Undergraduate Academic Council


Meeting Date:

Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 2:00-3:06 PM.



J. Philippe Abraham, Seth Chaiken, Richard Collier, Randall Craig, Robert Gibson, Carolyn Malloch, Karin Reinhold, Crystal Rion, Joan Savitt, David Smith



Minutes from the December 6, 2004 meeting were reviewed. No corrections were required, and the minutes 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 review the 12/6/04 minutes for passage, discuss a report from the Senate Executive Committee, continue discussing the Advisement Task Force report and proposal, and discuss early assurance admission from UA to Albany Medical Physician Assistant Program.


Senate Executive Committee:


Since the Chair was unable to attend the Senate Executive Committee on Monday, he requested Dick Collier provide a report from the meeting. Dick mentioned he reported to the Committee what UAC has completed and what it plans to review in the future. UAC may consider a major in Journalism and a faculty-initiated interdisciplinary major in Film Studies. The Journalism major would be a regular major as opposed to an interdisciplinary major. Another major being considered is conversion of the interdisciplinary Art History major to a regular major.


Proposal for Art History Major:


A proposal for an Art History major was discussed. The proposal will be forwarded to the Curriculum and Honors Committee for review. The program and courses remain the same, but some elective courses will be added.


Proposed Revision to the Music Technology Concentration:


The Music Department submitted a proposed revision to the Music Technology concentration. There are no large changes in the proposal. Council members were requested to review the proposal and bring comments to the next meeting.


Degree Requirement for the Major in Physics:


No major changes for this proposed revision in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Dick will review the proposal and compare it to what is already available in the Bulletin.


History Honors Program:


The History Department will remove both Asian and Ibero-American concentrations from their proposal. The change becomes effective in the Fall 2005 semester.


Proposal for a Minor in U.S. Latino Studies:


The proposed U.S. Latino Studies minor will consist of 18 required credits in LCS courses. At least 9 of these credits should be at the 300 level or above. The Council needs to review the proposal since it is a new minor.


Early Assurance Program - Albany Med Physician Assistant Program:


Senate Chair Carolyn MacDonald requested the Chair distribute to the Council a letter from Dean Wick-Pelletier dated 12/23/04 regarding an early assurance program for physician assistants between the University and Albany Medical College. Students are required to have completed two semesters each of general biology and general chemistry, as well as one semester each of human anatomy and physiology, and complete their undergraduate degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.2 or above. The Chair requested Council members review the document, bring suggestions to next week’s meeting, and consider whether it should also be forwarded to UPC.


Advisement Task Force:


Joan Savitt mentioned that the Academic Advisement Task Force is continuing to meet while awaiting UAC’s response to the their document.


The Chair mentioned that the Task Force will continue to exist, but new members will be added to develop details. Concerning possible changes to advisement for the coming summer, it was noted that some members of the University Senate are eager to see UAC’s response to the Task Force report.


Members asked whether the academic units have received copies for review? The Chair mentioned that UAC could begin discussing the proposal independently of the academic units. There was a general consensus that before UAC passes on any recommendations for changes to the Senate, it needs the wide input from faculty. It was then noted that faculty would need to include both teaching and professional members of the voting faculty.


The Council discussed a cover letter to supplement the document to be composed by the Chair. It was suggested the Council establish a deadline for responses. Both letter and document will be placed on the UAC website. In addition to Chairs, all voting members of the faculty might be e-mailed a request to review the proposal. The Chair mentioned forwarding both letter and proposal to the Senate Chair and Jayne VanDenburgh for e-mail distribution, approval, and placement in our website.


It was mentioned that the Task Force reports to UAC, and the Task Force is comprised of UAC members and others from around the University.


Some faculty consider student advisement as part of their job while others do not. A suggestion was made to emphasize faculty incentives for advising by mentioning possible rewards, tenure, and promotion (see report page #6, recommendation #7). Wording is stronger in the document on page 3 of 4. UAC can re-write this portion and provide stronger wording when considering policies to forward to the Senate.


The Assessment Council was mentioned. Dick Collier indicated that advisement has already been mentioned and that its assessment is assumed by that council to fall within its charge. Should definitions and requirements be modified, and then those would be the criteria considered in future assessment of undergraduate advisement.

The Chair requested members review or tear apart the proposal and bring back any views for or against the version that will be sent to the Senate. It was again noted that any formal deliberation of the issues really need to await the feedback from the mailing.


Concerning “incentives” for advisement, the Chair mentioned that Diane Dewar is the Chair of the Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointment. This council needs to be consulted concerning whether it is possible to specifically cite advising among promotion criteria. Dick Collier suggested that CPCA certainly could decide to “weight” advising, when applicable, within “service” without altering the text of Trustees’ regulations.


It was agreed that the Academic Assessment Council and CPCA do not presently need to address this issue until UAC has considered the Task Force report and the feedback from departments and faculty on that report and begins to formulate policy changes.


The members agreed to a February 14th deadline for proposal feedback from Chairs and voting faculty. It was suggested that emphasis should be given to the Chairs to ensure appropriate individuals within their department receive the proposal for review.


It was noted that there was a concern the current text had “typos.” The Chair will e-mail the cover letter to members for their perusal. The letter will emphasize the proposal is the first issuance, the Chairs/faculty’s input could impact them personally, and if the Chairs/faculty want to affect the process UAC needs their input. Since the document is a draft, and since soliciting feedback is a priority so the council can begin a serious consideration of the issues involved, it was felt a few typos would not be a problem.


Next Meeting:

The next Undergraduate Academic Council meeting will be held Wednesday, 2/2/05, 2:00 PM, LC-31.


Minutes Taken:

Notes taken by Joanne Baronner, Undergraduate Studies.