Weber State Board of Trustees Meeting CAPES

Department of Teacher Education professor Natalie Williams, left, and Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance professor James Zagrodnik, right, talk to the Weber State University Board of Trustees about CAPES at a Feb. 7, 2017 meeting.

OGDEN — Weber State University is looking at potential changes for two of its programs.

A five-year review of the Master of Criminal Justice program presented at a Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday found it has "meaningful problems that must be addressed," according to board documents.

The review recommended changing curriculum to account for the program's entirely online format, something faculty felt would be a detriment to the program.

"The faculty respectfully disagree with the need to reduce the level of academic rigor to less than traditional expectations, the result of which would be a degradation of the graduate experience," the faculty response states.

Offered online, the master's in criminal justice had 25 declared majors in 2011 and decreased to 22 in 2015.

At the meeting, board member Kevin Sullivan said the review found a lack of assessment for the overall program and student learning outcomes was concerning.

“Apparently offering a master’s program online is a tough nut to crack and they're currently having that dispute with this course," he said.

A faculty survey is also planned to "determine why some do not feel enriched."

Sullivan said the program will be reviewed again in two years and could potentially be terminated if improvements aren't made.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dean Francis Harrold's response to the review said the degree is aimed at professionals seeking to rise in administrative ranks and faculty are open to curriculum adjustments.

He also agreed with making the program more interactive, possibly via video conferencing.

The undergraduate English Language and Literature program was also up for a five-year review, which found the program is seeing a decline in majors from 474 in 2011 to 371 in 2015.

Sullivan said the department is going to put more of an emphasis on potential employment options after graduation.

Provost Madonne Miner said students need to think about the many ways an English major can compliment a variety of jobs instead of just becoming an English teacher.

“As long as we are producing grads who are able to articulate that, they’re going to do better," she said.

The review states there are concerns with retaining young faculty, diversity, faculty holding appropriate leadership positions regarding tenure, salary transparency and a lack of policy regarding spousal hires.

The review also recommends rethinking the Composition Program.

Several board members voiced frustration with young people being unable to write professionally by the time they're entering the work force.

"I think we’re seeing a challenge for interest and many of them are abandoning the old ways for the new ways and we’ll have to answer for all that," board member Louenda Downs said.

Policy changes

The board also approved a policy change allowing faculty evaluations to be viewed by a wider audience.

In the past, only department chairpersons and deans could view faculty evaluations. The policy change allows the department chairpersons, in consultation with the dean , to share the evaluations with those who might have oversight in hiring, or retaining that faculty member.

President Charles Wight said the change keeps the reviews internal to the university.

Miner said the policy change will be useful, giving the example of a graduate program director being able to more thoroughly vet candidates for a position beneath them.

Policy mandates a minimum of 12 hours per semester of instruction is required for a probationary year to count towards tenure, but the board also approved a policy change allowing academic activity other than teaching — like research, leadership in professional organizations or endowed chair positions — to count for up to two years.

The board voted to discontinue Weber State’s Entrepreneurship Institutional Certificate of Proficiency because only two certificates have been awarded since the idea was implemented and the university now offers an Entrepreneurship Minor.

The board unanimously approved a policy stating if a holiday falls on a Saturday, the holiday will be observed on Friday. If the holiday is on a Sunday, the observed day will be Monday.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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