Undergraduate Academic Council

 

Meeting Date:

Wednesday, March 9, 2005, 2:00-3:30 PM.

 

Present:

 

J. Philippe Abraham, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson, Trudi Jacobson, Anne Hildreth, Sue Phillips, Joan Savitt

 

Minutes:

Minutes from the March 2, 2005 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved

 

Minutes from November 15, 2004 remain in need of review.

 

Chair’s Report:

 

The Chair mentioned attending a recent UPC meeting where he and the UPC Chair, David McCaffrey, discussed coordination between UAC and UPC for the honors college proposal. Chair McCaffrey cited the need for UPC review of academic issues raised in the honors college proposal. Joan Wick-Pelletier, The Dean of the College of Arts & Science, should be invited to a future Council meeting to discuss academic issues. An invitation will be issued depending on the progress of the review.

 

Eventually the policy based on the Advisement Task Force report will need to go the Senate.

The Chair notified the Council that President Hall is aware of the task force report and its draft proposal.

 

Advisement Task Force:

 

Anne Hildreth reported that she and the Chair met to review UAC minutes and feedback regarding the Advisement Task Force proposal.

 

The proposal states “Academic departments have the primary responsibility for advising students with declared majors in their discipline”; as well as ensuring students understand courses, sequencing, etc.; as well as requirements for the completion of their major, minor, and Gen Ed requirements. The thrust of this is that departments own their students regarding all three pieces (major, minor, and Gen Ed requirements). That ownership should be emphasized in the report to the Senate. It was mentioned that departments having primary responsibility for student advisement conflicts with the current practice. How can this information be communicated back to departments?

 

What we owe students will be discussed on the Senate floor. If the bill passes and the President signs it, departments can be held accountable for meeting the minimum. Where department degree programs are assessed, advisement also will be assessed.

 

Student responsibility was also touched on. One member mentioned being in a working group that is reviewing that portion. On-line links will be created, but the working group is still studying where the links will be placed within the website.

 

 

The second page of the draft policy on academic advisement references transfer students. It was mentioned that more should be written about transfer students and also those responsible for advising transfer students. One problem facing transfer students is their orientation lasts one day, but hopefully those students will be completely advised on everything.

 

Section 3 mentions the expectation of contact with each student. The Council previously spoke of separating the words “advising” and “mentoring”. Basic advisement is what students need in order to graduate within four years while mentoring is ideally a building, continuing relationship. The idea to many is that mentoring is more of a personal relationship with the faculty advisor. It was pointed out that the word “mentor” is not mentioned in the policy. Student contact varies. Some departments require personal contacts while other departments have no mandatory student contact and merely post AVN numbers on office doors. It was suggested the Council emphasize that personal student contact is the preferred method.

 

Economics previously provided the Council with their departmental student advisement procedures. If the proposal is accepted, will it or similar policies be acceptable to the University?

 

The Chair mentioned that one of the Computer Science professors utilizes e-mail to inform students of their individual review as well as providing them of their status. The e-mails include where the students stands in regards to meeting their individual degree requirements. The Council felt e-mail could constitute “personal” contact with the student.

 

The Council is committed to the review of the nine items under the “Structure of Academic Advisement portion”. In our report, we will emphasize “mentoring” within our advisement suggestions since the objective role of an advisor is not always expected to be similar to the role of mentor. It was pointed out that the advisement checklist should not include mentoring. Basically, this portion is stating that departments are responsible for ensuring advisement activities take place.

 

“Delivery of Academic Advisement” on page 3 of the proposal mentions “In fulfilling the responsibility to provide academic advisement to its students, departments may establish structures and procedures and strategies that best fit their resources and curriculum, while accommodating the needs of all its advisees. Each department will provide academic advisement of new students during scheduled planning conferences, as appropriate.” Should there be consulting with the Advisement Center? Sue Phillips mentioned she is in a working group that meets monthly. UAC could add to the policy that some advising group will update and/or yellow flag those departments not meeting advisement requirements.

 

The Chair mentioned that the task force would continue existing. Should UAC propose the task force continue but rename itself?

 

Regarding the citation of assessment given under “assessment” at the end, is it a sufficient statement on how departmental advisement will be assessed? It was agreed that a permanent group should be given the responsibility of updating. Does the Task Force want to own it in regards to undergraduate students? Should a new UAC subcommittee be established? If so, that new subcommittee under UAC will have governance powers. Resources should be up to date, and communications should be open. There should be a permanent group of advisement faculty contributing to the legwork of updating policy and corresponding to the departments and schools. Also, the permanent group would work with both UAC and the Dean’s office.

 

 

There was a concern expressed that the work that needs to be done is not typically that performed by a governance body. A permanent governance council should review departmental procedures, update policies, etc. The question remains as to whether a permanent group would have the power to enforce any advisement policies that are approved. The Gen Ed Committee was mentioned as an example of being more pro-active than reactive. Gen Ed was moved into a governance capacity due to policies arriving in need of review before being presented to the Council. Should the issue of supervising updates as well as assigning responsibility to a particular group be referred to the Council on Governance? It was determined that this issue should be referred to the Advisement Task Force before being presented to the Council on Governance.

 

It was agreed that assessment referral be made to the Assessment Council. No specific words will be given, but the motion passed to defer the issue. The Council stated assessment should be part of the proposal.

 

It was recalled that the Council had agreed to add at the bottom of page 3, under “Recognition and Reward”, that a line item for a narrative account of advisement and mentoring activities be added to the Faculty Activity Report form. The Council began to discuss how advisement and mentoring should count in tenure and promotion cases. The Council might request that CPCA include the portion regarding teaching and the number of students assigned to faculty for advisement services. Should this be forwarded to CPCA? The burden of advisement should be on the departments in addition to determining merit awards for outstanding advising, ascertaining advisement workloads, etc. The individual performing the best advising will not be recognized if the college or school dean believes it is appropriate for faculty to leave AVN numbers and other information on their doors and thus avoiding student contact for advising purposes. It should be emphasized that not valuing advisement is not recommended, and advisement should be strongly considered when the issue of tenure surfaces. Departments need to value individuals performing good advisement when the time for reviewing teaching records of individual faculty members takes place. It was suggested a sentence should be added that deans are responsible for monitoring advisement and should also present an advisement report on a regular basis.

 

Regarding recognition and reward, the Deans should recognize those individuals that significantly contribute to the nine advisement items. CPCA should receive the report. It should be emphasized that advisement should be a valued portion of teaching. Where does the definition exist? The definition is found in the Board of Trustees statement in ##1-4. It was suggested that UAC point out to the University that both advising and mentoring are considered part of “teaching”.

 

The suggestion was made to strengthen the language for the narrative line item faculty report. These activities should be part of CPCA review. Mentoring and advisement under teaching should be stressed when recognizing those individuals who provide excellent student mentoring and advisement.

 

It was mentioned that the Provost expects Deans to monitor departmental mentoring and advising. The major issue in student opinion surveys is the mentoring or advising aspects of their college career. The question was raised as to whether chairs provide departmental reports at year’s end. Department Chairs do include departmental advisement in their reports. It was suggested that wording be added regarding yearly advisement activities reports.

 

 

In the Computer Science Department, the Chair administers the workload policy, and advisement is included in the workload. The School of Business has centralized advisement. How are advisement duties assigned or covered generally within the College of Arts and Science?

 

 

The Chair mentioned he has received more input. Both the Chair and Anne will work together to develop a new document that shows all corrections and suggestions.

 

Curriculum Proposals for Economics:

 

Dick Collier requested the members review the five curriculum proposals for Economics and bring suggestions to the next meeting. The proposal includes a revision to Economics’ BS program, a revision of their honors program, and three course revisions. The proposal will be forwarded to Curriculum and Honors Subcommittee.

 

Next Meeting:

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Wednesday, 3/16/05, 2:00 PM, LC-31.

 

Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.