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D 10295-10306



Dean Linda Hicke of the College of Natural Sciences has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the following changes to the College of Natural Sciences Chapter of the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016. The secretary has classified this proposal as general legislation.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on April 3, 2013, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. Final approval resides with UT System.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by noon on April 20, 2013.

SAG signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council

Distributed through the Faculty Council website on April 11, 2013



Type of Change:                 Degree Program Change

1.     If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, the college must consult Neal Armstrong to determine if SACS-COC approval is required.

Is this a new degree program?
Does the program offer courses that will be taught off campus?
Will courses in this program be delivered electronically?

2.     Explain change to degree program and give a detailed rationale for each INDIVIDUAL change (include page numbers in the catalog where changes will be made:)

1)    Addition of Bachelor of Science and Arts (or BSA), pp. 486-490:

We propose to create a new interdisciplinary degree for CNS students, particularly those interested in combining a core science experience with an interdisciplinary application. We expect to see increased student flow through the BSA, reduced time to graduation, and increased student satisfaction with their educational experience. The single degree shell will also simplify degree presentation to students, making it easier to shift between majors without losing time to degree.

The sole interdisciplinary degree currently available to CNS students is the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, a shared curriculum between Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences since the separation of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1970. The BA is not an attractive alternative to students in Natural Sciences. Despite the rigorous math and science requirements of the BS degree, CNS students overwhelmingly choose the BS degree even though it may be at odds with their interests. Consequently, we see increased times to graduation, bottlenecks in upper-division laboratory courses, student dissatisfaction with their academic experience, and students who struggle in components of the upper-division science coursework.

A large number of CNS majors are seeking a core experience in science with a cross-disciplinary application, one that marries their interests in science with other topics, such as ethics, public policy, or even modeling efforts for the betterment of society. Large numbers of students seeking careers in the health professions could also be better served by such a degree. The proposed BSA degree structure is like the BA in that it is interdisciplinary, but its goals are broader in that it allows students to have an interdisciplinary area of study that is not limited to the College of Liberal Arts. Alternatively, they can complete an interdisciplinary certificate offered by any college or school on campus.

Our proposal to construct the BSA has two important components - reducing the required hours of math and science where possible and redistributing the language/arts/culture hours - so that students are able to select and complete an 18-hour certificate that would weave their science, arts, and culture interests together. Natural Sciences proposes to work with the other colleges on campus to develop new 18-hr certificates to increase the number of options to students. In addition, BSA students would have the option of proposing their own 18-hr curriculum through the existing University Fellows certificate program.  The new degree structure will be called the Bachelor of Science and Arts.

The BSA degree has been carefully crafted to ensure that freshmen can pursue coursework during their first year that will satisfy degree requirements in the BSA, BS, or BA. The college is developing an advising strategy with the assistance of faculty, departmental advisors, and dean’s office staff to clearly chart decision points where students should select one degree or the other. These decision points will include important information about career choices, course selections, and the overall experience they are looking for in their collegiate educational experience.

3.     Scope of proposed change

a. Does this proposal impact other colleges/schools? Yes

b. Will students in other degree programs be impacted (are the proposed changes to courses commonly taken by students in other colleges)? No

c. Will students from your college take courses in other colleges? Yes

If 3 a, b, or c was answered with yes:

How many students do you expect to be impacted?

The addition of the BSA would create opportunities for students to pursue certificates and/or minors outside of the College of Natural Sciences. CNS is working to create a set of certificates to serve these students. In addition, Associate Dean Sacha Kopp has begun having conversations with each of the colleges/schools that are most likely to house certificates or majors of interest to CNS students. These conversations have been met with interest and support for the idea of collaboratively planning and creating new interdisciplinary certificates, such as Science Communications or a Pre-health Professions Certificates.

In addition, Dr. Kopp has met with faculty and associate deans in Liberal Arts to discuss the proposed new degree and the removal of the BA, Plan I from the College of Natural Sciences. The removal of the BA degree is unlikely to have an impact on Liberal Arts given the very small number of students graduating in this degree plan each year (< 200).

Impacted schools must be contacted and their response(s) included:

Liberal Arts:
Person communicated with: Sr. Associate Dean Richard Flores
Date of communication: Nov. 12, Nov. 27, Jan. 30, March 5, March 19, also COLA C&C meeting Nov. 19
Response: There is concern among the COLA faculty that the original language around the BSA would be confused with the BA. COLA faculty does not feel this is a BA degree due to the lack of an explicit language requirement for all students. Dean Flores felt it important to make a distinction from the BA, supported the name BSA, and felt it important to emphasize that the BSA is broader than the BA, straddling other colleges, such as communications, business, etc. We agree with his suggestions and have worked to make this emphasis clearer. In addition, we have communicated with chairs of the Departments of History and the Department of Sociology, and also with Bob Hummer in his role of creating the new Health and Society Degree. There is alignment across colleges with the idea of collaborating on certificates.

Person communicated with: Associate Dean Mark Bernstein
Date of communication: Jan. 31, Feb. 11, Feb. 19, March 8, March 19
Response: Supportive of the new degree proposal and has been working with faculty in his college to identify courses that CNS majors could find beneficial toward a new Science Communications Certificate and a new Pre-health Education Certificate.

Fine Arts:
Person communicated with: Associate Dean Andrew Dell’Antonio         
Date of communication: Feb. 14
Response: Very supportive of the idea. Offered to investigate open courses within COFA for CNS students. Cited alignment between potential CNS degrees and scientific illustration, gaming, and graphic design.

Person communicated with: Associate Dean David Platt
Date of communication: March 27
Response: No concerns with the proposal, happy to support it. Cited alignment not only with current Business Foundations Certificate but a likely new Energy Management Certificate being created by the School of Business.

Undergraduate Studies:
Person communicated with: Interim Dean Larry Abraham
Date of communication: March 6, March 19
Response: Very interested in the idea. Suggested alignment with students pursuing the Bridging Disciplines Programs) BDP certificate program. Also suggested coursework in kinesiology.

Person communicated with: Assistant Dean Richard Hogeda
Date of communication: March 28
Response: Interested in the idea and supportive of the new degree. Suggested alignment with students pursuing kinesiology. Also suggested improvements in the Pre-health Education Certificate, which straddles our colleges.

d. Does this proposal involve changes to the core curriculum or other basic education requirements (42-hour core, signature courses, flags)? No

e. Will this proposal change the number of hours required for degree completion? No

4. College/School Approval Process

Department approval date: Approved by all departments March 1, 2013
College approval date: March 5, 2013
Dean approval date: April 2, 2013

1 Title changed following Faculty Council decision on May 6, 2013.
2 Text changed following Faculty Council decision May 6, 2013.