing the honors offerings is vague, and there is no identified process for seeking clarification, or for reviewing honors courses to ensure their appropriateness. Of secondary concern, but still important, is the sense that this honors program is not really a College honors program, but one suited more to a subset of the disciplines on campus. Without the ability to control prerequisites, and to build a coherent expertise over more than one semester, it does not fit the sciences well. We also reviewed the HNRSN course proposal. The vote on that proposal was similarly 0-4-0. The concerns raised about this course were similar to those raised for the program, specifically the resource, definition and process issues. We were disappointed to have to vote this way. The vote should not necessarily be construed as a vote against the concept of an honors program (although some do perhaps oppose the concept). We do note, however, that this is not the first time we have raised these concerns. That the proposal does not address the concerns we raised is very discouraging. Let me quote from my email of last fall, to show you what they have seen (sent to the program director on 10/16/08): We are concerned that it may be impossible to choose honors students based on the relatively vague standards set up in the proposal. We base this on our experience in seeing thousands of first year students pass through a rather challenging hurdle: General Chemistry. Our experience with self-identified honors students during the last two years has not changed our opinion. In addition, the portfolio application most likely is a disadvantage for students most engaged in the sciences in high school due to the difference in the style of assignments in high school classes. Secondly, the proposal as written and conceived excludes the pedagogical style required by real pursuit of the sciences. As an exercise in broadening a students education, the ISP with its aversion to prerequisites is acceptable. As an honors program, it prevents us from participating in a meaningful way. One member of the department suggested that this proposal gives privilege to certain programs on campus, while withholding support to others in the same way the participation in Division II athletics focused on a few programs to the detriment of others. These are fundamental and thorny issues that make it unlikely that we could effectively mount courses to support the effort, regardless of our staffing levels. Econ & Poli Sci Information Vote on Honors Proposal The primary reasons people gave for opposing the proposal include: 14 · Continued concerns over resources (we don’t feel resource questions have been adequately addressed) · Frustration that the program targets students who have not yet demonstrated academic achievement at the collegiate level while relegating students who do succeed in their first year at Keene State College to “program-fillers” Department of Psychology voted against an Advisory Opinion supporting the Proposed Honors Program. The primary objections are summarized briefly as follows: 1. Despite the changes made, there remains concern that potentially highly qualified but disadvantaged (by poor SES or underperforming secondary schools for example) students could be missed by the selection process. 2.There is still considerable concern regarding the Interdisciplinary nature of the program outside of the Student’s declared major program of study. It seems unlikely that such a program would help a student adjust to and succeed in a content focused program of graduate study. 3. The travel component could be a financial hardship for some students. If it is going to be required, the College should pay for it. In addition it could be a logistical impossibility for many students including those with double majors or other high demand curricula in their major. 4.There continues to be considerable concern about the “elitist” appearance of creating a special category of students that extends throughout their tenure at the college. The department feels that the mission of the college should be to provide an experience of academic excellence to all students. 5. there is considerable concern as well with regard to staffing issues, especially with the concurrent implementation of the ISP. The department is experiencing difficulty staffing major classes including upper level courses with Full Time Tenure-track Faculty as it is. It seems that the Honors program and ISP are intended to be staffed by these FTTT faculty members rather than adjuncts, increasing demand on an already understaffed faculty. ENST Some of the discussion points were: The program is generally in support of the idea of an honors program and the changes made so far were recognized as moves in the right direction. One of the sticking points is still are quality control and how courses for the programs are approved (one of the related questions is whether faculty do have ownership of the program, or does is basically represent of a small committee). The other sticking point is also the question of whether the criteria used to select students for the program are good predictor for the performance at the college level. For example, in both of my courses where I had honors students I noticed that they were good, but that there were 2-3 students in the class who earned at the end much better grades. Management Department chose not to vote on the proposal at this time for two primary reasons: 1) Need for additional specificity; such as who can and cannot teach honors courses and what courses will be offered, and 2) Concerns about resources and future funding of the program. Several department members expressed support for the Honors Program concept, however. We look forward to additional feedback (from our School Curriculum representative) and clarification of the program. Mathematics Department As with earlier versions, we are generally very supportive of the program, though several concerns emerged from our discussion. 15 1. We are wondering whether a draft assessment plan for the Honors Program has been developed. Will assessment of the Honors Program be linked to assessment of the Integrative Studies Program? For instance, could artifacts from HNRSTW be selected as part of the sample used to assess the Thinking and Writing course more generally? Or will assessment of the Honors Program generally be independent of assessment of the ISP? 2. The Mathematics Department is committed to assisting in the creation of an Honors Quantitative Literacy course. We suspect that for many (though probably not all) of the Honors students, IQL 101 will not be sufficiently challenging or stimulating given the academic background and motivation of these students. We would like to work with you (and others) during Fall 2009 to develop a proposal for an Honors Quantitative Literacy course that can tap the enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity of the Honors students. 3. In describing the required courses for the Honors Program, we note that Honors students must take four additional Integrative Studies Perspectives courses. The proposal then goes on to state that these courses must be taken in four different disciplines. But must the four courses be distributed so that one is a Natural Sciences course, one a Social Sciences course, one a course in the Humanities, and one a course in the Arts? We hope this feedback will be helpful and wish you luck with the program. Women's Studies enthusiastically supports the Honors Program. While some members have questions about procedural issues, those questions do not lessen our support for the Program as a whole and for the good work being done by the Honors Program Advisory Council. We believe an Honors Program is a huge step toward our goal of achieving greater academic excellence on this campus and will help bring highly motivated and talented students to KSC. Health Science Department This vote reflects the mixed feelings of the entire group. Everyone is in favor of the concept of an Honors Program but our concerns are mostly about resources. As a College, it’s a challenge to provide full-time faculty for the basics including majors and ISP. The provision of faculty to teach in the Honors Program is not fully explained and we are uneasy about that. History Department Honors Program Advisory Vote: The department's general substantative concerns from its Oct. 3, 2008 advisory vote still stand. In addition, we are concerned about the dropping of a minimum SAT requirement for admission to honors. Also, while we appreciate the separation of six honors-specific courses from the general ISP program, the honors program remains a general core of requirements that parallels the ISP program and still draws upon it for the majority of its credits. Additionally, the department is concerned that students will graduate from a "college honors program" with only six courses (24 credits) in honors classes. Biology Department We would like the committee to know that we definitely support the concept of an honors program but are quite wary of the college’s ability to support it. To suggest that it won’t take additional resources is simply not true. Any honors course in biology, or any science for that matter, needs to include a significant laboratory component. These are labs that would need to be offered IN ADDITION to those of the ISP program. Instructor time and course budget are important concerns. The quality of what we can offer is dependent upon these resources. We would like to see an honest honors program, not just one in name. As we are continually asked to do more, create more ISP courses at both the 100 and 300 levels, as well as ITW and IQL courses- and the biology dept has contributed to all of this- we are already taxing our energy to the max. It is of great concern to us that the only science course in the honors program is Meteorology and so we will make every effort possible to offer a biology honors course. We talked extensively about such a course. If the college is not willing to back a biology honors course with additional budget and faculty resources than the future of that course will be jeopardized and we may not be able to continue to offer it in the future. The honors program cannot exist just to draw new students to Keene state- it has to in reality provide those students with genuine honors experiences. 16 The majority of us have voted yes in the hope that the honors program can meet these goals. Honors advisory - Music Our department is against the proposal as presented. We have substantial concerns in content and procedure. We could not give the time needed to fully consider the proposal, which is one of our main objections. Departments were given two weeks to review the substantially amended proposal. With searches and assessment work - not to mention our regular contributions of teaching, service, and scholarship - we were not able to fit this discussion into an agenda item, but we have circulated comments via email dialogue. It is unclear to us, too, whether a vote is to be cast in our school's curriculum committee. Without rehearsing the history here, the Honors Program has put the campus in a quandary. The proposal and the process by which is has been presented seems to violate provisions of the Senate, ISP, and our Association¹s collective bargaining agreement with the College. Despite the hard work put into this proposal by many honorable, well-intentioned, and high-minded members of the campus community, it is our position that the revised program needs to be brought back through the entire curriculum process anything less will bring strong objections from faculty at KSC, jeopardize the effectiveness of any honors program at our institution, and exacerbate deteriorating relationships between faculty and administration. I suspect it will hasten a move expressed by many faculty to abolish or substantially alter the College Senate. If the proposal moves forward and approved by the Senate, without full consideration by the faculty as stipulated under Senate Bylaws and Senate Curriculum Committee guidelines, one can image that a grievance could be filed by the Keene State College Education Association against the College, as outlined by Article VI of the collective bargaining agreement. The proposal, as given, may also be viewed as violating Article VIII (Evaluation Procedures), Article IX (Rank Qualifications and Criteria), Article XI (Faculty Workload), Article XX (Association Rights), and perhaps other articles, pending a meeting of the KSCEA Executive Committee. Geology faculty Opinions After reviewing the proposal, and noting the changes requested by the ad hoc Honors Program Review Committee, I support the proposal. I have no specific opposition to a college-wide honors program on general principle, although my preference would be for honors programs based in the majors, and I would rather to see resources directed that way. Although I have not studied the current proposal in great detail, I did already vote in favor through my "other" department... I’m abstaining because although I feel that an honors program that attracts talented students is a good thing, I remain concerned that both the financial and faculty resources to make a sustainable and rigorous program are stretched too thinly. Since all of the funding has come from 1-2 sources, I am not that confident in today’s economy that continued support will be available. We also appear to be having problems staffing and supplying ISP courses and the honors program will further impact this problem. Art Department: For _0_ Against _7_ Abstain ___2 Chair: Rosemarie Bernardi Date February 23, 2009 17 Modern Languages: For: ___6 Against __0 Absent 1 Chair: Tom Durnford Date February 25, 2009 English Department: For _3 Against _8__ Abstain _1__ Absent _2_ Chair: _William Stroup_ __Date _Feb. 26. 2009 Sociology/Anthropology: For _3 Against 4 Abstain 1_ Absent __ Chair: Therese Seibert Date __Mar. 3, 2009 Library faculty: For _7 Against _1_ Abstain _0_ Absent 0 Chair: _Peg Barrett Date ___Mar. 5, 2009____ Communication, Journalism, Philosophy: For 11 Against 1_ Abstain 0_ Absent 0 Chair: _Ann Atkinson_Date _Mar. 3, 2009__ Social Science Steering Committee: For 0 Against 6 Abstain ___ Absent 3 Chair: _Chuck Weed_Date __Mar. 6, 2009_ Computer Science: For 3 Against _0_ Abstain 1_ Absent __ Chair: Mike Hanrahan __Date __Mar. 6, 2009_____ Chemistry Department: For _0 Against 4_ Abstain 0_ Absent __ Chair: _Rich Blatchly__ __Date Feb. 26, 2009_____ Economics and Political Science: For 1 Against 5_ Abstain ___ Absent __ Chair: Patrick Dolenc__ __Date Mar. 6, 2009_ Technology Design and Safety: For 7 Against 0 Abstain 1_ Absent 1 Chair: _Larry Macdonald__Date _Mar. 9, 2009______ Psychology: For 1 Against 7 Absent 2 Co Chair: Gary Bonitatibus Date: March 10, 2009 Education: For: 13 Against: 4 Abstain: 2 Chair: Dottie Bauer Date: March 10, 2009 Environmental Studies For: 1 Against: 1 Chair: Renate Gebauer Date: March 10, 2009 Women’s Studies: For: 9 Against: Coordinator: Karen Honeycutt Date: Mar. 11, 2009 Health Science: For: 3 Against: 2 Abstain: 1 Absent: 1 Chair: Becky Brown Date: March 11, 2009 Holocaust and Genocide Studies For: 6 Against 0 no vote: 4 Chair: Paul Vincent Date: March 11, 2009 History: For: 0 Against: 5 Absent: 2 Chair: Greg Knouff Date: March 11, 2009 Biology: For: 5 Against: 2 Absent: 1 Chair: Karen Cangialosi Date: March 12, 2009 Geology: For: 2 Against: 0 Abstain: 1 Absent: 0 Chair: Steve Bill Date: March 13, 2009 See comments from Mathematics in favor Management in favor Music opposed 4. School Curriculum Committee or the Interdisciplinary ISP Subcommittee: Comment: Arts and Humanities For _ 4 Against __3_ Abstain ___ Absent __ Chair: _Margaret Orelup__Date _March 27, 2009_ Sciences For _3__ Against _4_ No Vote received 2 Chair: ____Steve Bill__Date __April 1, 2009______ Comment: Science School Curriculum vote: Honors As of 4:30 April 1, 2009, these are the votes and opinions that I have received concerning the Honors Program For 3 Against 3 No vote received 3 As you can see it doesn’t get more split than this! I also note that a couple of the YES votes are condition and express concerns about the present configuration of the program, particularly with respect to resources. Assuming the proposal goes forward, please note that some of the course proposals are not ready for the catalog. The course description for HNRS 301 is more than 50 words. HNRS ‘discipline’ course descriptions are not and we oppose them being included in the catalog in their present form; they are more like templates and not course descriptions. INDIVIDUAL OPINIONS I am voting a qualified yes. I like the interest in attracting highly qualified and enthusiastic students, even if it is a small number. Besides some issues with the mechanics of the program, my main concern is with the resources to make the program viable. Integrated studies is already struggling to find instructors; offering honors sections will have a small 18 but measurable impact on these shortages. I am also concerned about the financial resources; I understand honors expenses are largely externally funded presently, but given the financial times I have serious doubts this will continue into the future. There are already ‘rumors’ about cutting small programs and if honors takes resources that would have supported a more diverse academic community I would view that as a bad decision. There is the larger question of whether the resources invested in honors is worth it, but maybe we need to try it for a couple years and evaluate its effectiveness down the road. Regretfully, I am voting against the program. I support the idea but not the structure as it currently stands. I hope my vote is not too late (your day and date don’t match up below). I am going to have to vote against the Honors proposal. My comments about the proposal were clearing represented in my department advisory opinion and I don’t feel as though they need to be mentioned again. I now vote yes. Helen changed my mind. I am voting against this version of the Honors Program and feel I should explain my reasons to some degree. Although I felt the documents explaining the program design and the individual courses themselves were much more clear than earlier versions, there still seem to be some issues that need clarification/correction. One issue brought up in our meeting was the entry into the program for students who have already been here for a semester, possibly two. Right now, it is not clear if there will only be a fall semester-based intake or whether students who begin in the spring semester can somehow access the Honors program in the following fall. I realize this may be a small number, but it is yet another ‘unknown’ element of the current program. In fact, the current program, again following our discussion with Helen, seems to harbor very many ‘unknowns’, including (but not limited to) the specific courses that will be taught beyond Fall’09 and who will teach them (which clearly impacts upon a student’s ability to plan their course of study) and the seemingly uncertain state of the finances available to continue the program beyond single year commitments. In this respect, the program seems to only have a reliable budget one year at a time for students who will enter into a program with a four-year commitment. Ethically (maybe legally), once we accept those students as Honors students, we are responsible for providing the program of study we advertised, but this is based on our assumption that the source of funding will continue to exist. If it doesn’t continue to provide financial support, where will the money come from? Financially, at least for right now, this seems a tenuous situation. Both of these issues (courses to be offered and funding) highlight a common concern/criticism raised in a number of the advisory opinions, namely resources. There are some other concerns about the connections to ISP, given that ISP seems to be having some difficulties, but I won’t pursue those in this e-mail. Essentially, and this was brought much more into focus for me following our last meeting, the Honors Program seems to be like a bridge that is half-built. We’re not sure whether it will make it to the other side, but we’ve already allowed people to start walking across the bridge. What we should have done is build the bridge first, made sure it was safe, and then let people use it. Rather than pile more people onto an unfinished bridge, possibly increasing the likelihood that it will collapse, perhaps we should stop allowing people onto it until it actually reaches the other side. I see this as prudent. We may still need to airlift those from the bridge so that they can make it to the other side, but the fewer people on the bridge to begin with, the fewer that will need rescuing. I agree that if the Honors Proposal does not pass this time, we should probably stop the intake of more students. This actually raises a question 19 concerning whether the students currently on the bridge, those about to walk onto it, and their parents are aware of the fact that the bridge is, in fact, not finished. Observation This is the second year that the Honors Program has come to this committee for a vote. Last year it was voted down on the basis that it did not meet the basic and essential criteria for an academic program. While I am still not 100% satisfied with the proposal in its current form, I have noted a significant improvement over earlier versions. Four areas of concern are the related resource assessment, curriculum content, level of acceptance, and the need/support for such a program. Resource Assessment: Just making a statement that college resources will not be affected by the introduction of the new program is both naïve and disingenuous, since it requires faculty to administer the program and teach the related courses. The same thing was done for the Integrated Studies Program (ISP), and we have now seen the effect of this. Curriculum Content: Earlier versions of the proposal failed to specify what courses would comprise the new program, and the sequence in which they would be pursued by participating students. The current proposal attempts to address this problem by proposing a structure that includes some specific courses, and some generic courses. Level of Acceptance: There was widespread opposition to earlier proposals from various academic departments on campus. While opposition is still strong, there is a noticeable reduction in the hostility to the proposal. Level of Need/Support: Currently, there are several students enrolled in the program, thus confirming that there is an identifiable need for it. It is also evident that the program has strong support among the college administration. The program is currently dependent on a grant from a lone donor. This appears to be a tenuous situation. Conditional Vote Given all of the above, if I was asked to rank this proposal on a scale of 1 to 100, based on the above criteria, it would probably come out in the range of 55% – 60% — not a scintillating performance, but a pass nonetheless. I am therefore inclined to vote YES on this proposal, contingent on the following recommendations: There needs to be a more credible resource assessment. There needs to be a more reliable source of funding for the program (this can be achieved by having a formal memorandum of understanding with the current donor, and perhaps having other donors as well). Professional and Graduate Studies For _4_ Against _3_ Abstain ___ Absent ___ Chair: _Beverly King______Date ________ 5. Senate Curriculum Committee: Comment: The SCC recognizes the tireless efforts that have been made by Dr. Helen Frink and the Honors Program Advisory Council. The Honors curriculum proposals have undergone revisions based on feedback from various constituencies. Members of the SCC continue to recognize the educational opportunities an honors program has for students at Keene State College. We are also in favor of attracting talented students to our campus. However, if Keene State College is to embrace an Honors Program that offers students with an academically rich experience, it should be one that is viable and sustainable. After careful review of the thoughtful advisory opinions from departments, School Curriculum Committees and the Interdisciplinary Subcommittee, and the tally of votes, the resounding theme from these documents is resource concerns. Departments in the Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences are central to the delivery of courses in the Honors Program. The departments in Arts and Social Sciences were largely opposed to the program. In addition, Natural Sciences expressed concerns with the “availability of expert personnel capable of safely instructing students in lab courses” and the consistent availability of funding to supply laboratory-based Honors courses. 20 The availability of tenure-track faculty to deliver Honors, Integrative Studies, and major courses was raised in the advisory opinions from the departments and School Curriculum Committees. These concerns and opposition raise uncertainty on the availability of Honors courses in these areas of the program. It is of great concern that there are “unknowns” as to what specific courses will be offered beyond fall 2009. The dearth of tenure-track faculty to deliver Honors courses is already visible in current offerings. At the present time, an adjunct faculty member (Dr. Charlie Kerwin) is teaching an INGEOL honors section. We are by no means questioning the qualifications of Dr. Kerwin; however, we are questioning the availability of full-time tenure-track faculty to consistently deliver Honors courses – a promise being made to Honors students. Members of the SCC recognize that there is general support for the concept of an Honors Program. The SCC also realizes that the level of acceptance of the current Honors proposals has increased somewhat; however, that acceptance seems to be one of “conditional acceptance.” For example, the Professional Studies School Curriculum Committee voted in favor of the proposal, but, at the same time, requested that the SCC address the resource issues. We are not in a position to do that. From a resource perspective – the availability of staffing, courses, and funding – there are too many uncertainties about the long-term sustainability of the program. We recognize that financial support for the Honors program has been identified through the William T. Morris Foundation; however, funding a program on “soft money” seems to raise it to another level of uncertainty. If the College is to provide “academically motivated students with intellectual stimulation and rich experiences”, the SCC does not feel confident at this time that the program is sustainable. The final vote of SCC voting members is: 1 yes, 6 no, 0 abstentions, 1 absent. For _1_ Against_6_ Abstain _0_ Absent _1_ Chair: __Becky Dunn_Date: _April 8, 2009________ 6. Senate Academic Standards Committee: Comment: For _6__ Against__0_ Abstain __0_ Absent _0__ Chair: __Sally Jean_____Date: _Feb 4, 2009_ 7. Keene State College Senate: Passed ___ Failed ___ Information___ Signature: ____________________________ Date ________ 8. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Passed ___ Failed ___ Information___ Signature: _____________________________Date ________ 9. President: Passed ___ Failed ___ Information___ Signature: ____________________________ Date ____


Senate Curriculum Committee




Keene State College

Program Proposal with Amendment