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2001 - 10/25

UCAP Meeting of 10/25/2001


agenda status: approved

University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, October 25, 2001
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the September 27, 2001 meeting (Attachment)

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Guidelines for Group Projects

6. SOCT Follow-Up

7. Roundtable

Attachment: September 27, 2001 Draft Minutes

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

minutes status: not approved

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 10/25/2001

Approved 11/8/01
University Committee on Academic Policy
October 25, 2001

Members Present: Henry Beckmeyer, Bridget Behe, Howard Bossen, James Gallagher, Joe Mignano, Shaun Phillips, Jon Sticklen, Jeanne Wald, Winston Wilkinson, Celia Wills, Cameron Wooley, Maija Zile

Others Present: Barbara Steidle (Assistant Provost), Patricia Croom (Administration Information Services)

1. Approval of Agenda
    The agenda was approved as presented.
2. Approval of Minutes of the September 27, 2001 Meeting
    Minutes were approved with only a minor spelling change noted.
3. Comments from the Chairperson
    Jon Sticklen introduced three new committee members and noted that all committee posts were now filled. The new members were Professors Maija Zile (Human Ecology) and Celia Wills (Nursing) and two new student representatives from ASMSU – Joe Mignano and Cameron Wooley. He also noted that the new members would be assigned to appropriate sub-committees. Sticklen will send the new members the list of subcommittees for their consideration.
4. Comments from the Assistant Provost:
    Barbara Steidle stated that several seminars, colloquia and symposia had occurred, and are occurring, on campus in response to the disasters of September 11 and subsequent events. The first session of the All-University Symposium was held on October 23; the next two sessions are scheduled for October 30 (“Target America;” Putting September 11 in Context) in 206 Old Horticulture Bldg. and November 14 (How Will our World Be Different?) in C107 McDonel. The first event was well attended and well received. A number of other University departments are also sponsoring discussion forums and speakers to enrich our understandings of the recent events and their consequences.

    Steidle noted the scare at Linton Hall in which a letter addressed to the Vice-President for Research was received and found to contain a suspicious substance, but which was later found to be harmless. She indicated that precautions were being taken throughout the University to protect the community members. Celia Wills suggested that the CDC web site should be posted as a source of useful information for staff and administrators regarding such events.

    Steidle also reported that an updated policy on staff and students who are called to active military duty has been distributed to Deans, Directors, Chairs, and managers including all who supervise personnel. It will be placed on the UCAP web site in the Information Item area.
5. Guidelines for Group Work
    Sticklen, UCAP Chair, introduced the question of guidelines for group work in university courses as an issue that had been continued from last year. He noted that there is an increasing emphasis on group work as part of instruction, but that we do not have policies about group assignments, standards and grading. There are no agreed-upon criteria for how group work should be graded. The topic was then opened for discussion. Some of the key points of the discussion follow:
· Learning in college level courses has elements of both cooperation and competition. Group work is recognized as an essential element of many professions and types of work in the “real world” which students will encounter after graduation. Group work tends to focus on cooperation, while many students and faculty have experienced and see instruction from a more competitive perspective. Consequently, its place in courses can be confusing in the minds of both students and faculty. Three key questions are (1) what purposes can group work serve in courses, (2) how is group work to be graded and (3) how should group members who do not fulfill their group responsibilities be dealt with?
· Faculty need guidelines on how group work should be conducted, supervised, and graded as part of instructions.
· Guidelines need to be set for students’ work in groups, especially how all group members should meet obligations to other group members and what should be the consequences of not doing so.
· Group work which entails a large portion of students’ grades may be inappropriate for some courses, especially those with mixtures of majors and non-majors, or when staffing does not permit adequate supervision of students.
· Appropriate structuring and supervision of group activities and processes appear to be essential parts of group work in courses, especially when the group work counts for a substantial portion of the course grade.
    Following discussion, the Subcommittee on Group Work was charged to provide some general Guidelines for Instructors Using Group Work for discussion by UCAP members at an upcoming meeting, hopefully in a month. Members of the subcommittee include Wills, Dilley, Wade and Wooley. Wills will initiate the dialogue.
6. SOCT Follow-up
SOCT is a means of providing students with information on perceptions of
effectiveness of course instructors in a form that is publicly available and which can
be used in making course selections. It is not, and was not intended to be, equivalent
to SIRS. UCAP developed a plan to satisfy this purpose and provided it for trial by
faculty and students. Data are available and UCAP needs to review the results, seek
wider faculty use of SOCT, and provide guidelines for posting the results for public
use by students when registering for Fall 2002.
    Patricia Croom was present to seek our input in designing the web site for posting SOCT data to permit student use of these data. An essential question that must be answered prior to designing the web site is, “What links will be made available for use by students?” For example, should links include all courses that each faculty teaches? Should links include course descriptions and course syllabi? If course descriptions are included how will files of them be maintained? There are some practical considerations to be recognized if the site is to be available by the time of early enrollment in the spring.

    Time ran out on this discussion and it was agreed that Ms. Croom would return at our next meeting on November 8 to continue the discussion.
Meeting adjourned at Noon.

Respectfully submitted,

James Gallagher