Universities Report to Regents on Sharing System Resources
Faculties Cooperate to Deliver Instruction
SIOUX FALLSAt its regular business meeting, held on the campus of the South Dakota School for the Deaf, the South Dakota Board of Regents heard reports from system-wide councils established to coordinate the delivery of instruction in certain academic disciplines among the six Regental universities. In 1997 the Regents created the councils in Education, Foreign Language, and Science. In 1998 the Regents added the council in Business.
"A few years ago the Regents directed the universities to be more efficient by sharing scarce resources," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV. "At the time we told the universities to develop the discipline councils, we wanted to create opportunities for the faculty at the six public universities to collaborate in the delivery of instruction. Not only are they collaborating in instruction, they are working together to promote their disciplines, sponsor conferences, and plan for future state needs."
The Regents learned that the faculty of the Education colleges are working on several initiatives, including a proposal for alternative teacher certification. "We are operating under the assumption that there may be a teacher shortage in the foreseeable future. We think that South Dakota can reduce the impact of that shortage by getting prepared now. Although we are still in the planning stage, our proposal will most likely rely on technology to deliver teacher education courses. We are considering alternative ways for people to achieve teacher certification in South Dakota," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.
Perry also reported that the Science Discipline Council sponsored a conference on teaching undergraduate mathematics, science, and engineering. The science council has created a website at http://www.usd.edu/oorsch/sdc/. The site includes a database of faculty expertise as well as an inventory of collaborative activities.
Lesta Turchen, Senior Administrator for the Board of Regents, said, "Last year each council was asked to inventory courses and faculty expertise. They were asked to revise course content and standardize numbering, so that students would have an easier time transferring courses among the Regental institutions. The councils were then invited to collaborate on the delivery of certain courses. This has worked well in foreign language and science, where the French, German and physics courses were offered through technology on three of our campuses. Not one campus had enough students to support a major in that field, but by sharing they can offer our students the opportunity to major in a subject that would have been unavailable otherwise."
The Business Discipline Council, created in 1998, presented its inventory of courses and faculty expertise. Clyde Arnold, Northern State University, also reported to the Regents on collaborative activities supported by the six universities throughout the year, including courses taught on other campuses, discussions on allowing students to test out of certain courses, and planning a seminar in economics for youth. "This council has given those of us in the business schools an opportunity to discuss our field and collaborate on programs, consulting and service. It is a great idea," said Arnold.
In a separate action on Friday the Regents are expected to create three more discipline councils in mathematics, English, and information technology.
"Initially, many people were skeptical that the discipline councils could work," said Regent Pat Lebrun. Lebrun was chair of the Subcommittee on Academic and Student Affairs at the time the councils were formed. She added that the discipline councils show that faculty can be very successful at working together and increasing opportunities for students.
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