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Minutes: Literature Committee


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Present: Anderson, Costomiris, Cyr, Dudley, Flynn, Edenfield, Keeley, Pellegrino, Town, Villeponteaux, Warchol, Whelan

Absent: Edwards – excused, Griffin- excused, Kundu –excused, Schille- excused, Thomson


The consolidated curriculum was discussed.

Mary Villeponteaux moved to accept the final version with changes. Caren Town seconded.

Motion passed: 9-0



Minutes of the Literature faculty Meeting
Friday, December 2, 2016, 2:30 PM

Department members present: Dustin Anderson, Marc Cyr, David Dudley, Olivia Edenfield, Brad Edwards, Richard Flynn, Karin Fry, Julia Griffin, Howard Keeley, Gautam Kundu, Candy Schille, Doug Thomson, Caren Town, Tomasz Warchol, Tim Whelan

Minutes submitted by: Dustin Anderson

Purpose of the Meeting: discuss Transient Student curriculum restrictions and proposed changes to the Literature Major

At 2:30pm, Karin Fry called the meeting to order.

Dr. Fry asked Dustin Anderson to present the discussion item from the previous departmental graduate committee meeting. Dr. Anderson, based on the committee’s approval, presented the idea of limiting transient students to seminars as a way to bolster seminar numbers. Richard Flynn raised a concern about alienating potential students by creating a policy that would only allow them to take certain types of courses. Candy Schille asked what the impetus of this suggestion was, and David Dudley asked what the benefits of the suggestion would be. Dr. Anderson responded that the goal was to insure the appearance of a viable program to the college and university, and that those bodies were looking at Seminar enrollments as part of their assessment of the program’s productivity. He also explained that the department had made requests based on strong course enrollments. Dr. Dudley asked what those were, and Dr. Anderson replied additional GA and TA2 funding and consideration of the assistantship workload for TA2 students. Dr. Anderson said that this wasn’t a proposal, but a discussion item. Caren Town recommended that the committee look for alternative ways to bolster seminar numbers. Since no formal proposal was offered, no motions were made.

Dr. Fry provided the faculty with the minimum enrollment numbers from the Dean’s Office as a beginning point for the discussion of the proposed changes to the Literature major. Dr. Flynn noted that the current language now reflected Minimum Seat Availability rather than minimum enrollments. A member of the faculty asked if that practically mattered if the dean’s office still had the ability to close courses based on disproportionately large numbers.

Tim Whelan introduced the three proposed changes to the Literature major as discussion items:

1. Eliminating ENGL 2131 and 2132 in Area F, and instead embed the assessment requirement within the required surveys (Brit. Lit. 1 and 2, and either American Lit 1 or 2).
2. Reducing the number of prerequisites for upper division courses to one co-requisite (Brit. Lit 1 or 2 or American Lit. 1 or 2). The current requirement of 18 hours of upper-level courses prior to taking the Senior Seminar will remain intact.
3. Eliminating the Single Author requirement, but the Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton courses will remain in Area 1 and will be taught regularly. ENGL 4435 Single Author will be eliminated, becoming a part of the Selected Topics course (ENGL 5090).

Dr. Flynn objected to being presented new material at a meeting, and asked that any additional materials be provided before the meeting. Dr. Whelan confirmed that no vote would be made on the materials presented during this meeting. Dr. Whelan went on to discuss some of the most problematic areas in the major requirements that have resulted in a significant decline in majors. The Major Program (Literature) Committee felt that the primary issue resided in the Area F requirements. The department vigorously discussed the pros and cons of removing or retaining the introductory courses; the history and purpose of those courses; the possibility of removing additional 2000 level courses; the effectiveness of those courses; and rationale for eliminating those courses. The members present also discussed the nature and purpose of the survey courses. Gautam Kundu raised a concern that the proposal might not be setting students up for success by removing the writing courses before the Senior Seminar course. The department discussed

Dr. Flynn and Dr. Town had brief clarification questions regarding the removal of the Single Author requirement. Dr. Whelan clarified that the courses would remain, but the requirement would be deleted. Dr. Schille offered that many students will still likely take the Single Author courses even without the requirement.

The faculty were generally satisfied with the condensation of the byzantine prerequisite structure with a single co-requisite requirement. Dr. Anderson asked that when the Major Program Committee brings this back to the department for the January meeting, that it include sample language about the writing requirements and expectations in the survey courses, and that those be consistent across these courses; and that the MPC provide the assessment mechanism for those courses.

Dr. Dudley suggested that any feedback be submitted in written form. Dr. Whelan requested that such feedback be delivered to the MPC before the committee submits the final proposal for changes to the major at the next faculty meeting.

Dr. Fry reminded the faculty of the holiday party this evening, and adjourned the meeting at 3:45.

Respectfully submitted [edited, not transcribed],

Dustin Anderson

Last updated: 10/3/2017