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2002 - 10/10

UCAP Meeting of 10/10/2002


agenda status: approved

University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, October 10, 2002
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the September 26, 2002 meeting (Attachment)

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Completion of Guidelines for Unit Change Documentation Winston Wilkinson
(Link to Current Policy on Curriculum Web-Site

6. Importance of Teaching**: preliminary review and discussion

7. Survey of Literature and Practice: Academic Integrity Angela Todaro

8. Roundtable

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

Attachments: September 26, 2002 Draft Minutes
** Documents on the Importance of Teaching were distributed at the 9/26 meeting.

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 10/10/2002

Approved 10/24/02
University Committee on Academic Policy
October 10, 2002

Members Present: Henry Beckmeyer, Bridget Behe (chair), Howard Bossen, Betty Cheng, George Cornell, James Gallagher, Chelsea Hasenburg, Okey Iheduru, Carmen Malik, Patricia Mullan, Georgia Padonu, Juli Wade, Winston Wilkinson, Maia Zile

Others Present: Assistant Provost Barbara Steidle

Meeting was called to order at 10:15am.

1. Agenda was approved.

2. Minutes of the 9/26/02 meeting were approved with the following correction – the answer on the second line of page 3 should say, “It was the intent of the committee that the SOCT not be used for faculty review unless a department or college decides to use it as the sole review form.”

3. Comments from the Chairperson: Okey Iheduru was introduced. He joins UCAP as the James Madison representative for fall semester. Carmen Malik joins UCAP as the representative from COGS.

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost: Should the question of grade inflation be addressed by UCAP this year? Data were distributed on (1) the grades issued by faculty in a college, (2) grades received by students within a college, (3 & 4) comparative GPAs by class level and gender in the periods 1997-2001 and 1989-1993. A sub-committee was formed (George Cornell, chair) to look over the data and decide whether grade inflation is an issue that warrants further investigation/discussion. Barbara Steidle noted that the last time UCAP reviewed this issue was in 1993, and at that time it was determined that there was not substantial grade inflation. She mentioned that we need to be mindful that students coming to MSU in recent years have had higher credentials than those entering in the past. The issue of whether grades were increasing due to units raising standards for admission into programs with limited enrollment was also raised. The answer was yes, in some cases, but the actual grade point levels fluctuate from year-to-year and differs across units.

5. Completion of Guidelines for Unit Change Documentation was deferred until the end of the meeting (and then when we ran out of time, it was deferred until the next meeting).

6. Importance of Teaching – James Gallagher summarized a document he prepared, “Proposed Additions to the UCAP Report on Instruction: Learning to Understand and Apply Knowledge”. He emphasized NSF’s support for the idea that students do more than learn facts that will be tested on exams (particularly those with multiple-choice format). UCAP members agreed that the ideas were very useful, but that many of them would be difficult to implement without a commitment of university resources. However, some suggestions (item #3, for example) would not have a substantial cost. There was discussion about whether research or teaching is the primary mission of the university – that different groups (faculty, administrators, students & parents) have different views on this, and even within these groups, the opinions change over time. The question is how you change the existing climate so that these important teaching goals are met and rewarded. A sub-committee (Jim Gallagher, Georgia Padonu, Carmen Malik and Howard Bossen) will consider these issues in more detail.

7. Survey of Literature and Practice: Academic Integrity – Angela Todaro reviewed literature and research results from studies pertaining to academic dishonesty and integrity. Copies of her slides were distributed. Discussion followed about the adequacy of university policies and how the information and attitudes on this topic have changed over time. Students and faculty do not seem to know what the university policies are. Students know that plagiarism is wrong, but the problem is that they do not really know what plagiarism is. Chairperson Behe brought up the idea of assigning a special grade for failure of a course due to cheating. A few institutions are doing that now, but it is rarely used. Carmen Malik described a program in the law school in which students are given information on and have exercises that help them to identify what constitutes cheating before classes start. They define not only what the problems are, but also the consequences (dismissal). A sub-committee was formed (Mullan [chair], Wilkinson, Senk, Padonu, Noyes) to discuss academic integrity issues and potential policy implications to bring before UCAP for action.

8. Meeting adjourned at 11:57.

Respectfully Submitted,

Juli Wade