Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎2007-2008‎ > ‎

2008 - 02/14

agenda status: approved



University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, February 14, 2008
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, Administration Building

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of February 7, 2008 minutes
  3. Comments from the Chairperson
  4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  5. Deferred programmatic actions from February 7, 2008 meeting
  6. Religious Observance Policy Discussion
    Ralph Putnam, Subcommittee Chair
  7. Academic Integrity Policy Discussion
    Peter Cobbett, Subcommittee Chair
  8. 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.

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 02/21/2008

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 02/14/2008

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, February 14, 2008
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, Administration Building
Draft Minutes

Attendees: Dennis Banks, R. Sekhar Chivukula, Peter Cobbett, Marty Crimp, Doug Estry, Richard Hallgren, Caroline Hartig, Linda Jackson, Carolyn Loeb, Helen Mayer, Brad McDonald, Jerry Punch, Ralph Putnam, Michael Schechter, Parita Shah, Michael Shields, Thomas Volkening

Absent: Ruba Farah, Chris Wenstrom

The Agenda was approved.

Minutes from the 2/7/08 meeting were approved as amended. In the section, Comments from the Chair, remove “at” before COIA and change "Faculty Council" to Athletic Council.

Comments from the Chairperson
No comments from the Chairperson

Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education:
No comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Deferred Programmatic Actions from February 7, 2008 meeting

Request to Change the Admission Requirements for the Specialization in Public Relations
Janet Lillie, Associate Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Richard Cole, Chairperson, Department of Advertising, Public Relations & Retailing

    The committee unanimously granted voice to Associate Dean Lillie and Chairperson Cole.

    Chairperson Chivukula introduced the topic stating that the committee asks that there be, to the extent possible, a direct connection between admission requirements and ability to succeed in a program. An overall 3.0 GPA may be problematic, especially at the sophomore level.

    Professor Cole answered that the 3.0 grade point currently required for admissions, may delay entry to the program, as a sophomore or a transfer student, but it does not preclude a sophomore or transfer student from applying for admission to the program when they have achieved the required 3.0 GPA, possibly as a junior or as a second semester sophomore. Requiring a 3.0 in just a few targeted courses, such as writing, would not provide the student with a well-rounded academic background, not just in writing, that indicates a greater likelihood for success in the specialization.

    The limited enrollment (approximately 50 students per year) and the number of applications for admission to the specialization cause the GPA of those admitted to be well above a 3.0 GPA. Professor Cole indicated there are other measures, in addition to grade point and seat limitation that determine admittance.

    Chairperson Chivukula expressed the consensus that the committee was uncomfortable with the 3.0 GPA requirement, yet this specialization, the largest in the University has had this requirement in place for some time.

    Motion by Ralph Putnam was unanimously approved.
    The committee endorses the request to change the admission requirements for the Specialization in Public Relations as submitted in the January 3, 2008 memo to the committee.

Request to Establish a Minor in Music with an Audition Requirement for Admission
Curtis Olson, Associate Dean, College of Music

The committee unanimously granted voice to Associate Dean Olson.
    Chairperson Chivukula reminded the committee of the two questions the College of Music had been asked to address at this meeting.
      • If the minor is to be a limited enrollment program (i.e. if the standards for the level of performance in the audition required for admission will change depending on the space available) the catalog wording should be modified to reflect that fact.
      • If majors are given preference in access to courses, what assurance can be given that admitted students can complete the minor in a timely fashion?

    Dr. Olson stated that the minor in Music would be a limited enrollment program with enrollment based on availability of classes and private lessons, in addition to the audition requirement. Applicants to the major will be taken into account when determining the space available for admission to the minor. Once minors are admitted, they will have access to all classes necessary.

Motion by Carolyn Hartig was unanimously approved.
    The committee endorses the request to establish a minor in Music with an audition requirement for admission subject to modification of the proposed catalog language to clarify that, as a limited enrollment program, applicants to the major in music will be given priority over applicants seeking a minor, and that admission to the minor is contingent on space available in the program.

Request to Require a Grade Point of 2.0 in Selected Courses within the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work Rena Harold, Director, School of Social Work
Joan Ilardo, Academic Specialist, College of Social Work
    The committee unanimously granted voice to Dr. Harold and Ms. Ilardo.
    Chairperson Chivukula commented that this request was deferred at the last committee meeting because the 2.0 GPA requirement was described as a progression requirement in the oral presentation, which was not reflected in the catalog language.

    Ms. Ilardo stated that the language had been clarified with UCC and presented the revised language to the committee.

    Discussion centered on the following issues:
      • The MSU registrar systems cannot track grade point as progression requirement in such a way as to prevent registration in an upper level course.
      • Ability to demonstrate that performance in a lower level course is tied directly to performance in a subsequent course.
      • Impact of the progression requirement on a student’s ability to progress to graduation without undue delay.

Motion by Linda Jackson was unanimously approved.
    The committee endorses the request to require a grade point of 2.0 in selected courses within the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work subject to modification of the proposed catalog language to reflect the progression requirement.

Religious Observance Policy Discussion
Ralph Putnam, Subcommittee Chair

Subcommittee Chair Putnam distributed four handouts to the committee.
      1. existing religious observance policy
      2. current proposal
      3. guidelines and notes to go along with proposal
      4. examples of policies from other universities

Professor Putnam explained that MSU students, through ASMSU, requested revision of the current Religious Observance policy. They particularly objected to the use of a blanket attendance policy that includes absences for religious observance. In Fall 2008, the Provost explicitly reminded faculty of the existing policy (restated the policy and asked faculty to be observant of it), which has resulted in fewer complaints from students. The existing religious observance policy covers both faculty and students. The new proposal only concerns students as recommended by University council.

Discussion about the new proposal centered on the following issues.
    1. Interpretation of words or phrases
      • Is there a difference between being absent for religious observance and absent for religious reasons? Will reword proposal to replace religious reason with religious observance.
      • Does religious holiday include events that are not an established religious holiday?
    2. Philosophical pitfalls
      • The proposal states that a student should not be disadvantaged. Does the proposal need to state that a student shouldn’t gain advantage by being absent?
      • Does the proposal need to discuss others that may be disadvantaged by an absence of a team member, group member, or partner?
      • Concern that the presumption to accept claims of religious observance “at face value” included in current policy is absent in the proposal
      • Need to include discussion or recommendations regarding use of blanket policies in the proposal
      • Concern that the same reasoning could be used in regard to athletes, band members, debate teams and others who are absent in order to fulfill obligations to scholarships
The consensus was to address these issues in the guidelines rather than the policy section.

Professor Putnam indicated that he would present a revised proposal and guidelines to the committee for action at its February 21 meeting.

Academic Integrity Policy Discussion
Peter Cobbett, Subcommittee Chair.

Dr. Cobbett distributed documents for use in discussion and provided a brief history of the Academic Integrity proposal discussion in committee over the past two years.

Chairperson Chivukula stated that one of the difficulties faced in creating an academic integrity policy is that it couples tightly with the AFR, which defines due process for students at the University and is the purview of Student Affairs. The committee must provide a clear policy statement and due process guidelines in order to influence the revision of the AFR.

Professor Chivukula pointed out that there are a number of important changes in the proposed policy:
      • It lowers the threshold for reporting occurrences of academic dishonesty and triggering the judicial process.
      • It adds education as an important piece of academic honesty process.
      • It specifies a University-level tracking and adjudication process.

Committee discussion centered on the following points:
      • A need for consistency in language throughout the proposed policy
      • The need for an appeal process and the definition of what may be appealed (judgments or procedure)
      • The level at which the hearing process occurs (college level or administration)

Professor Chivukula concluded the discussion, urging the committee to reach consensus on a general strategy in order to move the proposal forward.


Dennis Banks provided his report as the UCAP representative to the Athletic council.

The MSU Athletic Council (AC) met this morning at the Henry Center. Cathy George, Volleyball Coach, was the guest coach. After approval of minutes and committee reports, Banks gave a UCAP report. AD (Hollis) updated the group on the several issues including the Big Ten Network, the organization and direction of efforts in external relations and his desire to create programs designed to create more positive fan support during MSU athletic events. Angela Howard, Associate Athletic Director, and Director of Student-Athlete Development reviewed the Life Skills/PACT programs that athletes participate in while at MSU. These programs include the many community outreach programs in the area including Big Brothers Program, Shoot for a Cure, and the Pink Ribbon Crew. Guidelines and rules for participation were reviewed by the committee.

Michael Schechter stated that he had met with Sustainability Specialization group in order to clarify issues brought up by the committee and to help the group to strategize ways to address them. The group will modify their proposal and would like to come back to committee to discuss their revised proposal at some point in the future.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther