Core Revision at UDM: Delivery of the Second Philosophy Reconciliation Report (April 2, 2015)

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President of the MFA Julia Eisenstein: Philosophy?

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Chair of the Philosophy Department David Koukal: My records indicate that the MFA distributed its final report on March 17th. That’s when you distributed it by email. At it’s meeting on March 19th, the MFA called for reconciliation reports, and the department of philosophy delivered its report on the same day, asking for a meeting with the CCRC. Yesterday [April 1st] I received an email from Julia saying that I could arrange a meeting if I wanted to, but that since the CCRC had completed its work and delivered its report, it’s members technically have no obligation to continue as a committee. So I guess the first question is, are these facts correct?

Eisenstein: We’re doing reconciliation reports. Do you want to make a report?


Koukal: I made a written report, and apparently . . .

Eisenstein: But that’s not what we’re doing today, we’re doing oral reports.

Koukal: Okay, fine. I’ll cut to the chase . . .


Eisenstein:  . . . those questions could be asked at the open forum.

Koukal: Well, actually, this is the decision-making body. Everybody who has spoken so far has talked about how the core is going to affect or not affect their program, and I’ve seen all kinds of—well, you know, “this will work,” “this will work,” “we’ll work on that,” “we’ll adjust it”—well, the dropping of the philosophy and religious studies elective is not going to work for philosophy. And the reason for that is because in fifteen years we can think of maybe two majors that we’ve gotten in philosophy who came as freshmen. We get all of our majors and minors through the core. Reduction in exposure to the core negatively affects our program. I would make the argument—and I’ll let religious studies chime in on this as well, they probably have a similar kind of situation—and I would like to have some attention, since we are concerned about program viability—that’s clear—that we’d like to have the same courtesy extended to our department.

Eisenstein: And I would like to make a distinction between being able to deliver the new core and not necessarily wanting to [unintelligible] . . . When you reported last time, you said your majors were going to be fine with the core.

Koukal: That’s not true.

Eisenstein: That is true. I have an email that says that.

Koukal: That’s not true.

Eisenstein: It is true.

Koukal: I have the emails from you, and I made it quite clear after the decision . . .

Eisenstein: . . . I asked you point blank, “Will your majors be able to do this core?” and you said “Yes.”

Koukal: Well, dueling documentation, then.

Eisenstein: You’re concerned about the decrease in minors and [unintelligible].

Koukal: So is that the answer of the body?

Eisenstein: There’s no question. We’re not talking about questions.

Koukal: Okay. I have made my report. I have made my report.

[ . . . ]

Eisenstein: Todd, religious studies?

Associate Professor of English Heather Hill-Vasquez: May I ask a question?  I haven’t served on this body in a long time, but how are we defining reconciliation of programs?

Eisenstein: If the courses that are listed, you know that were recommended for approval, are enough, and that the programs themselves will be able to meet the core without having to necessarily add on semesters to their degree programs.

Hill-Vasquez: Okay, so we’re not talking about whether or not the core is going to affect the viability of any of our programs?


Hill-Vasquez: I just think that somewhere that needs to be stated what is meant . . .


Hill-Vasquez:  . . . let me just finish, Julia, sorry, by reconciliation.

Eisenstein: I think we’ve made this clear, that the last reconciliation and when we talked about this one, it’s about do these courses [unintelligible] these programs . . .

Hill-Vasquez: Is that stated somewhere?


Eisenstein: Let me say just one thing about this. The job of the CCIC was not to change the Core Task Force core. Nor was it the job of the CCRC to change the Core Task Force core. And when I hear people talk about, well, revision of the core, that’s not what we’ve been doing. The only thing that we’ve been doing is populating the Core Task Force core with courses. We are not revising the Core Task Force core, that was never anybody’s charge. So when we say we want more credit hours in philosophy or religious studies, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Or in natural sciences. Or in social sciences. Or computer skills. That’s not what we’re talking about. And that’s not what we’ve been talking about.

Hill-Vasquez: Well I guess, having served on the CCIC, and that report was approved by this body, there was a specific statement, I don’t have it in front of me, that we were to maintain the same level of religious studies and philosophy studies credit, and I guess maybe I don’t understand Robert’s Rules of Order, but if you accept, if this body accepts a recommendation, it’s my understanding, in any sort of governing structure, that that then becomes policy.