Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎2006-2007‎ > ‎

2007 - 02/22

agenda status: approved


Approved as Revised
University Committee on Academic Policy
Meeting of Thursday, February 22, 2007
10:15 a.m., Hannah Administration Bldg. Board Room

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of Minutes of the February 8, 2007 Meeting.
  3. Comments from the Chairperson
  4. Comments from the Associate Provost
  5. Discussion of UCAP Procedural Matters
    Member Substitutes
    Special Rules
  6. Religious Observance......................................................................................(Attachment)
  7. CLEP Test Issues
  8. Graduation Honors – Request for Clarification of Current Policy...........(Attachment)
    Guest: Doug McKenna, Associate Registrar
  9. Academic Integrity
  10. Fall Break Discussion
  11. Roundtable

Phone or e-mail Sandra Walther (353-5380; if you cannot be present. Please remember that you are asked to send a substitute from your college.


February 8, 2007 Minutes (Draft)

Religious Observance Revision 2/19/07

Graduation Honors

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 03/15/2007

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 02/22/2007

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, February 22, 2007

Members Present: Dennis Banks, Renée Canady, Sekhar Chivukula, Peter Cobbett, Doug Estry, Richard Hallgren, Yen-Hwei Lin, Helen Mayer, Philip Moon, Antonio Nunez, Edmund Outslay, Ralph Putnam, Brandon Sethi, Colleen Tremonte, Bruce Vanden Bergh, Amanda Venettis, Alex von Eye, Connie Zheng

Members Absent: Lauren Doherty, Daniel Roth, Jon Sticklen

Guests: Doug McKenna, Associate Registrar

The Agenda was revised to add Fall Break Discussion and approved.

The Minutes for February 8, 2007 were corrected and approved.

No Comments from the Chairperson or the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Procedural Matters:
    Member Substitutes

    In response to a question by the committee as to whether member substitutes may vote, the Chair reported that according to the Secretary for Academic Governance, a committee member’s substitute has voice but no vote on committee matters, and does not count for a quorum. We could consider allowing electronic votes for issues that come up between meetings.

    Special Rules

    In following up on an impromptu committee discussion during the meeting of February 8, 2007, regarding the committee’s practice of asking guests to leave during committee discussion of a proposal, the Chair reported that according to the Secretary of Academic Governance, the committee should not continue this practice or should enact a special committee rule to do so. After discussion there was no support for making a special rule.

      The practice of the committee has been to rotate among the members the task of recording minutes resulting in minutes with varying formats and content levels. The Chair recommended that the administrative assistant to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education take minutes at each meeting.

      Motion by Amanda Vennetis passed unanimously:
          The secretary for the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education shall attend Committee meetings and prepare minutes for review and approval by committee membership.

      After further discussion the committee reached consensus that minutes should record not only actions taken in the committee meeting but also key issues raised in discussion.
Religious Observance

At its January 11, 2007 meeting the committee recommended revisions to the University Religious Observance Policy. It was subsequently discovered that the proposed revisions were not based on the most recently adopted existing policy. The committee thus considered revisions to their recommended policy.

Motion by Philip Moon passed unanimously:
      The policy on student religious observance of Michigan State University is recommended as follows:

      Proposed Policy on Religious Observance

      It is the policy of the University to permit students and instructors to observe those holidays set aside by their chosen religious faith.
      Instructors must be sensitive to those who absent themselves from class in order to observe religious holidays. It is the responsibility of students who wish to be absent to make arrangements in advance with their instructors. It is also the responsibility of those instructors who wish to be absent to make arrangements in advance with their chairpersons, who shall assume the responsibility for covering their classes. In the absence of a simple and dignified way to determine the validity of individual claims, instructors generally should accept claims of religious conflict at face value. Instructors may expect a reasonable limit to the number of absences by any one student. If it is the practice of an instructor to cover reasons for student absences from required academic events such as quizzes or exams with a blanket practice, e.g., allowing the student to drop one grade or two quizzes without penalty, this practice does not apply to the university policy on religious observance. If instructors require make-up exams, they retain the right to determine content and conditions of administration, giving due consideration to equitable treatment.
      Hearing procedures for violations of the religious observance policy are those in place for the Code of Teaching Responsibility.

CLEP Test Issues

In a memo dated 8/24/06, the Manager of Testing Services asked the Committee to review the current policy with respect to accepting CLEP exams to replace taking a course. Current MSU policy allows students applying to MSU, upon admission, to be given course credit for having successfully taken these exams. There are some restrictions to courses to which this policy applies. Current policy prohibits students to take advantage of CLEP option after their first enrollment at MSU. The subcommittee polled various campus offices and peer institutions to compare policies finding that at peer institutions, policies range from no CLEP test acceptance to others that allow CLEP test credit at any time. MSU policy places us in the mid-range of our peers on acceptance of CLEP tests for course credit.

Motion by Tony Nunez passed unanimously:
          UCAP recommends that no changes be made to the current MSU policy regarding when CLEP examination credit may be awarded.

Graduation with Honors
Guest: Doug McKenna, Associate Registrar

Prof. Putnam opened this discussion by stating that the original graduation with honors proposal considered at the UCAP meeting of February 8 calls for clarification of practice, not a change in policy. Professor Estry stated that concerns from the committee regarding possible grade inflation resulting from following the current graduation with honors policy appear to be unfounded after reviewing the data provided by the registrar.
Motion by Renée Canady passed unanimously:
          UCAP endorses the implementation of the graduation with honors policy as currently described in the academic program and consistent with the proposal submitted on 12/07/05 by the Associate Provost for Academic Service and the Office of the Registrar.

Academic Integrity:

Prof. Putnam led committee discussion about possible revisions to University policies regarding academic integrity and dishonesty. The committee reviewed the current policy on academic integrity and discussed points raised in the Academic Integrity Subcommittee’s previous reports. General consensus was reached on the following points:
    There should be better visibility of academic integrity policies and stronger consequences for student violations
    It is important to emphasize education as well as sanction
    There should be a more visible and consistent way to track multiple violations
    Grade marker on student’s transcript is too harsh and not recommended
    It remains the responsibility of instructors who become aware of instances of academic dishonesty to take appropriate action
    Any instance of academic dishonesty for which an instructor assigns a penalty grade
    (for course or for assignment) should be reported to the student’s dean.
    Some additional sanction or action should be required after multiple violations

Fall Break

The committee continued discussion of the Fall Break draft proposal originally submitted at the meeting of February 8, 2007. Associate Provost Estry reported that he had requested input from various offices on campus regarding fall break and distributed the responses to the subcommittee. Prof. Putnam reminded the committee that after UCAP’s decision, the Fall Break proposal will be submitted to other university groups for further feedback. He suggested the subcommittee provide a revised proposal to be considered at the next committee meeting.


Prof. Banks reported that at the last meeting of Athletic Council the following topics were covered:

    • Presentation and review of material relevant to both policy and procedure for MSU, NCAA and BIG 10 Athletic Drug testing policy.
    • Review of 2005 - 2006 MSU, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Gender Equity Report.
    • Review of 2005 -2006 Diversity Activities Report.
    • Review the MSU Student Athlete Survey.
Prof. Chivukula: The University Committee on Liberal Learning meets tomorrow (2/23/07).

Meeting adjourned 11:57 A.M.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther