Agenda/Minutes‎ > ‎2008-2009‎ > ‎

2008 - 10/23

UCAP Meeting of 10/23/2008


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, October 23, 2008
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

  1. Approval of the Agenda

  2. Approval of the Minutes of the September 25, 2008 meeting

  3. Comments from the Chair

  4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

  5. Proposed NCAA Regulations Regarding Nontraditional Courses
    Mike Kasavana, Nama Professor, The School of Hospitality Business
    Jim Pignataro, Director, Student Athletic Support Services

  6. Course Repeat Policy – Discussion

  7. Academic Calendar Reform

  8. Integrity of Scholarship and Grades:
    Discussion of UGC 2004 document and UCFA suggested revisions

  9. Roundtable

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 11/11/2008

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 10/23/2008

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, October 23, 2008
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, Administration Building

Mary Jo Arndt, Dennis Banks, R. Sekhar Chivukula, Peter Cobbett, Marty Crimp, Doug Estry, Mandalyn Griffin, Richard Hallgren, Linda Jackson, Chris Kline, Carolyn Loeb, Brad McDonald, Matthew McKeon, Jerry Punch, A. Mahdi Saeed, Michael Schechter, Parita Shah, Michael Shields, Jim Smith, Tom Volkening

Caroline Hartig, Hovig Kouyoumdjian, Michael Lawrence, Sharif Shakrani

The Agenda was approved.

The Minutes from the September 25, 2008 meeting were approved.

Comments from the Chair:
Chairperson Chivukula reported that he made a brief presentation on the background and activities of UCAP to the Academic Council at its October 21 meeting and that UCC Comprehensive Proposals 4, 5, and the Undergraduate Learning Assistant Policy, both referred to the Council by UCAP, were unanimously approved. In addition, Dr. Chivukula reminded Council members that UCAP’s Integrity of Scholarships and Grades and Religious Observance policy proposals were an upcoming Academic Council agenda items and asked them to invite comments from their colleagues. He indicated to the Academic Council that UCAP was considering an examination of the course repeat policy.

Dr. Chivukula reported that in her remarks to the Academic Council, President Simon stated the University’s finances are “o.k.” for the near future, noting the University’s endowment is conservatively invested and liquidity is not a problem. In the Provosts remarks to the Academic Council, he reported that the University’s VSA website ( was “live”.

Comments from Associate Provost
Associate Provost Estry noted that the recommendations to the Provost regarding student first-year transition and experience, including fall orientation, were posted on the Provost’s website.

Proposed NCAA Regulations Regarding Non-traditional Courses
Mike Kasavana, Chairperson, Athletic Council and Nama Professor, The School of Hospitality Business
Jim Pignataro, Director, Student Athletic Support Services

The committee unanimously granted voice to Dr. Kasavana and SASS Director, Jim Pignataro.

Dr. Kasavana reported that the NCAA would consider a proposal to expand its definition of full-time college enrollment for a student athlete as 12 credit hours of academic study per semester, to include online courses, on campus courses, or a combination of the two at its next conference in January 2009. It could be speculated this expanded definition might allow a student athlete to maintain NCAA athletic standing while enrolled in online courses yet not reside on or near the campus of the school in which he/she was enrolled. SASS Director Pignataro stated the Academic Athletic Student Support Committee is in favor of the NCAA proposal. He added that, although it can be imagined that abuses to this expanded definition could occur, policies that are available to and benefit all students should be allowed to benefit student athletes. Dr. Kasavana invited UCAP members to express opinions or concerns that might inform the Athletic Council’s consideration of the proposal.

Committee discussion centered on:
    Online courses present security issues related to verifying a student’s identity and ascertaining who does the work. This issue transcends student athletes.
    SASS provides excellent support for student athletes on campus. How would SASS provide the same excellent level of support for student athletes enrolled in online courses, especially if they did not live on campus?
    Is it the responsibility of a scholarship athlete to be involved in on campus student life?

Course Repeat Policy: Discussion
Chairperson Chivukula remarked that course repeat policy among the CIC institutions varies widely. He suggested that a subcommittee be appointed to review MSU’s policy to determine whether changes should be recommended.

Discussion centered on:
    Why would concern about academic units changing admission requirements to include a specific grade or grade point average (which affects a few students) result in a proposal to change the course repeat policy (potentially affecting every student)? Do we know the extent of this problem?
    How many students cannot enter limited enrollment programs because policy does not allow course repeats above a 2.0 grade point?
    How many students would repeat courses if there were not a grade restriction?
    How might grade inflation influence or affect this issue?
    Should the final date for class withdrawals be moved further into the semester?
    Could the grade that allows a repeat and the number of repeats be separate issues?
    Is there variability in overrides for the number of allowed repeats among colleges?

Consensus was to defer the discussion awaiting data on the extent of the repetition of courses at MSU and, if possible, the extent to which current policy was harmful to an identifiable group of MSU students. ASMSU representatives said this topic would be discussed at their next meeting to determine if there is student interest in the issue.

Dr. Chivukula stated that data would be collected and presented to the committee in order to decide whether further consideration and formation of a subcommittee was necessary.

Academic Calendar Reform
Professor Chivukula reported that Academic Council (AC) would create a taskforce to examine the issue of academic calendar reform. He suggests UCAP constitute a two- or three-person subcommittee in order to be represented at all the meetings of the AC taskforce. Dr. Chivukula encouraged the committee to consider how UCAP might get ahead of the calendar change process, given the fall semester will most likely remain 70 days and the 74 days in spring semester might be challenged and changed to 69 days.

Committee discussion centered on:
    How might we want to influence the process of reviewing the academic calendar
    Is the addition of fall break off the table?
    Can class schedules be changed, e.g., number of minutes in a class, start earlier in the day, end later in the day?

Dr. Chivukula closed the discussion by asking members to consider how they might want to influence the examination of the academic calendar.

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades:
Discussion of UGC 2004 document and UCFA suggested revisions

Chairperson Chivukula mentioned to the committee that Associate Dean Tom Wolf spoke in favor of the tracking aspect of UCAPs proposed revision to the Integrity of Scholarship and Grades policy at the Academic Council meeting on October 21. UCAP received comments from UCFA, ASMSU is expected to provide input on the policy proposal, and the CGA will take up the issue at its next meeting. Dr. Chivukula suggested that a subcommittee be formed to prepare a final draft for full committee to review and forwarding to Academic Council for action early next term.

Dennis Banks remarked that in considering the NCAA regulations regarding non-traditional courses, UCAP should also consider hybrid courses and review residency requirements at MSU.

Meeting adjourned at 11:50 am.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther