College of Arts and Sciences
Educational Policy Meeting
Minutes of the 403rd Meeting
Thursday March 28th, 2006
PRESENT: Joe Burns, Lisa Cuklanz, Paul Davidovits, Clare Dunsford, Michael Graf, Charles Landraitis, Michael Martin, Thomas McGuinness, James Najarian, William Petri, David Quigley, Joseph Quinn, Akua Sarr, Catherine Schneider, Kelly Treseler, and Barbara Viechnicki.
ABSENT: Christina Corea, Sr. Mary Daniel O'Keeffe, Andrea Defusco-Sullivan, Omar Gonzales, Harry Rosser, Susan Shell, and Christopher Young.
CALL TO ORDER: Dean Quinn called the meeting to order at 4:15 pm.
MINUTES: Minutes from October 6th, 2005 were approved with corrections.
INTRODUCTIONS: Dean Quinn introduced Akua Sarr, the new Associate Dean for Arts and Sciences.
HONORS: Joe Burns reported the subcommittee had denied one petition for an independent major on the grounds it lacked coherence as a program, and that Associate Dean Sarr had been asked to report back to the student.
Joe Burns reported briefly that the subcommittee continued to work on possible recommendations addressing the issue of grade compression including
Michael Graf asked if the subcommittee had discovered how other schools were dealing with grade inflation or compression. Dean Quinn responded that inquiries had been made and were part of the original, lengthy report which he would distribute to the new members of the EPC.
Joe Burns also asked for the sense of the EPC on consulting with the Departmental Honors Programs concerning this issue.
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS: David Quigley presented the subcommittee’s report on the proposal to found an Interdisciplinary Minor in Catholic Studies praising the work of Mary Ann Hinsdale and J. Robert Barth, S.J. on this issue Noting that BC was “behind the curve” as several other schools had such programs, he added that the minor would provide an undergraduate academic compliment to BC’s Church in the 21st Century initiative.
Quigley reported the minor had three goals:
He opened discussion noting that the subcommittee had questions:
Clare Dunsford, thanking David for his tremendous work on this report, stated her concerns that the draft syllabus for an introductory course focused on contemporary issues, was dominated by a cultural studies model and lacked an historical awareness. Dean Quinn asked if the introductory course would change depending on the faculty member teaching it.
Tom McGuinness asked about the proposal’s mention of a now defunct faculty seminar, about graduate student interests, and about cooperation with the Jesuit Institute’s various seminars. Quigley reported that the chair of Theology, Kenneth Himes, O.F.M., had been queried and responded it fit well with the department’s interest in the faith and culture nexus.
Paul Davidovits asked if this program would give students literacy in Catholicism. Catherine Schneider noted that the introductory course was not doctrinal hence would not address that issue. Dean Quinn asked if the students should take Introduction to Catholicism before entering the minor. Quigley noted that the programs at some schools used a more narrowly doctrinal approach adding that there was little interest at registration in such programs. Michael Graf noted that this proposal offered a broader approach but asked if it might be too broad.
Joe Burns stated that the proposed program followed the cultural studies model, appeared issue based and might create heat without light. Clare Dunsford remarked that this proposal grew out of faculty interest and admitted that the issues involved could be quite contentious within the BC community. Barbara Viechnicki stated that contention was very Catholic. Kelly Treseler added that students were certainly interested in studying contentious issues such as sexual orientation within the context of Catholicism.
Clare Dunsford asked if this minor might be of interest precisely because of contentious issues such as the clergy sexual abuse issue. Tom McGuinness warned that student victims would not be ready at this age to undertake an academic study of those events. David Quigley responded that the intention of the proposed program was catholic studies with a small “c” and had been designed on the model of American Studies Programs which had begun in contentious times but had become mainstream academic programs.
Dean Quinn asked what advisors would recommend to students with interest but no prior knowledge. David Quigley noted that the strength of this proposal lay in the strength of the faculty interested in participating adding that, given that strength, the students would be very well advised. Dean Quinn repeated Quigley’s statement that the proposal was supported by excellent faculty and called for a motion on the proposal for an Interdisciplinary Minor in Catholic Studies be approved with advice to distill the course clusters listed and to pay attention to advising students. David Quigley so moved; the motion was seconded by Paul Davidovits. A vote in favor of the motion was unanimous.
Dean Quinn thanked the subcommittee and especially David Quigley for his work on this proposal.
ADJOURNMENT: Dean Quinn adjourned the meeting at 5:25 p.m.