114th Meeting
November 7, 2002

Present:    S. Conklin (EDUC), C. Downing (BUS), P. Eubanks (LAS), W. Goldenberg (VPA), D. Gough (HHS),  J. Hertz (HHS), K. King (EDU), C.T. Lin
                (LAS), K. Millis (LAS), N. Osorio (LIB), L. Rigg (LAS), D. Rusin (LAS),  S. Short (EET), D. Sinason (BUS), J. Stewart (EET), W. Tolhurst
                (LAS),  R. Wheeler (Interim Vice Provost).  Students:  K. O’Kelly (LAS)


Guests:     Michael Martin (Honors), Megan Lundeen (Honors), K. Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator)




A.     The minutes of the October 3, 2002 meeting were approved electronically.


APASC- D. Sinason

On behalf of APASC, D. Sinason moved that the UCC receive the October 2, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

R. Wheeler introduced guests  Michael Martin, Director of the University Honors Program and Megan Lundeen, a student in the University Honors Program who were here to answer any questions about one important matter on the APASC report.

D. Sinasin said that there were three items that needed to come before the UCC.  The first item was that for a new course with an old number the numbers being reused used to have a T after the number for a period of three years and APASC wants to extend that time to six years.  He said that because there are still students progressing through the system, and to distinguish the fact that the course is a different course than it was previously, they need that T to stand there for a longer period of time.  He said the second issue is a change in the final examination policy.  When a student had a conflict the policy was fairly nebulous.  It asked the student to contact the professor in a reasonable period of time before the final exam.  He said what the student thought was a reasonable period of time and what the professor thought was a reasonable period of time often didn’t agree.  The new policy would state that the student is to contact a professor at least one week prior to the beginning of final exam week.  He said the third item was the vote on a priority registration for the university honors students.  He said the university honors students often have difficulty in scheduling their courses where they have a particular honors section that they are trying to take.  A survey that was presented to APASC from honors showed that half of the students who drop out of the honors program do so because they cannot schedule their classes.  M. Martin said that there were approximately 988 honor students.  He said that with priority registration the retention rate would be better and that would mean the number of honor students would level off at around 1000 and potentially we could go as high as 1100 or 1200.  When asked how the priority was going to work, M. Martin answered that the students would sign up for classes at the same time as the student athletes.  W. Tolhurst said that it was conceivable that a freshman could take a seat from a senior who needs a course for graduation.  M. Martin said it was possible but unlikely. M. Lundeen said that all incoming students, whether freshman or transfer, can not register until after their orientation which generally is after the normal registration.  M. Martin felt that blanket priority registration was needed because of the difficulty of scheduling around the junior seminar that honors students must take.  D. Sinason said that the Honors Program provided a listing of other schools, including MAC schools and other schools in the state of Illinois and it was overwhelming that these schools had priority registration for honor students, and when you’re trying to attract those into the program that is a major issue.  M. Martin said the advising deans were in favor of priority registration.  Two of the advising deans were in favor of the proposal that was passed and the others were in favor of freshman honor students registering before other freshmen, sophomore honors students before other sophomores, etc.  M. Martin said the Honors Committee felt, and APASC agreed with him that that would not provide the flexibility that they really needed for the students to get a schedule that would fit in with the seminars that they had to take.  W. Tolhurst said that some honors students have significant advanced placement credit and have a hard time completing their second semester freshman schedule because the courses that they would be likely to take they’ve already gotten credit for and they’re looking for courses at a higher level and they’re not able to register for them.  It was suggested that we collect data over the next couple of years to see if some seniors would be prevented from taking some courses that they need to see if this is a bigger problem than we anticipate.  R. Wheeler thought that the office of Registration and Records could do that.  W. Tolhurst thought that many departments would make extraordinary efforts to make it possible for people to graduate.  He said that seniors who need courses to graduate are in a very good bargaining position with faculty members and departments because they have an obvious need and we have an institutional commitment to maintain a good rate of completion.  D. Rusin said that instead of getting numbers from Registration and Records we could poll the departments and ask if they make provisions for graduating seniors, and that a letter from the Vice Provost encouraging them to do so could alleviate a potential problem.   R. Wheeler shared the view that most faculty in most departments would go to great lengths to accommodate a graduating senior.

R. Wheeler said that priority registration for honors students  would be implemented for the summer and fall schedule book and the first opportunity for honors students to take advantage of this would be summer 2003.

GEC —J. Hertz/L. Rigg

On behalf of GEC, J. Hertz moved that the UCC receive the September 19, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

J. Hertz said that she reported on this meeting at the October 3, 2002 UCC meeting.  She said there was a single action item from that meeting, the deletion of PHIL 353 from the general education program.

On behalf of GEC, L. Rigg moved that the UCC receive the October 17,2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

L. Rigg said the main topic was the math core competency issue and the committee moved to accept the core competency statements for MATH 155, 201, 206, 210, 211 and 229.  She said there was an interesting discussion about MATH 201, which is the only course in the entire general education program where enrollment is restricted to certain majors.  She said the issue was how can a course be a general education course and be restricted to certain majors.  She said the overwhelming finding after discussion was that this is a successful course and we should say that other departments could see this as a program that works.  She said it was moved that the chair of the committee could phone or write a letter to other departments showing them this example of one way of putting forward a general education course.  R. Wheeler said this brings to a close a conversation about these courses that’s been going on for about a decade.

L. Rigg said there were two resubmissions that were approved, and one was sent back to the department because of problems with assessment.  She said there was discussion about the committee assignments and discussion about the general education assessment plan.


On behalf of the Honors Committee, D. Gough moved that the UCC receive the October, 4, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

D. Gough said this was her first meeting; there were introductions of new people.  She said the members were pleased with how things have started out this year with the very successful large turnout at the open house and they hoped that a lot of students would follow up on their interest.  She said there was a lot of activity around recruiting and working with other programs on campus to make sure the students are getting a broad variety of opportunities to tap into.  She said there was a good bit of discussion about the Honors House and some of the activities that are involved.  She said there were quite a few students there representing those activities.  One issue that came up was that students who chose to live in the Honors House are expected to attend a variety of activities - not just academic but things related to other types of activities.  She said there was discussion about if the students are required to go to these events and the consequences of not going.  She said the students’ bottom line is that it is not clear.  If there’s a policy in place to live in the Honors House they would like to see it clearly delineated and then enforced.  They preferred it to be more like a reward system rather than a punishment system.  She said the overall idea was to get students involved in a variety of activities so that they’re not strictly focused on academics.  R. Wheeler said that of the roughly 1000 honors students, between 300 and 400 live in the residence halls and of those between 100 and 150 live in the Honors House.  He said that next year the capacity in the Honors House will be much greater - up to 250 students next fall.

D. Gough said the priority registration was one of the biggest topics of discussion.  She said the final piece of business was the student submission of an EYE Grant proposal.  She said it was very well written and the committee voted to approve the proposal for full funding of $1,000.  R. Wheeler said the money comes from the Honors Program budget.

CIUE – K. King

On behalf of the CIUE, K. King moved that the UCC receive the September 9, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

K. King gave this report at the October 3, 2002 UCC meeting.  He said that there were two action items at this meeting. The first was editorial in nature clarifying the submission dates and adding a signature line to the CIUE grant proposal forms.  He said the other action item was related to a presentation on the Writing Across the Curriculum Program.  There was a suggestion that it would be a nice thing for the CIUE to support the Writing Across the Curriculum program through grants, but it was decided that given the financial resources this was something that the committee could not do.  R. Wheeler said that the University Writing Center, which is a physical space in Stevenson Residence Hall has been supported by university level funding from the Provost’s Office.  He said the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, which includes the salary for the director of the program, comes primarily from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  R. Wheeler said that the funding for the CIUE grants is still in place but if there’s a mid-year recision it is very likely that part or all of these funds will be lost.

On behalf of the CIUE, K. King moved that the UCC receive the October 7, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

K. King said that there were two items of discussion regarding EUTA.  He said one was a continuing discussion on a base pay increase for professors who receive the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award (EUTA).  This proposal was not approved by the Provost.  He said one difference between the EUTA and the Presidential Teaching Professorship award was that the PTP is related not only to past performances, but more so toward long term ongoing development and sharing of experiences and what led to that level of expertise and recognition, whereas the EUTA is based on past performance and there is no expectation of continued service in recognition of that.  He said the second item discussed  was a change made and approved by the committee that a student signature line be added to the form to underscore the need for student involvement in this process.  R. Wheeler said that the CIUE was expecting that the various colleges would rank proposals using their student advisory committees, and it emerged that some of the colleges do not have functioning student advisory committees.  K. Miller will look into this.

CUAE – C.T. Lin

On behalf of the CUAE, C.T. Lin moved that the UCC receive the September 10, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

C.T. reported on this at the October 3, 2002 UCC meeting. He said that Dan House, Director of Institutional Research gave a presentation regarding the characteristics of NIU students.  He said another item discussed was related to the Undergraduate Special Opportunity in Artistry and Research Award (USOAR).  R. Wheeler mentioned that he held workshops for students who are interested in submitting a USOAR proposal and that 25 students attended those workshops.

On behalf of the CUAE, C.T. Lin moved that the UCC receive the October 8, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

C. T. Lin said that one of the action items was the approval of the USOAR Guidelines.  Next, he said there was discussion related to class scheduling problems due to the expanding campus.  He said the committee moved to have R. Wheeler contact Don Larson in Registration and Records regarding posting a generic warning about distances between buildings on campus for the schedule book and web connect. R. Wheeler reported that he did write and Registration and Records is developing some text that they will communicate to students.

C.T. Lin said another discussion pertained to creating student-friendly campus environments.  The committee moved to ask that students have input into the design of new or renovated buildings and that the program statement for new or renovated buildings include input from students regarding environmentally-friendly areas.  R. Wheeler said that in this instance the primary concern is about the environment in DuSable Hall, the main classroom building, and how we might make it more student-friendly.  He said that he is waiting for the appointment of the new Associate Dean for Liberal Arts and Sciences, the steward of that building, and will send that person a letter on this subject.  C.T. Lin said the committee identified several buildings that are not very student-friendly: DuSable, Campus Life Building, Zulauf, etc.  He said there was also discussion about brown and yellow parking permits.  R. Wheeler said one of the issues relates to transportation to and from Barsema Hall and the great distance of Barsema from other campus  buildings.  C. Downing said that it’s been hard for everybody. They don’t like it and they took away the street parking, and expanded the faculty parking lot which didn’t help students.  There was concern about the students parking behind the Engineering building and walking across the field to get to Barsema, especially once it starts to snow.  R. Wheeler said that Vice President Williams said at a meeting that there will be a sidewalk built in the future.

W. Tolhurst said that Barsema Hall provides an environment where faculty and students can interact informally in a way that is very good and very healthy.  He said that Zulauf was built to keep the faculty away from the students and the students away from the faculty. He said that what we need to do is to create space within which faculty and students can interact in a very natural way.  There was considerable discussion on the many attributes of Barsema Hall and problems with the Engineering Building.  W. Tolhurst said that when space does become available, as Wirtz Hall has, that this should be viewed as an opportunity to address some of these problems.

K. O’Kelly said there had been discussion with students about what would make DuSable more friendly.  He said students do not go to the Campus Life Building unless they have an office there, or are there for a meeting, or for a specific need. He said to think about where the students go.  They go to Barsema Hall because there are classes there.  They flock to DuSable because there are classes there.  R. Wheeler said that Professor Luis Garcia had surveyed the students and had a lot of suggestions about improvements to DuSable, the two primary being to create a larger lounge area with a café, a place for students to hang out and relax, and to create a general access computing lab in DuSable.  He said we could do either one but the price would be that we would have to give up classroom space and because we are so stretched to accommodate our 25,000 students giving up even one of the 53 classrooms in DuSable is a daunting prospect.  D. Rusin said we need to schedule some classes in the Campus Life Building so that becomes part of the students’ route.  R. Wheeler said it’s been suggested that we use Campus Life 100 for a general access classroom purpose and that way we would save one room in DuSable and make that into something else.  He said that Campus Life 100 is used for meetings and workshops.

There was continued discussion about the expanding campus.  R. Wheeler said that he had access to a report from the University of Maryland which has 400 campus buildings spread over a two square mile area.  He said they had exactly the same issue and they analyzed it very intensively and in the end they said there was really nothing that they could do except post a warning on students’ schedules if they have consecutive classes where there’s a long distance between the buildings.  A suggestion was made to supply unclaimed lost bikes to students to use for transportation on campus.  But it was noted that NIU doesn’t have the bike paths between buildings.

C. T. Lin said that another topic at the meeting was student diversity including non traditional and single parent.  He said that one of the students mentioned the diversity among the faculty, which is a topic that will be discussed.  C. Downing said that we need to aggressively recruit a more diverse faculty.  He said that it is a fairly serious problem that other universities are able to offer minorities much more than NIU.  There was much discussion on this topic.  R. Wheeler said that this was an issue of great interest to the Provost whom he thought would attempt some innovative approaches to this persistent concern.

CUC – J. Stewart

On behalf of the CUC, J. Stewart  moved to receive the October 10, 2002 minutes.  The motion carried.

J. Stewart said there were a couple of issues involving wording and the use of the word “we.”  He said there was discussion about certificates vs minors, which was sent back.  R. Wheeler said the committee reviewed the mission statement from the College of Business and noted many uses of the word “we” which occurs nowhere in the entire undergraduate catalog.  He said the College of Business has agreed to substitute the phrase “College of Business” or “the College” in place of “we.”  S. Conklin said that the Health and Human Sciences proposals that came through that seemed as if they were asking for two things that would do the same thing, was cleared up and they agreed to just put forth one.  She said in the situation of Foreign Language designators which could have gone out of hand eventually by giving a different designator to each individual course, it was agreed that AL (applied linguistics) would also be general in nature.  She said there also was a situation where one course that had been put forward as a revision was actually deemed to be more appropriately a new course submission, and that was sent back.



N. Osorio said that the panel met October 4, October 18, and November 1. He said the members of the panel were invited to attend a conference, the Assessment Institute, at Indiana University and he believes that four committee members attended.  He said the major part of the work of the committee is the review of assessment plans and status reports for all academic programs in preparation for the university accreditation by the North Central Association.  He said those reports will be used also to report to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.  He said several programs have been reviewed, for example at the October 18 meeting we did the Electrical Engineering part of the Engineering programs, all of them; some programs in Education, some in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and support units - Registration and Records and Campus Orientation.    He said the academic reviews are on an eight-year cycle. For the supporting units (non academic) the cycle is five years.  K. O’Kelly said that at the first meeting that he attended they were still looking into the performance indicators, and since that survey is closing down soon, he encouraged anyone who hasn’t voted to go to the IBHE website for the link to the performance indicators survey.  R. Wheeler said there is the Illinois Commitment, which is a creation of the IBHE, and the IBHE is now seeking performance indicators to measure how well the universities are doing in addressing the Illinois Commitment.  He said a number of groups on campus have responded already.


There were no items.


Report from the UCC Retreat

D. Rusin said that Provost Legg talked about enrollment pressures.  He said there were a lot more students this fall and it looks like this coming fall will have a large number of students.  He said there is a constant concern on how we’re going to accommodate their needs with the resources that we have.  R. Wheeler said that recently the President has approved a change in our procedures regarding transfer students.  He said NIU is one of the 20 largest institutions in the nation in terms of transfer students.  He said the criteria for admitting transfer students depend on the number of credit hours that they bring with them.  He said as a rough generalization, transfer students who bring with them up to 24 credit hours are treated more or less as new freshmen, from the point of view of the criteria they must meet.  He said students who bring with them 60 or more hours, typically those who’ve gotten an associate’s degree, are accepted and given credit for the general education program.  He said there is a vast category in between of students who transfer with between 24 and 60 hours.  He said these students do not have to meet the freshmen admission criteria nor do they have to have fulfilled the general education requirements.  He said the President has approved placing some restrictions on transfer students in this category.  He said what is likely to happen is that effective January 1, 2003 transfer students in the category 24 to 59 hours applying for Summer 2003 or later will have to bring with them a GPA of previous course work of 2.5 or better.  He said they believe not only will this address the enrollment pressure, but it will also produce a better prepared and qualified group of transfer students who will tend to do better in the academic environment here.  He said this is the first time that President Peters has agreed to any restriction on enrollment at the university.  He said this is not the final solution but only a partial answer.

W. Tolhurst asked if there was an early notification policy where we notify highly qualified students early that they’ve been admitted and delay notifying others to try and get the best qualified students, or do we just admit folks until we can admit no more.  R. Wheeler said at present we admit students until we can admit no more. He said that he thought a primary concern of the President is that he needs to reassure state legislators and other influential people that access to the programs offered at Northern continues to be available. He said that the data indicate that high school class rank and/or GPA is a much better indicator of success than ACT though neither one is very good.  He said that there is an increasing problem with class rank because many high schools do not rank. He said that APASC and UCC recently approved establishing a GPA of 2.75 in high school as roughly equivalent to upper half, which will be incorporated into the admission procedure.  Regarding the change in transfer GPA, D. Rusin asked if APASC has a role in this?  R. Wheeler said that because the provision for competitive transfer GPA is already in the catalog there is no policy change here, so APASC was informed yesterday of this determination by the President and the Provost.  He said that there are other things that could be put on the table that would be policy changes that would involve a change in catalog language and APASC would need to revisit those.  He also said that if we were to institute a program of early notification that would be a procedural change, but it would be appropriate to involve the advising deans and APASC in the conversation.  D. Rusin said that in the Admissions Office there is a prompt turn around to the student applications; the student will be admitted in the space of a couple of weeks.  W. Tolhurst asked about having a slower acceptance for the mid-range students.  He said the whole point of having early notification is that the best students get the quick turn around and the marginal students have to wait a little longer to get their acceptance.  D. Rusin said that the Admissions Office notifies departments of the students who have been admitted into their  program. He said if there are good students their names are available and we should try to find ways to reach out to these students, to meet their needs, and make them feel comfortable.  He said the Honors Program sends letters immediately to Honors eligible students.    He said there is only so much we can do, and that it is hard to compete if a really top notch student is admitted both here and Northwestern, for example.  R. Wheeler noted that they had done one thing today that relates to this - approved priority registration for honors students, which is something perspective honors students are looking for.

R. Wheeler said that the Centennial Program which consists of $1000 awards to deserving students continues this year.  He said this is generously funded by the President.  He said we have $200,000 to give to brand new students; we have $200,000 more to give to continuing students who have done good work at the university.

K. O’Kelly asked about the students who just get by in high school but come in and perform well in college; you don’t want to discriminate against students who have the potential but aren’t motivated enough in high school.  He thought maybe these students should be contacted.  L. Rigg agreed with this and thought that preferential admissions would be a step backwards more towards the British system where your fate is decided at an earlier stage.  R. Wheeler said that in respect to the transfer population,  a typical student who is at a community college and has between 24 and 59 hours can always finish their associate’s degree at the community college, which is what we would like them to do, and then come to Northern with their general education program already completed and move on from there.  He said it is that category of student in particular that in some cases are coming into Northern with qualifications which would not get them regular admission and we would like to see that addressed.  He said if they have not realized their full potential in high school or at the community college they can continue and finish the associate’s degree and move on from there.  W. Tolhurst agreed with K. O’Kelly and said there is a big difference between a student who may have had an unhappy experience in high school who comes to the university and finds that it is a totally different intellectual environment and thrives in it.  He said he thought all our students are important and we certainly don’t, in the classroom, discriminate on that basis.  He said he thought that Northern always has been and will be accessible to those students.  But a student who has gone to a community college and had “a college” experience and has not done terribly well, that seems to him to be a different story.  He said we’re not talking about excluding students from educational opportunities and we’re not exclusive in the way the British system is or that Princeton and Harvard are, we’re giving lots of folks the chance, and a second chance for many of them, and that’s not going to change.  He said the question is how do we attract students who have demonstrated motivation and ability and make wise choices amongst all the students who would like to come here given that we can’t let them all come.

R. Wheeler said that this institution made a serious error about a decade ago.  He said we opened the doors and admitted vast numbers of students and then we could not provide the courses to allow them to graduate in a timely fashion, and that hurt the university enormously.  He said it has taken us a decade to recover from that experience, and a number of us are determined that it will not happen again; we must not admit more students than we can properly educate in a timely way.  And unless the state comes through with additional resources, which is not anticipated in the immediate future, we really have to come to grips with this.  He also said that he didn’t think that we would ever have an elitist system such as is practiced in other societies.

R. Wheeler pointed out that the largest single major at Northern is Elementary Education, where they probably have 1500 students, 2/3rds of whom are transfer students and they are already held to a 3.0 just to get in the door of that program.  D. Rusin said that a student who comes in who is not well prepared by their high school is going to take the commitment of a lot more resources from the university to help them succeed.  Also, if you bring in students for whom the college experience is likely to be very challenging, you’re facing the potential of a lot of them dropping off after the first year.  R. Wheeler said we do have and will have a commitment to the CHANCE program, and we do take in 500 students a year in that program.  He said he heard an estimate from a very knowledgeable person that to educate a CHANCE student in their freshman year costs four times as much as educating a student who is regularly admitted because of the vast network of support for CHANCE students.  He said that NIU was the only university in the state, apart from Chicago State, that makes such a vast commitment to the educationally disadvantaged.

In response to comments about the City of DeKalb, R. Wheeler said that when Dean Zar retired there was a national search to replace him.  In the end, two apparently highly qualified candidates were considered for the position and for each of them it appears that the community of DeKalb was not attractive to them as a place to reside and that was a component of their decision to turn us down. He said there’s also a sense when you survey students that they do not view DeKalb as a particularly attractive and interesting town to live in, and that may be in some cases a factor in students deciding to go somewhere else. S. Short said that there are many people flocking to live in this area now.  W. Tolhurst said that there are many faculty who don’t live in town who are here only two or three days a week, and the impact that has on departmental culture and interaction with one’s colleagues is something that needs to be noted.

Meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.

Christine Welch, Secretary