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2009 - 10/22

UCAP Meeting of 10/22/2009


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, October 22, 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 October 8, 2009 Minutes

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

5. Request to Add a Grade-Point Average Requirement in the Minor in Economics.........(Attachment)
Jeff Biddle, Associate Chairperson, Department of Economics

6. Course Repeat Credit Policy – Information Item
Peter Cobbett

7. Roundtable: All Other Business

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 11/05/2009

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 10/22/2009

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, October 22, 2009
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

Attendees: Paul Abramson, Mary Jo Arndt, Gillian Bice, Peter Cobbett, Lisa Cook, Doug Estry, Anita Ezzo, Fred Fico, Melanie Helton, Greg Lang, Michael Lipphardt, Justin Lippi, Michael Ly, Matt McKeon, John Reifenberg, Mahdi Saeed, Chris Scales, Mike Shields, Jim Smith

Absent: Marty Crimp, Henry Reinart, Sharif Shakrani

The agenda was approved.

The minutes of the October 8, 2009 meeting were approved.

Comments from the Vice Chairperson
UCAP Vice Chair Jim Smith reported that Fred Fico had sent email to UCAP members asking them to work with him on guiding his proposed amendment to the University Anti-Discrimination Policy through the academic governance system.

Professor Smith announced that Melanie Helton would not be able to complete her term as UCAP liaison to Athletic Council. Anita Ezzo volunteered for the position and elected by acclimation.

Vice Chair Smith reminded members to notify Sandra Walther and to find a substitute from their college if they must miss a meeting.

Comments from the Associate Provost of Undergraduate Education
Associate Provost Estry emphasized that providing a substitute is particularly important this year given the issues related to programming that are anticipated. All colleges should be represented to have that conversation.

Request to Add a Grade-Point Average Requirement in the Minor in Economics
Professor Larry Martin, Department of Economics

The committee unanimously granted voice to Professor Martin.

Dr. Martin stated the Department of Economics perceived a demand for a minor that would certify a level of competence in economics. The proposed minor duplicates the requirements of the major with 18 credits rather than 30.

Vice Chair Smith explained that the Department of Economics’ request to establish a minor was on the agenda of the UCC, Subcommittee C that afternoon. The question before the UCAP committee was the Economics Department’s request to require a GPA of 2.0 in all attempted economics courses. He noted that another component to the 2.0 GPA requirement is the way it is calculated. In the major, more than 30 credit hours can be taken but the requirement in Economics includes all credits not just the classes required by the major.

Associate Provost Estry explained that some colleges require a minimum grade-point average in the major, in addition to the University’s overall GPA requirement. The issue of the calculation of the grade-point average may vary by college. In some colleges, only courses required by the major are counted in the GPA in the major. The Economics Department request would calculate any course taken in economics in the GPA for the minor, which is consistent with practice in calculating GPA’s in the majors in the College of Social Science. Their practice differs from that in many other colleges.

UCAP members were concerned that the language of the request is not parallel to that of the Economics major in the Academic Programs catalog. This request makes it clear that all economics courses attempted will be calculated into the GPA in the minor whereas the GPA statement in the major does not indicate that all courses attempted will be calculated into the GPA in the major. Professor Martin indicated that currently all economics courses attempted are used to calculate the GPA in the major. Dr. Martin also noted that successor courses, not predecessor courses, would be counted in the case of courses repeated.

Discussion among the members centered on the following:

    • Is there really two parts to this request a) the request for a 2.0 GPA in the minor and b) committee approval that any courses taken in economics count in the calculation of the GPA in the minor?
    • What is the benefit to the students in calculating the GPA in this way? This provides a way for students to improve GPA by taking more courses rather than repeating courses.
    • Social Science statements about GPA requirements in the major are not clearly stated in its policy. Does the committee approve of this? The Academic Programs entry for the major indicates a 2.0 grade-point average is required in the courses in the major. This would be a disincentive for students who wanted to take a challenging economics course but was concerned about the effect of a poor grade on their GPA.
    • Is there a need to explain the calculation of GPA in the minor if it is not explained in the major?
    • The committee would set a precedent if it approved language that didn’t exist in the academic programs description of the major.
    • The committee should look at specializations and concentrations to see how the GPA requirements were handled.
    • The committee members discussed the importance of making the academic programs catalog language describing the minor consistent with that of the major, and removing the word “completed” and replacing “grade” with “grade-point average”.
    • College policy should reflect practice.

Motion by Lisa Cook passed unanimously.
    The University Committee on Academic Policy endorses--contingent upon using the language in the Academic Programs catalog describing the College of Social Science, Bachelor of Science, Social Science Requirement--the request to require a minimum 2.0 grade-point average for courses in the Economics minor.

Course Repeat Credit Policy – Information Item
Peter Cobbett

Professor Cobbett reviewed the current Course Repeat Policy and a summary of UCAP’s examination and discussion of that policy over the past two academic years. Vice Chairperson Smith asked the committee to consider the points made in Dr. Cobbett’s review and to examine the historical information that was provided in order to decide whether the committee would take up this issue again for the 2009-10 academic year.

No Roundtable items were presented.

Meeting adjourned at 11:35 am.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther