ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of April 17, 2006
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center – HSC 505
Present: Bose, Cassidy, House, Johnson, Legg, Marcellus, Prawitz, Schoenbachler, Seaver, Self (for Levin), Thompson, Williams
Guests: Carolinda Douglass, Coordinator, Assessment Services; Richard Holly, Associate Dean; College of Visual and Performing Arts; Harold Kafer, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts; Deborah Smith-Shank, Professor, School of Art
The meeting was called to order at 3:10 p.m. Legg asked if there were any announcements. Cassidy reminded the APC members that if they have any suggestions for the FY08 budget priorities and/or any recommendations for items to be included in the 2006 Performance Report to send them to her or Carolyn Cradduck by May 5, 2006. Legg said that items 3 and 4 on the agenda would be inverted.
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of March 20, 2006, as distributed, and the motion passed unanimously.
Legg introduced Harold Kafer, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts; Richard Holly, Associate Dean; College of Visual and Performing Arts; and Deborah Smith-Shank, Professor, School of Art who are attending this meeting to discuss a new degree program, the Ph.D. in Art Education.
Kafer said this proposal has been in the planning stages for the past five years and has driven the way the college has built the art education faculty. The School of Art has had several retirements, and it has hired faculty who will be able to deliver this degree. Currently, we are in the final stages of a search for an art education faculty member, which will add one more faculty member in this area. The proposal documents well the national need for this program, and we will have an appropriate mix for part-time and full-time students to make the program successful. This is a unique opportunity to diversify the profession, and this is consistent with NIU’s mission.
Smith-Shank said that the Ph.D. in Art Education is offered at Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia State, Texas Tech, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Iowa. This may not be a complete listing because some of the programs are embedded deeply into other programs. Legg noted that there are no programs of this type in the west, which is interesting. Smith-Shank added that most of the doctorates in art education are in the east. Bose asked if the college/school was prepared to absorb the expenses of this type of program. Smith-Shank replied that there are currently students in the specialization in art education (within the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction) who are producing dissertations that are on par with other dissertations produced in the college. Some students in the specialization would transfer into this program, and the dissertations would not be less rigorous than they are now. Bose added that there is a distinction between Ed.D. and Ph.D. dissertations, and this may or may not cut it. Smith-Shank added that the art education faculty advise and serve on the dissertation committees for art education students.
Legg said that there are two things that he has thought of in regard to the Ph.D. in Art Education program. The first one is the cost of the program, and the second one is the demand for Ph.D. graduates. I want to make sure that you are at that stage. The future provost, the president, and the IBHE will question this. What are the fundamental differences between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D.? Smith-Shank replied that the Ed.D. is a practitioner’s degree, someone who works with K-12 education. The degree is focused on practice, not theory. A Ph.D. degree is for people interested in doing research and theory; these individuals think about shifts in the conceptual field. They do work with schools and teachers too. All of the art education faculty have Ph.D.s, and are well-known researchers. The theory is the important thing; thinking and learning through the arts. Kafer added that the faculty have built a national focus on visual culture, which looks at the impact of images in the culture and what that does to a society. This factors into how we education citizens and how this influences them and our society. A Ph.D. provides for a range of philosophical and qualitative research, and this range of dissertation work is not happening in the Ed.D. program.
The college is not asking for new positions; we have the faculty to offer the program. The School of Art is ready to change the funding for students too; they are not asking for new resources to support GAs. Cassidy asked what impact the shift in GA support would have. Kafer replied that he didn’t think this would affect students’ ability to complete the master’s program, but it may change the mix in numbers. Doctoral students can also take on some teaching responsibilities.
Thompson asked what changes would occur in the research part of the program to go from an Ed.D. to a Ph.D. Smith-Shank replied that a couple of students are currently doing cognitive science-art-linked work. They are looking at art sensory load and non-sensory load space. Thompson asked if it is unrealistic to say that the current faculty need more resources for this program to be viable. Smith-Shank responded that we are doing this type of research now, and one student is working with colleagues in China. We have all the computer and technological support we could want. I want more time, and if we have GAs, that would free up my time. If a student was doing sensory research and needed a specific type of equipment, they would work with someone who could provide this equipment. Self said that the school addressed the differences in a Ph.D. vs. the Ed.D. pretty well in the proposal. You talk about this being a niche program in the State of Illinois.
Prawitz asked what the current and anticipated grant funding opportunities are. Kafer replied that there has been three large NEA grants during the last couple of years, and the school is involved with the Project REAL grant in Rockford ($200,000). Given our past successes, we think our faculty will be competitive in obtaining other grants. Cassidy asked if grants would provide GA funding and opportunities for GAs to work with faculty within their research areas. Smith-Shank responded absolutely. We have teachers in the schools who are doctoral students right now who are working with us on grants. Bose added that there is more funding available for Ph.D. programs from private organizations than from governmental agencies. These organizations give money to Ph.D. programs because of the quality of the field. Because we are currently working within an Ed.D. context, we cannot explore these options and options for private organizational funding.
Cassidy said that originally the school was going to request off-campus degree authority for the Ph.D. in Art Education, and this is now not the case. Kafer replied yes, we are not requesting off-campus degree authority.
Seaver said that the proposal talks about recruiting students from a diverse background, and asked what is your pool now? Smith-Shank replied that we are like most of the universities in the areas that don’t have doctoral degrees. We have two Latino students. We don’t have to do a lot of recruiting given the richness of this region. Project REAL in Rockford provides the opportunity for me to be in many different school settings and work with some of the faculty to try and get them into the program. I have a Latino teacher in Aurora who is interested in the program, but he won’t come into the program until it is a Ph.D. program. Legg said that this is a good mix for looking at what art education means when you come from a different background. Cassidy noted that the recruiting that has been talked about is one-on-one recruiting. Do you have a recruitment plan? Smith-Shank passed around a new School of Art brochure that is used as a recruitment tool. When faculty go to conferences, they take brochures to distribute. When I attend the International Society for the Education of Art conferences, I distribute information about NIU’s program to colleagues that I meet from around the world. Part of the problem is that we send our students to another college (education) to complete this degree. Cassidy added that this still sounds like one-on-one recruitment. Smith-Shank replied that we are collective; all of us have different international venues in which we have taken on leadership roles and recruitment occurs in each of them. Cassidy said that faculty are well enough known in international circles that they can distribute recruitment materials. Faculty scholarship is also a means of recruiting students.
Self said that this is a school/department that is very media intensive and will become more involved with the new communication technology, and asked if it will be possible to sustain these resources over time. Smith-Shank replied that two recent hires are technology gurus, and we can write grants to obtain money to purchase new technologies. Self clarified that these are hardware, software, and expertise issues. Smith-Shank responded that as long as we can we will accommodate the students, and we will write grants. Self asked if the current lab was supported by student fees. Smith-Shank replied yes it is; the fine arts students need to have the top of the line technology or the students cannot be competitive within the field.
Thompson noted that the data report that the full-time students took longer to complete the program than the part-time students. Holly replied that that was an error, and he distributed an updated table. Thompson asked how many of the courses are new. Smith-Shank said that courses are new this year; next year there will not be any new courses.
Cassidy said that the IBHE has all proposals for new doctoral degree programs reviewed by external experts. Smith-Shank replied that the school would be happy to respond to any inquiries. She said that she had called Ohio State University and asked the head of the department to look at a draft of the proposal. Maybe the outside reviewers have already read the proposal.
Legg asked for an endorsement of the Ph.D. in Art Education proposal. Cassidy added that the Graduate Council Curriculum Committee approved this proposal, but given the schedule of meetings, the Graduate Council has not yet approved the proposal. The Graduate Council meets on the 1st of May. The APC endorsement would be contingent on the approval of the Graduate Council. It was moved and seconded to endorse the Ph.D. in Art Education contingent on the approval of the Graduate Council, and the motion passed unanimously. Cassidy added that we plan on taking this item to the June Board of Trustees meeting.
Legg turned to the follow-up report on the physical therapy program. Cassidy added that she didn’t know how many of the current APC members were on the APC when physical therapy was reviewed. When the programs were last reviewed, it was a unique time in the history of the physical therapy program. There was a baccalaureate degree, and because of accreditation changes, students needed to graduate with a master’s degree. At the time of the last review, the last undergraduate students had completed the old program that no longer exists, the graduate program had just started, and there were no graduates from the graduate program. The APC members thought it was appropriate to get information regarding the new programs before the next eight year review period.
The programs have a large pool of students to draw from, and the programs have capped enrollment at 36 students per year. There has been some attrition. The programs have had some success in recruiting a diverse student body, and students are successful in passing the licensure examination and gaining employment. This report has addressed all of the questions we raised at the time of the full program review.
Prawitz said that learning outcome two does not seem measurable. Cassidy said that affective objectives are difficult to measure. Williams noted that most of the survey results were excellent, but the skin item fell below the average. Cassidy responded that this is a hard one to do, but this is good feedback to give to the physical therapy programs. This really is an area where they could focus. Seaver asked if the programs have set any targets for diversity and gender. Cassidy replied that she didn’t know, but we could communication to them that they should set targets.
Thompson made a motion, seconded by Williams, to accept the follow-up report. The motion passed unanimously.
Legg said that the next agenda item, students’ progress on dissertations and enrollments/policies within graduate programs, has been a concern of his for many years. Bose added that last year the APC asked some difficult questions, and we had a meaningful dialog. It is very difficult with the way we keep information to know how many years it takes for a student to complete a doctoral degree. Our data does not allow us to tract this, but we were able to track this manually. We looked at 2004-2005 Ph.D. and Ed.D. graduates. During this time, there were 170 degrees awarded. Some students finished in two years; they were probably transfer students. We took these students out of the equation. The average time to degree was 6 ½ years: 26 students took over 8 years, 10 students took more than 10 years, and 3 students took over 14 years. With the new PeopleSoft system we need to have some functions that we can use to generate this information.
Bose said that he worked with the Graduate Council to revise some of its policies. Some students were not enrolled in 699, but they were enrolled in a special topic course. Now students have to enroll in 699, and this will be changed in the Graduate Catalog. Because the College of Education has many part-time students, they allow students to enroll in 699 for 1 credit hour (instead of 3 credit hours). It is difficult to have a uniform enrollment policy because we have both full- and part-time students in our doctoral programs. We looked at other schools to see how they address some of these issues. At Kent State, post-candidacy students must enroll in either dissertation 1 or dissertation 2. There is a $500 flat tuition for the students who enrolled in dissertation 1, and a $200 flat tuition for students enrolled in dissertation 2. I think if we went to using a model like this it would help us greatly, but I don’t know if the IBHE would approve this model. Cassidy asked if students received credit for these courses. Bose replied that students have to enroll for at least 6 hours, and international students can enroll for 9 hours to obtain full-time status. Regardless of the hours enrolled, students would be charged a flat tuition.
The other problem we have is the student-at-large issue. These students are poorly advised, programs don’t review their applications, and many of these students do not complete a degree program. Many of our certificate programs are 15 hours, and these students are not considered graduate students. If these certificates were at least 18 hours, then these students would be counted as graduate students. These are issues that the university needs to look at, and hopefully we can make some progress on these issues in the future.
Self asked if this idea to change policy is driven by record keeping, finances, or something else. Her concern is treating all doctoral degrees as needing the same timeframe. Bose replied that the motivation is none of the above. If we say to the IBHE that it took 10 years to graduate, the IBHE will ask us what is going on. We are trying to be responsible to our students. We want our students to finish their degrees. This will put the pressure on the students and their advisor. Self said that if there are real outliers, doesn’t it make sense to address these? Legg added that humanities graduates have always taken longer to graduate. In my experience you enrolled in 12 hours continuously. After you finished your course work, then you took research hours. Students who are enrolled for 1 hour are still using faculty that are employed full-time and other resources. Cassidy noted that there are other issues. People were not able to answer what was happening with their students because there was no contact with the students, costs were high in comparison to other programs, and students did not have a touch point. We really didn’t know what the policies were or what the minimal requirements were. As an institution, we didn’t have any concept of how students are supported and encouraged to progress. Thompson asked what about the other side. Bose said that every student can enroll for 6 hours in the dissertation 1 or dissertation 2 courses, and a faculty member is assigned a section number. The department chair could reduce the faculty members teaching load if they had a sufficient number of students enrolled in their section. We would like to increase the interaction between faculty and students so students can finish in a reasonable amount of time. In terms of reporting, the number of graduate hours will increase, and hopefully the number of years to finish a doctoral degree will decrease.
House said that he had just received a proposal about the IBHE collecting the data each semester and tracking it. There are external issues that are coming up, and the IBHE might decide this for us. One issue for us as far as tracking, is that you have to be able to know when a student starts a program. We do not want the IBHE to track these data for us.
Douglass asked if a student who was previously a student-at-large enrolled in a program, what is their start date in the program. Bose replied that we looked at when a student started in the program. The 6.5 average time to degree does not take into consideration the number of years enrolled as a student-at-large. House added that if the IBHE looked at this, they would notice that, compared to other doctoral programs in the state, we are heavy in the programs that take longer to complete. Williams asked if it would be worthwhile to categorize the degrees. House responded yes, but the IBHE will say here are the schools and this is the time to degree information. Cassidy added that the IBHE does not distinguish between various types of master’s degrees (e.g. M.A... versus M.F. A.), and this would also be true of the Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Bose said that the Graduate Council is working on these issues. We also want to report the real costs of education.
The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
Carolyn A. Cradduck