Undergraduate Academic Council


Meeting Date:

Monday, December 6, 2004, 2:00-3:17 PM.



J. Philippe Abraham, Scott Barclay, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Rachel Dressler, Sue Faerman, Robert Gibson, Anne Hildreth, Trudi Jacobson, Carolyn Malloch, Joan Savitt



Minutes from the November 29, 2004 meeting were reviewed and corrections acknowledged. Those minutes, with required updates, were approved. Minutes from November 15, 2004 remain in need of review.


Chair's Report:

The Chair mentioned that in today’s meeting, the Council would discuss the report of the Task Force on Academic Advisement. This task force has been meeting since the summer.


Institutional Assessment Plan:


The Dean wrote a letter to Jeryl Mumpower based on Council discussions regarding the GEAR Review Process Guidelines. The Chair also e-mailed the Dean’s letter to Council members.


Our Gen Ed Assessment Subcommittee will review possible assessment instruments and report in the future to the Council. The Council may be called upon to respond to the Assessment Subcommittee’s review of the objectives and outcomes. The Dean mentioned that when GEAR judges local learning objectives are appropriate, it approves them. In her letter to Jeryl Mumpower, the Dean mentioned that the learning objectives were approved by Council but are still somewhat lacking.


Dick Collier mentioned that Oneonta chose not to respond by the deadline concerning the assessment process. Dr. Patricia Francis from Academic Affairs will meet with Oneonta’s Gen Ed Committee at Oneonta.


The Chair mentioned that the Council has completed review of the three memos and the GEAR proposal.


The Chair asked the Council if there were other issues for him to report at Friday’s Assessment Advisory Committee meeting. The Dean mentioned a number of directors under the Provost met with Bruce Szelest this morning. The subject of units not academic in nature, such as the Library, Admissions, Undergraduate Studies, EOP, etc., and how assessment of them is achieved was discussed. They do provide support of the University’s undergraduate learning objectives, expectations, and environment. It’s useful for UAC to consider how administrative offices and the Provost support academic programs. Ultimately the issue of how to assess goals and objectives in administration units in academic support programs will come to the Council for discussion.


Advisement Task Force:


The Chair mentioned that the Advisement Task Force’s report and policy proposal includes objectives and expectations for central and for disciplinary advisement.


The Dean mentioned that Sheila Mahan informed her that the Undergraduate Admissions office has a “professional of the day” daily in their office. Unfortunately, there is no documentation on the number of students, advisement provided, etc. Assessment should be based on more than just counts. It was also mentioned that there is a need to educate departments on providing more departmental advice. Assessment should determine what the units are doing and provide feedback to the UGS unit or other units.


Regarding learning objectives, the Chair will report on Advisement Service, the departments, and how students’ needs are being met. Goals for providing certain advice for students and their future goals should be provided/documented. It was mentioned that a policy was created through the Senate where departments would be held accountable in their assessment activities. This would fall under the UAC and would be a policy versus objectives matter. Dick Collier mentioned he received a copy of the council’s review, and it mentions academic support services and how that assessment would be completed.


Task Force members advised circulating the report and proposed policy to departments and chairs prior to UAC action. Joan Savitt mentioned she is a member of the task force, and that the task force wanted the report to show their complete work and their recommendations.


The Dean mentioned that the report should be sent to all departments that have an undergraduate major and/or minor. The Chair suggested the report also be circulated to program directors and chairs of undergraduate programs. The Dean will mail the information to chairs and directors with a request to distribute to all members of their department. It was recommended that EOP advisors also receive copies. It was suggested that all teaching faculty receive a copy since they are all “stakeholders” in advisement. One member suggested a reminder be placed in the correspondence that UAC will pick up discussions in January and to please provide feedback as soon as possible. Perhaps a reminder could be sent mid-January requesting feedback.


Passage of the advisement bill is not critical for the summer student planning conferences. Departmental advisors should consider revising their department in regards to advisement. The major change would be asking departmental advisors to be available on the first day of summer student planning conferences. Would Advisement Services Center benefit from the Task Force suggestions?


It was mentioned that we have a need to make departmental advisement count by providing faculty incentives. It could be stressed to faculty of the potential for promotion and tenure existing when faculty provides advisement to students. Someone remarked advisement should be spread around within the departments in lieu of only one or two advisors in each department. Both teaching faculty and advisors within the departments should receive this information. The Dean mentioned that the department as a whole should see the importance of offering lower/higher level as well as the socialization of students within their department.


The Chair mentioned that he will report on the following: (1) the Council will generally support sending out the proposal and both the Chair and the Dean will compose the cover letter and (2) the Council is starting discussions about recognizing advisement and its importance with tenure and promotions. The Dean will send a memo to all full time faculty and departments informing them of the report and that UAC will again discuss it in January and is requesting feedback. The Chair will mail the information to the Chair of CPA as well as the Chair of the Academic Assessment Committee.


Other Business:


The question was raised regarding a means for faculty to officially notify students within their department. Bob Gibson mentioned that a plan is under investigation, to be effective, for the fall semester, where each student’s University-assigned e-mail account will be an address for official notices. A request was made to place the student’s e-mail address directly on the class roster pages. It was suggested that the information regarding students’ official e-mail addresses be included in the advisement handbook (whose creation was recommended by the Task Force).


The Chair continues to solicit and evaluate the feasible and preferred weekly times for our meetings next semester.


Next Meeting:

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


Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.