Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

Monday 15 September 2008

Attending: Ted Baker (Chair), Chris Lacher, Ashok Srinivasan, Robert van Engelen, Daniel Chang, Andy Wang, Ann Ford
Absent: Bob Myers

Agenda Items

  1. Issue: What should the department's position be regarding the course currently identified as "COPXXXX" in the current common prerequisites for CS programs? The State is reviewing the common prequisites, and we have an opportunity to suggest changes.

    Summary of discussion: The COPXXXX requirement is covered by COP3014 for local students, but transfer students from the community college system typically have taken some other programming course to satisfy this requirement, so they have to take COP3014 after they get to FSU and course they took for COPXXXX ends up being redundant. Option A: drop this requirement. Pro: we may be able to admit more students to the major from the CC's. Con: CC students may be less ready for COP3014. Option B: tighten this requirement, say, to require a specific C++ course that would substitute for COP3014. Pro: we can move 3 credit hours out of the upper-division major, freeing up room for another course in the major. Con: (1) fewer CC students will qualify for admission; (2) those who do may still not be able to program well enough to succeed in COP3330 without COP3014.

    Resolution: We prefer the status quo, but if there is support from the other SUS schools for dropping the COPXXXX requirement (option A), Ted is authorized to pursue that.

  2. Issue: From documents that Ted received from the common prerequisites committee for the State, it seems that FSU is the only CS program in the State that maintains a limited access status. The original justification for this status was that we had more students applying for the program than the faculty could support. With the enrollments now low and falling, the justification has become hollow, and in fact is an embarassment. Should we drop the limited access status?

    Summary of discussion: Con: Several members would like to maintain the GPA threshold for admission to the program, so as to "weed out" students who do not have the ability to succeed in the major, up front, rather than by failing the students later. Con: There was also concern that if we were to drop this designation, and then find that we need it again because of another up-turn in the popularity if CS, it would be difficult (impossible) to get it back. Counter: This is unlikely to be a problem any time soon, and if it happens it will happen all over the State, and then getting limited access back will become easier again. Pro: FSU has raised its admission standards to a point (2.5 GPA) that the additional filtering done for limited access does not matter much. The introductory Physics sequence and Calculus already provide a strong filter. Finally, the introductory programming courses we can do through the grading in our introductory courses. Pro: CS is under administrative pressure to increase enrollments; maintaining this limited access designation give the appearance that we do not want to grow our enrollments.

    Resolution: (5:2) Recommend to the department that the limited access status be dropped.

    Note: Ted should ask Dave Whalley to schedule a faculty meeting to discuss this, and get data to answer questions raised at the meeting, such as how many students would be affected.

    Issue: Future meeting times.

    Resolution: We will reserve the Monday time slot from noon to 1PM for future meetings this term.

  3. Announcement: Ted gave an update on the status of our ABET accreditation. It is extended for two (2) years, and continuation for the next four (4) years will be contingent on a satisfactory evaluation of an interim report that we are required to submit by January 31, 2009.

    This report must describe the actions we have taken to address the following shortcomings:

    1. Objectives and Assessment: The program should provide a report showing how it has modified its SMALC outcomes so that it satisfies ABET requirements and what direct and/or indirect measures are used to assess the SMALC program outcomes and student learning outcomes (corresponding to ABET program educational objectives and program outcomes, respectively). The report should also provide sufficient samples of data collected relative to both types of outcomes as evidence that this data is appropriate and adequate for the assessment program. Finally, the report should provide adequate documentation of how the data is analyzed and reported and of how the assessment process overall is linke to program improvement.

    2. Curriculum: The program should provide copies of syllabi, complete assignments, tests, and samples of graded student work for all courses used to satisfy Standard IV-17 on coverage of social and ethical issues in computing.

    3. Institutional Support and Financial Resources: The program should provide a report on the department's levels of staffing with faculty since this report and its ability to offer more elective course choices to students.

    In order to satisfy item (1) above in time to report by the end of January 2009, the department will need to update its SMALC outcomes immediately. The deadline for getting those into the IEP database is 15 October. Since there is not time to fully discuss these changes in the UGCC before that deadline, Ted will enter drafts into the IEP database. The UGCC and faculty will then review the drafts, and Ted will update the IEP database later, as necessary. Ted proposed we add to the IEP outcomes about 1/3 of the set of outcomes (a-k) required by the ABET/CAC New Criteria for Accreditation this year, and do the same each of the next two years, so as to be on track for reaccredition under the new criteria. As these new outcomes are implemented, we should be able to drop some of the older outcomes.

    In order to satisfy item (2), we have proposed a new course, which is currently working its way through the approval process. Daniel is responsible for this course.

    It is not clear how we will be able to satisfy item (3), given the continuing budget reductions. Dave Whalley will do his best to offer an adequate number of undergraduate electives.

Summary of Action Items

  1. Ted:
  2. All committee members:

Minutes by Ted Baker