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2009 - 11/05

UCAP Meeting of 11/05/2009


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, November 5, 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 22, 2009 Minutes
  3. Comments from the Vice Chairperson
  4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  5. Academic Programs: Moratoria, Disbandment, Merger – Information Item
    Associate Provost Doug Estry
  6. Course Repeat Credit Policy – Information Item
    Professor 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 11/19/2009

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 11/05/2009

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, November 5, 2009
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

Paul Abramson, Gillian Bice, Kiki Edozie, Doug Estry, Kristin Evon, Anita Ezzo, Fred Fico, Melanie Helton, Michael Lipphardt, Justin Lippi, Michael Ly, Matt McKeon, John Reifenberg, Henry Reinart, Ron Perry, Chris Scales, Mike Shields, Jim Smith, Mary Kay Smith

Lisa Cook, Marty Crimp, Mahdi Saeed, Sharif Shakrani

The Agenda was approved.

Minutes of the October 22, 2009 minutes were approved.

Comments from the Vice Chairperson
Professor Smith noted that, given the number of academic programs that may be discontinued, UCAP might soon be busy reviewing requests for moratorium and disbandment.

Dr. Smith stated that requests for grade point averages greater than 2.0 for admission to majors, progression in majors, or graduation in a major, directly conflict with the University’s course repeat policy. The committee needs to decide whether it will hold firm, denying any request that is contrary to the course repeat policy, or change the policy. He noted the MSU course repeat policy is not in line with that of other CIC institutions. He said the committee must decide if parts of the course repeat policy are problem even if UCAP holds firm on such requests, suggesting that a subcommittee review the policy and report to the full committee with its recommendation.

Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
No comments were made by Dr. Estry.

Academic Programs: Moratorium, Disbandment, Merger – Information Item
Associate Provost Doug Estry

Associate Provost Estry reviewed the advisory role of academic governance in academic program moratoriums, disbandment, and mergers, citing UCAP’s bylaws and the process as defined in Academic Programs. He urged members to review the Shaping the Future website often ( Members can subscribe for RSS feeds and email updates to receive information as it is added. Dr. Estry presented a brief PowerPoint presentation that included some of the information presented by the Provost at the October 30, 2009 Board of Trustees meeting.

Committee discussion centered on the following:
    • Did the Provost ask the unit heads to provide suggested academic program closings in their cost cutting plans?
    • Despite the fact students will be allowed to finish programs that will be disbanded, will the disbandment timetable be shortened since the decisions were financially based?
    • Lansing State Journal says the University cannot estimate the estimated savings from these cuts. Absent that information, it becomes difficult to assess whether the University should or should not go forward with some programs.
    • Is there evidence that central administration and college infrastructure is being reassessed?
    • There are those who think the list the Provost presented is a done deal, ex-post consultation. In some colleges, there was no consultation with faculty (including chairs) and yet the decisions to eliminate programs have been made in the college.
    • Will the committee see the record of consultation?
    • Are there more academic program cuts coming?
    • UCAP needs to make clear that its role is consultant to the Provost. The audience must understand the committee is voting on process, not whether or not to approve a moratorium or disbandment.
    • It is important to take a vote in these matters. The committee’s vote (unanimous or split) is a reflection of the strength of its concern. Maybe the committee should cast paper ballots on the decisions.
    • UCAP must insure the correct procedures were followed. Does the committee need a template to make sure all the procedures were followed, especially if a matter is contentious?
    • UCAP doesn’t have the authority to say a moratorium request should not be heard. The committee can express its concern about how the decision was made or evidence of lack of appropriate consultation. The committee votes on whether the issues were addressed.
    • Does UCAP only hear the presentations of the administrators? Does the committee want to hear presentations from other groups who may be in opposition to the request being offered?
    • It is incumbent on committee members to communicate to their colleges if items of interest are going to be considered.
    • There are a number of programs slated for moratorium or disbandment and all undergraduate matters will come before this committee. Will they all come this academic year? How long will this take? How many committee meetings must be held?
    • Let’s review how UCAP has handled these matters in the past.
    • Wouldn’t it be easier for the committee to receive a matrix of the process followed by a unit? This would be easier for committee to review and might help the Provost review.
    • Maybe the committee’s job could be easier if groups of two or three members took the lead on a particular request.
    • Because a committee member may be affected by a moratorium request, should he/she be recused from participating in the decision?
    • It is better for the whole committee to review the requests. The wide diversity of the committee is less limiting and brings more experience to the table.
    • The motions made should reflect the purview of the committee.
    • We can expect a dean to come to provide justification. Who else might come?
    • What rules do we have for those who ask for voice? Should we ask people to send written comments since the committee only meets for 105 minutes?
Course Repeat Credit Policy – Information Item
Professor Peter Cobbett

Dr. Cobbett reviewed CIC course repeat policies. Dr. Cobbett distributed a proposed revision of the policy to the committee members. It was noted that the only changes in the proposed revision were in the overall statement and items 1 and 2.

After discussion, the committee decided by show of hands that it:
    • Would like to continue discussion on course repeat policy.
    • Does not want to vote on Dr. Cobbett’s proposed policy as it is written.
    • Should create a taskforce to recommend to the full committee how to proceed.

There were no items presented at Roundtable.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther