Present: Greg Auleta, Mary Beth Bell, Joan Carroll, Jean Chambers (Chair,
Recorder), Diane Chepko-Sade, William Goffe, John Huonker, Robert Irwin,
Michael LeBlanc, Mary Loe, Mark Morey
Regrets: Nicole Bomasuto, Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Paul Tomascak
1. Introductions – Name and what brings you to the Committee:
- Mark Morey: As a representative of the Committee on Learning and Teaching,
which advises CELT, Mark is interested in gaining an overview of university’s
mission with respect to defining learning and teaching from the standpoint of
learners as they go through the system.
- Robert Irwin: As a representative of the Computer Science Department,
Robert is eager to promote basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills, and
is interested in approaches that use systematic before and after assessments of
learning outcomes in these areas.
- Michael LeBlanc: As a representative of the School of Education’s
Counseling and Psychological Services program, Michael has a broad interest in
improving teaching and learning.
- William Goffe: As a representative of the Economics Department, William
brings the question about how teachers convey expectations, given that he
recently informally surveyed his students and found that approximately 40% of
their teachers routinely provide review sheets for exams.
- Mary Beth Bell: As a representative of Penfield Library and former member
of the Task Force on Academic Quality, which previously worked on academic
quality issues, Mary remains concerned about issues surrounding student
writing, particularly strengthening the Writing Across the Curriculum program.
She is also concerned about information literacy, reading, and critical
thinking. Penfield Library has recently developed new guidelines for assessment
of information literacy at each stage of advancement through the college, and
there is a plan to work with departments individually to help coordinate
faculty efforts in this area.
- Mary Loe: As a representative of Penfield Library, Mary shares Robert’s
concerns about basic skills, including note-taking, and is worried about a
disconnect between the observed skill levels of students and survey reports
that students don’t find their courses challenging enough. She is also
concerned about grade inflation and is interested in the idea of a basic skills
exit examination. Finally, she would like to see Writing Across the Curriculum
strengthened and closer monitoring of student progress through feedback based
on clear expectations.
- John Huonker: As a representative of Marketing and Management, John is most
concerned about issues surrounding independent learning, which is especially
crucial for future business managers. Also, some group learning activities in
the classroom seem to allow individual students to free ride on the efforts of
others, and this pattern of free riding can work against their learning the
kind of teamwork business managers need to be able to do and lead others in
- Jean Chambers: As a representative of the Philosophy Department and former
chair of the Task Force on Academic Quality, Jean shares the concerns voiced
earlier regarding basic skills, as well as the free riding and challenge issues
mentioned by others.
- Joan Carroll: As a representative of Accounting, Finance, and Law, Joan
does not want us to lose sight of the fact that students are responding, by and
large rationally, to the system of incentives we are giving them, and the same
principle holds true for the faculty. We need to figure out what we can do
differently to expect and support excellence while also supporting
- Diane Chepko-Sade: As a faculty member in the Biology Department, Diane has
found that regular writing assignments, such as summaries of assigned readings,
augmented with supervised step-by-step activities which culminate in a paper
and presentation, are very effective in producing student mastery. “They can
learn, but you have to make them and reward them,” was her summary of her
approach. She also expressed serious concern with the faculty incentive system,
especially with respect to tenure and promotion, which tends to reward research
more than effective teaching, even highly effective teaching.
- Greg Auleta: As a representative of the Office of Learning Services, Greg
is concerned about the faculty engagement, noting a large number of faculty
absent from campus on any given day. He is also concerned that we not indulge
unrealistic memories of our own academic virtues as undergraduates, while
keeping in mind that the quality of the incoming first-year students continues
to improve in terms of objective criteria such as SAT scores and high school
grades. We need more information on whether and how departments ask students to
write, for example. Our focus should be on how we might do better with the
students we have.
2. Presentation by Mark Morey of the Committee on Learning and Teaching
- COLT is an advisory group for CELT, which works on faculty
- COLT recently conducted detailed interviews of a wide variety of different
student and faculty groups in order to arrive at a definition of academic
quality for the Oswego campus. The responses were collated using qualitative
software, and then the patterns were categorized as indicated on the handout.
See the handout for details. (If you were not at the meeting, please contact
Mark Morey at firstname.lastname@example.org for a
- We discussed COLT’s model of Learning Centered education at Oswego briefly,
as we were running out of time. There was general agreement that the ideals
mentioned are good ones, and we began a discussion of some possible
implications relevant to implementation of the model, such as faculty workload
- COLT’s next steps include developing sample syllabi which would convey high
expectations, working with individual departments on various initiatives
related to learning-centered approaches, improving the integration of criteria
of teaching excellence into the faculty incentive structure, and working with
new faculty, including during new faculty orientation, to promote teaching
strategies which work.
- Mark requested that feedback to the COLT draft handout be sent to him at email@example.com.
3. The next meeting of the Academic Quality Committee will be at 8
a.m. on December 7th, at a place to be announced via email. Jean
indicated that at that meeting, we will begin working on setting some concrete
goals for our work.
4. The meeting adjourned.