PROGRAM MODIFICATION: B.S. IN CIVIL ENGINEERING; TERMINATE B.S. IN CIVIL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY, OIT

Introduction and Background

Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) requests authorization to modify the existing B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology (CET). The modified degree, B.S. in Civil Engineering, would be effective immediately, upon approval by the Board. Current students in the CET program would be expected to meet all degree requirements by June 2000, at which time that program would be completely phased out. As part of this modification, and to meet accreditation standards, the name of the department will be changed from Civil Engineering Technology to the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying.

OIT has a 50-year history of providing education in the field of engineering technology, as summarized below:

1947  Associate of Engineering in Structural Engineering Technology

1966  Bachelor of Technology (with option in structural)

1972  The Engineer's Council for Professional Development accredited the bachelor's degrees in Highway          Engineering Technology and Structural Engineering Technology

1979  B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology (accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology [ABET] in 1980)

Approximately 35 students graduate each year from the current CET program. Although students and graduates report satisfaction with the program, a growing number express concern about the changing professional engineering licensure laws. It is believed that these changes are the basis for recent declines in enrollment in the CET program at OIT.

There has been a slow but steady decrease in the number of states that allow technology graduates to sit for professional examination. In 1996, the Oregon State Board of Engineering Examiners changed the licensure policy and, in 2006, only those applicants with an engineering degree (not an engineering technology degree) approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET will be allowed to sit for the professional engineering examination. It is no longer the case that the CET degree, coupled with experience, provides sufficient career opportunities. More stringent licensing requirements necessitate a shift in OIT's degree offering if it is to respond to student need, meet licensing requirements, and help build engineering capacity in Oregon.

The program modifications have been designed to meet professional accreditation standards published by the EAC of ABET. The department will seek EAC/ABET accreditation of the program. Arrangements have been made to employ an outside consultant with extensive ABET experience to evaluate the program, faculty, and facilities in January 1998 in preparation for the scheduled EAC site visit in fall 1998. In the event of a positive evaluation, EAC of ABET may choose to extend the accreditation retroactively to fall 1997, since the program must have graduates prior to the site visit.

Program Conditions

While staff acknowledges that the proposed program modification extends OIT's traditional mission, the argument can be made that it responds appropriately to student access and Oregon workforce needs. OIT clearly understands the special nature of this program and has proposed the following conditions, which have been extensively deliberated within the System:

  1. OIT will continue to focus on being a premier engineering technology school. It is not anticipated that other engineering technology programs at OIT will evolve into engineering programs per se.
  2. The OIT B.S. in Civil Engineering will be offered only on the Klamath Falls campus.
  3. The program will be offered at the undergraduate level only. Graduates may apply to the master's degree programs in civil engineering at OSU and PSU and to programs outside the System.
  4. The program will use faculty and laboratory resources of the current CET program, which will be phased out. Existing resources will be used to accomplish this modification.
  5. The civil engineering program must achieve EAC accreditation within three years. If accreditation is not achieved by the end of that time, OIT must seek a merger of the program with the civil engineering program at OSU and/or PSU, or phase it out.

Curriculum

The modified degree requires some minor course adjustments (e.g., condensing two surveying courses into a new Surveying for Civil Engineers). Only two new courses need to be developed for the program:

Principal curricular changes are the increased math, basic science, and humanities/social science requirements. Drawing from existing courses, these include:

The changes in the curriculum refine and formalize a course of study pursued by many previous OIT students who have wanted to sit for the FE exam.

Other Engineering Programs

Similar baccalaureate programs in civil engineering exist at OSU and PSU, both of which also offer graduate degrees. The University of Portland offers a bachelor's program in civil engineering. Due to OIT's geographic distance to the other programs and the explicit limitations (e.g., undergraduate degree only), negative effects on existing programs are not anticipated. Indeed, the OIT program has the potential to become a more viable source of students for the OSU and PSU graduate programs than the present CET program because its curriculum will articulate better.

Employment Outlook

According to the on-line version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering program is generally required for entry into this field. Graduates with a baccalaureate degree in engineering earned an average annual salary of $34,100 in 1994. The median annual salary for all civil engineers was $44,700. Recent data compiled by OIT's Office of Career Services predict an 18 percent increase in new jobs for civil engineers in Oregon by the year 2000.

Resources

Personnel. No new faculty or staff will need to be hired. Current program faculty are experienced practitioners as well as educators, and they bring real-life design problems into the classroom and carefully integrate theory with practice. All are registered professionals in their field.

Facilities, Equipment, Technology

OIT has focused on upgrading laboratory facilities for the last two years. The Computer Center is well-developed and available to all students. The Center will install any applications requested. Special design labs are also available to students. In addition, all faculty offices are equipped with new computers that can access all discipline-specific network software. The modified program will be fully implemented with existing labs, equipment, and technology.

Reference Sources. Library resources are sufficient for implementing this program modification.

Budget

No additional funds are required to implement the program.

Staff Recommendation to the Board

Staff recommends that the Board authorize OIT to modify the existing B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology to a B.S. in Civil Engineering, effective immediately upon approval by the Board and subject to the limitations as described under "Program Conditions" above. A follow-up review of the program will be conducted by the OSSHE Office of Academic Affairs in the 2002-03 academic year.

BOARD ACTION:

JOINT-CAMPUS GRADUATE PROGRAM FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, STUDIES, & POLICY (OSU, PSU, UO)

Introduction

Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon requested authorization to establish the Joint-Campus Graduate Program for Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy (ESSP). The Board reviewed a preproposal for this program on May 17, 1996. Approval of this set of closely related degrees will provide a complementary set of graduate programs within the State System, each reflecting specific institutional strengths. OSU, for example, requests authorization for a program to include the M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, drawing on its institutional strengths in the natural resources fields such as forestry and agroecosystems, as well as ecology, biogeochemistry, and several policy-related areas. PSU proposes the creation of an M.S. and M.E.M. (Master of Environmental Management) in Environmental Sciences and Resources, based on its strengths in environmental chemistry, water resources, microbial biology, and atmospheric science. The UO proposes to offer a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, reflecting its strengths in humanities, law, social sciences, conservation biology, and basic biology. Each of these programs is explained in more detail in following sections. These proposed degrees would add to the existing inventory of graduate programs, all of which would be covered under the joint-program umbrella: M.A., M.S. at UO; and the Ph.D. at PSU. The proposed OSU degrees would supplant the master's and doctoral degrees in General Science with the environmental biology/science area of concentration.

The implementation of the joint program is deemed critical to the success of all the individual degrees listed above. The report of the external review team stated that although Oregon has earned national recognition for its environmental leadership, the graduate education component has not reflected this tradition, in part because of the disciplinary segmentation of the three largest universities. Environmental issues are complex and interdisciplinary; consequently, the external reviewers believe this program is "ideally suited" for the proposed joint-campus approach. With each university building on proven strengths, "taken together, the Joint-Campus Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy would be among the most comprehensive in the U.S." (External review report, p. 4). An overarching administrative structure will provide coordination between and among the degree programs, as well as provide mechanisms for:

joint-campus faculty participation on master's and doctoral program planning and thesis committees;

joint-campus coordination of curriculum development through a joint faculty advisory committee;

joint-campus facilitation of student and faculty exchanges between campuses;

joint-campus planning of an annual workshop for ESSP participants;

joint-campus development and publication of information on ESSP faculty members, students, and curriculum; and

joint-campus recruitment of students into the ESSP program.

The three universities have committed to supporting the cost of the central, joint program functions, each at one-third of the cost (totaling approximately $75,000 per year). The three Graduate School deans are working together to develop the details of the central functions and associated costs.

Students pursuing a major in an ESSP program will have several broad areas of inquiry from which to choose. Some of the organizing themes available to students include:

development of new knowledge about environmental systems through integration of life, physical, and social sciences;

environmental management and policy through a combination of science and humanities;

development of new environmental technologies through the application of science and engineering principles; or

contributions of the humanities and arts to an understanding of the environment.

Employment Outlook

Environmental issues abound, and the entire environmental field accounted for $120 billion in business services in 1994. That number is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2000. Consequently, employment opportunities flourish for environmental professionals. Whole books are devoted to the subject (e.g., Environmental Jobs for Scientists and Engineers, Basta: 1992; Environmental Careers, Warner: 1992; The New Complete Guide to Environmental Careers, Sharp: 1993). Numerous Web pages target environmental careers (see enclosures). Annual national conferences serve as educational and informational forums regarding environmental employment opportunities, issues, and trends (e.g., National Environmental Career Conference, 10/23-25/97, Boston, MA).

The field is diverse, making it difficult to link specific degrees with specific jobs. Yet examples of potential career paths are abundant. Employment opportunities span both public and private interests, as well as academia. They include research, environmental cleanup, and technology development for "management and mitigating environmental problems. Services include consulting, construction, laboratory analysis, and mapping for problems ranging from site reconnaissance to compliance monitoring to ecological restoration" (p. 1, Evaluation of Training Needs in Oregon's Environmental Technology Industry, Pratt: 1996).

Rational management of the environment requires scientific data and analysis to understand and model the behavior of environmental systems. There are many critical environmental issues in the Northwest and nation, such as hazardous waste, sustainable yields in agriculture, management of salmon fishing, logging practices, water availability and quality, climate change, and field burning. Addressing these issues requires well-educated scientists with the ability to work at the interfaces between traditional disciplines. Because ecosystems, geosystems, the hydrological cycle, the atmosphere, and the oceans are so interrelated, designing solutions to environmental problems requires a thorough understanding of these system interrelationships. In addition, sensitivity to and understanding of economic and cultural factors are required for implementation of appropriate solutions.

Students graduating from any of these proposed programs should have excellent employment prospects. Federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of Energy offer employment opportunities for such graduates. Additionally, all states and many local governments hire individuals who can develop and enforce compliance with environmental legislation (e.g., the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund programs). Private-sector employment opportunities also exist. In the Portland metro area alone, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality lists more than 300 waste-generating companies. Researchers are needed to define and predict environmental impacts and to identify mitigation protocols.

M.A., M.S., PH.D. IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (OSU)

Introduction

As one element of the OSSHE Joint-Campus Graduate Program for Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, OSU requested authorization to offer a new instructional program leading to the M.A./M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. These new degrees would replace the current concentration of environmental biology/science in the M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in General Science. On the OSU campus, this interdisciplinary graduate program would be administered by the Graduate School, the environmental sciences program director, and the environmental sciences council of deans -- all of which would exist under the umbrella of the joint-campus program. Academic programs related to environmental issues are central to the mission of OSU, a university distinguished by its extensive activity in the areas of the environment and natural resources, and a campus recognized as a land, sea, and space grant institution. Funds to operate this program will come from reallocation of existing campus resources.

Staff Analysis

1. Relationship to Mission

OSU has long-standing status as a land, sea, and space grant institution. As such, study in environmental science areas is central to the campus mission. Additionally, this proposed environmental sciences program would contribute directly and indirectly to many of the objectives of the strategic plan of OSU. Specifically, the program would strengthen interdisciplinary studies among students and faculty, improve the quality and rigor of an existing academic program, contribute to the goal of increasing enrollment of outstanding students, and improve the relationship of the University with its many constituents by increasing the visibility of programs in which OSU has considerable strength.

2. Evidence of Need

Evidence of the need for this program rests with the success of the current graduate program in this area, now offered as a general science degree. The proposed program extends the base of support for the program across the campus, links the environmental fields among the major universities in the State System, and meets current needs of students and faculty members. Other evidence of need is suggested in the rapid enrollment of the undergraduate environmental sciences program, which started in 1992 and now has about 250 majors. This success is indicative of strong student interest in this field and the need for strong undergraduate and graduate programs.

3. Quality of the Proposed Program

The strength of the curriculum and faculty all point to this proposed program as one of high quality.

Curriculum for the M.A. & M.S. degrees. Master's students must complete at least 45 graduate credits for the degree, which includes an Environmental Sciences (ES) graduate core of nine credit hours, for which new courses have been designed. Master's of arts candidates must complete a second language requirement. Courses in research methods, experimental design, statistical analysis, and modeling are required to ensure adequate skills for environmental research. Four areas of concentration have been developed (ecology, biogeochemistry, social science, and quantitative analysis), and other tracks may be developed in the future as well. A minimum of six credits are required for original research, leading to a thesis or project completion that complies with standards established by the Graduate School.

Curriculum for the Ph.D. degree. Doctoral students must complete at least 108 graduate credits for the degree, which includes an ES graduate core of ten credit hours. The four areas of concentration available to master's students are also available to those pursuing the Ph.D. Candidates must also complete nine credits in methods and numerical skills, 30 credits in their concentration area, 3 to 23 credits in electives, and 36 to 56 hours of dissertation. Each student must pass a preliminary examination (written and oral) to qualify for degree candidacy.

Faculty. Faculty members from the Colleges of Science, Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Forestry, Health and Human Performance, Liberal Arts, and Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences -- representing dozens of individual academic departments -- will participate in offering these proposed graduate programs. Many of these individuals are nationally or internationally recognized experts in their fields. Areas of expertise and research interests include:

OSU has a formal graduate faculty system, whereby graduate committee members must be elected to the graduate faculty of the field of study they represent on a student's graduate committee. Nearly 90 faculty members have indicated an intention to serve on the graduate faculty for this proposed program. These faculty members have particular expertise in the four areas offered as concentrations in the degree programs.

4. Adequacy of Resources to Offer the Program

Personnel. No new funds for faculty or graduate assistant support are required to implement this proposed program. Approximately three-fourths of the program's personnel budget will come from the transfer of programmatic resources. The additional one-fourth of the program's resources will come from the administrative transfer of funds already on campus and will support the program director, support staff, graduate student assistantships, and student workers.

Library, Facilities, and Equipment. Library resources at OSU are sufficient to support these graduate programs. A modest amount of additional resources are required in terms of supplies and services, equipment, and space renovation, but these will come from the internal reallocation of the administrative funds described above.

M.S./M.E.M IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AND RESOURCES, PSU

Introduction

Portland State University requested authorization to offer the M.S. and Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources (ESR), effective fall 1998, as part of the joint-campus environmental graduate program with UO and OSU. Currently, PSU offers a B.S./B.A. in Environmental Studies (approved in 1995) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Resources (approved in 1969). The objective of the proposed program is to develop scientists and managers capable of analyzing and understanding environmental systems, predicting environmental change, and participating in the management of the environment. Each student will perform research and complete a thesis or research project; complete a core of graduate courses that combines breadth with content in the physical, life, and social sciences; and develop depth in an area of concentration. Ten students are expected immediately, with ten added each year thereafter for four years. Core courses will be offered at times and places that allow part-time students to complete the program; this provision is expected to attract students who would not be enrolled in other university programs. The minimal budget needs will be handled through reallocation of resources.

Staff Analysis

1. Relationship to Mission and Strategic Direction of PSU

The proposed program is in keeping with PSU's mission "to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural, and economic qualities of urban life by providing . . . an appropriate array of professional and graduate programs relevant to the metropolitan area." The relevance and need in the Portland metro area are demonstrated by the fact that more than 250 environmental technology firms exist there, and environmental technology (coupled with biotechnology) is one of five Portland-area target industries identified for growth by the Oregon Economic Development Department.

The proposed master's degrees will complete the environmental program offerings of PSU, building on demonstrated strengths of the existing undergraduate and doctoral programs at the University.

2. Quality of the Proposed Program

Program Description

Proposed curricula have been coordinated with existing and emerging programs. Graduate students in the program will take a core of Environmental Sciences and Resources (ESR) courses. The core program will teach students about environmental systems science, environmental law and policy, risk assessment, and the history of environmental scholarship and thought. Students will also gain sufficient skills to conduct environmental research.

In addition, students will select a track (i.e., area of concentration), such as water resources, air quality, and land analysis. Other tracks that may be added include environmental chemistry, environmental health, and environmental remediation and restoration.

Students pursuing the M.S. will be required to complete a thesis on original research. Those students pursuing the M.E.M. will complete a project in lieu of a thesis. The project is to be the product of original work in an agency, organization, or firm involved in environmental management activities. A report on the project must be presented at a public seminar, followed by an oral defense of the work conducted by the students' graduate committee.

The external reviewers found "the course requirements to be in line with those of other strong, nationally competitive programs (e.g., Duke University's School of the Environment)," and they were impressed that the project report requirement of the M.E.M., "while different from a conventional thesis, will represent comparable effort" (p. 5).

4. Adequacy of Resources to Offer the Program

The current ESR program director and faculty will offer the proposed program. Their areas of expertise and research interests include:

No additional faculty members will be required for the first four years. The program will require .5 FTE additional clerical support. Library holdings are adequate for the proposed program, as are equipment and facilities. Salary support for participating faculty, administrative support, and funds to operate the program will be provided by the participating colleges and schools.

PH.D. IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, STUDIES, & POLICY, UO

Introduction

The University of Oregon requested authorization to offer an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy (ESSP), effective fall 1998, as part of the joint-campus environmental graduate program with OSU and PSU. UO's proposed program combines a required interdisciplinary emphasis with grounding in a traditional academic discipline (referred to as the "focal department"). The primary objective of the program is to prepare environmental professionals, researchers, and scholars to bring together strengths, independent research capabilities, and in-depth study of particular environmental problem areas and to apply these skills to a range of environmental problems and topics. The program would be open only to students who have earned a master's degree and would take three to four years to complete. Three to four students would be admitted annually. UO currently offers both a baccalaureate and master's degree in environmental studies; implementation of the proposed program will complete the University's environmental offerings. Budget needs will be met through a combination of reallocation of existing resources and commitment of new resources; discussion regarding the details are underway.

Staff Analysis

1. Relationship to Mission and Strategic Direction of UO

The proposed program fits well within the liberal arts tradition of a public research university. More formal acknowledgment of the place of environmental topics occurs in UO's strategic plan, A Vision for the Future -- 1992-1997, which notes the need to focus on ". . . the global consequences of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect, and other environmental conditions . . ." and also mentions the importance of "global interdependence." The proposed doctorate will offer opportunities for study in these areas.

The University has existing programs and institutes that will support the new program. For example, the Institute for Sustainable Environment coordinates many research initiatives and outreach environmental activities. The Oregon Institute for Marine Biology already attracts environmental studies students. The Center for the Sociological Study of Women assisted with launching a new University-based environmental journal. The external reviewers indicated the University has a high level of faculty and student enthusiasm for interdisciplinary learning and research, and that the UO has "exceptional strength in environmental studies among the social sciences, humanities, and law faculties" (p. 7).

2. Evidence of Need

Pollution, people-generated climate change, destruction of natural habitats, and sustainable habitats are just some of the environmental problems and concerns that continue to require public attention. Yet the interrelations among the environmental systems are so complex that designing solutions requires full consideration of cultural and economic factors as well as a thorough understanding of the scientific processes involved. UO's proposed interdisciplinary doctorate addresses the need for trained professionals who can respond knowledgeably and creatively to these complex issues. Graduates from this program will have a broad academic background, making them capable of integrating the perspectives and conceptual frameworks of very different disciplines.

Assessment of student interest in and need for this doctorate is based both on the fact that approximately one-third of the UO students who receive a master's degree in this department eventually earn a doctorate and on the number of inquiries UO receives regarding the possibility of offering such a degree (approximately 24 inquiries per year).

3. Quality of the Proposed Program

Program Description

Structure. Central to the proposed program is the concept of the focal department -- an existing academic unit that 1) already offers a Ph.D., and 2) agrees to participate in the ESSP program. Each student designates a focal department as part of the application for admission. From that point on, the designated department is involved in the student's doctoral program. As mentioned earlier, the proposed program also has an interdisciplinary emphasis to ensure that doctoral students are familiar with the ways in which the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, and policy sciences each approaches environmental topics and themes. This structure is designed, then, to create and foster strong student ties to both the focal department and the environmental studies program.

Requirements. The program requires completion of:

Faculty

More than 100 faculty at the University have teaching and/or research interests in environmental topics. With the exception of Romance Languages and Mathematics, all doctoral-granting departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) have at least one such faculty member, and departments such as Geography, Political Science, Sociology, and Biology have several. These departments and others in CAS have emphasized environmental specialties when recruiting new faculty.

The research interests of the current director of the Environmental Studies program include the use of computers in biology laboratories and population ecology. Other areas of expertise of faculty involved in the proposed program include:

4. Adequacy of Resources to Offer the Program

No new faculty are needed to initiate the proposed program. Minimal additional support staff will be needed. (.15 to .25 FTE, based on the number of students in residence). Current library holdings are adequate to support the program. No special facilities are required. The program would require a small amount of additional office space, primarily for the graduate students who serve as Graduate Teaching Fellows. It is anticipated that the new School of Law construction will free up office space that could be used for this purpose.

Staff Recommendation to the Board

Staff recommended the Board authorize Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon to establish the Joint-Campus Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, effective fall 1998, and offer the following degrees:

A follow-up review of the full program will be conducted by the OSSHE Office of Academic Affairs during the 2003-04 academic year. The proposal should be placed on the consent agenda for final action at the next full Board meeting.

Board Discussion and Action (November 21, 1997)

Vice Chancellor Clark introduced the collaborative set of proposals. Representatives of the three involved campuses briefly reported on their institution's component of the program. Dr. Clark emphasized that the most important feature of the planning process, collaboration, will continue into the implement phase. Special features of the program include activities of networking and jointly delivered seminars.

Ms. Christopher asked how a hypothetical student might make it through the courses. Dr. Steadman Upham of the UO indicated that it would depend on the course. Technology, such as ED-NET, is used to connect students on the three campuses to the course offerings. There are times when faculty exchanges enable offering a course and careful consideration is given to the time courses are offered to allow students from other campuses to take them.

Ms. McAllister asked for further clarification regarding the rotating directorship of the program. Dr. Pratt of PSU responded that collaborative decision making has been a mode of operating from the beginning. There will be rotation of the directorship on a two-year basis that will enable various individuals to make their own special contribution to the program. "The idea is to have an annual meeting of the students in the program, continued collaboration of faculty, and the rotating directorship."

Dr. Aschkenasy said this was a program "the Board can approve with pleasure."

Ms. Wustenberg moved and Ms. McAllister seconded the motion to approve the staff recommendation. The following voted in favor: Directors Christopher, Imeson, Lussier, McAllister, Puentes, Van Patten, Whittaker, Willis, Wustenberg, Wykoff, and Aschkenasy. Those voting no: none.

BOARD ACTION:

B.A. IN LANGUAGE & CULTURE, WITH CONCENTRATIONS IN FRENCH, GERMAN, & SPANISH, SOU

Introduction

Southern Oregon University requested authorization to offer a B.A. degree in Language and Culture with concentrations in French, German, and Spanish, effective fall 1998. The Board positively reviewed a preproposal for this program at the April 1997 meeting. Currently, SOU offers minors in French and German and a major or minor in Spanish. Traditional foreign language programs emphasize the study of the literature of the language. However, recent trends in the international economy, the growing necessity for cross-cultural understanding and communication, and increased student interest in practical language skills are driving reform efforts in foreign language majors nationally. The proposed program responds to this new agenda by combining a language program, a literature and culture program, and a "discipline-based language" program. A required internship/practicum and international experience strengthen the skills students will develop in this program. Current resources are sufficient to implement the proposed program.

Staff Analysis

1. Relationship to Mission and Strategic Direction of SOU

The proposed program is consistent with a central element of SOU's mission, which is to prepare students to be "successful in a global society." The required internship will allow students to apply "critical thinking skills they have learned in the community and international settings." Most of the internships will be in a foreign country or with a local organization having international or multicultural ties. Consequently, students will have the opportunity to apply their language skills and cultural knowledge in real-life settings.

Students in the proposed program will develop:

2. Evidence of Need

Employment Opportunities

The major objective of the proposed program is to prepare students for careers with a multicultural or international component, utilizing strong communication skills in a foreign language and cultural understanding. Students receiving this degree will be prepared for a wide range of employment opportunities, such as working in human services, government agencies, health services, international commerce, and travel and tourism. Those students pursuing the Spanish concentration will be well-positioned to respond to the needs of Oregon's growing Hispanic population by working in any number of agencies or businesses. The degree will also prepare students for entry into teacher education programs to help fill the projected need for secondary-level foreign language teachers in Oregon.

Student Interest

A survey of students in foreign language courses at SOU revealed that 34 percent had a "very strong interest" if such a degree were offered at SOU. Currently, SOU students who want to pursue a degree in French or German are forced to relocate to finish their studies, and Spanish majors must follow the traditional literary track. This proposed program will broaden the choices available to SOU students.

3. Quality of the Proposed Program

Curriculum

Core Courses. Students will be required to complete 20 credits in their major language, including a 12-credit sequence in culture, composition, and conversation. Eight credits each in history, and language and culture (specifically, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Intercultural Communication) round out the core requirements.

Foreign Language Electives. Students will complete 12 elective credits in the language of their concentration. A new 400-level Topics in Culture class has been added for the French and Spanish concentrations. These classes will be taught regularly, may be repeated for credit as the topic changes, and will focus on various issues related to contemporary culture in the various countries of focus. Students with a German concentration can take advantage of PSU's Deutshe Sommerschule am Pazifik -- a five-week program that offers intensive instruction in German language and literature.

Electives in Related Fields. Students will complete 12 upper-division credits in related areas. This requirement is designed to connect students with other disciplines, to integrate and synthesize knowledge gained in language and culture courses, and to expose students to different values and methods of inquiry. The group of courses selected for this requirement should form a cohesive body of knowledge corresponding to the student's professional or career goals, thereby complementing the student's study of language and culture. Approved courses must have a component demonstrating international or multicultural perspectives and/or applications of material studied in an international or multicultural context.

Capstone. In consultation with a faculty member, students will design a capstone research project, the results of which will be presented in both written and oral forms. Capstones may be in the area of language, literature, or culture, and will reflect the student's personal interests and career goals. The capstone may be linked to the internship (with advisor approval).

International Experience. Every student in the program must complete a minimum of three months in an approved international work or study program in a country where the language of specialization is spoken. Previous international experience prior to entering the program may fulfill this requirement, upon approval of the advisor. Coursework completed in a study-abroad program may be applied to the course requirements for the degree (again, upon approval of the advisor). Students who have financial or other hardships that would prevent them from completing this requirement may petition for a waiver.

Internship/Practicum. Internships consist of a minimum of ten weeks of full-time work experience or the equivalent, and must be either an overseas internship or, if done locally, have an international scope. Internships in a foreign country may also be used to fulfill the international experience requirement. Internship opportunities are possible through three avenues: 1) the OSSHE Global Graduates program; 2) the International Cooperative Education program (based out of Menlo Park, California); or 3) departmental internships arranged by individual faculty members.

Senior Interview. Students completing this program will be expected to achieve fluency in their language of concentration that is the equivalent of the Advanced rating on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Each student will be required to complete a formal exit OPI to determine level of fluency. (Earlier periodic test runs of the OPI will provide students ample opportunity to measure their progress.) In the senior interview, students will also demonstrate cultural competency based on recently developed ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Learning. Students will be expected to achieve a similar level of competence in written expression, which will be tested in upper-division language courses and will figure prominently in the portfolios of specific projects and samples of written work from a selection of their upper-division coursework for the degree.

4. Adequacy of Resources to Offer the Program

Faculty. No new faculty are required to implement the proposed program. Although the Spanish section has lost one instructorship position due to budget reductions, that loss has been offset by reducing first-year offerings. The Rogue Community College (RCC) annexation of Jackson County is expected to draw some of those students who would have taken first-year courses. If Spanish enrollments increase, however, a new faculty member will need to be added to the Spanish staff in order to meet the needs of both majors. Although corresponding staff reductions have not occurred for French and German, the impacts of RCC coupled with actual student demand in the proposed program raise the potential for additional course sections to be added. In that event, they would be staffed with part-time instructors.

Faculty research interests and areas of expertise provide a broad base from which to offer this program, and include translation; film studies; computer applications in foreign language acquisition; and international, civic, and regional service. Faculty in the proposed program also have a history of establishing and maintaining effective international internship and exchange programs.

Library. Grant money already received should raise library resources to an appropriate level. The additional recommended $2,500 per year will be met within the department by redirecting current allocation toward materials specifically needed for the program.

Facilities, Equipment, and Technology. The program will utilize existing facilities and equipment on campus. The current computer software, Internet access, and video and audio programs available in the Language Learning Center are sufficient to run the program. However, since the Center is staffed almost entirely by work-study students, funds have been requested from the campus technology fee to assist with staffing and additional acquisitions.

Program Review

The proposed program has been reviewed positively by all appropriate institutional committees and the Academic Council.

Staff Recommendation to the Board

Staff recommended the Board authorize Southern Oregon University to establish a program leading to the B.A. in Language and Culture with Concentrations in French, German, and Spanish, effective fall term 1998, with a follow-up review of the program to be conducted by the OSSHE Office of Academic Affairs in the 2003-04 academic year. The proposal would be placed on the consent agenda for final action at the January 1998 Board meeting.

Board Discussion and Action (November 21, 1997)

Vice Chancellor Clark introduced Provost Hopkins-Powell who highlighted aspects of the new program. She pointed out that there is a real focus on employability. "We had a recent meeting with Bear Creek Corporation who is interested in working with students. Local agencies, in particular Hispanic agencies in the Rogue Valley, see a real benefit to the program."

Ms. Puentes asked if SOU currently has any degree programs in Spanish and whether the program before the Board would be in addition to or a replacement for them. Provost Hopkins-Powell indicated that it is the intent of the University to phase those programs out.

Mr. Willis moved and Mr. Imeson seconded the motion to approve the staff recommendation. Those voting in favor: Directors Christopher, Imeson, Lussier, McAllister, Puentes, Van Patten, Whittaker, Willis, Wustenberg, Wykoff, and Aschkenasy. Those voting no: none.

BOARD ACTION: