Undergraduate Academic Council


Meeting Date:

Monday, September 26, 2005, 9:30-11:03 AM.




J. Philippe Abraham, Jeanette Altarriba, Scott Barclay, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Sue Faerman, Chris Faugere, Ingrid Fisher, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Zai Liang, Carolyn Malloch, Karin Reinhold-Larsson, Crystal Rion, Oscar Williams, Sue Phillips (Guest),




Minutes from the September 19, 2005 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved


Proposal for Standards for Social Work Education:


A url exists for the nationwide standards. Students in the School of Social Welfare are expected to adhere to the same standards as degreed social workers. A program must be in place to terminate those students not adhering to professional performance standards. A grad student removed from the program would be terminated from the University. An undergraduate student would remain at the University but would be removed from the SSW major. It was noted that the appellate mechanism appears to be sufficiently in place.


The Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing will review the proposal and report at a future UAC meeting. Concerning student appeals to the CAAS, Bob Gibson noted that appeals should only be on procedural grounds when being submitted to CAAS. He questioned whether CAAS should be in the position to judge the school’s findings concerning unprofessional behavior. In other words, CAAS would be concerned with issues such as due process rather than the details of the alleged infraction. It was noted that the details of the requirements and process should be explained with the admissions criteria to the program.


Should both undergraduate and grad students sit on the committee? The proposal states that only faculty and degreed social workers would comprise the committee. It appears to be an issue of fairness when including students. The Council agreed that it might be reasonable to add both grad and U/G student representation. It would also show students an acceptable code of conduct.


Bob Gibson hopes to present the results of CAAS review at the 10/8/05 UAC meeting.


Other Business:


The Council congratulated Dean Faerman on her promotion to serve as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Dean Faerman thanked the Council for the recognition. She noted with enthusiasm that undergraduate education is being placed front and center at the University and how that is the most important message being sent with her promotion.


The Chair noted that UAC will meet next Monday (10/3) even though classes are suspended.


Honors College Proposal:


Dick Collier and Vivien Ng have been working together on the structures of the curriculum. The budget aspect is being worked on mainly by Vivien. Both aspects will be combined as one

UAC Minutes, 9/26/05

Page 2 of 4



package. Dean Faerman will present the final version to Provost Herbst. Students are presently being recruited for a Fall 2006 implementation. An admissions open house was held last Saturday (9/24), and another one will take place the end of October. The structure for Fall 2006 is unofficially in effect, but a Fall 2007 structure is anticipated for full implementation. Students applying for the Fall 2006 semester would be grandparented in Fall 2007. Dean Faerman noted the importance of having Senate action, developing a program, and stressed that continued recruitment is necessary. If Dean Faerman is unable to present the recent honors college version at next week’s meeting, she plans to circulate it to UAC members via e-mail.


Bob Gibson noted that any additional wording added to the official diploma must adhere to SUNY policies. A statement on students’ transcripts will not be a problem, however.


Dean Faerman noted some differences from the recently UAC-distributed version and the next upcoming edition. There is a presumption of students choosing from ten courses a year, taking six their first two years. A student in a department not currently offering a honors in their major may complete a project to remain in the honors college. Some students do not excel in high school. This would be their chance to shine, if they do very well at the end of the first or second semester. Since there will be choices, there is not a single set of courses that all students must complete. It was noted that courses will meet most gen ed requirements.


The Chair asked if this was not similar to the General Education Honors Program. Dick Collier responded that, like that program, it should serve to attract “Group 1” students but, as the UAC stressed last year, would be populated by those who demonstrate high quality work at Albany. He noted that like GEHP, the Honors College would have to have the appropriate mix of major and general education courses to allow students to complete the program.


President Hall has emphasized the need to recruit students guaranteeing the fulfillment requirements for scholarships such as Rhodes and Goldwater, and it is a function of the Honors College to find and then and nurture candidates for such awards as soon as possible in their undergraduate career.  As an example, we have had no Rhodes scholars. We have done a little better with the Goldwater scholarship. In order to obtain nationally prestigious awards, we need to capture the brightest students in their first or second year.


It was suggested that honors college courses be laid out semester by semester, sample of programs shown, review majors requiring strict adherence, study how honors will fit, etc. Dean Faerman mentioned that Vivien Ng has already provided her with a matrix showing those suggestions.


The governing body will be comprised of members from across the campus and will approve the curriculum for what fits an honors course. Although a department as well as UAC sanctions courses, the governing body would have the final determination whether or not a course can be designated for the Honors College. President Hall has expressed the need to enhance the academic profile of our incoming students since we want to make the University more competitive for and with those incoming students.


All of us are involved in compact planning. Provost Herbst sent a memo to all Deans mentioning that a major part of compact planning will be enrollment management. We need to enhance enrollment to make us more attractive to the better and more prepared students. One member

UAC Minutes, 9/26/05

Page 3 of 4



mentioned his attendance in several meetings where the emphasis was not to cause non-incentive situations with departments trying to set up their programs. The emphasis is not on departmental programs only but trying to complement each other.


Advisement Policy:


It was noted that Sheila Mahan is willing to attend a future UAC meeting to answer questions from Council members. Dean Faerman discussed the changes within the updated policy. The structure is a little different, but substantively is not different. More questions have been answered, the language has been tightened up, and the preamble has been removed. Dean Faerman mentioned that the Council had approved the proposed policy last spring, but a last minute preamble was added. The proposal was then sent to UPC after which a group was formed to review the proposal during the summer months. The current version will be presented to UPC at their next meeting tomorrow (9/27).


It was mentioned that UAC was not given Professor Wulfert’s ad hoc committee review and comments concerning the Student Satisfaction Survey results of a year ago. Since this report is currently being reviewed by UPC, the Council should also have access to this information in its consideration of advisement, honors, and related issues. The Chair indicated he will contact UPC Chair Carolyn MacDonald about this information.


Would the advisory board be under UAC? If the board will not be an official subcommittee of UAC, an annual report would be presented to the Council in the fall semester by the advisory board. It was suggested that this information be added to the proposal. The advisory board should centralize everything including taking care of resources.


In the advisement of freshmen and sophomores, the same sort of considerations and strategies critical to the General Education Program will also be true for the Honors College (requirements, sequences, staying on track, etc.) It was suggested this information be added as an additional bullet under academic advisement. Dick Collier will compose the appropriate wording.


Alternatives to the traditional face-to-face meeting each semester, such as course schedules being prepared on an annual versus semester basis, were discussed. In the April advisement sessions why are both faculty and students not able to peruse available classes two semesters ahead? Faculty can review available classes only within their department. It was suggested breaking up the first sentence to create a separate bullet. By doing so, it will show the basic skeleton of what’s going on. It was noted that reviewing the previous semester shows the skeleton of what is going on. Bob Gibson mentioned this could be accomplished but would require additional planning. Dick Collier said that Seth Chaiken brought up this issue in last year’s UAC, and the recommended online advising materials could list key prerequisite courses, sequences and the like several semesters in advance, particularly in those programs where such information has direct bearing on a student’s staying on track.


As noted in the Undergraduate Bulletin, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offer specific courses only during certain semesters. CETL and other groups can add their departmental information on their web sites. Dean Faerman mentioned the advisory board will need to review the possibilities.

UAC Minutes, 9/26/05

Page 4 of 4



In the second to the last bullet on page 6, it was suggested that “widespread use” be changed to “current widespread use”. The last bullet should have the words “including approvals for waivers” changed to “including processes for waivers”.


The advisory group should monitor closed course problems in minors and majors. The suggestion was made to place reference to this problem under ongoing action items in the implementation and resource requirements section. Perhaps the advisory group could review advisement from Advisement Services and other advisors to determine any certain pattern and highlight this issue.


Dean Faerman mentioned that a lack of courses is not related to advisement. She discussed her meeting with Presidential Scholars this past spring and conversing with students on over-registering. Dean Faerman provided them a thought-provoking comment of how over-registering can affect their fellow students/friends’ not being able to register for desired courses. She mentioned that the Student Council would consider recommending a limit (perhaps 16 or 17 credits) on the credit amount when students advance register. Dean Faerman commented that the culture of both departments and students need reviewing.


Items may arise affecting advising. We need to not only identify campus obstacles but to create solutions.


It was suggested that UAC review UPC’s decisions on the policy. UAC and UPC should provide a joint submission to the Senate.


Optional S/U Grading:


Five items were suggested in Scott Barclay’s previously sent e-mail as warnings to students utilizing the S/U option. The question was raised as to whether proof in writing exists to back up students’ claims of grad or professional schools denying students’ admission due to a S/U grading. Bob Gibson prepares a yearly report of UAlbany grading policies to AMCAS, LSDAS, etc., and “S” grades are not converted to a 4.0 scale. . Bob suggested the following be added to the S/U form: “Students should be aware that transferability and/or applicability of “S opted” credits is not universal and not all graduate and professional schools handle this grade in the same manner.  Therefore, students are urged to consult the policy of institutions they may attend in the future and discuss the use of this option with their academic advisor.” It was noted that the CAS has also received petitions from students concerning undergraduate institutions; Dan Smith will be asked for examples. The purpose of the additional wording is to plant in the students’ minds the possible ramifications of choosing the S/U option. Could the additions be placed on the back of the form? Any additional wording should be included in the Undergraduate Bulletin. It was stated that the Committee on Academic Standing most likely would not reject a student’s appeal if their appeal states a medical or professional school would not allow a “S” grade. The Council will continue to discuss the S/U option at next week’s meeting.


Next Meeting:

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Monday, 10/3/05, 9:30 AM, LC-31.


Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.