Minutes of the Auburn University Steering Committee
Jan. 23, 2014
Samford Hall 206
3:30 p.m.

Present: Larry Crowley, chair; Judy Sheppard, Secretary; Patricia Duffy, Chair-Elect; Gisela Buschle-Diller, Secretary-Elect; Immediate Past Chair Bill Sauser; Steering Committee members Laura Plexico, Larry Teeter, Don Mulvaney and Mike Baginiski; Provost Tim Boosinger; Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies Constance Relihan; Intercollegiate Athletics Committee chair Mary Boudreaux.

1. Senate Chair Larry Crowley called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.

2. All members introduced themselves and the Oct. 31 and Jan. 4 minutes of the steering committee were approved without correction.

3. Dr. Mary Boudreaux, chair of the university Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, discussed her presentation for the Feb. 4 meeting. It will be similar to last year’s presentation in that it will discuss the committee’s functions and its subcommittees. She will explain changes to the NCAA student athlete eligibility requirements, particularly in measuring and imposing more severe penalties regarding students’ progress toward their degrees. She will also discuss accolades for student athletes and Faculty Athletic Representatives (FARs). A tour of the athletics facilities, well-received by faculty earlier, will probably be set up in May.

Immediate Past Chair Dr. Bill Sauser asked her if any issues were on the horizon. Dr. Boudreaux replied that there are complaints by smaller universities about the greater resources available to teams at larger institutions. Also, there is great concern about athletes moving through the required curriculum through high school and informing high school counselors about scheduling courses in the exact order required.

4. Dr. Constance Relihan then discussed the recent vote by the General Education Committee to change the College of Engineering’s required core courses to be in line with other engineering schools. Instead of requiring 12 hours of humanities and 12 hours of social sciences credits, student engineers would be required to take 9 hours of each. These standards were adopted by the state some time in the 1990s. In addition, she said, the provost is requesting that all disciplines limit requirements to 120 hours for graduation. Engineering currently has 135 hours.

Dr. Relihan said the proposal went to the General Education Committee in November. The committee requested a great deal of accreditation agency and other records for their deliberation. After “spirited discussions,” the committee voted to approve 10-4, with one abstention.

Dr. Relihan noted that she was presenting the Steering Committee with a decision, not a recommendation. Dr. Sauser asked about bringing the change to the University Senate. Dr. Duffy said any ramifications of the change would be worse if the Senate was not informed and that all structural curriculum changes in the past had come first before the Senate.

Dr. Boosinger asked if this move would make AU more competitive and reduce the “ever-increasing cost of attendance.” Dr. Relihan said this would. She also said that all the majors’ changes will still have to go before the faculty curriculum committee.    

Dr. Crowley said it would be unwise not to take major discussions before the Senate.

Ms. Sheppard then suggested the steering committee vote to show its support. The vote was unanimous. Dr. Crowley said the change would not guarantee engineering students would graduate any earlier, but Dr. Relihan said there had been a number of corrective measures taken.

5. The committee then finalized the agenda for the Feb. 4 meeting of the Senate.

6. It adjourned at 4:40 p.m.