U.S. Diversity Course Requirement Committee chair Kelly Reddy-Best updated the Faculty Senate on its progress during the senate's April 4 meeting. As of March 31, 82 of the 105 submitted courses had been approved, providing more than 8,000 seats for the upcoming academic year. Nine courses were rejected and the remaining are awaiting review.
"There was a concern early on that there were enough seats to satisfy the needs of students, but it is now clear we will have enough for an academic year," Reddy-Best said.
The committee has worked since September to determine if submitted undergraduate courses satisfy the updated U.S. diversity course requirement by meeting at least three of the four learning outcomes in a minimum of 70% of the course. The committee looks at the course proposal, the syllabus and a learning item -- quiz, chapter, assignment, etc. -- to determine its eligibility.
Students enrolled in the 2022-23 catalog or earlier still can take current diversity courses to satisfy the requirement. All courses approved this academic year can be used by students who enroll on the 2023-24 catalog. The courses are listed separately on the registrar's website and updated when new courses are approved.
Students who transfer to the university can have the committee review their completed courses to determine if a course meets the diversity course requirement.
"We have identified the top 29 transfer courses students are bringing in," said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs. "We will establish our process and get a decision on the majority of those and handle the rest as a one off."
Instructors must submit courses by April 12 for committee review, but no more than 16 total will be considered, Reddy-Best said. Decisions to be considered in the future will include:
- Expanding offerings in departments and colleges
- Determining how often approved courses are reviewed
- Establishing an annual deadline for proposed courses
Senators will vote at their April 18 meeting on discontinuing the bachelor's degree in speech communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The major focuses heavily on rhetoric, which isn't as valuable in the workplace as competing majors like communication studies. The English department will save more than $75,000 by eliminating the 10 courses associated with the major.
Senators voted to:
- Remove duplicate definitions regarding faculty conduct from one of two sections in the Faculty Handbook.
- Add language to the Faculty Handbook to ensure tenure and term faculty are eligible for Distinguished, University and Morrill Professorships. Changes to term faculty titles made years ago are not reflected for these honors or ISU's idea of one faculty. All faculty who reach the highest level of advancement could be nominated and the criteria for the titles remain the same.
- Discontinue the bachelor of science in biophysics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The meaning has shifted over decades, and the learning objectives align closely with a biochemistry degree with a biophysics specialization.