WASC: CCSC meeting, 17 Apr 06

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Quick intro (by Richard):

  • Overview of WASC process
  • Current plan for UG education proposal: teaching quality and undergraduate workload

Discussion:

  • Redefining the core?
    • Core has a bit of a bootcamp mentality. Perhaps we should look at this?
    • Example - Cambridge has much less of a well-define core
  • Benchmarking against other schools
  • Gap between research and teaching; interest of the students is not necessarily aligned with faculty research interests
    • Alignment of students in Divisions with graduates in Divisions
    • Alignment is not necessary, but we should understand it
    • Alignment of faculty advisors with UGs; not uniform across the Divisions
  • Students may not care about what faculty have to teach
  • Workload balance is a good one
    • Some courses teach way too much; some balance not enough
    • CCSC in principle is in charge of this, but really more advisory
    • Some work has been done in synchronizing Math and Physics, for example
  • It might be time to look at core again; we haven't done it for 7 years or so
  • Self study of what the core has in it and whether or not its meeting our goals
    • Are we trying to cram too much in?
    • Online course evaluations might provide some new data and evaluation of the core
    • Look at the data from surveys to understand if the core has set up the students for what they need
  • Problem set centric methodology
    • Students want the lectures to align with the homeworks to align with the exams
    • Faculty who try to give more insight into the field sometimes get criticized when they try to explore related areas
    • May be different answers for different types of courses
  • Has there been a shift of the majors since the course was put in place
    • Look at what the students are graduating in and see if the core is serving them well
    • Applications are probably not a good indicator; students shift after they get here
    • Be careful to study causal effects; the majors might line up with the core because the core is required
  • Inspired independent study
    • Decrease workload to allow more independent study
  • Undergraduate advising
    • This came up at the end; seems like an important third topic for us to look at