Minutes - November 28, 2006

Report: November 28, 2006.

Erindale College

Meeting of the ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on November 28, 2006 at 3.10 p.m., in Room 3129, South Building.

Present: A. Wensley (in the Chair), C. Misak, C. Jones, U. Krull, E. Levy, M. Mavrinac, C. Evans, G. Anderson, V. Aivazian, K. Murty, J. McCurdy-Myers, R. Gerlai, B. Katz, M. Lettieri, S. Munro, S. Baumann, A. Bendlin, L. Thomson, A. Erosa, D. Crocker, R. Greene, J. Mackay, J.-P. Paluzzi

In attendance: M. Tavakoli-Targhi, L. Kaplan

1. Adoption of Agenda

The agenda was approved (C. Misak/D. Crocker)

2. New Business

Reports of Committees and Officers

a) Curriculum Reports for approval

i. Sciences

Professor Murty described the major curriculum changes contained in the Sciences Curriculum Report, which had been circulated to members, and the rationale for them.

In Chemical & Physical Sciences, a new program, Biophysics, had been introduced in line with the strategic plan of the Department, which involved the introduction of 1.5 FCE new courses. As a result of a new faculty hire, there was a new course in Climate Change – ERS 321H5. Additional minor program changes were made to take advantage of the new courses.

In Mathematical and Computational Sciences, a new course on abstraction – MAT 202, which had been approved last year - was formally introduced. Minor program changes were made to include this as a required course in the Major and Specialist programs. Two new Statistics courses were proposed by Forensic Science students. Professor Murty noted that these courses introduced Bayesian Inference, which is used in FSC, but is not covered in any existing Statistics courses on this campus. A new Computer Science course – CSC 288H5, Tools of the Trade – was also being introduced for non-CSC students. Two courses on Software Engineering had been replaced with newer versions. In addition, there were minor changes to the Major and Specialist Programs in Statistics.

In Forensic Science, changes were being introduced to the entrance requirements for the Major Program -higher than 65% in CHM 140, a Calculus course 134/135/137, and the replacement of the general Statistics courses with the new Statistics courses for Forensic Science students. Changes had been introduced to the Specialist Programs in Forensic Science, Chemistry, Psychology, Anthropology, and Biology in line with the changes in the Major Programs.

In Psychology, changes to the Major and Minor Program entry requirements were introduced (namely removing OAC and replacing it with corresponding Grade 12 courses). The entry to the Specialist Programs was also being changed to require 8.0 FCE from the current 4.0 FCE. Two new courses were introduced to recognize emerging subfields in Psychology, corresponding with the research interests of a new faculty member.

In Biology, 2.0 FCE new courses were introduced – a 399Y Research Opportunities course, and another course for non-Biology students.

In Geography, a new half-course – GGR 406H6 – was introduced to take advantage of a new hire. The Research Opportunity Course, 299Y, was relabeled 399Y. In addition, limited enrolment criteria were being introduced for the Specialist Program.

In Anthropology, some changes were made to the Major Program entry requirements with the intention of limiting enrolment in the program, which was currently close to 500. A full course in Human Origins was split into two half-courses. The Research Opportunity Course. 299Y, was renamed 399Y.

In Biomedical Communications, minor changes to limited enrolment criteria for the Minor Program were introduced. Also, a new Major Program in Health Sciences Communication was being introduced.

In Sociology, the year-long course in Quantitative Analysis was being split into two half-courses.

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

A member enquired about the rationale for entry to the Specialist Program in Psychology being changed to require 8.0 FCE from the current 4.0 FCE, and also whether other programs did this. Professor Murty responded that the primary motive was to improve the quality of the program by ensuring that students demonstrated strength before entering it, and that they maintained their grades in second year. The Acting Vice-President & Principal, Professor Misak, responded that CCT did this as well.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Sciences Curriculum Report be approved as circulated. (J. Mackay/R. Gerlai)

The motion was approved.

ii. Humanities

Professor Lettieri described the major curriculum changes contained in the Humanities Curriculum Report, which had been circulated to members, and the rationale for them. He noted that no new programs had been proposed, and that there were no significant resource implications.

Professor Lettieri observed that from 2004-2006, the English Department on the St. George Campus had undertaken a review of its programs and curriculum. As the English Program on this campus was largely the same as the one on the St. George Campus, the Chair on this campus had participated in this process. As a result, changes to courses had been made primarily to bring offerings up to date and to introduce more half-courses to statisfy student demand and faculty loads. The amendments to program requirements were made to broaden students’ experience in English literature and to accommodate the updated course offerings. Updating of course numbers and/or decriptions was also made necessary. The ENG and HIS Program had been deleted due to low enrolment (10 students).

There was a major change in German, the discontinuation of both the major and minor programs. Professor Lettieri noted that the Department of French, German, and Italian (FGI) on this campus currently had one faculty member in the German area. There had been extremely low enrolments in German Language and related courses beyond first year and, despite best efforts in this regard, there had been no notable upward trajectory in enrolments. This campus would continue to offer courses in German where warranted by demand. He assured members that students currently registered in the Major or Minor Programs would be able to complete their degree requirements.

There were only minor changes in French. Similarly, there were no significant changes in Italian. A Research Opportunity 399Y course had been added in French, Italian, and Linguistics.

It was noted that Linguistics was doing extremely well in terms of student enrolments. New courses in the area of second language teaching and learning were being added as a result of a new faculty hire and student demand. It was noted that these courses would support the Department’s Teaching and Learning Program and this campus’ Concurrent Teacher Education Program.

There were no programs added or deleted in Fine Art History (FAS and FAH). It was observed that there was no longer a studio art requirement for the Art History Major. In the Art and Art History Specialist, 200-level requirements were clarified and made more flexible. There were also revisions in the Visual Culture and Communication Specialist to better represent program objectives, and also in line with new, changed, or deleted courses. In FAS and FAH, Research Opportunity Program courses had been added. Five half-courses had been deleted, which were courses mostly taught by retired faculty or not offered in the last three years. Seven half-courses had been added, some of which would allow flexibility at the upper level. The resource implications were minor, and would be incurred mainly with the development of the library digital images and acquisition of book titles for the library collection.

There were numerous changes in History, but not as many as had been made over the past two years. This year, History was deleting numerous courses, renumbering others, changing descriptions to courses (to better reflect course content), and proposing new language courses (Arabic and Persian), new Classics courses, new History courses, and new Religion courses. Revisions and name changes to programs as indicated in the Humanities Curriculum Report, were the result of a major curricular overhaul, to increase the depth and breadth of the program, and to offer all students a global historical understanding. Regarding Study of Women and Gender (Arts), introductory level courses in other disciplines had been removed as program options in favor of a course, WGS200Y, which would serve as a dedicated introduction to this program.

In Philosophy, there had been mostly minor housekeeping changes, which included the addition of three new half-courses. A new course, PHL205H (Ancient Philosophy), would replace the current year-long introduction to Ancient Philosophy. This would enable students to move faster into 300-level courses. Other new courses were PHL327H (Later Analytic Philosophy), and PHL397H (Philosophical Research), which would develop students’ research skills and prepare them for graduate school.

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

In response to a member’s question about whether there was a linkage between the discontinuation of the German Major and Minor Programs and the introduction of other languages through Historical Studies, the Chair of the Department of Historical Studies, Professor Tavakoli-Targhi, responded that, on the contrary, language training was a vital component of Historical Studies, that Historical Studies on the St. George Campus offered 40 language courses, and that this was becoming increasingly important. The Department of French, German & Italian might well consider teaching some of these courses themselves. Professor Lettieri, the Chair of the Department of French, German & Italian, noted that there would be a Retreat scheduled soon at which this would be addressed and discussed. The Acting Vice-President & Principal, Professor Misak, agreed that there was no linkage.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Humanities Curriculum Report be approved as circulated. (B. Katz/E. Levy)

The motion was approved.

iii. Social Sciences

Professor Aivazian described the major curriculum changes contained in the Social Sciences Curriculum Report, which had been circulated to members, and the rationale for them. He observed that none of the changes had resource implications.

In Anthropology, grade and CGPA requirements would be raised to limit enrolment in the Major Programs as currently enrolments were exceptionally high and the Department did not have the faculty or lab space to accommodate the current demand. Courses would be taught in the CCT Program by ANT faculty to fulfill requirements in the Anthropology (Arts) Major and Specialist Programs. Several new Anthropology third-year half courses, including ANT 399Y (ROP) were being introduced. The names of several others were changed to better reflect course content.

In CCT, five new courses were added and three were deleted. Courses had been renamed to better reflect course content, course descriptions had been changed, and the NDA designation had been replaced with a SSc. Designation.

In Economics, the grade and CGPA requirements had been raised for enrolment in the Specialist, Major, and Minor Programs. The intention was to improve the quality of students in Economics Programs and to admit only those with sufficiently strong academic backgrounds who could successfully complete the programs. Prerequisites in second-year core Economics courses would be raised in line with the more stringent requirements to enroll in Economics programs. ECO 399Y (ROP) would replace ECO 299Y.

In Geography, the grade and CGPA requirements had been raised for the Specialist Programs in Geography (Arts) and Geography (Sc.). The goal was to provide a learning environment that would better prepare students for graduate school and would distinguish between Specialist and Major Programs in Geography. GGR 399Y (ROP) had also been added.

In Management, several electives had been added to the Specialist Program. Two new courses, including MGT 399Y (ROP), had been added. The descriptions of several Management courses, including course names, had been changed to better reflect course content.

In Political Science, a second-year course on research methods, POL 242H was introduced. POL 399Y (ROP) would replace POL 299Y. One course title had been changed.

In Professional Writing and Communications (Arts), additional courses would be allowed to fulfill the requirements for the Major Program. Three new courses were introduced, one course had been renamed to better reflect course content, and the prerequisites had been changed for two other courses. In addition, the application process to the Program had been simplified.

In Sociology, a Specialist Program in Crime, Law and Deviance was introduced. Professor Aivazian observed that this was a research-intensive program designed to prepare students for graduate school. In order to allow more students to enroll in Sociology, the entry requirements to the Crime, Law and Deviance Major, and the Sociology Major and the Sociology Minor would be less stringent. It was felt that the Sociology faculty complement could support a larger student enrolment. A large number of second- and third-year courses were being added, and a similar number of second- and third-year courses were being deleted. SOC 399Y (ROP) was being introduced. A first-year introductory Sociology half-course, SOC 100H5, would replace the current first-year full-year Sociology course, SOC 101Y.

In the Commerce and Finance Specialist Program (a joint program in Management and Economics), three new program streams would be introduced to allow Commerce students to take particular combinations of existing courses, enabling specialization in one of these areas:

C & F: Finance
C & F: Human Resource Management
C & F: Marketing

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

Members expressed concern and discussion ensued about the replacement of SOC 101Y (a full-year course) with SOC 100H5 (a half-course). When asked whether the same change was being made to the curriculum on the St. George Campus, Professor Jones responded that it was not being made at this point. He added that the change was being made because students were not getting much out of the second half of this course, and that the resources would be better allocated to second- and third-year courses. He did agree that the issue of transfer was important. Discussion continued, and Professor Baumann observed that a move was being made by the Sociology Department on the St. George Campus to make all courses half-courses. The Registrar, Ms Crocker, noted that the second half of the course was indeed valuable and provided students with survey tools required by sociologists. She suggested that it be continued in the second semester as another half-course. Professor Baumann mentioned that there was a plan to teach this as a second-year course entitled Measuring Society. The Registrar was adamant that this should be a 100-level, not a 200-level course.

A member expressed concern about replacing the NDA (= no designation assigned) Designation with a Social Sciences Designation for CCT courses, observing that some of the courses were clearly not Social Sciences. Professor Kaplan observed that CCT was interdisciplinary, that there was some allegiance to Social Sciences, but that he was amenable to creating an ICC Designation. He also mentioned that the Designation for some courses was clearly Arts, which didn’t exist. Discussion continued, and it was felt that an ICC Curriculum Committee was not warranted. The Chair, Professor Wensley, noted that the difficulty was fitting all of the courses into a tripartheid classification system. He also asked whether NDAs had been problematic in terms of breadth requirements, and the Registrar responded in the affirmative, noting that they had caused huge problems. Professor Wensley wondered whether the Designations should remain NDAs, or whether some should be changed to HUM or joint designations. Professor Kaplan suggested that NDA be retained for another year, to be sorted out by next year’s Curriculum Committees. The Registrar felt that some courses could and should be properly designated now. A member also observed that CCT 314 was clearly a Philosophy course, and clearly did not fit into a Social Sciences Designation. It was suggested that this be reviewed by ICC as soon as possible to determine what to do in the short term. It was also felt that a staff member from the Registrar’s Office should be included in the meeting to discuss this.

It was duly moved and seconded
THAT the Social Sciences Curriculum Report be approved subject to further clarification of issues surrounding SOC 101Y and issues surrounding the designations of CCT courses. (E. Levy/B. Katz)

The motion was approved with two abstentions.

Once the Chair, Professor Wensley, consulted further, it would be decided whether a special meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee would be warranted. This was a matter of urgency as the curricular changes needed to be approved by ECC at its next meeting, scheduled for December 8, 2006.

3. Next Meeting

The Chair noted that the next regular meeting was scheduled for January 23, 2007.

4. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4.30 p.m. (S. Prosser/J.-P. Paluzzi)

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Recording Secretary Chair