Steering Committee Minutes 04/25/2014


Jerry Schoen

David Todd

Patricia Galvis Assmus

Nikki Stoya


Friday, April 25, 2014

Notes 04/25/2014 Steering Committee Meeting




David Todd




David: Do we need a quorum

PGA: Officially we do have a quorum.


Meeting beginning 12:24


PGA: Marilyn Billings is asking to step down. She wants to bring in Jeanne Antil as part of steering committee.  Not sure if that would be ideal. Laura Quilter, new lawyer at library. Their tech and copyright attorney, doing a lot of workshops on copyright etc, maybe ask about her being on steering committee?

David: Maybe Kate Friendman, does course interface from library.

Nikki: Lawyer might have a lot of information about preparing students.


PGA: Will run by Marilyn.


David: We really need someone from Communications.

PGA: Yes, was thinking about for summer work and as next steps. Try to expand membership to the steering committee.  Want to get Robbie Moll to come back more, or someone from CompSci here more often.

David: Jim Kurose (SP) teaching CompSci 290NW, was involved in designing IT minor way back. Maybe get him involved.

Course approval:

David: All of these have some issues, but here they are.

CompSci 290NW: Initially approved as Technical Inquiry or Broadened . . . Being offered again in the fall, PGA gave it another semester with admin approval. Part of the question was what is the need, where would it head? Prof said it was 60/40 tech, but wants to make it 50/50. He thinks involving issues and technical issues is good for teaching the tech side. Tech and social issues both mixed in. Current events and then teach the tech around the social issues.

Nikki: Very comfortable with a course like this. I think we should be doing things like this.

PGA: I think he has given very careful thought and care to development and receiving of the course by the students. The real issue for us is should it stay both.

Jerry: I like this, I kind of want to take this course.

PGA: In the past we made a course one or the other, the professor here is asking for both. How did that come about?

David: We couldn’t figure out what it was, and he likes it being both.

Jerry: Seems like you’d get an interesting mix of students in the class.

David: Exposes a bit of artificiality with the requirements dividing tech and broadened inquiry. This gives CompSci majors a course for broadened inquiry in CompSci. What about their 2 required classes outside of their major?

PGA: Would CompSci be ok with taking this within their major?

Nikki: The other important thing about the course. This is a Nikki course, you can get a lot of different people for it. Remember, I’m the kind of person you want to recruit for this.

Decision: Do we accept CompSci 290NW as a course that is part of the IT program

Yes all

Technical Course


Also optionally can fit as broadened inquiry.


Note: We need to consult CompSci advisor regarding how this works out.

Note: David: Planned to be a part of the informatics major. Considering setting up a second section.

CompSci 190N

David: Bill Verts was asked to contact us regarding this. Also to alert us to cutting back on CompSci105.

PGA: They are also wanting to push their informatics major and informatics minor which will be in direct competition among their students. Not to their benefits to let our students in.

David: Could 190IN fit into the minor. The new course they are diverting resources to. Introductory course in the informatics program. Could we accept this as a foundation course?

PGA: 105 is intended for potential comp sci majors.

Nikki: And this is a bit more philosophical. It’s more of an R2 course, analytics and logic course. This is now also a think about what you’re doing. This appeals to me.

PGA: But is it a good foundation class? This is not a pre requisite for Comp Sci 120.

Nikki: Is this more like Comp Sci 102?

PGA: Other concern. The tendency in Curriculum committees is to approve things because it’s a good opportunity. On the other hand we end up with a huge number of courses, and can you really keep track of them? We really need to finish tracking down which courses that are part of the IT minor that are still being taught.  For instance, Vector Graphics is still on the books, but professor has retired, and died 10 years ago!

Nikki:  Seems like every other day is nitty gritty tech work. But are you doing stuff with it?

PGA: Seems more like thinking about it rather than learning how to do it.

Nikki: So it is broadened inquiry?

PGA: Gut reaction: Not sure it’d be broadened inquiry because it’s so basic. Since it’s in the IT minor, unless they took this first it may not really broaden them.

Nikki: But it makes you think about what you’re doing.

David: And that might be interesting to the non hard science people.

PGA: Are we short on Broadened Inquiry.

David: Yes, but I don’t see this as broadened inquiry though.

Nikki: Elective then?

David: This is yet another course taught by Bill Verts, we have 105, 145, 190, and 119. That’s 4 100 level courses, and this will be the 5th taught by him. Someone brought up, do we want students to be able to take 5 100 level courses out of a 6 course minor from 1 professor? We’re going to need foundation courses. I see this as too light weight to be BI, use it as foundation for now. It still won’t make up for 105, but it’s something.

PGA: (Missed a lot, mostly about the breadth of foundation)

Jerry: Foundation means different things to different people.

Decision: CS190 IN currently: Intro to informatics to be accepted as a Foundation class for the IT minor.



The Business of Media: Journ 397R

David: This is sort of an interesting one not sure where it would fit. It’s radio, where that fits into information technology. Certainly gets into issues of internet radio, diversification of channels for getting information about. I have a bit of a question about this as an IT course. I approved this for 2 students for last semester. It’s being offered again. Should it be a course we approve? Should it be elective or broadened inquiry?

PGA: The thing I have about this one. I don’t think this fits though it sounds like fun, and I like the course. I have no problems on an individual student basis, but I’m not sure we want to have this over all? I think this should be part of the certificate in film studies. This is something the film studies is missing.

Nikki: There’s nothing to do with the IT minor in this.

David: I find broadened inquiry in it: For example, internet radio. Challenges of cross platform brand extensions vs. solely internet radio. Nationalization of radio, etc.

PGA: Reason to table this for right now. Part of next steps is looking at and considering the ways the IT program has to flex based off how it’s been 12 years since mission was written. Is it possible that due to the passing of time we need to change that original approach? For example, because tech is so much more integrated than 12 – 14 years ago, assuming that there was a need for anything tech in the school, is there more a need now with broadened inquiry that is more broadly applied on the business end? So, can we table this until then.

Nikki: Fine with tabling. Let’s call this a back pocket course for now.

David: That makes sense to me.

Tabled for now.



Math 292 Data Science

David: Student asked if he could count this course. At first inclined to reject as elective because we don’t want every stats course on campus to be elective due to software. But it does use programming, and uses a programmed statistical package R. It also seems to have a lot in common with OIM 353 that includes a lot on data mining that we approved. Seems that it isn’t blurring the boundaries too much to count this an elective for this student. I’m not asking this to be approved as a general course, just checking on policy reading.

General yes.


PGA: After all of school is done Coureton has 2 missions for summer. 1 is the website. 2 is CCC. Going to be revitalized and so on, so if you see any typos or problems with the website let Coureton know.


David: Last thing. This is the policy we approved 11/30/2012 on approving classes.

PGA: I think that the limitation to only allow for provisional approval of broadened inquiry and electives makes sense.

David: If there were an easy way to put things on the web for the committee members to look at for quick approval, for a temporary thing. Maybe that would be good?

PGA: Not sure if that would work.

Nikki: It works for one of my committees. If you don’t look it’s your problem.

Jerry: And if it is limited to broadened inquiry and electives.

David: Figure talk to the person most logically involved.

PGA: Let’s go with this accepted as it is for now.

Nikki: If people have stuff to say they can talk about it in the future.

PGA: The only thing about this is that it isn’t always elective and broadened inquiry courses that we need to sudden approve. Does saying such approval make sense for just elective and broadened inquiry when sometimes it needs to be other things, like for transfers?

David:  This policy wasn’t in my mind about individual issues,  just for the approval of courses as meeting IT requirements for any student.

Note: This policy applies to approving UMass courses as courses that meet the requirements, not Five College or transfer courses on a one time basis.



PGA: Some of the comments I have received from the summit have mostly been positive. Personal comments. Julie Buler: “I can’t thank you enough, I left so full of ideas and started projects.” That was a good in my mind. General comments: “Hearing what the faculty think in contrast to what the students think was interesting because it made really obvious where some of the big problems are on this campus. “ As far as courses. Having that kind of conversation made available was really interesting.

David: Maybe we should send that class a thank you from the Steering Committee.

PGA:  I did send David an e-mail, not an official thank you but a general thanks.

*** David: Send an e-mail as a follow up as an official thank you from the IT Steering Committee.

PGA: Overall it seemed to work out, but from a personal end I missed having more solutions on how to make the IT program work.  John Cunningham is happy to sit down with me to talk about what he iis doing and how it works out.

Jerry: While we didn’t get what we wanted, we got a lot of valuable input. I think we’d have needed a longer session.

David: Or a follow up with just people committed to working on solutions.

PGA: The thing to go on here is, what can we take directly from this. How best to apply it. I am really concerned that a review of the original document vs the comments recently made. How do we deal with the IT program and the IT minor with how things have changed.

Nikki: I work with Julie Buler on a regular business. I think we need to seize the day with Julie here. She went on a listening tour, and she gets excited about things.  But she is very interested in breaking down all of the silos, and that will help us. It’s not like the minor has to be seen as outside. She’s a person who came in and realized how much budget they don’t have, trying to change the atmosphere within OIT and yet also making sure non tech people  get heard, tech people get heard, faculty get heard. As we’re looking at the original document, we need to not just be a satellite.

PGA: Yes

Nikki: If we’re looking at updating, she’d be a perfect person to invite for that. I think she’d be interested and honored. I think she’s on our side. We’re trying to do our thing with colleagues.

PGA: I think you’re right. A big part of why I think the It program needs revisiting, not just time. It has changed. When the IT program was started it made sense, and needed something. Now it’s not fully integrated into all the majors as I’d love, it has none the less proliferated. It still functions, but the nitty gritty is totally different.

Nikki: We don’t talk about practica or internships with the minor. Maybe talk to Julie to get IT minors internships with OIT?

PGA: Like the Journ class, that class didn’t exist before. What if the discussion is do we or do we not have capstones? What about working at the studio with someone, IT capstone.

Nikki: We also underscore the mission of the chancellor of the immersive experience is. This is the hands on IT minor. It’s not a self serving thing, Julie is receptive and excited. Then I think we also can raise our exposure.

PGA: Beyond the website, over the summer I’d like to begin to look at the old document and revisit it, and potentially modify it.

Nikki: Another thing, making this useful for OIT, what would be good for the IT minors to be able to do?

PGA: This is kind of a different topic. Mentioned the Chancelor’s Immersive Experience.

Nikki: On site education.

PGA: In relation/opposition to that. What the IT program can do and can’t do. Talking about CCC, Julie wants all of the incoming OIT employees to do. Use for distance learning faculty for continuing ed. Now UWW is interested in having an online IT minor or CCC. They’d like a 3 credit something online.  I’m wondering if this is something I should pursue in your opinion?  I know CMASS we did talk about a blended CCC, like how we did for Com Call (90 in person, 10 online). Or the opposite.  That’s 4 people now that want us to try to tweak the minor or provide CCC.

Nikki: I think that’s a big group discussion. Everything’s good, but there’s so many of us. I think the investment of some kind of course in CMass is good. My guess is the positivity of the in person is going to be good for them because as a group they often don’t have the opportunities or have computers. The immersive experience is a good thing, and I think the IT minor is an important part of that.

PGA: Personal feelings about having IT minor online, when I was talking about the IT minor being part of making the campus a destination of choice. I think that that is an in person thing. I think that online isn’t as good as in person unless we can get money coming in that way. I do see the It minor is most beneficial in person on campus.

David: Could we use that as a method to offer courses online? But we have to prioritize these things we can do and what we want to do. I feel like the core IT minor is under resourced. At admin, advising, staffing. We’ve got  347 minors. Advised by 1 person. Was supposed to be 50?

PGA: We were going to have 50, and with 3 years be not needed because all programs would have integrated by then.

David: All of these things we could do, each has a rationale but we can’t just keep adding. PGA: I asked if you’re interested what resources can you commit to it? The only one I’ve offered help with no asking about resources is CMASS. Meeting with Willie Pope 3 weeks ago he stopped and asked, so what’s expected don our end. He asked what money we needed, and that they didn’t have money. We’re looking at it as if you can provide something, you can provide this other thing. They can provide recruiting, excitement, space. They’re good about promoting.  But they’re the only ones that we’ve provided commitment to do things for. CMASS they’ll give 6k to develop a course. If the course doesn’t enroll enough students they can close it up to the day of.

Nikki: The fallacy is that students love online courses, they like online components. I think it’s good to look at what we should be fulfilling, talk to Julie, see where we are. What do we want the importance of the IT minor to be?

PGA: I think we have an important thing to do, it’s genesis was at a different time but with a different requirement.

Nikki: We thought it was going to be integrated by now.

Jerry: CCC is a thrust of what the It minor is about.  We have been doing that in a reactive way, but to have a more organic discussion, part of the problem is getting the depts. At the table. This is what we need today, and what the students need today. Looking at this is what gives the IT minor program the guidance where to go. How can we leverage Julie, but by starting the discussion it’s important. We need to build off that.

PGA: RE: Not sure how to work with Julie, thing I’ve noticed with her here  as opposed to previous is that Julie seems to be genuinely interested in doing away with turf wars. I think that because of that it might be a very coincidental and good time to review all of this, we need allies in departments especially with CCC.

Nikki: It’s a different time. OIT is looking for this kind of thing, and advertises a lot and tech talks.

PGA: Part of my goal during the summer is to review all of this and make sense of it.

David: Would Julie be interested in working with us in that? If she’s trying to work on cutting boundaries, isn’t that part of what we mean to do? Meant to get at the needs for IT on campus, that don’t depend on a department developing a program. Question I bet she has is if we can be a vehicle to do that, put money in? Or are we part of the problem.

Nikki: Over the summer she wants to do meetings, and doing things over the summer.

Jerry: She mentioned vendors who want to test things. We should call her and have a brainstorming session about that. Some things like that might warrant grants?

PGA: Practicums for students, and back to the capstones.

David: We do say that students can take up to 3 credits of practicum as electives.

Jerry: Internships for IT minors might be a good thing given how much employers like them. I think we need more resources for Internships and capstones, etc.

PGA : Idea as I was thinking looking at research universities. The number of research universities that have a research park is small, only the best ones have a research park. When I started this center there was this huge excitement because I was bringing in money and with the industry, and students were working on industry jobs in this room. When they came in they were working elsewhere.  I wonder if with connections if it might be worth looking into setting something like that up with the IT minor? So students could work on things without traveling, and get experience.