CAA to vote on 11 action items

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

Eastern’s Council of Academic Affairs will be meeting Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 pm via D2L Collaborate.

The council will be voting on a proposal for the creation of “Virtual Study Abroad Programs.” The Virtual Study Abroad Programs are being proposed as an innovative and affordable alternative to traditional study abroad courses during the Covid pandemic.

The rationale for bringing Virtual Study Abroad courses to Eastern is that since Eastern has placed limitations on all faculty and student travel in order to prevent the spread of Covid, “there are no study abroad options available to students that can be supported by the university.”

According to the proposal, a Virtual Study Abroad course is accessible to a broad range of students, so “it may generate heightened interest from those wary of study abroad, and thus can potentially serve later as a gateway to traditional study abroad enrollment.”

The proposal proposes some basic course requirements for Virtual Study Abroad, including to entail some synchronous interaction, to have a 1 to 3 credit hour limitation, and to not count toward the university Senior Seminar requirement.

The council will also vote on a bylaw amendment to streamline the approval process for online and hybrid delivery, “so that both can be requested by executive action for already approved classes.” The proposal also suggests that executive actions requesting the addition of hybrid delivery mode for an approved class shall include a rationale for the addition of hybrid delivery mode, the approximate percentage of face-to-face and online class delivery of the hybrid class, among other things.

The rationale for the bylaw amendment is:

“Currently, online delivery mode can be requested by executive action while hybrid

delivery mode requires a course revision. The question of streamlining the approval process for both delivery modes has been a recurring topic. During the Fall 2020, the Council of Chairs brought the question to the Council on Academic Affairs. On 10/1/2020, a motion to consider this question was made by Dr. Stacey Ruholl and seconded by Dr. Richard Wilkinson. The proposal is based on previous discussions by the Council.”

The council will also be voting to make changes to multiple areas of study offered at Eastern.

The council will take this time to vote on the addition of a new minor, a Communications Disorders and Sciences (CDS) Minor. This minor is meant to provide introductory coursework in the development of speech and language. The minor will require students to complete two CDS courses then select CDS electives to fit their career interests or graduate plans. The total semester hours required for the CDS minor is 18 semester hours.

According to the proposal, “the CDS Minor is appropriate for students considering work in professions related to psychology, education, healthcare, or human services.”

The rationale for the CDS program is that it “offers a variety of courses that provide foundational knowledge related to communication that would benefit several other departments and majors. Including individuals from outside the CDS department will also increase opportunities for learning from diverse perspectives and inter-professional application.”

Revisions for the Communication Disorders and Sciences major, as well as updates to one core course in the Communication Disorders and Sciences B.S. degree, will also be voted on by the council. The proposed changes include the addition of Anatomy & Physiology and Physics choices for major requirements, revisions and updates to the Sign Language and Deaf Culture course, among other changes.

The rationale for these revisions is that these changes will “improve accessibility and flexibility of core courses to transfer students or native EIU students arriving on campus with the potential of completing a degree in less than the traditional four-year sequence.”

As for the Sign Language and Deaf Culture course specifically, it is proposed that the course number for the class be changed to the 3000 level. The reason why this change is being made is because adjustments to the curriculum over time have made it so this course is typically taken with other junior-level classes, although it was originally proposed as a senior-level course.

The title of the course has also been revised to be “inclusive of non-majors who may take the course as an elective with the CDS minor.”

Finally, the course will also be offered online “to increase accessibility of this course for nontraditional students who may wish to take the course from off-campus.”

The council will also be voting on the revisions proposed for the History with International Studies major. The B.A. in History with International Studies allows students to think historically and critically about contemporary international issues by exploring world history and closely studying a foreign language.

The rationale to make changes to the major is “to reduce hours and make the program more attractive and feasible to potential majors,” something Political Science has done with their International Studies major. The proposed changes also allows the History Department to better align course offerings with both staffing and with the goals of the program.

Revisions have been proposed for the RN to BSN Program. The revisions being recommended are to make microbiology a recommended course rather than a required course, to combine sections and make the general education requirements more clear, among other changes.

The rationale for this proposal is that:

“All students are Registered Nurses with an Associate’s Degree and many are required to take microbiology for their nursing program. Also, the State of Illinois Board of Nursing requires pre-licensure programs to require Microbiology. Therefore, our faculty feel that this should not be a requirement in the major for the RN-BSN program.”

The proposal further states that “the program does allow new graduates that are eligible to take the licensure exam to begin BSN classes prior to taking the exam. We put in the disclaimer that they cannot progress to 4000 level courses if they have not passed the exam.”

Since the Geology and Geography Department believes the Broadcast Meteorology minor has been in need of revisions for several years now, the council will also be voting on revisions made to the program. The proposal explains that there are several classes listed that are no longer being offered, the minor requires too many semester hours, among other issues found with the minor.

The rationale for the revisions made to the minor is that they “would update and streamline the minor as well as make it more transparent in what is required.”

The Geology and Geography Department also proposed the removal of the Geology of National Parks course from the catalog as well as the Geology major and minor.

The proposal explains that “this course is currently also offered in the Earth Science minor, but the catalog search for the course in all programs does not return this information for some reason and was missed in the original request. The course, however, should also be eliminated from this minor.”

The rationale for this removal is that the Geology of National Parks course “was removed from the Course Catalog by the CAA on [October, 29, 2020]. As it is no longer offered, it cannot be a viable course for this minor.”

The council will also be voting on proposals of two new courses for the Public Health program.

One of the courses is called Introduction to Complimentary Integrative Medicine, which will be “designed to introduce learners to the philosophies, techniques, and evidenced-based research concerning complementary, integrative medicine currently used in the United States.”

The rationale for this proposal is that since a growing percentage of Americans now use one more complimentary therapies with their Western medicine treatment, being able to “understand and communicate effectively with both integrative medical and Western medical practitioners about these therapies will help enhance health, wellness, and optimize health care.”

The second course being proposed for the Public Health program is Complimentary Integrative Medicine for Health Services Professionals. In this course, students will explore complimentary integrative medicine from historical, historical, philosophical, scientific, and clinical perspectives.

The rationale for this proposal is that:

“Despite almost a century of impressive achievements, contemporary biomedicine finds itself in a curious situation. The American public’s enthusiasm for complementary and integrative medicine is increasing. There is also an influential trend in health care restructuring patient care from the hospital to the community setting along with a growth increase in chronic illnesses. Given this shift, the general public and professionals in public health need to increase their understanding of integrative therapies.”


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]