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2009 - 09/24

UCAP Meeting of 09/24/2009


agenda status: approved



University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, September 24, 2009
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the September 10, 2009 Minutes
  3. Comments from the Chairperson
  4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  5. Request to Require an Overall 2.0 grade-Point Average to Enroll in a Tier II Writing Course and Earn a 2.0 in the Tier II Course to Graduate in the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice.........(Attachment)
    Professor Edmund McGarrell, Director, School of Criminal Justice
  6. Roundtable: All Other Business

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 09/24/2009

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, September 24, 2009
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

Attendees: Mary Jo Arndt, Kevin Bartig, Gillian Bice, Lisa Cook, Marty Crimp, Doug Estry, Anita Ezzo, Fred Fico, Guiseppe Getto, Matt McKeon, Rob Laduca, Michael Lipphardt, Justin Lippi, Michael Ly, Henry Reinart, Christopher Scales, Sharif Shakrani, Mike Shields

Absent: Paul Abramson, Michael Bagdasarian, Melanie Helton, John Reifenberg, Mahdi Saeed The Agenda was approved.

The Minutes of the September 10, 2009 meeting were approved.

Comments from the Chairperson
Chairperson Crimp reported on the Academic Governance committee meeting.
    • ECAC is collecting budget related questions for the provost. Harold Hughes ( is the contact. Colleges are looking at creative ways to transform themselves to stay within the budget guidelines. Professor Crimp asked the committee to stay abreast of University budget issues by frequenting the website:
    • The Academic Calendar Taskforce has not met yet this year. Although the members have changed, the organizations represented have not changed.
    • The generic prescription drug plan was discussed.
Dr. Crimp noted that the Academic Dishonesty Report System was now available in the Registrar’s online system.

Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
Associate Provost Estry echoed Chairperson Crimp’s suggestion that members stay abreast of University budget issues by reading the shaping the future website. Dr. Estry reported that, at the Academic Governance meeting, the Provost was straightforward in discussing changes that have to occur because of budget reductions, including examining programs. College recommendations are due on October 16. In addition, there are ongoing discussions on topics such as possible modifications to the current integrative studies model.

Dr. Estry will provide data and information about admitting to major at beginning of the sophomore year to the committee. Currently, all undergraduate freshman and sophomores, with the exception of those in the residential colleges, are advised by the Undergraduate University Division (UUD). UUD has dean’s responsibility and a broader charge to provide programs for pre-majors.

Dean Estry added that a memo regarding the availability of the Academic Dishonesty Report form for reporting instances of class-based academic dishonesty had been sent to Deans, Associate Deans, Directors, and Chairs. The reporting form was called for in the new Integrity of Scholarship and Grades policy passed by UCAP. Instructors-of- record who submit reports will be able to access an archive of reports they have submitted over time. The reporting forms are only available to instructors-of-record and not available to teaching assistants. Any reporting of academic dishonesty in a class taught by a TA must be done by the instructor-of-record.

Several committee members asked if it were true that a memo was sent changing the scheduling of 80-minutes classes on Monday and Wednesday and expressed alarm that faculty had not been consulted in the decision. Dr. Estry noted the members’ concerns and stated he would forward them to the Associate Provost for Academic Services.

Request to Require an Overall 2.0 Grade-Point Average to Enroll in a Tier II Writing Course and Earn a 2.0 in the Tier II Course to Graduate in the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice
Professor Edmund McGarrell, Director, School of Criminal Justice

The committee unanimously granted voice to Professor McGarrell.

Director McGarrell indicated the request resulted from discussions among faculty, advisors, and student representatives concerned that some Criminal Justice students were reaching Tier II courses with inadequate writing skills. He explained that Tier II writing classes are the Criminal Justice version of a capstone course in which synthesis of critical thinking skills would be displayed. The rationale for the request was that academic advisors suggest that students who performed poorly in Tier I writing courses increase their writing skills by taking advantage of the resources offered by MSU. Although most students do follow that advice, there are those students who do not. The proposed requirement change would compel the students to seek help through MSU’s resources. Professor McGarrell pointed out that only 5 to 10 students out of 700 students majoring in Criminal Justice would be affected.

Questions from the committee centered on the following:
    • Are there other programs that have a minimum GPA tied to Tier II writing?
    • What is the appeal process for students?
    • Why require a higher grade in Tier II than Tier I?
    • What is the benefit of requiring a 2.0 GPA to enter Tier II writing? This eliminates access to Tier II writing for students who have a higher Tier I grade but less than a 2.0 GPA.
    • What is the plan for counseling students who are falling below a 2.0 overall GPA or 2.0 in the major?
    • Are these students flagged at admission to the major?
    • What evidence is there to indicate that a specific GPA indicates the ability to do well in Tier II writing?
    • Instead of creating policy, could this be managed at the curricular level? Writing assigned in courses in the major would develop the desired skills.

Professor McGarrell’s voice was withdrawn.

Motion by Lisa Cook:
      The University Committee on Academic Policy endorses the proposed request to require an overall 2.0 grade-point average to enroll in a Tier II writing course and earn a 2.0 in the Tier II course to graduate in the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice.

Committee discussion centered on the following:
    If the committee would pass this request, it would become a template for other restrictions within a major. The committee is inclined not to limit accessibility.
    Data do not support the request as a solution to the stated problem. Students who don’t seek help or accept help when it is offered are issues tied to larger problems that have little to do with academics and more to personality and life experiences. This change is unlikely to solve the problem. It appears to be a way to remove students from the major.
    The understanding is that most Criminal Justice students get through the major but it takes longer than 2 years. The length of stay problem will not be solved with this action.

The motion was defeated. Vote count:
                      Yes – 0
                      No - 15
                      Abstentions – 1

Justin Lippi reported that ASMSU had a retreat the weekend prior at which the members developed organization goals.

Henry Reinart reported that Academic Assembly had taken the stance that fall welcome was too short, citing that it was difficult for mentors to connect with students in the dormitories and upper classmen living in the dorms expressed dissatisfaction with the difficulty they experiences in moving in and preparing for classes to begin in such a short time.

Associate Provost Estry stated that the academic calendar has been set for 2010-11.

Matt McKeon reported that UCLL had been charged by the Provost to review ways to enhance general education.

Anita Ezzo reported the biomedical physical sciences branch library would be closed. The materials will return to the main library.

Meeting adjourned at 11:33 am.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther