Board of Curators discuss courses and audits

UM system President Gary Forsee presented a list of goals for the system.
Gordon Lamb, executive vice president of the UM system, speaks with Michael Nichols, vice president for Research and Economic Development, during the Board of Curators meeting Thursday. At the meeting, which continues today, curators discussed course changes, audits and university endowments.

The UM system's governing body met Thursday at MU to discuss the future of courses, audits, endowments and accountability.

The Academic Service-Learning Committee began the day for the Board of Curators meeting. Representatives from each campus in the system spoke about the program's merits.

MU senior Robert Crosby compared Academic Service-Learning to his experiences seeing the legislative process in action in Jefferson City. He said involvement in the community is crucial to students' education.

"This has transformed my way of thinking," Crosby said. "In order to change the world, I have to experience and understand the community."

There was little debate on the matter and the board moved on to discuss the life cycle of a course and its effects on faculty.

"If a course has not been taught in five years, it is automatically pulled, and goes into a kind of depository, where it sits," curator Doug Russell said.

During last academic year, MU added 55 new courses, added 325 to the depository and discontinued 164. Those figures led other curators to ask what impact the ratio of courses added to courses removed has on faculty.

Russell said the number of courses added does not include modifications to current courses. He also said the same faculty who teach deposited or discontinued courses also teach the new ones.

The meeting took a more financial direction as the Internal Audit report presented to the Board of Curators showed plans for future audits based on current financial risks.

According to the report, of 66 action items scheduled from 22 audit reports, 11 items have not been closed as of Sept. 12. There are no unresolved items for MU.

All items on the 2009-2011 Risk Assessment list are either high or medium concerns. Curator Warren Erdman said the curators should assess which issues are more important than others and work from there, due to time and funds.

"No matter how many resources you have, you can only have so many audits," Erdman said.

UM system President Gary Forsee presented another report that included goals and methods of checking accountability.

The measures mentioned were teaching and learning, research and discovery, economic development and community service and engagement.

"This moves us, if not towards best practice, then close to that," Forsee said.

Forsee said the first priority is to establish baseline information.

"We want to be sure that we correlate and establish a good baseline," he said. "In some cases, we're going to have to do a little bit of work developing that."

The board will then be able to compare benchmarks with the baseline, Forsee said.

The meeting was scheduled to resume today at 9 a.m.


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