Academic Senate

Membership for Fall 2014 (concluding year of service is in parenthesis)

  • Humanities Division
    • Jim Taylor, Professor of Philosophy (Vice-chair, 2015)
    • David Vander Laan, Professor of Philosophy (2017)
  • Natural and Behavioral Science Division
    • Brenda Smith, Professor of Psychology (2017)
    • Niva Tro, Professor of Chemistry (2016)
  • Social Science Division
    • Ed Noell, Professor of Economics (2017)
    • Paul Morgan, Professor of Economics (2015)
  • “At-large” Faculty Members
    • Paul Delaney, Professor of English (Fall, 2014)
    • Mary Docter, Professor of Spanish (2015)
  • Administrative and Student Representatives
    • Mark Sargent, Provost (Chair)
    • Bill Wright, Associate Provost
    • Tatiana Nazarenko, Dean of Curriculum and Educational Effectiveness
    • Michelle Hardley, Registrar (Secretary)
    • Cynthia Toms, Director of Global Education
    • Tori Ippolito, WCSA Representative (2015)

Membership for Spring 2015 (concluding year of service is in parenthesis)

  • Humanities Division
    • Jim Taylor, Professor of Philosophy (Vice-chair, 2015)
    • David Vander Laan, Professor of Philosophy (2017)
  • Natural and Behavioral Science Division
    • Brenda Smith, Professor of Psychology (2017)
    • Niva Tro, Professor of Chemistry (2016)
  • Social Science Division
    • Ed Noell, Professor of Economics (2017)
    • Paul Morgan, Professor of Economics (2015)
  • “At-large” Faculty Members
    • Paul Delaney, Professor of English (Fall, 2014)
    • Mary Docter, Professor of Spanish (2015)
  • Administrative and Student Representatives
    • Mark Sargent, Provost (Chair)
    • Bill Wright, Associate Provost
    • Tatiana Nazarenko, Dean of Curriculum and Educational Effectiveness
    • Michelle Hardley, Registrar (Secretary)
    • Cynthia Toms, Director of Global Education
    • Tori Ippolito, WCSA Representative (2015)

Senate Action (Spring 2015)

  • Refined the attendance policy to clarify regulations on absences due to college activities (e.g., athletics, theatre, student life, etc.).
  • Approved new Institutional Learning Outcome and General Education Student Learning Outcome for Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning.
  • Reviewed data on enrollment, advising and academic efficiencies. Approved guidelines for chairs in managing underscribed courses (six students or less) and recommended recruiting 4-8 co-curricular staff to assist with first-year advising.
  • Reviewed the WASC self-study worksheet and the initial draft of the WASC institutional report.
  • Did brief audit of how well Westmont's learning outcomes and departmental goals match the Lumina Degree Qualification Profile, part of self-study for WASC report.
  • Considered ways of addressing the imbalance in the size of the academic divisions; decided against changes, but supported the principle of giving the Faculty Council the freedom to select an occasional member from outside a divison to fill that divisional seat on a committee, if there were no appropriate or available faculty in the division to fill the role.
  • Approved proposal to eliminate "Competent Action" from the "Competent and Compassionate Action" area of the GE. Therefore, eliminated "Productions and Presentations," "Research," and "Integrating the Major" from the GE.
  • Approved new standard for Critical Thinking Institutional Learning Outcome.
  • Approved proposal for a new East Asia study semester, to be piloted in fall 2016.
  • Approved the review and recommendations for the Westmont in Istanbul program.
  • Approved new policy for "closing the loop" on Six-Year Reviews, whereby the department's "Action Plan" is reviewed by the Academic Senate as well as the Executive Team.
  • Approved policy allowing English majors to use two writing courses in the major to satisfy two of the three courses in the Writing and Speech GE requirement.
  • Considered options for Spring Break in 2016; originally recommended that the break take place during the week of March 28, but later supported the Executive Team's recommendation that it conicide with Holy Week.
  • Reviewed Oral Communications Competencies draft and plans for vertical sequencing of English writing courses. Also discussed the development of an athletic training course that would count for the PE credit of varsity athletes. All projects will be worked on during the summer and returned to the agenda for review in the fall.
  • Reviewed initial reports from the assessment of the Information Literacy ILO.

Senate Action (Fall 2014)

  • Developed new form for all proposals to the Senate.
  • Reviewed all requests for new and replacement faculty positions, and approved posts in Economics, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Psychology, and Religious Studies.
  • Developed new protocol for the review and approval of off-campus programs as they move from pilot status to ongoing status.
  • Developed new guidelines and template for college syllabi.
  • Approved proposal for downtown Santa Barbara program and sent proposal to full faculty for approval.
  • Discussed results of pilot First-Year Seminar project and approved expansion of offerings to approximately 10 sections in the fall.
  • Reviewed data on Mayterm enrollments to determine where additional courses might be help meet the students’ interests and needs.
  • Refined the definition of an academic credit.
  • Developed priorities for the “Learning” (A-2 to A-4) track of work in the new strategic map.
  • Reviewed the results of the Critical Thinking ILO from 2013-2014, and recommended development of forums and workshops to address areas for improvement.
  • Considered GE Committee Annual Report and Senate subgroup recommendations on Oral Communication. Reviewed early plans for Quantitative Reasoning assessment.
  • Reviewed and supported plan for the assessment of Information Literacy, the ILO for 2014-2015.
  • Approved new certification criteria for Understanding Society requirement in the General Education curriculum.
  • Voted to discontinue the Dance minor due to falling enrollments.
  • Adjusted the Kinesiology pre-med track.
  • Restored 40- and 44-credit requirements for French and Spanish and French and Hispanic Studies majors.
  • Adjusted requirements for Music Composition track.
  • Adjusted the research requirement for the Biochemistry track of the Chemistry major.
  • Established policies on filmmaking as a requirement within course.
  • Reviewed recommendations from WCSA on numerous fronts, and will continue evaluation of their requests for PEA credit for athletics and changes in the requirements for writing intensive courses

Senate Action (Spring 2014)

  • Approved a GE assessment plan.
  • Worked with GE Committee to fine-tune Reasoning Abstractly course fulfillment.
  • Worked with Faculty Council to recommend Senate restructuring for faculty approval.
  • Approved changes to majors in Physics and Kinesiology.
  • Ongoing/upcoming issues
    • Westmont downtown presence.
    • Review of Spring semester schedule.
    • Istanbul program evaluation.
    • First-year seminar pilot proposal discussion/adoption.

Senate Action (Fall 2013)

  • Gave recommendations to Provost for new/replacement position requests.
  • Formed a sub-committee to look at the possibility of “pilot” first-year seminars.
  • Actions resulting from CUPA assessment in 2012–2013
    • Recommended sequencing of Religious Studies courses (effective Fall, 2015).
      Language in WebAdvisor will recommend that Doctrine not be taken in the first year.
    • Spiritual Formation collaboration
      The Provost will initiate an annual planning group including the Campus Pastor, Religious Studies Chair, Martin Institute Director, Student Life representatives, and others as appropriate.
    • Committee tasks for Faith-Learning Issues
      • Faculty Personnel Committee
        The committee has been asked to look at the effectiveness of faith-learning questions that are part of the IDEA evaluation forms. They will be doing so in the Spring semester, 2014.
      • Professional Development Committee
        The committee has been asked to lead a session once per year for faculty on incorporating faith-learning into the classroom.
      • Student Life collaboration
        Discussions will take place regarding how the raise the desire of students to grow spiritually and be more involved in the local church.
  • Academic dishonesty
    Based on input from focus groups lead by WCSA, Senate members decided to survey current students regarding cheating at Westmont. About 160 students have been surveyed. Senate will report the results next semester.
  • Report Discussions and approvals
    From the Off Campus Programs, GE, and Program Review Committees (click the “Committee Reports” link)

Senate Action (Spring 2013)

  • Met jointly with Faculty Council and E-team to discuss the rising cost of a Westmont education.
  • Academic Actions
    • Approved the OCP committee report.
    • Recommended a posthumous degree for Nick Davis.
    • Approved changes to the Kinesiology and Computer Science majors.
    • Changed the name alternative major to interdisciplinary major.
    • Recommended and received faculty approval for a “Northern European” semester.
    • Approved a “syllabus guidelines” document as a recommended resource for faculty use.
    • Approved Mark Sargent’s proposal for faculty dialog this summer with an educational technology expert.
  • Upcoming “big picture” items
    • Discussion of GE Committee recommendations: first-year seminar; GE revision
    • A Westmont presence in downtown Santa Barbara
    • Blended learning

Senate Action (Fall 2012)

  • Gave recommendations to the Provost concerning new and replacement faculty position requests; agreed on a modified procedure suggested by the Provost for future years.
  • Dialogued with the Provost regarding a better merging of strategic planning with academics.
  • Endorsed the Provost’s recommended template for diversity reports.
  • Approved GE committee recommendations for certification criteria of Common Context courses: Biblical and Theological Canons; and “Philosophical Reflections on Reality, Knowledge, and Value.”
  • Approved reports from the GE and Program Review committees.

Senate Action (Spring 2012)

Senate Action (Fall 2011)

  • Definition of an Academic Unit Unit Definition Approved by Senate 29 Sept 11
  • A Clock in Every Classroom. Formal request for working clocks in all classrooms (clocks were all installed Spring 2012).
  • Faculty & Institutes at Westmont College. Senate request to Strategic Planning teams to consider certain issues and processes.
  • E3 Center: Creativity of Concept Acknowledged; Senate requested a more detailed and formal proposal from E&B department.

Senate Action (Spring 2011)

  • New Handbook Language for Newly Constituted Senate. Approved by Faculty Spring 2011.
  • Approved Off Campus Programs: Westmont in Istanbul & Westmont in Jerusalem (with request for periodic updates from both programs and caveat that future off campus program planning occur in consultation with senate earlier in the process). Approved by Faculty Spring 2011.
  • Approved Honors Program, Catalyst (Senate responsible to call for and discuss the results of a review of the pilot program in its fifth year; the Provost would provide incentives for faculty to supervise major honors projects).
  • Agreed that Senate will review Westmont sponsored off-campus programs, that the OCP committee will review other OCPs, and that the OCP Committee will submit a set of principles for making such decisions. See resulting Principles here.