College of Arts and Sciences Educational Policy Meeting Thursday September 18

In attendance:
College of Arts and Sciences
Educational Policy Meeting
Thursday September 18th, 2014
John Baldwin, Killian Buechler, Kathy Dunn, Clare Dunsford, Jerry Easter, Rudi Hon,
Luke Jorgensen, Gregory Kalscheur, Michael Martin, Chris Maxwell, Kara Naccarelli,
William Petri, Akua Sarr, Eve Spangler, Hagop Toghramadjian, Mary Troxell.
1. Welcome and announcements. Dean Kalschuer brought up Chris Maxwell as
a replacement committee member from the Economics Department. The
appointment was unanimous.
2. A scheduling change. On November 20th the EPC meeting will commence at
4:30pm as opposed to 4pm.
3. Minutes from previous meeting were accepted.
4. Subcommittee preferences (Academic Affairs vs. Honors) were to be sent to
Michael Martin.
Discussion of “note taking” services on campus was held.
This group has previously discussed this topic but a recent article in the Boston
Globe seemed to be the impetus to revisit the subject. There were different opinions
voiced on what degree professors want their notes to be shared by students but
most agreed that the selling of such materials, though not clearly illegal (or is
unsettled law) in unsavory. Dean Kalscheur assured the group, materials such as
slides; original artwork is clearly covered as intellectual property.
As different subjects we teach seem to require varied approaches from teachers,
there was not a clearly discernable opinion on “note sharing” amongst the group.
Rudi Hon asserted that the importance of note taking in in the acquisition of the skill
itself and that students should be reminded of that fact. John Baldwin cautioned us
against seeking to define the “Intellectual property” issue too clearly as there might
be unforeseen consequences, involving what degree the University itself might own
intellectual property.
Clare Dunsford and others agreed that the onus is on a concern faculty member
to change up exams, to make cheating less easy. In class laptops were discussed.
Some faculty ask that they not be used in class, others allow them. Although there
seemed no single easy to explain stance on “note taking” and “note sharing” all
faculty present seemed displeased at the assertion of Killian Buechler that one such
“note taking” company was leafleting in the library. Gerald Easter suggested a
statement to faculty to remind faculty that this is an issue and to suggest the
departments discuss the issues amongst themselves. The conversation was lively
but the final outcome was no movement on the issue at this time.
Continuation of the discussion of the Language Proficiency Requirement.
The EPC was reminded of the report from the Academic Affairs
subcommittee on the topic of Language Proficiency. Again, there was a lively
conversation with multiple committee members commenting that the idea of
“proficiency” in language is not what is being accomplished.
Students agreed that many Boston College students are placed incorrectly in
language courses, leading to coasting in some cases. Clare Dunsford championed the
idea of language study as a way of gaining a more intellectually intimate knowledge
of a people. Luke Jorgensen suggested a framework that would allow students to
feel less bound to the language they have studied in high school. John Baldwin
advocated the study of computer programming as a language. Jerry Easter shed light
on the findings of the committee. Various ideas were discussed including of a
special language proficiency merit that would be acknowledged at graduation.
Faculty did not seem inclined to raise the language requirement across the board
but most seemed frustrated with the present situation.
William Petri offered a possible solution involving more choice in the
fulfillment of the language requirement through traditional language proficiency as
well as classes in literature and translation and cultural immersion. Petri also
suggested that alternatives courses be offered to fulfill the language requirement for
students with a certified learning disability who currently have the requirement
waived. This would be on the model of the substitutions for the mathematics core
granted to students with diagnosed dyscalculia.
Although the meeting came to a close the topic, and William Petri’s
suggestion, seemed worthy of being revisited in a subcommittee.
Meeting adjourned at 5:30
Submitted by Luke Jorgenson