Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎2000-2001‎ > ‎

2000 - 11/09

UCAP Meeting of 11/09/2000


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, November 9, 2000
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the October 26, 2000 meeting .... (No quorum, see Nov. 30 meeting)

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. SPES: Format and Final Version of Questions

6. Proposal for a “Scholars Program” Ron Fisher

7. Issues Regarding Modes of Evaluating Teaching

8. Administration of Final Exams Outside of Finals Week

9. Roundtable

Attachment: October 26, 2000 Draft Minutes

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


minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 11/30/2000

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 11/09/2000

APPROVED 11/30/00
University Committee on Academic Policy
November 9, 2000

Present: Henry Beckmeyer, Allison Berg, Roy Black, Howard Bossen, Cynthia Gibbons, Fred Jacobs, Shaun Phillips, Jon Sticklen, Jeanne Wald, Winston Wilkinson

Others: Barbara Steidle, Assistant Provost

Minutes Prepared by Allison Berg

1. Meeting was called to order at 10:20 a.m. (There was no quorum.)

2. Agenda was approved

3. Minutes from the October 26 meeting were provisionally approved, with minor stylistic changes. They will be approved officially at the next meeting, provided there is a quorum.

4. Comments from the Chairperson: Chairperson Wald distributed a draft of a questionnaire for faculty soliciting input related to the computer requirement for all entering freshmen beginning in the fall of 2001. The goal of the questionnaire is to determine what computer skills faculty expect students to have by the time they begin their first semester at MSU. She noted that the UCAP-ITCT joint subcommittee on implementation of the computer policy need feedback as soon as possible in order to make information available to students and parents.

UCAP discussion of the draft questionnaire focused on what sorts of support (for example, classes, on-line instruction, print-based instruction) the university would provide for students who had not gained the requisite computer skills in high school; whether or not the university should specify which particular word processing or spreadsheet programs students should be able to use; and the desirability of differentiating between the computer skills particular colleges expect of their upper-division majors versus what the faculty as a whole agrees are minimal skills for all entering freshmen. UCAP also discussed the importance of surveying faculty about the kinds of support they need to make optimal use of computer technology in their particular courses, including (but not limited to) first-year courses. UCAP members were encouraged to e-mail Chairperson Wald with specific suggestions for additions or revisions to the draft questionnaire.

5. Comments from the Assistant Provost: Assistant Provost Steidle announced that funds will be made available over the next few months for selected faculty teams to attend one of three upcoming conferences at which they can gather ideas for effective applications of computing technology in different classroom contexts.

6. Proposal for a “Scholars Program”: Professor Ron Fisher, director of the Honors College, presented a draft proposal for an Academic Enhancement Program for Accomplished Students, provisionally titled the “Scholars Program.” The proposed program would recruit from a pool of incoming freshmen whose test scores and academic preparation place them significantly above the average MSU student, yet slightly lower than MSU Honors College students. The goals of the program are to: (1) create options for academic enrichment for this group of students; (2) assist these students along a path that could lead to joining the Honors College after the first year; (3) provide membership in an academic entity--a named program--that conveys some sense of accomplishment and special academic status; and (4) encourage more students in this group to enroll at MSU.

The program would be piloted with 200 incoming freshmen, eventually expanding (depending on interest) to roughly 400 entering students per year. Fisher indicated that preliminary meetings with current students of the academic caliber that would be targeted by the program suggest that many students are enthusiastic about the idea. In particular, they would welcome the increased academic challenges, increased course options, and smaller classes the program would provide. One benefit to the university would be the program’s ability to make MSU more attractive to students who do not qualify for the Honors College, but who would nonetheless raise the overall quality of the student body.

Fisher noted that, while some Deans are enthusiastic about the proposal, others have concerns about resources. Steidle noted that the resource issue might not be as great as it first appears, since some of the resource needs would be met by displacement (e.g., offering honors sections of general education courses in lieu of sections already being offered, albeit at lowered numbers) rather than by addition. UCAP asked for clarification on how the program would differ from the current Honors College program. Fisher indicated that students in the Scholars Program would have a wider range of options than most MSU students, but their privileges would be more limited than those of Honors College students.

UCAP asked Professor Fisher to provide a shortened version of the proposal that could be distributed to individual college advisory committees for feedback. It agreed to discuss the matter further at its November 30 meeting, with a focus on academic policy questions.

7. SPES: Format and Final Version of Questions: Drawing on feedback received subsequent to the Faculty and Academic Council meetings, UCAP discussed the optimal wording and format for the Student Public Evaluation System. UCAP agreed to change the name of the instrument to SOCT (Student Opinion on Courses and Teaching). UCAP could not agree on the best wording for, or even the necessity of, the final question, which asks students to evaluate their “interest in” or “desire for” taking the course being rated. Chairperson Wald agreed to poll all UCAP members (including those not at the current meeting) before coming to a final decision. The issue must be finalized by Monday in order to permit time for printing the forms, if they are to be administered this semester.

8. The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.