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2002 - 12/05

UCAP Meeting of 12/05/2002


agenda status: approved

University Committee on Academic Policy
Meeting of Thursday, December 5, 2002
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the November 21, 2002 meeting......................(Attachment)

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Election of Vice-Chair for Spring Semester.............................Bridget Behe

6. Sub-Committee on Grade Inflation......................................George Cornell

7. Request for Changes in ESL Courses
(bring materials previously distributed for 11/21 meeting)

8. ECAC Request for Review of Gender Identity Clause
in the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy
(bring materials previously distributed for 11/21 meeting)

9. Report from Academic Integrity Sub-Committee.........................Patricia Mullan

10. Sub-Committee on Importance of Instruction (Update).......................James Gallagher

11. Roundtable

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

Attachments: November 21, 2002 Draft Minutes

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 12/05/2002

Approved 1/9/03
University Committee on Academic Policy
December 5, 2002

Members Present: Bridget Behe (Chair), Howard Bossen, Betty Cheng, George Cornell, Chelsea Hassenburg, Okey Iheduru, Patricia Mullan, Hillary Noyes, Georgia Padonu, Sharon Senk, Winston Wilkinson, Maija Zile, Juli Wade

Others Present: June Youatt (Assistant Provost), Linda Stanford (Assistant Provost)

The meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.

1. Agenda was approved.

2. Minutes of the November 21, 2002 meeting were approved without modification.

3. Comments from the Chair: Bridget Behe notified UCAP that she had submitted the
    approved Guidelines for Unit/Program Change to the Provost.
4. Comments from the Assistant Provost: June Youatt, the new Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education, stated that she looked forward to working with UCAP in her new role.

5. Election of Vice Chair for Spring Semester: Bridget Behe announced that she had not received any nominations or indication of interest from any member of UCAP for this position which is needed whenever the Chair is absent or unavailable to attend other meetings in which UCAP is represented. She re-opened the nominations and suggested that a lottery might have to be drawn to fill the slot, if there were no takers. Sharon Senk, however, suggested that the Chair should instead request for volunteers for each absence or unavailability. This suggestion was approved.

6. Grade Inflation Ad-Hoc Committee’s Report: George Cornell summarized the ad-hoc committee’s report and concluded that based on preliminary evidence, the committee believed that some form of grade inflation was occurring among various colleges of the University. The ad-hoc committee therefore called for the creation of a full committee to study the issue. Linda Stanford, however, noted that the percentage of failures in courses had remained stable. June Youatt noted that Fall Semester grades tend to be lower, so Fall to Fall grades might be a better comparison. Stanford advised that any committee to be created should consider performance-based courses as such grades may have an impact on overall grades reported. Behe concurred with the ad-hoc committee that preliminary evidence suggests further study and evaluation of the issue. A UCAP Committee on Grade Inflation was subsequently created and George Cornell agreed to serve. Behe agreed to identify other members by the next UCAP meeting. Linda Stanford indicated that the Registrar’s Office would provide support with statistical data. It was also agreed that the committee needed to include people who are analytically-minded because of the nature of the data they would be evaluating.

7. Request for Changes in ESL Courses: Bridget Behe reminded that action items had been laid out in materials distributed in earlier meetings. In order to provide further guidance for deliberations, she read an excerpt from a review report of the English Language Center provided by Barbara Steidle as follows:
    It is clear from interviewing a variety of ELC staff as well as service clients that MSU needs to move forward on granting credit for the 092-095 English language courses (for international students only), which will entail a change to 100 or 200 level. In many cases the students enroll in the courses voluntarily, but fully expect to receive some level of "credit" for the dollars they have invested. In other cases, the students are required to enroll to meet a minimum standard that MSU has set, and that ELC is expected to help MSU enforce.

    The review committee believes that the 100 or 200 level is appropriate for these courses (and that 300 level is not), that the students should receive credit, that the grade should be part of the GPA, but that the courses will not count as part of any graduate degree program. These later items will require discussion and approval by the University Graduate Council (GPA issues, graduate assistantship issues). UCAP may wish to discuss this specific issue for undergraduate students.

    After some deliberations, decisions were reached on the following issues/questions:

    a) Should these courses be moved from non-credit to credit-bearing? George Cornell moved that "ENG 092, 093, 094, and 095 be changed from non-credit to credit-bearing courses for undergraduates only." The motion passed. Linda Stanford, however, reminded that the courses are currently graded Pass/No Pass, and although UCAP did not discuss this issue in its previous deliberations, the P/N issue was part of the document submitted earlier by the ELC staff.

    b) What pre-requisites or restrictions on eligibility should there be? Questions were raised whether "native speakers" should be allowed to enroll in these courses; whether it was not a case of double standards vis-à-vis other foreign language programs in the University. Winston Wilkinson suggested that opening them up to native speakers could help them better prepare for their education (especially those aspiring to be teachers of English as a second language) and they should therefore get credit for such courses. Patricia Mullan reminded UCAP about Barbara Steidle’s earlier statements that enrollment in the courses is limited by ELC approval. After some deliberations, a motion to "preserve current restrictions as it stands" for enrollment was passed.

    c) Is the shift of course level from 090 to 300 appropriate? The English Language Center review committee’s recommendation was that the 300 level was not appropriate. ELC and the English department were however requesting a change to the 300-level. Linda Stanford reminded that the requested change would not affect the course content. James Gallagher said, however, he did not accept the view that the conceptual level of these courses are the same as 300 level courses; they are still remedial. Hence, he proposed that the courses should be at the 100-level. Stanford also worried whether these courses would then count toward 300 level requirements for courses. Mullan concurred and noted that putting them at the 300 level obscures the essence of ESL and 300-level course, the latter being intended to help students acquire "survival skills". June Youatt preferred to call them "preparatory" instead of "remedial" courses. A motion to offer the courses at the 300-level was defeated with 5 yes votes and 10 no votes. A counter motion to offer these courses at the 100 level was passed by 9 Yes votes, 4 No votes, and 1 abstention.

    d) A motion to change the ESL courses from P/N to numerical grading also passed as a recommendation to the University Committee on Curriculum.
    e) If the courses are to be offered at the 300-level, how much credit (if any) is appropriate toward the 300-400 requirement for the baccalaureate degree? This issue was superceded by UCAPs’ earlier decision to recommend that these courses be offered at the 100-level.

    f) If these courses are moved to a credit-bearing category, what should be the limit on
    the number of credits for these courses to be applicable for degree purposes? UCAP’s deliberations, however, centered on limiting the number of credits to be applied for undergraduate degree purposes. A motion limiting the number of such credits (applied to undergraduate degree) to 6 (six) was debated. Linda Stanford, however, noted the difficulty of applying these credits to programs that have fewer spaces for electives credits. The motion subsequently passed.
8. ECAC Request for Review of gender Identity Clause in the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy: The UCAP sub-committee that reviewed this document modified the proposal submitted by ASMSU to reflect Recommendations 1 and 2 as the core of the recommendation they presented to UCAP. They suggested that UCAP should take these recommendations and indicate “support or no support” to help Academic Council to know UCAP’s position on the proposal. It was also noted that the Provost wanted results on this issue.
    The second suggestion centered on how to determine "protected status" under the Anti-Discrimination Policy. Executive Committee of Academic Council or other body would be appropriate to study/examine the issues brought by the Council of Graduate Studies (COGS). UCAP was also notified that ASMSU was unanimous in endorsing the proposed change, while the Academic Assembly also approved.
    Behe reminded UCAP that its responsibility was to endorse/not endorse the recommendations and suggestions. A motion to accept the recommendations and suggestions passed.

    A motion to amend the November 21, 2002 minutes to accurately reflect the ESL course numbers passed.
Agenda items 9 and 10 were postponed until the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 12:03 p.m.

Next meeting January 9, 2003.

Respectfully submitted,
Okey Iheduru