Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎1999-2000‎ > ‎

2000 - 02/24

UCAP Meeting of 02/24/2000


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, February 24, 2000
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the February 10 Meeting Attachment

3. Comments from the Chairpersons

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Graduation with Honor/High Honor
(bring materials that were distributed for the January 27 meeting)


7. “Reading Days” Proposal Joe Chartkoff
(bring materials that were distributed for the February 10 meeting)

8. Roundtable


Attachment: Meeting Minutes of February 10, 2000

Please phone or E-Mail Robin Pline (353-5380; if you cannot be present.

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 03/16/2000

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 02/24/2000

Approved 3/16/00
University Committee on Academic Policy
February 24, 2000

Attendance: Kathryn Baker, Stephen Bentley, J. Roy Black, Eric Bonten, Joseph Chartkoff, George Cornell, Rachel Fisher, David Imig, Fred Jacobs, Kurt Lausman, Folke Lindahl, Gerald Osborn, Geoffrey Robson, Jeanne Wald, Winston Wilkinson

Others: Barbara Steidle (Assistant Provost)

Meeting called to order at 10:15 by Chairperson Wald.

Agenda moved for approval by J. Roy Black.

Approval of minutes from meeting of 2/10/00 moved by Winston Wilkinson, second by Kathryn Baker.

Chairperson's Report:
Jeanne Wald announced that the student computer proposal had been passed by the MSU Board of Trustees and will be implemented for the entering class of Fall 2001.

Graduation with Honor and High Honor:
Consistent with UCAP’s responsibility to review grading policies, Barbara Steidle provided background information on the increasing number of MSU students who are graduating with honors and high honors. The student GPA data, presented by year and by college, indicates some increase in overall GPA during the last decade. The data was intended to provide a context for a general discussion by UCAP on the policy that the percentage of students graduating with honor and high honor will be approximately 20% of the graduating class. In 1998-99, 24.2% of MSU students graduated with honors, while in 1994-95 the percentage was only 19.6%. This reflects a 5% increase in the last 5 years.

UCAP should consider what questions are raised by the data and how it should respond to them.
    1. Is the increase really an issue or just a response to improved quality of students entering the University and is the appropriate response to maintain the status quo in terms of GPA cut-offs?
    2. Should the current GPA designations for honor and high honor be adjusted for grade inflation to limit the award to the top 20 % of the class?
    3. Should a third category of honors be developed, with other requirements?
    4. In light of college-based differentials in grading patterns, should the 20% be applied by college rather than at the University level?

Steidle also provided some comparative information regarding criteria for the award of honors at other Big Ten institutions. Three universities, including MSU, award honors to 20% of the class; three award honors to 10%; and the others fall between 10 and 20%. Several Big Ten institutions designate honors by college, rather than at the University level; several other have some combination of University and college or departmental honors.

Gerald Osborn asked what were the purposes for granting honors and questioned if the increasing number of students gaining honors recognition was really an issue. MSU has been recruiting HS students with higher GPA's and ACT scores. Eric Bonten suggested considering using Latin designations (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude) to alleviate any confusion with the Honors College distinction. With the data provided to UCAP helping to frame questions and formulate possible responses, Wald asked for people to serve on a Sub-Committee to make some recommendations for UCAP considerations. The Sub-Committee is composed of Bonten, George Cornell and Rachel Fisher and they will forward suggestions for the next UCAP meeting.

Public SIRS:
Wald moved UCAP to a continuing discussion on the ASMSU proposal to formalize a public evaluation form regarding instruction. Bonten made a presentation on the most recent version of the form. There is a web-site being developed that will serve as an example of what is being considered and it can be reached (in the near future) at (the period is a part of the URL). A solid discussion followed on the seven questions that have been developed and proposed. David Imig remarked that the questions presented did not reflect the complexity of the teaching environment and that the questions appeared to only focus on student perceptions of instructors and did not attempt to qualify student comments based on their performance in the class. Joe Chartkoff commented that the questions were a poll of what students generally thought about the instructor. There was some discussion relating to the 3 questions that Fred Jacobs had proposed at an earlier meeting. Wald proposed continued discussion at the next UCAP meeting on March 16.

Meeting adjourned at 11:57 a.m.

Respectfully submitted by George L. Cornell, UCAP.