Undergraduate Academic Council - MINUTES


Meeting Date:
Thursday, October 2, 2003, 9:45 AM-10:58 AM

Present:
Deborah Bernnard, Gerald Burke, Richard Collier, John Delano, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson,
Anne Hildreth, Reed Hoyt, Faridah Jivani, Anton Konev, Steve Messner, Sue Phillips, John Pipkin, Joshua Smith, Greg Stevens

Minutes:
Minutes from the October 2, 2003 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. The minutes, with required updates, were approved.

Chair's Update
No Chair update was provided.

Item #5, Student Absences
The draft of the revised policy reviewed and discussed. The falsification of documents statement led to a discussion of academic integrity, falsifying journals, etc. It was decided these matters are handled sufficiently by other mechanisms and the absence policy is separate from dishonesty other than lying about an excuse, etc.

It was agreed to change the title "Attendance and Timely Compliance With Course Requirements" to reflect other requirements, such as the "work requirements" mentioned within the current religious observance section. By changing title we are requesting instructors to engage in the discussion with students. It was noted that in the current Bulletin the instructor has the final say, so there is a definite shift with this policy change. Consultation with students is now being stressed.

It was noted that some professors have in the syllabus that there will be no make ups whatsoever. When the policy states there must be the opportunity of a make-up exam, the Dean sides with student and calls the instructor if necessary to remind the instructor of University policy. It was felt that current mediation by the department chair on what is "mutually agreeable" generally works and only in a rare case results in the student pursuing the grievance route.

Already University policy states there must be a makeup for many of these absences. There may be an increase in students going to the Dean's office, though if faculty dealt with cases immediately using their own judgment, the increase may not be great. Several editorial changes were made in the first two sections; the wording in the section on religious portion is quoted from State Education Law.

A question was asked about how "Policy Reminders" reach instructors. Dean Faerman responded that these are now distributed electronically and are also accessible from the Undergraduate Studies web site. The attendance policy is also covered at the new faculty orientation at CETL

The Council voted on and approved the proposed revisions within "Attendance and Timely Compliance With Course Requirements" policy. For the Senate Executive meeting on Monday, Dick Collier will distribute the policy as amended and will also send a copy to Joan Savitt, noting the council's approval.

FACULTY BYLAWS AND SENATE CHARTER REVISIONS:

John Pipkin provided the historical background for the changes and an overview of some key features and the process involved in approval. He also noted the material put on the web and various forums and individual meetings with constituent groups that occurred the past year. More complete information will shortly be available on the University Senate web page, under Senate Chair Marjorie Pryse's picture.

Dick Collier then began discussion of the new Council on Academic Assessment and the revised UAC, noting that some proposals would still involve the Graduate Academic Council and the University Planning Council (formerly EPC). Within the overall goal of increasing teaching faculty participation, their distribution has been increased across the councils. Membership on councils has been increased to two-year terms. In the new structure, the objective is for every teaching faculty members to have a representative who is accountable for reporting back to constituents on changes and updates. For each council and committee, minimum and maximum membership limits are generally stipulated for teaching faculty, professionals, undergraduate students and graduate students. Minutes shall be made public. In response to a question, it was noted that the two-year terms would be staggered.

COUNCIL ON ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT:

Should the teaching faculty on the Assessment Council be senior professors? The point was well taken, but the bylaws committee will need to consider if enough senior faculty are available, since they are already stipulated for UPC, CPCA and the new CERS committee on faculty academic misconduct. Last year we temporarily reinstated the joint program review committee but this was never formalized, since it was known that the bylaws committee was working on creating this new council.

It was noted that the council really wouldn't be responsible for "developing" all assessment policies, since some are externally mandated. It was also suggested that the statement the council is "responsible for establishing and overseeing periodic reviews" should be changed to "responsible for overseeing periodic reviews"

Some members felt having separate committees concerned with General Education, one in the Assessment Council and one in UAC, each with separate members, could become too bureaucratic, with one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing even though the policies are interconnected. Separate committees mean there is no guarantee that members are communicating.

Dick Collier said the intent was that the same body that creates the policy should not evaluate it, much as UAC and GAC programs would be evaluated by the Academic Programs Review Committee of the Assessment Council. To this it was countered that proposals for new programs do not come to UAC constantly, so considering them is not an activity that occurs on regular basis. In contrast, General Education remains for the time being "in continuous flux" and adjustments in its assessment may need continuing tinkering accordingly. It was suggested that General Education Assessment could be an additional committee under UAC or a committee within a committee. Membership in the two committees might overlap, providing a greater connection between the two.

Anton Konev requested more students be placed on Council, even if only one of them is a senator. Dick Collier noted that "at least one undergraduate but not more than three" was the norm for other councils and expected this modification would be made for the Assessment Council.

UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC COUNCIL

It was questioned how all the additional teaching faculty would be encouraged to participate. In addition to normal recruiting efforts and, as it is hoped, the perception that the proposed changes will encourage more faculty to participate, there is also proposed a Governance Council, among whose charges is informing and recruiting faculty participants.

Bob Gibson pointed out that CAAS charge 1.13.2 was an anachronism, and that such appeals have long been handled by the CAS subcommittee. This section will be removed.

Concerning the appellate subcommittee, Dean Faerman noted that currently faculty from all the colleges and schools having undergraduate majors and minors are asked to send representatives. This should remain the case-the offer should be made to the college or school, which then may send a representative or not.

Dick Collier noted that for the General Education Committee of UAC, it is proposed that the chair be the Director of the General Education Program. This is not typical, but he noted as precedent that the Director of University Libraries is the chair of the Library committee under LISC.

It was felt that the teaching faculty participants of the General Education Committee should be changed from five to "at least five but not more than ten." Although the large size of the resulting committee might appear to be unwieldy, the Dean's advisory committee has been able to operate with that many members in recent years.

Dick Collier indicated the points raised would be brought to the attention of the bylaws committee. He and John Pipkin will continue discussion of the proposed changes at next week's meeting.


The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Thursday 10/16/03, 9:45 AM, LC-31

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies