Undergraduate Academic Council

Meeting Date:
Thursday, December 11, 2003, 9:45 AM-11:20 AM

Bob Andrea (Guest), Deborah Bernnard, Gerald Burke, Richard Collier, John Delano, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson, Trudi Jacobson, Anton Konev, Sheila Mahan (Guest), Steve Messner, Sue Phillips, Joan Savitt, Helene Scheck, Joshua Smith, Greg Stevens

Minutes from the December 4, 2003 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. The minutes, with required updates, were approved.

Chair's Report:
- Today's presentation on an updated Admissions policy will most likely be a presentation only
with no time remaining to vote.

- The Council should re-visit the suspended restrictions on seniors advance registering in 100
level classes. It has been noted that the number of seniors registering for 100 level classes has
doubled since last semester.

- The Chair announced UAC meetings would continue to be held Thursday, 9:45-11:05 AM.

Undergraduate Admissions Policies
Sheila Mahan and Bob Andrea presented updated wording for the undergraduate admissions policy. Sheila and Bob met with John Reilly, legal counsel, to review our admissions policies and ensure their conformance to the recent Supreme Court's decisions in the University of Michigan case. Sheila discussed her handout summary of the court's findings. Five points were made: (1) The Court agreed that the educational benefit of diversity is a compelling interest of higher education; (2) As a result, a college or university does have the ability to consider race as a factor among many factors in making an admissions decision, scholarship decision, or other similar programs; (3) The process by which race is used as a "plus factor" in admissions must be narrowly tailored and is subject to "strict scrutiny"; (4) While institutions cannot simply focus on "diversity for the sake of diversity", the Court accepted the argument that an institution can seek a "critical mass" of students representing diverse groups; and (5) Every institution must be in a position to articulate the educational benefit of diversity for itself and its rationale for using race as a consideration in admissions. It must review and evaluate periodically all race-conscious policies and practices and to ensure that these are necessary to achieve the educational benefit of diversity. Student diversity will be part of admissions. Many campuses include an essay question on application forms asking the student how they would add diversity to their campus setting. An algorithm is not allowable since we cannot automatically utilize a point grading system for minorities. It was noted that diversity is one of several issues being addressed in the updated admissions policy. It was pointed out that EOP students are not considered as part of the diversity issue in Admissions. Sheila suggested members visit the University of Michigan website to peruse the official Supreme Court's decision.

The personal attributes and ability to contribute to the University section denotes suggested student attributes we desire. Counselor and teacher evaluations are part of the admissions policy. Admissions receive student recommendations from high school counselor or teachers as well as University faculty and staff. Many students apply here via teacher recommendations. There are three levels to the Freshman Admissions Decisions section: Admit as a Scholar, Admit, and Admit with Consideration. It was emphasized that a student's academic record takes precedence in the admissions process. We need to retain special admits in connection with our MOU. Admissions' reading teams are comprised of very diverse staff reviewing approximately 17,000 applications. Sensitivity is maintained in the construction of these reading teams. Bob Andrea mentioned Admissions is contemplating sending invitations to faculty for assistance in reviewing student applications for the designated 13 week time frame. TSAP's previous ruling limiting admits with consideration to 10% of the total class, including 2.5% athletics, remains the same. The proposal now places multi-cultural and talented student admissions within the general category. The outcome assessment is being addressed for correct wording. The main concern is to ensure the Admissions process is consistent with the Michigan ruling. Wording for the Deny section now includes factors such as past criminal convictions, dismissal from school, or evidence of other personal attributes judged to be potentially detrimental or harmful to members of the University community. Current policy addresses only academic reasons for denial. The admission as a transfer section is modeled as freshmen admission language with some changes. The previous requirement mandated a student be required to present two years of math experience. The new policy will allow some flexibility when reviewing a student's background and record. This pertains to students applying for matriculated status. The Committee on Admissions will receive a beginning and end of recruiting cycle report detailing the academic profile of the freshman class, the admissions criteria utilized, progress in achieving specific enrollment goals, and other relevant matters. Removing the committee's review of the TSAP cohort will expedite the admission process and give us flexibility to move on desired individual students without waiting for committee approval. Sheila noted which changes in the policy manual would occur in Section VI, Policies Pertaining to Admissions. Pages 91-94 and 97 will be completely replaced. Pages 95-96 and 102-112 remain as presently worded. Pages 98-100 will have text inserted in front of the transfer credit section. Admission as a Freshmen with Admit Conditions was discussed. Candidates must present a minimum of 18 units (a unit = approximately one year of study) from high school acceptable to the University in a college preparatory program. Freshman students are expected to demonstrate four years of English or the equivalent, completion of the Math B curriculum, two units of laboratory science, three units of social science, and at least one unit of foreign language. The Chair noted that fine arts, in the academic sense, is not mentioned in the policy and that the University needs to better support fine arts. The fine arts/performing arts are an example of student "enrichment". It was noted that more than the minimum of science and foreign language could also constitute enrichment. Standardized test scores were discussed. It was noted that acceptable tests include the SAT and ACT. An additional requirement will be a writing component added for 2006 freshmen students. The Chair mentioned the need to update the admissions policy to bring it into legal conformity. After Sheila has updated the drafted policy, the Council will again review. Any members wishing to suggest further changes should e-mail Sheila with a "cc" copy to Joan. Once Council approves the admissions policy, it will be presented to the Senate. The Council voted to immediately replace TSAP and MRP with Admit with Consideration.

Other Business:
Anton Konev mentioned his desire to bring a proposal for a survey on Gen Ed classes to UAC. Both faculty and students would be surveyed.

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held after intersession.

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies