125th Meeting
April 1, 2004

Present: N. Boubekri (EET), L. Derscheid (HHS), A. Doederlein (LAS), C. Downing (BUS), W. Goldenberg (VPA), D. Gough (HHS), C.T. Lin (LAS), K. Millis (LAS), N. Osorio (LIB), L. Rigg (LAS), D. Rusin (LAS), E. Seaver (Vice Provost), D. Sinason (BUS), J. Stewart (EET), E. Wilkins (EDUC)

Absent: S. Linden (LAS), L. Stoffel (VPA), L. Townsend (EDUC)
Student: L. Krueger (EDUC).

Guest: Dan House (Director, Institutional Research
K. Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator)




A. Electronic Approval of Minutes

The minutes of March 4, 2004 were electronically approved.


APASC - K. Millis

APASC will meet April 7, 2004.

GEC - D. Rusin, E. Wilkins

The minutes of the March 25, 2004 meeting were not yet approved. D. Rusin said that the GEC has been reviewing the cycle for general education course review and the possibility of tying it to the department’s program review dates. E. Seaver said that he e-mailed all of the curricular deans and he has been receiving feedback from the chairs and it has been generally positive. E. Wilkins said that they were getting through the interim reports. D. Rusin said that they were also trying to wrap up some loose ends from departments that had courses submitted in previous years that were sent back for some revision or additional information. He said the departments have been providing that information.

Honors Committee - L. Rigg

On behalf of the Honors Committee, L Rigg moved that the UCC receive the March 5, 2004 minutes. The motion carried.

L. Rigg said that she was unable to attend the meeting. She said that Michael Martin, Honors Director, said that the meeting was very brief and there were no action items.

CIUE - L. Derscheid

The minutes of the March 22, 2004 meeting were not yet approved. L. Derscheid said that this year there were 11 candidates for the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards; those chosen for the award are Kristen Myers (Sociology), Amy Newman (English) and Larry Stoffel (Music).

CUAE - C.T. Lin

The minutes of the March 16, 2004 meeting were not yet approved. C.T. Lin said that there were no action items. He said that they discussed the question raised at the last UCC meeting about Chief Grady’s comments that NIU is the safest campus in the state of Illinois. He said the chair of the committee will contact Chief Grady to provide concrete information on this.

C.T. Lin said the next item was related to the use of the common area–the free speech area–in the Martin Luther King Mall. He said that the Director of University Programming and Activities, Dick Clark, gave a presentation to the CUAE. He said that Mr. Clark indicated that permission to use the free speech area is needed from his office. He said that an amplifier can only be used between 12 noon and 1 PM unless special permission is given. He said that no one polices this area.

C. T. Lin said the third item is related to the creation of a customer-friendly environment on campus and promoted by Human Resources Service. He said Deborah Haliczer, Director of Employee Wellness and Training gave a presentation on this topic. He said most of the concern was directed to the training of faculty and staff to respond to the students needs. He said there were concerns about the treatment that students receive when they ask questions. He said the conclusion was that the university should train all the faculty and staff to be able to direct the student or parent to the proper place. He said the general consensus of the members was that it was impossible. He said the faculty and staff should direct people who have questions to the chair or the secretary of the department, or college dean or director of a unit. He said that Move-In Day has become very popular. He said that it was suggested to use annuitants to help out with information, and to encourage faculty during Move-In Day and the first week of campus to be visible around campus to help give students direction. E. Seaver said that when information is given it should be given in a civil manner.

CUC - D. Gough

On behalf of the CUC, D. Gough moved that the UCC receive the March 18, 2004 minutes. The motion carried.

D. Gough said that there are a couple of new courses in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Woman’s Studies created an internship course and added other requirements. She said there were mostly minor course changes or revising catalog copy. She said this was an electronic meeting.



N. Osorio said that at the last meeting on March 19 they continued to review assessment programs and service programs.


A. Grading System Proposal

E. Seaver said that this item is on the agenda for APASC. He said one problem with APASC is that there is no student representation so he’s asked that it be put on the CUAE and Honors agendas. He said that at the next meeting in the reports there should be some information coming back from those committees relative to the grading system proposal that was forwarded from the University Council.


B. Demographics of NIU Students- Dan House

E. Seaver said that this item was put on the agenda to talk about some demographics about our students. He said some of this comes out of the work that we’ve been doing with the Task Force on Retention. He said that he asked Dan House, the Director of Institutional Research, to join us for discussion. He said when we started discussion on the retention task force about our students, people wanted to talk about how our students compare to students at other universities. He said discussion turns to topics of our graduation rate relative to other graduation rates and our retention rate compared to other universities. He presented an exercise for the committee members to complete. He handed out a sheet that included data of various comparable universities but the names of universities were omitted. The committee was asked to find NIU on the list.

There was considerable discussion and comparisons about the universities on the list. E. Seaver said that this has led the Task Force on Retention to ask that, given the student demographics that we have, what can we do to focus on the first year retention and what can we do regarding the actual graduation rate. He said we do have a lot of activities in first year experience, but from year two to year three we loose additional students. D. House said to him the key is that the predominance of those people who leave, leave in good academic standing. He said of the 100 students who leave in a given cohort, 85% leave in good standing; they’re just opting to go elsewhere. He said they’ve done some studies through the state shared enrollment data system, of any given cohort of about 3,000 students, about 1,000 leave here, the predominance of them in good academic standard, and transfer back to a community college, never to return here or to another public school.

D. House said that we know from the freshmen survey, 1/3 of our students are coming from single parent homes; the national public average is 25%. He said many on the survey indicated that they had

family responsibilities at home. He said over 20% of our freshmen indicate that they had a relative or close friend die in their first year. He said their expectations of working are greater; their concerns about financing school are greater; more are coming from single parent homes; more of them have family responsibilities to take care of; and they’re experiencing some distress and loss during the first year. E. Seaver said that as soon as you start looking at the demographics and as soon as you start dealing with the other aspects of our students, the discussion turns very quickly to the culture and the climate at this institution. He said he thinks that what most of us have wrestled with all year is how can we allow for the differences of faculty and come up with a campus climate where the students feel that they’re respected, and that this is a friendly place to be. He said that we constantly hear from students, either directly or indirectly, about how poorly they are treated by first line staff and faculty at this institution. E. Seaver said that a small group from the Task Force on Retention will be meeting with Human Resources regarding the kinds of training they currently provide or could provide for staff that students come in contact with, and how we can try to emphasize the need to be helpful. D. House said that typically they get two responses on the alumni survey: they like their degree; they don’t like the university. E. Seaver said that many of us on the task force have felt that the university (faculty, staff and students) has difficulty embracing who we are; it’s always who we’re not and who we want to be, rather than looking at who we are and being the best at that and creating an environment to accommodate that.

E. Seaver said that he wanted to bring these issues to the committee today because, in his own personal perspective, UCC should be the group dealing with these issues. He said when we talk about the undergraduate experience, whether it’s academic, cultural, environment, or teaching issues, the UCC should be steering and should be doing this through its committee structure. He asked the committee to think about ways in which we can start over this next year to address these particular issues. He said we can talk about it as a retention task force, but dialoging and making decisions should be the role of the UCC.

D. House said there is going to be significant growth in high school seniors over the next decade. He said in our region over the next decade the number of Latino seniors is going to double, Asian American seniors will increase almost 50%, African American seniors will increase about 6%, and white seniors will decline by 2%. He said that most of the growth of perspective students that we’re going to see in the next decade are minority students. He said this is one of the most important facts for us to think about as an institution.

The next meeting of the UCC will be May 6 in Watson 233.

Meeting Adjourned 2:30 p.m.
Christine Welch