College of Arts & Sciences
Educational Policy Committee

Minutes of the 388th Meeting — draft version B
May 01, 2002

Attendance:

quinnj Joseph F. Quinn (Chair) Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
barrya Ann Marie Barry Communications / Humanities (2003)
behnegaa Alice P. Behnegar Honors Program, designate for Michael Martin
boydmb Mikaela Boyd Class of 2002
burnsj J. Joseph Burns Assc Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
cnnmj M.J. Connolly (Secretary) Slavic & Eastern Languages / Humanities (2004)
defuscoa Andrea DeFusco Asst Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
dunsford Clare M. Dunsford Assc Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
jan Jan Engelbrecht Physics / Natural Sciences (2002)
gelfand Mark I. Gelfand History / Social Sciences (2002)
green Carol Hurd Green Assc Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
jaramicb Carlos A. Jaramillo Class of 2005
kafka Alan L. Kafka Geology & Geophysics / Natural Sciences (2003)
malec Michael A. Malec Sociology / Social Sciences (2003)
mcguines Thomas P. McGuinness Director, University Counseling
murphyro Robert G. Murphy Economics / Social Sciences (2004)
oconnocn Clare O'Connor Biology / Natural Sciences (2004)
okeeffe Mary D. O'Keeffe Assc Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
reifm Michael D. Reif Class of 2002
rosserh Harry L. Rosser Romance Languages & Literatures / Humanities (2002)
viechnib Barbara A. Viechnicki Assc Dean for Administration, College of Arts & Sciences
williafq Derrick Williams Class of 2004
Agenda items:
1. Opening of meeting
2. Academic Affairs
BS Computer Science
Departmental minors
3. Honors
A&S Departmental Honors programs
Independent majors guidelines
4. Appeals
Appeals procedure proposal
5. Closing items
Issues for next year
Departing members


1. Opening of meeting

The Dean opened the meeting at 16.07h. Invited guest for the first major agenda item (advanced from distributed agenda): Prof Robert Muller, Chair, Computer Science (CSOM).

The EPC accepted the minutes from the meeting of 21 March 2002 (387) as corrected.


2. Academic Affairs (Green, Muller)

Action:
The EPC approved, by a vote of 13-2/3 to 1/3 the establishing of a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, subject to the constraint that the major may require no more than twelve (12) courses instead of the thirteen (13) proposed.

Materials distributed with the agenda:
"Proposal for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science" (revised), 2pp, 01 May, 2002.
"Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science", 1p, 01 May, 2002.

In first semester the Academic Affairs subcommittee spent its time evaluating and fine-tuning the proposal for an AB degree in Biology.
This semester has concentrated on the proposal for a BS degree in Computer Science, with departmental minors and the language requirement as open topics.
In its eMail correspondence the subcommittee tends to favor approving the AB Computer Science proposal, with open questions concerning the number of Computer Science courses required (13) and the Mathematics component requirements.

Noted differences against the existing AB in Computer Science include:
--the explicit allowance, as an elective, of MT 100 or 102 (Calculus I), presently hidden in the AB CompSci requirements as an implicit prerequisite for the required MT 101 or 103 (Calculus II);
--two added MT courses (MT202 [elective but prerequisite] plus MT420 or 426);
--four science courses, of which two must be in a two-semester sequence with lab;
--seven computer-science electives (vs four for the AB) on top of a six-course set of required courses (identical with the AB requifred courses);
--one Computer Science elective must address ethical issues or questions of social impact and could, in theory, come from outside MC offerings.
--an overall total of twenty-two (22) required courses (13 Computer Science, 5 Mathematics, 4 Natural Sciences) vs 12 or 13 for the AB (10 Computer Science, 2-3 Mathematics).

This represents a large number of courses, comparable only with the BS degree in Geology & Geophysics [eighteen courses at the outside].
The AB option, of course, always remains available and runs parallel to the BS in many regards.
Three of the twenty-two required courses could also satisfy university core requirements.
Under the heading "Computer Science Component" the submitted proposal speaks of "twelve courses in Computer Science" but then enumerates a total of thirteen (six required courses, seven electives).
In the same document and section, under "Electives", a lack of clarity exists, especially a reference to "the four [courses]" where no prior group of four has been identified.

Questions and preliminary discussion:
Quinn: If this program is not leading to professional accreditation, what does a student get out of this over an AB?
Fourteen (14) core courses plus four (4) language courses plus twenty-two (22) BS Computer Science courses would fill the entire thirty-eight (38) course undergraduate curriculum with required courses.
--Boyd: This would seem to preclude participation in the Honors Program.
--Behnegar: It would be at least very tight.
--A student with Advanced Placement would be freed from some specific courses and, through substitution, the number of courses would remain constant.
--Jaramillo: Freshmen could miss out on this through advisement.
--And the program is less visible because it is coming through CSOM, requires some pushing.
--Boyd: Honors Program summer advising can also help here.
--During freshman orientation CSOM courses are often not even available. How will students get started?
Why is there a 13th course in the Computer Science requirements?
--Because accreditation standards point to forty (40) credits for a BS.
 
Burns: Do we need a BS degree? Why not just a BA and some extra courses?
--The BS designation provides additional hiring options for students.
Quinn: Is the BS formally required for this?
--No, but it helps.
--Jaramillo: As BC strengthens its profile as a research institution, such degrees will help.
 
Connolly: What is cuurently available for the 'computer ethics' rubric?
--MC607 (Griffith)
Malec: Ted Gaiser also is teaching a course SC406 that might be appropriate.
 
Quinn: This program is heavier than any of the sciences, and in all these areas there seems a certain inconsistency/arbirariness in what is a pre-requisite, a co-requisite, and a requisite. BC is making an effort to strengthen the sciences in that regard.
Some of these students might be the ones who would benefit from less science and more Beowulf.Options are good things.
 
O'Connor: Could twelve courses be required now, in keeping with the declared A&S limit on the number of courses that can be required for a major?
--The program should adhere to guidelines which specify thirteen courses. This number is more than Princeton but equal to Harvard. Students doing heavy Computer Science programs can and do undertake other activities, e.g. a senior thesis on Rock Opera.
--Connolly: If at least four of the MC courses had laboratory components and counted for four credits, one could then quite legally require only twelve courses and still have forty credits. Eventual ABET/CAC accreditation is going to require lab courses anyway, something missing from this proposal.
Extended discussion:
Quinn: This proposal has approval from the Academic Affairs subcommittee. It would seem that some are not yet ready to vote, yet we must have a decision on this or something close to it by Thursday if it is to be operational for the coming academic year.
 
Burns: This is a bad idea as proposed. Why doesn't it fit our guidelines? This is not just a matter of the thirteenth course but of the whole program.
--Quinn: Why have a major in something? Isn't there a BA already?
--Engelbrecht: The liberal arts are already represented in the core.
--Burns: Students would be left with no space for electives, usually one third of a program.
--This applies in the other sciences also. Biochemistry also doesn't leave any room for electives.
--Dunsford: Computer Science is not the same as the other sciences, but close to Mathematics.
--Engelbrecht: Computer Science is as scientific as Mathematics is. It moves from logic through formal systems analysis.
--Connolly: Computer Science, as traditionally taught, is less humanistic and also less scientific, more a technical discipline in the direction of enginerring.
--Quinn: The next train leaving the station will be Computer Biology.
--O'Connor: That would definitely put the discipline at the BS level.
--Englebrecht: We should respect the departmental view of what provides the best route toward accreditation. Why are we now getting involved in a discussion about what constitutes a liberal art?
--Green: A strong case can be made for the need to emphasize the role of choice. Otherwise we are encouraging credentialism among students. Wasn't there a reason why twelve courses were marked off in the first place as an upper limit?
 
Quinn: The argument for thirteen over twelve courses does not seem strong, and the laboratory approach would, in fact, bring the program closer to professional accreditation.
But this doesn't address the concerns about the program as expressed. Further, this is the last meeting of the year, so we must either work through this important issue or defer it until next year.
--Jaramillo: Students need to know what they are getting into. We could approve thirteen courses with a timeline requiring a drop to twelve. This would give the program time to develop laboraoty offerings and thus come closer to accreditation.
 
Gelfand: How many Computer Science majors are there? If they are getting into good graduate schools already, why is a BS needed?
Engelbrecht: How will this affect students who want to go to graduate or professional school is one question, but how can we oppose a department that wants to set high standards?
This program is more similar to a science degree than to a management degree.
Connolly: This more similar to an engineering degree than to a science degree.
 
Barry: In approving the proposal, the Academic Affairs subcommittee assumed that this was directed toward near-immediate accreditation. The matter of a thirteenth course can be fudged in various ways, but does it address the issue of what we expect students to be doing in a liberal arts college curriculum?
--Murphy: And we are a liberal-arts college because we offer liberal-arts degrees.
--Dunsford: Deferring a vote on this will not be a good option.
--Burns: We are being blindsided by this issue, which is a philosophical one and a matter of maintaining the College's control over its curriculum. Twelve vs thirteen courses is comparatively a trivial point, but the larger issue is central to why the EPC is here and what it must do.
 

After establishing the sense of the meeting among the options of deferring, accepting the proposal with thirteen courses as presented, or approving the program with a twelve-course requirement, the Educational Policy Committee proceeded to a vote on the last option (twelve courses) and approved a twelve-course BS in Computer Science by a vote of 13-2/3 to 1/3
[By EPC rules Associate and Assistant Deans share one vote in all EPC deliberations. --mjc].

The vote not was taken upon a formal, written resolution, although the sense of the meeting seemed clear to all.
The exact wording was left for the Dean's Office to work out with the Computer Science program within the constraint imposed.


3. Honors (Murphy)
4. Appeals (Gelfand)

These had been scheduled as 'cleanup' items.
In the interest of time, please circulate among colleagues the Honors documents already sent and relay comments to the subcommittee chair (Murphy).
Also, the work of the Appeal subcommittee will continue to work out the procedural issues already raised.


5. Closing items (Quinn)

Issues for next year?

Green: Significant changes in the Independent major requirements (e.g. 3.0 -> 3.5 GPA requirement) will require an oversight mechanism and notification in the advising system.

Departing members

Thanks and recognition to outgoing EPC members:
Harry Rosser (Romance Languages & Literatures)
Mark Gelfand (History), Appeals subcommittee chair
Jan Engelbrecht (Physics)
Mikaela Boyd (Class of 2002)
Michael D. Reif (Class of 2002)

The meeting concluded at 17.07h (5.07pm).


 
Respectfully submitted
--mjc
M.J. Connolly cnnmj@bc.edu
Secretary to the EPC