Undergraduate Academic Council


Meeting Date:

Monday, September 12, 2005, 9:00-10:15 AM.




J. Philippe Abraham, Jeanette Altarriba, Scott Barclay, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Ingrid Fisher, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Zia Liang, Crystal Rion, Lisa Trubitt



Minutes from last semester’s May 11, 2005 meeting and last week’s meeting held September 1, 2005 were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved. 


Chair’s Report:


- The Chair mentioned his need to depart early from the Council meeting due to the fact that he

had been called unexpectedly to attend another function. Scott Barclay will assume the Chair’s responsibilities.

- A list of volunteer Council members and Chairs for UAC’s subcommittees was distributed by

   the Chair.


Other Business:


The working group that met during the summer to discuss honors issues, resources, university-wide framework, etc. will meet this coming Friday (9/16/05). Our new provost, Susan Herbst, is scheduled to attend.


Educational Studies Minor Revision Proposal:


The School of Education’s proposal is two-fold:  (1) a proposed revision for the educational studies minor for students following 2004-2005 or previous Undergraduate Bulletins, and (2) a proposed bulletin copy for the educational studies minor for students following the 2005-2006 or subsequent Undergraduate Bulletins. Requirements for 2004-2005 or previous bulletins are covered in the first paragraph. The listed concentrations are for informational purposes to provide guidance for students and advisors. In the past RA courses (E Cpy 301, 302, 303) were not counted for minors. They now may be used in the minor. Crystal Rion noted that there are about 400 minors in the School of Ed. Bob Gibson mentioned that DARS would need to be immediately changed if there is a revision to the old minor. Previously there were two minors. The proposal was approved.


Discussion on Change in Senate Charter:


Seth Chaiken asked whether the proposal to make both the Director of Advisement Services and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in charge of Honors Programs ex officio members of the Council should be discussed after obtaining the revised advisement policy proposal. He mentioned that the advisement proposal would specify the constituency of the advisory committee. It was observed that the issue of a new committee and the ex officio proposals might not need to be considered together. He agreed to complete a draft proposal for submission to the Council next week.

UAC Minutes, 9/12/05

Page 2 of 2



Optional S/U Grading:


Among several duties, the Committee on Academic Standing reviews requests for exception to opted S/U deadlines. Students may use S/U grading twice (two optional “S’s” can be used in lower 100/200 level courses). The original theory behind S/U grading was to allow students to experiment with courses they normally would not consider (e.g., taking an unfamiliar foreign language they have a desire to try such as Russian, etc.) S/U grading has now become a continuous problem. Many students believe opting for a S/U is necessary. Some students utilize the S/U grading late in their career. At times students obtain an excellent grade and petition the Committee to revert to a letter grade since they desire a higher GPA for graduation purposes. In other cases, a graduating senior who took a course S/U does C- work or lower (= “U”) and seeks to have the option changed to A-E in order to graduate. Dean Faerman questioned whether the Committee could provide stats for reviewing. Perhaps Dan Smith can provide data on numbers of petitions. Bob Gibson mentioned the Registrar’s office may be able to locate statistics via Gail Richardson from Institutional Research.


Scott Barclay, Chair of the subcommittee on Academic Standing, was questioned on the Committee’s proposal for S/U grading. He replied that the Committee prefers elimination of the S/U grading option. Jeanette Altarriba suggested that students not be allowed to use the option in the junior or senior year. Another Council member mentioned that we should consider keeping the policy simple by placing a limit on S/U courses and not allowing students to petition for a reversal to a letter grade. It was stated that students could take all lower level classes via a S/U grading. Some graduate, law, and medical schools look unfavorably on the S/U grading option by translating the “S” grade to a “C” letter grade; if students are freely able to change back and forth, it is likely more persons reviewing a transcript will assume the “S” represents “C” level work. A higher GPA student choosing a S/U grading could thus result in their GPA being pulled down, as calculated by a graduate or professional school. A suggestion was made that advisors should inform students of the implications in choosing a S/U grading option.


It was agreed that after Scott obtained stats, he would present the S/U grading option to the Council for discussion at a future meeting.


Next Meeting:

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Monday, 9/19/05, 9:30 AM, LC-31.


Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.