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Proposal to Remove Oral Communication from USP. The importance of oral communication. At this point, there is widespread agreement on the importance of oral communication skills In principle, all UK students should have such training

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the importance of oral communication
The importance of oral communication
  • At this point, there is widespread agreement on the importance of oral communication skills
  • In principle, all UK students should have such training
  • In fact, in principle, it would be better to have more training – for example, both public speaking and interpersonal communication
  • So why are we proposing to remove oral communication from USP?
three major reasons
Three major reasons
  • With current resources, it is not possible to meet course demand
  • Attempting to meet the demand for oral communication drains resources from the teaching and research missions of the Department of Communication
  • Oral communication still will be offered for programs that need it and demand will be able to be met
a brief history
A brief history
  • Oral communication skills requirement has been a part of USP since its inception in 1988
  • Five options
    • COM 181, 252, 281, 287
    • TA 225
  • Rule change in 1997 permitted alternate paths
    • Approximately 16 identified
    • Nine of these include COM 199
baselines and assumptions
Baselines and assumptions
  • Originally, planning was based on a first year class of 2,600-2,700 students
  • Curricula were designed to provide oral communication skills
    • COM 181 – basic public speaking
    • COM 252 – interpersonal communication
    • COM 281 – small group communication
    • COM 287 – persuasive speaking
  • Class size was set at 22
changing times
Changing times
  • First year class size began increasing in 2000-01
    • 1999-2000, approximately 2,700
    • 2000-01 and 2001-02, approximately 3,000
    • 2002-03 and 2003-04, approximately 3,700
  • We began scheduling more classes
    • 1995-96 through 1999-00 average sections: 89/year
    • 2000-01: 126/year
    • 2003-04: 138/year
  • We also increased class size, from 22 to 25, then to 28-30
impact on resources
Impact on resources
  • New lecturer lines (S.I. #18)
    • Initial request
      • 5.5 lines requested, 3 approved, less than 1 funded
    • Current status
      • Have received recurring funds for 4.2 lecturers
  • Devoting TA and other dept. resources
  • Evening/Weekend Growth, Distance Learning
how many students do we serve now
How many students do we serve now?
  • 2003-04, with present resources:
    • 77 sections funded with recurring dollars
      • Lecturers
      • Teaching Assistants
    • 32 funded by EWC and Distance Learning
    • 19 sections funded by Provost with non-recurring
    • 10 sections funded by COM
  • Total of 138 sections; 3,587 students
how many can we serve next year
How many can we serve next year?
  • 2004-05, with projected resources:
    • 55 sections funded with recurring dollars
      • Lecturers
      • Teaching Assistants
    • 32 funded by EWC and Distance Learning
    • 19 sections funded by Provost with non-recurring
    • 8 sections funded by COM
  • Total: 114 sections; ~2,964 students
the difference
The difference?
  • 24 fewer sections offered/year
  • ~600 fewer students served/year
what would it take to serve 4 000
What would it take to serve 4,000?
  • Assume a need to serve 90% of student body
    • TA 225
    • Alternate paths
  • Would need 144 sections/year
implications for lecturer lines
Implications for lecturer lines
  • SACS is opposed to reliance on PTI’s
  • They also take issue with over-reliance on TA’s
  • We would need 18 lecturers to cover the courses
  • Recurring dollars for lecturer salary and benefits would total ~$596,700.00
  • Also need funds for equipment, materials
what if we had the money
What if we had the money?
  • There is a lack of qualified personnel
    • Local pool is fully tapped
    • Extremely difficult to attract qualified applicants
      • Low salary
      • Year-to-year contracts
  • Insufficient classroom space
  • No office space
can t we revise the curriculum
Can’t we revise the curriculum?
  • What about large lecture?
    • We tried that
    • It simply did not work
      • Still required extensive instructional support for “recitation” sections
      • Classroom climate negatively impacted
  • What about COM 199 for everybody?
    • We developed COM 199 for a subset of programs
    • Due to demand, sequencing fails
    • Students tell us they do not get enough practice
can t each program teach its own
Can’t each program teach its own?
  • Presentational assignments certainly are appropriate in classes across programs
  • However, skills are not being taught
  • Further, instructors lack training in teaching skills, and they understandably wish to focus on their own discipline
  • SACS assessment issues cannot be ignored
additional considerations
Additional considerations
  • The four year graduation contract will require students’ home departments to pay tuition for unavailable classes
  • Of UK’s benchmarks, only 3 of 17 responding to a survey required oral communication
  • There is a negative impact on the Department of Communication’s teaching and research missions
competing demands
Competing demands
  • The Department of Communication has three instructional missions
    • Oral communication
    • Undergraduate majors (numbers are increasing again)
    • Graduate students (doubled this year)
slide20
The Department of Communication has a strong research mission
    • One of the top funded social science units
      • $4.5 million in FY 03
      • More than $35 million over past 20 years
    • Health behavior research
      • HIV/AIDS prevention
      • Substance abuse prevention
      • Physician-patient communication
reallocation of resources
Reallocation of resources
  • Funds we currently are spending to support oral communication could be reallocated
    • Additional courses for majors could be offered
    • Various research initiatives could be sponsored
    • Graduate students could be better supported
    • Wethington awards (new to “Lexington” campus) must be covered (~$26K this year)
  • TAs could be reassigned to support faculty
so what are we to do
So what are we to do?
  • It is time to remove the oral communication requirement from USP
    • There will be no “leftover” resources; rather, we will have the resources needed to meet demand for programs that will continue to require oral communication
    • We will be able to maintain curricular integrity
    • We will be able to better serve our teaching and research missions
concluding thoughts
Concluding thoughts
  • In a perfect world, every student would have easy access to all required classes
    • Those classes would including training in all oral communication skills – public speaking, interpersonal, small group
    • Boundless resources – money, space, and personnel – would make this possible
slide24
In a perfect world, faculty would have boundless time and energy
    • To teach and advise
    • To write grant proposals, conduct research and publish
    • To engage in endless service
slide25
Unfortunately, our resources are limited and it is a zero-sum game
  • We all have been doing more with less for several years now
  • We are at the point now that it is impossible to complete the oral communication mission for the entire University
  • We ask for your help to face this reality