Undergraduate Academic Council

 

Meeting Date:

Monday, October 17, 2005, 9:30-10:40 AM.

 

Present:

 

J. Philippe Abraham, Jeanette Altarriba, Scott Barclay, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Chris Faugere, Ingrid Fisher, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Carolyn Malloch

Guests: Robert Andrea, Dean Leonard, Sue Maloney, Sue Phillips (Guest)

 

Minutes:

 

Minutes from the October 10, 2005 meeting were reviewed with no corrections required. Minutes were approved.

 

CAAS

 

Bob Gibson reported that CAAS reviewed the Standards for School of Social Welfare’s proposal for standards for social work education. He mentioned these standards and procedures are not replacing present policy but are an addition. The Committee questioned the time line of 60 days for processing a case. Discussions with the School of Social Welfare showed their need for certain cases requiring further investigation as well as follow-up personnel interviews with external agencies. A 60-day time line would provide that cushion. The Committee sought clarification with its role in appeals of the Dean of Social Welfare’s decision. As mentioned in previous minutes, appeals submitted to CAAS, should be on procedural grounds only. The Committee should not be in a position to judge the school’s findings concerning unprofessional behavior. Issues such as due process, but not details of the alleged infraction, should be the main consideration for committee review. The following wording will be added to the proposal: “Appeals to the UAC or GAC shall be limited to questions of compliance with the due process provisions as contained in these procedures.” Bob mentioned that the School of Social Welfare agreed with all Committee changes. The Council voted to adopt the policy.

 

Honors College:

 

Vice Provost Faerman mentioned the Honors College proposal has a few minor changes. The Admissions Office was not given the proposal before the Council’s review and had concerns with the application procedures. It was noted that the Honors College proposal is presently being used as a recruitment tool and a concern was raised that the application process will discourage candidates. Students need to be informed of their obligatory commitment, but letters of recommendation should not be required. She proposed the second and third bullet under the first bullet regarding admission criteria be removed. Detailed procedures will be worked out by the Honors College Governing Board in consultation with both the Office of Admissions and the UAC's Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing. This gives the University an opportunity to build in flexibility so as to accommodate need for changes in the criteria for admission into the Honors College if they should be necessary. Changes are dependent on the number of students enrolled, available seats, etc.

 

A member questioned whether the proposal specifies the policy. How will potential students know whether or not they might be eligible? Information will be provided via student applications, brochures will reflect suggestions, and presentations will also be given to students. Students reaching the criteria will be invited to join the Honors College. A minimum combined


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SAT score of 1220 is required. After wording is clarified and approved, the language will be included in literature, the Undergraduate Bulletin, and the web site.

 

This amendment was approved and will be forwarded to the UPC, which is also considering the proposal.

 

S/U Option:

 

Bob Gibson mentioned that final wording has been completed and distributed copies of the student form to the UAC members present at the meeting. The italicized portion is the policy from the Undergraduate Bulletin. The points included in the draft were discussed previously. The word “graduation” in the first bullet will be removed. Reference to grad/med schools was made a little more generic. In the third bullet “your Undergraduate Bulletin” has been changed to “the Undergraduate Bulletin”. The sentence regarding grades of “U” being viewed as equivalent to an “E” could be confusing to students. After discussions, the Council agreed to change the last sentence in the last bullet to “A grade of U earns no credit, however grades of C-, D+, D, D-, do earn credit.”

 

Business School Proposal:

 

School of Business Dean Paul Leonard stated his appreciation of the fast track UAC has taken in reviewing the Business School’s proposal. He mentioned his agreement with recent UAC changes regarding the "unconditional" portion of the proposal but expressed concern with a suggestion to strike language referencing the criteria for application. He noted his faculty voted that this opportunity be extended to all "Group 1" students and not to others. If this specification were to change, the proposal would have to be reconsidered, and he emphasized that both he and the School of Business faculty would not approve the change. It was not the intent and is not feasible or desirable to open direct admission to the school for all freshmen.

 

In response to the suggestion the formula might confuse some applicants, it was noted that "Group 1" status means nothing to anyone outside of SUNY System or those on campuses who deal with admissions issues. If students who are "Group 1" have no way of knowing this, how will they determine their eligibility? Dean Leonard informed the Council that Dick Collier mentioned to him there is a way to perform the calculations. A Council member suggested there be a point where students are confirmed of their admittance and also that high standards remain for acceptance. Students should be told that this is a guideline, their GPA will count, and that their application will be reviewed along with other applicants.

 

Bob Andrea, Director of Admissions and Enrollment, mentioned that last year 517 School of Business applications were received, but only 504 were accepted. He believes admission of Group 1 students would reach 99% across the board if the University has unconditional acceptance. Dick Collier asked about the "Group 1" students who were subsequently rejected by Admissions last year. Mr. Andrea noted some students will have sufficient credits/grades, but their application may show a problem. To this another member asked whether, under the proposal, we would have grounds to reject similar students in the future, rescinding their direct admission to Business? Andrea felt that as long as the policy does not mention “automatic”, there would not be a problem.

 

Sheila Mahan mentioned that the goal is to increase the "Group 1" applicant pool. Students should be informed when they are included in that pool for acceptance into the program. A Council member mentioned that in the previous discussion of the Honors College the UAC


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agreed to give the Governing Board time to work out the specific criteria. It was also noted that in the future there might be a need to make the standards more selective.

 

Dean Leonard mentioned he is sensitive to the wording of a public statement, but the internal policy could be confidential in nature for those defining the policy. His concern is with too many students coming into the program. Also with their limited resources, they are running as fast as possible to accommodating all enrolled students. Dean Leonard also expressed concern with the number of junior transfer students. 589 accounting/business students came into the freshmen class. He mentioned the school could handle 180 transfer students.

 

Could the sentence referencing “a minimum HSGPA of 85% and a minimum SAT of 1100” be tweaked, since a student with those two numbers would not be "Group 1"? On the other hand, if higher minima were to be published as a threshold, such as HSA 90 plus SAT 1200, this would exclude some of the "Group 1" students we are attempting to attract. It was asked whether, given the caliber of students we aspire to attract and the sort of skills needed in the School of Business programs, it is likely they would be confused or turned off by the formula stated in the proposal? If we inform students of the base and its concept, we could have some flexibility in changing future wording and not worry about the 85/1100 concerns. A Council member proposed passing the proposal today as a document and coming up with language for the Undergraduate Bulletin and admissions at a later date.

 

A member suggested there seems to be a contradiction and a possible "image" problem of trying to attract really good students on the one hand yet not expecting them to do something extra to apply, not indicating that our standards and expectations for the program are rigorous, etc. Collier added that advertising suggesting Albany is "easy" or "cheap" might appeal to some "Group 1" students but seems counterproductive to long-range University goals of excellence.

 

Core courses have to be finished with a 2.0. This does make the proposed program different. Non-"Group 1" students may complain. As an example, one roommate with a 2.0 GPA admitted as a freshman remains in the program while his roommate with a 2.6 was denied entry. It was acknowledged that under the proposed policy, that would be allowed. Dean Leonard pointed out that "life isn't always fair" but the advantage given the "Group 1" student was a reward for the excellent work and ability demonstrated in high school.

 

What of a student in good academic standing that does not perform well? The student under 2.0 would be removed even if they have taken/not taken the required core courses. Required courses must be completed before entering junior year. A member mentioned this needs clarification. A similar problem existed when the Council previously reviewed the social welfare program. If a student is removed from the major, they will be unable to take core courses.

 

These questions need to be detailed as part of the admissions policy. There should be a guarantee that "Group 1" students will be admitted and that the policy is confirmed for a 2006 implementation. Could the Council vote today and agree to review the proposal’s wording at a future date?

 

Sheila Mahan mentioned our goal is to have an improvement of students’ academic preparation for admission to the School of Business. Exceptions will be a minimal amount of students, and we will work with those students in reaching their goal for admittance to the program. Concerning the prospect of students accepted as frosh who lack the core by their junior year, Collier asked what harm would there be to have the student "on the books" since the student who


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hasn't yet completed the seven core courses won't have access to the majors-only junior and senior courses; He suggested that other "Group 1" students may choose to go part-time, and they wouldn't fit a rigid schedule either.

 

A member was uncomfortable with the 2.0 GPA requirement since it raises the issue of equity for students applying to the School of Business. It was again emphasized that the number of students will be minimal. Sue Maloney mentioned that very few students are turned down if their overall GPA is acceptable, unless their core is low. She suggested leaving the wording out. One member questioned whether leaving it out would be a slap in the face of the higher achieving majority of Group 1 students since some students could have only a GPA of 1.0. Another member mentioned it is both a technical and a fairness issue, since these standards must all be spelled out and agreed upon and put in print in advance so students will know exactly where they stand. If we accept the formula of "Group 1" students, questions remains about what should be done with the 2.0 requirement.

 

The Council agreed to adopt the following language. “UAC approved direct admission to the School of Business for "Group 1" students admitted to the University at Albany beginning with Fall 2006. Administrative details regarding the direct admission to the School of Business and any eligibility requirements to remain enrolled in the School of Business will be submitted to UAC for consideration within this academic year.”

 

UAC must consider clarifications before the proposal’s implementation, and that must completed by the end of the UAC year. The School of Business will provide Undergraduate Bulletin wording. It was not known whether UPC has reviewed the proposal, but the language approved by UAC in the previous paragraph will be forwarded to UPC Chair MacDonald.

 

Next Meeting:

 

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Monday, 10/24/05, 9:30 AM, LC-31.

 

Minutes Taken:

 

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.