Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎1999-2000‎ > ‎

2000 - 03/16

UCAP Meeting of 03/16/2000


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, March 16, 2000
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the February 24 Meeting Attachment

3. Comments from the Chairpersons

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Graduation with Honor/High Honor Report of Sub-Committee
(Materials distributed earlier)


7. “Reading Days” Proposal Joe Chartkoff
(Materials distributed for the February 10 meeting)

8. New Grade Marker
(Materials distributed earlier)

9. Final Exam Policy Report of Sub-Committee

10. Roundtable


Attachment: Meeting Minutes of February 24, 2000

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

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 03/30/2000

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 03/16/2000

Approved 3/30/00
University Committee on Academic Policy
March 16, 2000

Attendance: Kathryn Baker, J. Roy Black, Eric Bonten, Joseph Chartkoff, Rachel Fisher, Fred Jacobs, Kurt Lausman, Folke Lindahl, Tony Roath, Geoffrey Robson, Jon Sticklen, Jeanne Wald, Winston Wilkinson

Others: Barbara Steidle (Assistant Provost)

Meeting called to order at 10:20 by Chairperson Wald

Agenda approved

Minutes from February 24th meeting approved

Chairperson’s Report:
A proposed alteration regarding the size of the faculty constituency on Academic Council, which would have been an amendment to the By-aws for Academic Governance was not approved by the Council. Issues regarding changes in campus parking and planning, were reviewed in a prior Academic Council meeting and by the Board of Trustees. The principles of the plan were approved by the Board in a special meeting on March 15. The faculty expressed concerns that parking was likely to cost more and be less convenient.

Assistant Provost’s Report:
The 20/20 Plan principles were approved by the Board of Trustees. However, specifics of the plan involving budgetary outlays will need to be approved separately by the Board as implementation proceeds. Access for handicappers is an important issue. A web site containing information about the 20/20 plans can be accessed from the MSU home page.

Graduation with Honor and High Honor:
The subcommittee’s report and reaction to it was discussed. The subcommittee proposed maintaining the percent of honors awards at 20%, without a specific definition of the GPA level, which would change to reflect the 20%.

In response to input from faculty who are not UCAP members, several other
          considerations were discussed.
          College/University Honors:
          Kathryn Baker reported that students she had polled favored a college honors system, but Eric Bonten reported that his poll indicated that students would prefer to remain with the current University wide system. It was argued that a college system would breed elitism and would be divisive at a time when colleges are being encouraged to interact more strongly. Students may take courses in several different colleges so that some kind of intercollegiate honors system would still be needed. The outside world perceives students to have graduated from MSU rather than from a particular college. Colleges still have many ways in which to recognize outstanding achievements by their own students. It was agreed that the awarding of Honor and High Honor should remain a University designation. However it was felt that the Administration should be vigilant in detecting differences in the rate of honor awards between colleges and should alert colleges when their rates are too high.

          Percentage to receive Honors:
          The committee discussed the advisability of keeping the percentage of students earning honors at 20% or allowing the percentage to float and, as is currently the case, to creep up. Chartkoff moved that the percentage remain at 20%. The motion was seconded and passed.

          The committee then debated the way in which the top 20% of students should be defined. This could either be done by taking the actual 20% or by requiring a GPA that approximates to 20%. Using an actual %, (a “relative” system) the students would be unsure of the grade required to obtain honors. However, there would be certain permanency to this system so far as its administration is concerned. Using a grade point cut-off (an “absolute” system) would require adjustment of the cut-off from time to time if the 20% honors fraction were held to.

          There was a good deal of discussion regarding the philosophies and merits of the two systems. Finally Chartkoff proposed that the percentage of students receiving honors should be no more than 20% and that those receiving honors should have no less than a 3.5 GPA for Honor and no less than a 3.8 GPA, or 8%, for High Honors. This motion was seconded and passed by a majority of the committee. It was therefore suggested that the subject be discussed again next year. Steidle indicated that review of the honors designation is a continuing responsibility of the Committee.

SIRS Forms Reporting:
The discussion on the public reporting of the results of the student SIRS forms
          proceeded in the context of the student proposals made at the prior meeting, for which a Web-site was provided for viewing. Jacobs suggested that for a report to appear, there should have been at least 10 students in the class, and that at least 60% of students should have responded. In addition, the report should consist of data from the current course and from the two previous offerings of the course. He suggested two possible ways of reporting, one using numbers in a tabulated form, and the other using a diagram without numbers indicating the position of the rating relative to other similar courses offered in that department or college. This visual comparison was generally appreciated by faculty and student members of the committee, although some felt it might be confusing to begin with.

SIRS Questions:
It was decide to defer discussion of the questions until the following meeting.
The students will review their current draft and bring any changes back to UCAP.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 noon.

Submitted by Rachel Fisher