University faculty and administrators voted to approve the formation of a Council on Teaching and Learning during this month's University Faculty Meeting. The council will provide input and recommendations for undergraduate policy with a particular emphasis on online courses.
Plans for the council were initiated by the Committee on Online Courses and had been proposed during the last Faculty meeting in December of 2013.
The outgoing Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin, who did not attend Monday's meeting, sent out a formal proposal last year, and the proposal has since been approved by the Academic Planning Group and the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy. The meeting was instead chaired by University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83.
Although the Academic Planning Group is currently responsible for methods of undergraduate instruction, the new committee would specifically cater towards the vast changes brought on by modern services such as online classes, Dobkin wrote in an email addressed to the current planning group.
In addition to online courses, the committee’s input will touch a broad range of emerging academic issues, such as academic integrity and socioeconomic diversity. The council will be assigned routine responsibilities related to other councils in order to solidify its position in the administrative body.
The new council will consist of eight faculty members from a diverse range of divisions and will be appointed by the Dean of the Faculty and the Dean of the College. However, all work within the council will be monitored and verified by the University administration as well as any relevant faculty committees, such as the Committee on Grading.
Eisgruber said that Monday's meeting was “bittersweet” because “our beloved Dean of Faculty David Dobkin has announced that he would like to return to his teaching duties in the department of computer science.” Eisgruber also jokingly praised Dobkin’s good judgment in retreating to the Virgin Islands during the day’s snowfall.
Professor Jacques Fresco delivered a commemoration to late professor Charles Gilvarg of the molecular biology department, who remained an active member of the research department until the very end, when he died of a stroke at 87.
“Just as he was demanding of himself, thus did he teach his scientific progeny to expect the same of themselves,” Fresco said. He added that Gilvarg was “in no way a narrow scholar,” as he occupied himself with other branches of science and the humanities and noted that he had received several emails from Gilvarg’s former students praising his impact on their careers.
Gilvarg attended Cooper Union and was the 1963 winner of the Paul Lewis Award of the American Chemical Society.
Faculty members also agreed to add courses in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Mathematics, Molecular Biology and Sociology and drop one molecular biology class from the curriculum.