Undergraduate Academic Council


Meeting Date:

Monday, October 10, 2005, 9:30-10:31 AM.




J. Philippe Abraham, Jeanette Altarriba, Scott Barclay, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Chris Faugere, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Karin Reinhold, Sue Phillips (Guest)




Minutes from the October 3, 2005 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved.




Bob Gibson reported that the CAAS will be meeting this Friday to consider the Social Welfare proposal.


General Education Committee:


Anne Hildreth reported that the SUNY Provost's deadline for campuses' revision of their General Education Assessment plans has been changed from November 3rd to February 15th. The "Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment" requires the use of nationally-normed tests or review of a campus alternative for assessing writing, mathematics and critical thinking.


While any revision will go through UAC, it was noted that it is not clear how the goals can be achieved via the choice of methods allowed by SUNY. Anne recounted a SUNY forum that showcased the various national tests available, and each one was flawed, failing to assess at least one important criterion in the given category.


Vice Provost Faerman noted the "rubrics" for the categories are not workable. For example, how can one test compare the mathematics achievement of students who met that requirement through appropriately approved courses in statistics, logic, precalculus, and calculus? She clarified that at Albany the "critical thinking" requirement is assessed through our upper division Writing requirement


Anne will keep the UAC informed of progress being made by the General Education Committee on this task.


Honors College


Vice Provost Faerman introduced the proposal, noting that she will supervise the AVP who will be responsible for managing the Honors College. In response to the Council's applause concerning her promotion, she noted that this should be considered evidence of the administration's seriousness of purpose and support of undergraduate education. She said Provost Herbst is very eager that the proposal "move forward."


The University admits ca. 200-300 "University Scholars" (a shorthand term that includes Presidential and Douglass Scholars as well as the newer College Scholars category.) While many University Scholars may qualify for admission to the Honors College their first semester, it is not required they do so. The population of University Scholars and the students who apply and are admitted to the Honors College will overlap, perhaps significantly, but they are not identical.

UAC Minutes, 10/10/05

Page 2 of 3



The Council then discussed the proposal. For the second bullet under the Mission section, “To identify other undergraduate candidates” was changed to “To identify other appropriate undergraduate candidates” and "ASP" was corrected to “Advisement Services Center." In the first paragraph in the Structure section, the word “purpose” in the final sentence was corrected to “purposes.” In the third paragraph of the Curriculum section, opening sentence, “courses per semester offered” was changed to “courses per semester will be offered” and in the final bullet of that section, the first subsection was changed from “By junior year, all Honors College” to “All Honors College.”


Concerning the "service learning component," Vice Provost Faerman noted there are many opportunities for "distinction", including research, performance work, and service. The service learning component in an English course, for example, might involve tutoring other students in writing. She cited an American Association of Higher Education Publication Service Learning Across the Disciplines, which provides an array of examples for each academic area. Members will be forwarded reference information to this document. [Service-Learning in the Disciplines 20 volume set, Series Edited by Edward Zlotkowski, 1996+, Stylus Publishing (the company that took over AAHE’s inventory), $510.00 (AAHE members - $425.00). Or the following url yields a more recent Zlotkowski pdf free summary: http://www.uma.edu/communityengagement/Documents/Service-Learning%20Across%20the%20Disciplines.pdf ]


In response to questions whether 8 courses a semester would suffice, she clarified that these will be in addition to the choice of those courses already established as "honors" courses (APSY102; honors physics, calculus, and chemistry; and the Uni "Great Ideas" course.)


Members sought clarification of what happens after the first two years. Is the idea that the students leave the Honors College to join their majors? Vice Provost Faerman explained that the Honors College is intended to represent a "four-year career of scholarship" for each student, and it is hoped and will be expected that members of the college will continue to participate in Honors College and related programs after the first two years and associate with one another and with newer members of the college. It was observed that the same hope is that the growing number of faculty participants will also consider themselves continuing participants in the college, in addition to their membership in the college or school of their program.


Concerning questions about housing arrangements, it was noted that specifics were not very detailed in the proposal but it is hoped that communal housing arrangements will result. Some of the students in the Honors College may also wish to participate in Project Renaissance, some will be commuters, and some simply may not wish to room in a setting consisting only of other  Honors College students.


The proposal was moved and seconded. A vote was taken by secret ballot. The proposal was approved by a vote of 8 for, 0 against, and 1 abstention.


Admission of Group 1 Students to the Business School


The UAC began its consideration of this proposal. Page 2, second paragraph: "is probably not be enough" should be changed to "is probably not enough."

UAC Minutes, 10/10/05

Page 3 of 3



Most of the discussion concerned the use of the phrase "unconditional admission," since it was noted that there were several conditions which, if not met, could result in the student's removal from the program. While the conditions were viewed as extremely modest, particularly compared to what has been required for admission and will continue to be required of other students, the term "unconditional" is not justified, may be considered false advertising, and could even result in litigation by a student thus removed from the school.


The wisdom of the term was also questioned in terms of recruiting. If the goal is to attract and impress high caliber students (and their parents), will students feel proud to join a program whose only requirement to remain is to avoid flunking out of the University (though even that would constitute a condition)? It was doubted that anyone would be impressed by lack of standards, and its "message" seems to conflict with the Honors College and other University honors objectives. It was thought unlikely that the students we are trying to attract would be scared off by requiring a "C" average in the business core or the other requirements.


It was mentioned that since some schools of business admit students directly into their program, perhaps there is strategic value in using the word "unconditional," even though such schools probably have at least minimal conditions for continuation in their programs. It was decided that Dean Leonard, Susan Maloney and Bob Andrea should be invited to the next meeting to discuss this conflict in terminology.


Next Meeting:


The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Monday, 10/17/05, 9:30 AM, LC-31.


Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Dick Collier on behalf of Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.