Undergraduate Academic Council - MINUTES

Meeting Date:
Thursday, September 25, 2003, 9:45 AM-10:45 AM

Deborah Bernnard, Gerald Burke, Richard Collier, John Delano, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Reed Hoyt, Trudi Jacobson, Faridah Jivani, John Pipkin, Sue Phillips, Joan Savitt, Helene Scheck, Joshua Smith, Greg Stevens

Minutes from the September 18, 2003 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. The minutes, with required updates, were approved.

Chair's Update
- In the 9/22/03 Senate meeting, the Chair reported the Council's decision to recommend a
waiver of the restrictions on seniors advance registering in 100 level classes. UAC will monitor 100-level course enrollments this year.
- The Curriculum and Honors Committee elected Helene Scheck as Chair.
- The Bylaws Committee will attend a future Council meeting regarding proposed revisions
concerning the UAC and the proposed Assessment Council. The Chair will inform the Council on when Bylaws representatives will attend.

Student Plagiarizing
The Chair mentioned a grievance that came to CAAS during the Summer of 2003. SUNY/Albany has no pro-active student piece on how not to plagiarize. Although professors' syllabi mention that students should not plagiarize, students have no reference to peruse for a plagiarism definition or explanation. In studying this grievance, CAAS reviewed the Student Guidelines; again, there was only a warning not to plagiarize. The Office of Academic Support Services' Spring and Fall student newsletters contain a mention by Dean Faerman of students' responsibility not to plagiarize and encouraging a sense of accomplishment when completing their own work. Dean Faerman mentioned that in her experience many freshmen students are not completely familiar with the differences between paraphrasing and plagiarism. It was noted that information literacy courses are not always taken freshman year. The Writing Center also has a small handout. It was suggested that perhaps both personnel from CETL and the Writing Center could together compose a suggested handout. Many professors have assigned the Library tutorial entitled Plagiarism 101 to students. Dick Collier mentioned the locally prepared plagiarism booklet by English professor Arthur Collins given to English Comp students back in the 1960's as a previous reference source on plagiarism that was given to new students their first semester.

The Council's consensus was that there is a need for an easily accessed how-not-to-plagiarize piece which should be referenced within the Undergraduate Bulletin, and that the Library's Plagiarism 101 tutorial is a good source for student access. The Council also agreed that faculty should be informed of the link to the Library's site, and professors' syllabi should contain a reference to the plagiarism policy and the tutorial. It was also recommended that the Graduate Academic Council should be informed of the Library's Plagiarism 101 tutorial.

Revisions within "The General Education Program" Policy
Revisions of an editorial nature occur in the introduction, "Characteristics of General Education Courses" section, and in the second to last paragraph of the "Administration of the Program" section. Other suggested changes are in the Global and Cross-Cultural Perspectives" and the "U.S. Diversity and Pluralism" categories. The current criteria have been found to be cumbersome and difficult to interpret, and these criteria did not fully match the standard being used to review and assess these courses. Definitions of both categories have been revised.

The handout reflects conversations within Gen Ed Committee meetings last spring. The original wording borrowed heavily from the previous Gen Ed program which relied on 100- and 200-level courses. The current Gen Ed includes both upper and lower division courses. Also, the current Gen Ed requires an oral discourse course.

The Council discussed the changes. Updated text as it will now read is in the tracked changes section. The reference to Math, Stats, and Foreign Language have been moved to Communication and Reasoning Competencies.

A question was raised as to when the older version of Gen Ed (the 1992-2000 Gen Ed Program) will no longer be applicable. Dean Faerman estimated the 1992-2000 Gen Ed Program will expire in about two more years.

For clarification purposes, it was agreed by Council to refer to the older Gen Ed program as the "1992-2000 Gen Ed Program" and to the new Gen Ed program as "The General Education Program".

The Council voted on and approved the proposed revisions within "The General Education Program".

Item #5, student absences, was briefly discussed.
Some professors have a policy that after so many absences, a student will be failed or penalized in the class. Vagueness of the language needs to be addressed for absences from sessions that do not include examinations since some professors do not place a class absence due to illness in the same category as an absence from an exam. The Council agreed that if attendance and/or participation are part of a student's grade, this must be stated in the class syllabus. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies will continue to notify professors of student absences for illness.

Upcoming Issues/Items to be Discussed
- Continuation of the 19+ items in need of discussion.
- Bylaws.
- Item #5, student absences, at the next meeting.

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will probably be held Thursday 10/2/03, 9:45 AM, LC-31

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies