Undergraduate Academic Council

Meeting Date:
Thursday, March 11, 2004, 9:45 AM-11:07 AM.

Deborah Bernnard, Gerald Burke, Richard Collier, Robert Gibson, Trudi Jacobson, Reed Hoyt, Clarence McNeil (Guest), Sue Phillips, Joan Savitt, Helene Scheck, Joshua Smith, Greg Stevens

Minutes from the March 4, 2004 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. The minutes, with required updates, were approved.

Proposed Pilot for Advisement and Registration of New Freshmen

Sue Phillips mentioned this proposal was originally submitted for informational purposes. Since then, feedback from individuals and groups within the University revealed concern with the proposal. Some requested a delay in implementation until next year. Others suggested allowing students to register for only 2-3 classes. She emphasized that the proposal has been modified to be a pilot by virtue of scaling back the pre-registration activities. Several concerns were raised. Should we implement such a proposal at a time when the University no longer has a President and when the Provost will soon depart? Also it was felt the system issues (PeopleSoft) had not been fully answered. ITS has also expressed doubts about implementing this proposal. Another expressed concern was not having all 2,000 students registering at once and possibly causing an overload to the system. The Council was reminded of Spring semester registration on January 21st when the system became unavailable to students, faculty, and staff. Bob Gibson indicated these issues have been resolved. Sue answered concerns regarding Help Desk support to students and parents. She mentioned meeting previously with ITS and was informed the Help Desk is open for summer hours Monday-Thursday until 7:00 PM, and e-mail help is available after that hour. High demand and low supply class issues were discussed. Restricting freshmen registration to only 2-3 “major” classes will help students who are undecided or considering more than one major. An alternative suggested would be to allow students to register for one elective class ahead of time, so the students will have activated their accounts and will know how the system works. It was suggested students might be frustrated registering for only one class. Most would be very curious regarding the remainder of their schedule. Would it be feasible to place a restriction in the system so freshmen students are able to register for only one class? Bob Gibson mentioned it would be feasible but unfortunately only by the time consuming process of entering that restriction student by student. All students could, however, be coded for less than a full-time load.

The University of Buffalo has been given as an example for the freshmen registration process, but they utilize block scheduling. This process entails giving students their schedule, and then having students register for additional classes. It was pointed out that the proposed pilot for advisement and registration of new freshmen would not negatively impact their financial aid. A question was raised as to whether a student registering for classes, not attending the summer conference, and then deciding to attend another school would be billed. Sue Phillips mentioned that de-registering of such students was a policy issue. If authorized, ASC would de-register these students. EPC will meet tomorrow and will review this proposal. The Chair will report UAC’s discussion of the proposal to the Senate at their next meeting on Monday, March 15. Since the proposal is still being modified, no vote of endorsement was taken.

Curriculum and Honors Committee

Helene Scheck reported that the Music proposal will be reported on at a future meeting as well as revisions to the history honors program. The Committee met with the Philosophy Department regarding a request for a re-write on an admission statement for the major’s requirements. A question was raised that since Phil 110L and 111L are both distinct courses, why are they being considered as intro requirements? Helene read an explanation statement from the Philosophy Department noting there is more than one way to afford an introduction to this discipline. If a student takes Phil 111L and then chooses to declare a philosophy major, they would not be required to take Phil 110. The Committee voted to approve allowing Phi 110 or Phi 111L.

Department of Communication Request

Teresa Harrison from the Communication Department requested UAC consider the request for instructors to wait six days before de-registering students. She requested this be either reduced to a four-day wait or that the policy be totally eliminated. The present policy delays allowing instructors to register students truly desiring specific classes while allowing no-show students to retain valuable class seats. Page 33 of the Undergraduate Bulletin specifically states the policy requires a six-day wait for instructors. UAC has reviewed this request but decided not to change the policy.

New Majors (Former Teacher Ed Tracks)

Dick Collier reported that there was no bill as of yet. He noted that Teacher Ed programs for both Earth Sciences and Social Studies expire at the end of this semester. He hopes to have the new majors ready for UAC presentation next week. There is uncertainty of approval time from downtown.

Assessment Council

John Bartow contacted Dick Collier regarding the Assessment Council. Reports need to be reviewed by both UAC and GAC. Josh Smith mentioned that GAC has information prepared for a review and electronic copies can be made available to UAC as well.

Geography and Planning Department

Dick also received a call from John Pipkin, Geography and Planning, regarding possibly proposing the faculty-initiated urban planning major as a regular major.

Social Welfare Major

Dick received a mailing today regarding proposed changes for the Social Welfare major. This item will need to be reviewed by both CAAS and UAC.

Suggested Amendments to Senate Bill 0304-14

At the last Senate meeting, Seth Chaiken suggested an amendment to Senate Bill 0304-14 (transfer admission). Suggestion #1, within section III A., the paragraph reads "Academic Achievement: Successful applicants are expected to demonstrate acceptable academic achievement, as signified by grades across all areas of study. The necessary college grade point average will be determined in part by the rigor of coursework undertaken and in part by the University at Albany degree program to which the student is applying." The second sentence be amended so the term: "necessary grade point average" is replaced by "criteria for evaluation of college transcripts". Suggestion #2 suggested the following be inserted as the second paragraph under the section on Transfer Admissions: “Transfer applicants and admittees shall be advised that their expected time to complete an Albany Bachelor's degree will depend both on the quality and amount of their preparation for their chosen fields of study and on their total amounts of transferred general education and other credits.”

Seth Chaiken’s suggestion on degree completion time was discussed by Committee. It was pointed out that page 6 of the Undergraduate Bulletin addresses this issue. The Chair will report to the Senate that UAC reviewed the issue, but no action was taken since the topic is being covered in the Bulletin.

Upcoming Items for Discussion
- The definition of “applied elective credits”.

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Thursday 3/18/04, 9:45 AM, LC-31.

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies