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2003 - 08/28

UCAP Meeting of 08/28/2003


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, August 28, 2003
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda (10:15)

2. Approval of Minutes of the May 8, 2003 meeting (10:20)................................(Attachment)

3. Comments from the Chairperson (10:25)

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost (10:30)

5. Review of past requests made of UCAP, challenges to decision making,
    outcomes, and impacts (10:40)
6. Current topics of discussion among UCAP members and reformulation
of sub-committees (11:00)
a. Enhancing Learning Importance in the Academic Community [sub-committee chair Jim Gallagher] (11:05)
b. Academic Integrity [sub-committee chair Patricia Mullan] (11:15)
c. Grade Inflation [sub-committee chair Bridget Behe] (11:25)
d. SIRS and SOCT issues (11:35)
e. Changes to the Academic Calendar [proposal for a mid-semester break in the Fall; separate request to have the spring semester begin one week later – from ECAC] (11:45)

7. Roundtable discussion (11:55)

8. Adjourn (12:00 noon)

Please phone or E-Mail Robin Pline (353-5380; if you cannot be present and send a substitute in your place.

Attachment: May 8, 2003 Draft Minutes

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 09/11/2003

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 08/28/2003

Approved 9/11/2003
UCAP Meeting Minutes
Meeting of August 28, 2003

Members Present: Janet Bokemeier, Bridget Behe (Chair), James Gallagher, Jeremy Hernandez, Patricia Mullan, Folu Ogundimu, Georgia Padonu, Rodney Phillips, Helene Pazak (for Paul Coe), Sharon Senk, Jon Sticklen (for Betty Cheng), Cynthia Taggart, Maija Zile

Others Present: Assistant Provost June Pierce Youatt

Members Absent: Henry Beckmeyer, Steven Dilley, Alex von Eye

1. Chairperson Bridget Behe called the 28 August 2003 UCAP meeting to order at 10:15 am in the Board Room of the Administration Building. The published agenda for the meeting was approved by the Committee.

2. The Minutes of the Meeting of 8 May 2003 were approved with amendments offered by Patricia Mullan and accepted by the Committee.

3. Chairperson Behe proceeded with her comments. She introduced members of the Committee, and provided an orientation for new members of the important role played by UCAP within the Academic Governance system of MSU. She also noted several UCAP-relevant seminars to be held in the new future on campus, and urged UCAP members to consider attending one or more of these seminars if possible.

4. Associate Provost Youatt then commenced her comments. She reported that Professor Stan Sofin, University Ombudsman, recently developed a set of ten recommendations for consideration by the University community, and that eight of the ten fall under the general charge of UCAP review. This underlines the pivotal role played by UCAP. She went on to describe that the role of UCAP is to develop policy for what “should be” as opposed to other committees of Academic Governance which deal with "what is." Youatt then went on to note the criticality for UCAP members to select an alternate for them should they find they cannot attend a given UCAP meeting, and to inform both Bridget Behe and Robin Pline of any such alternate arrangements. She ended her comments by emphasizing to the Committee the importance of UCAP subcommittees in meeting the charge for the whole Committee. This is particularly true given the many issues UCAP must address during the coming years. Without the diligent work of the subcommittees to develop recommendations, the work of UCAP would be hamstrung.

5. Chairperson Behe then went on to describe past UCAP issues by leading members through an examination of the Annual Report of UCAP for academic year 2002-2003. The Annual Report is available on the UCAP web site at URL address

6. Behe then went on to lead UCAP members through current topics of discussion for UCAP. She first noted the current subcommittee assignments. (Subcommittee assignments are also available on the UCAP web site.) Behe then called on the Chair of each of the subcommittees to report current status and objectives.

a. Patricia Mullan reported for the Academic Integrity Subcommittee. She noted that in cases involving academic integrity, many times policy is developed in response to some problem that has been observed. Broad latitude is given to faculty. Mullan noted that the report that was submitted to the Provost recommended more centrally available and accessible rules governing academic integrity. She went on to disclose to the Committee that currently there is no rule governing faculty that requires faculty to supply students a beginning-of-term syllabus. Most members of the Committee noted they were unaware and taken aback by this point.

Mullan went on to discuss the grade inflation issue, which is likely to be a UCAP topic for her subcommittee. Assistant Provost Youatt added that a connected item was the issue of GPA requirements for graduation with honors and high honors.

Mullan also noted that another issue before her subcommittee is that of SIRS and SOCT evaluations. In particular, she noted, and Youatt amplified, that electronic administration of SIRS is currently being considered. Youatt added that college volunteers might be welcome for pilot studies of electronic SIRS. James Gallagher moved, and Jon Sticklen seconded, a motion to allow for volunteers for the pilot study to be accepted. The motion carried unanimously. Sticklen noted that he would inquire if the College of Engineering would be interested in volunteering.

b. James Gallagher reported for the Importance of Learning Subcommittee. He noted that the foci of his subcommittee were (a) quality of instruction and evaluation of instruction, (b) the importance of teaching for understanding, and (c) the importance of student ability to apply knowledge. He went on to say that the vision of what constitutes learning has shifted in the educational community, and that the evolving programs of the University should reflect the changed vision. He added that such change would involve deep cultural changes. He concluded by saying that the primary focus of his subcommittee’s work will be to develop an action plan.

Youatt suggested that two pointed topics might be considered: (a) requiring faculty to provide a beginning-of-term syllabus for students and (b) policies on class attendance particularly for students who are taking part in sanctioned MSU activities. She went on to describe the new policy proposed by the Olin Student Health Center that provides a written "excuse" to students indicating the time which students should be excused from classes due to medical reasons. Youatt also pointed to the issue of a possible grade available for faculty to use in cases of proven student cheating or plagiarism.

c. Bridget Behe reported for the Grade Inflation Subcommittee. She noted that following the development and presentation of guidelines that her subcommittee will be retasked to examine the academic calendar issue that is pending before UCAP.

7. Following the status reports from the subcommittees, Chairperson Behe moved the UCAP discussion to a roundtable mode.

Patricia Mullan noted that in the current University situation of economic adversity, there have been some cases of required classes not being offered. She suggested that UCAP should examine this issue.

Maija Zile noted that she thought there was an issue before UCAP to consider broad policy concerning procedures for elimination of programs. Behe indicated that this issue had been addressed and closed by UCAP in the last academic year.

Georgia Padonu noted that the entire issue of SIRS and the use of SIRS should be examined by UCAP.

Helene Pazak noted that the College of Veterinary Medicine currently has a task force charged with "Learning and Competencies in Veterinary Medicine." She indicated that once task force recommendations are thoroughly discussed within the College of Veterinary Medicine, she expects some results of the task force to be brought to UCAP.

Sharon Senk noted the current budget cuts not only affects our graduate student population of TAs, but that in turn could well adversely affect our undergraduate programs. She suggested that UCAP might well examine this issue.

8. Following the roundtable discussion, it was moved, seconded, and unanimously passed that the meeting be adjourned. Chairperson Behe gaveled the meeting to a close at 11:45 am.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon Sticklen
College of Engineering