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2010 - 01/28

UCAP Meeting of 01/28/2010


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, January 28, 2010
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

    1. Approval of the Agenda

    2. Approval of the January 14, 2010 Minutes

    3. Comments from the Chairperson

    4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

    5. Moved to February 11, 2010 Meeting: Request for a New Program – Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development

    6. Request to Change the Admission Requirement for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism.........(Attachment)
      Lucinda Davenport, Director, School of Journalism
      Janet Lillie, Associate Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences

    7. Roundtable: All Other Business

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 02/11/2010

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 01/28/2010

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, January 28, 2010
10:15 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

Attendees: Jon Beaulac, Gillian Bice, Crystal Branta, Sekhar Chivukula, Peter Cobbett, Lisa Cook, Marty Crimp, Doug Estry, Anita Ezzo, Fred Fico, Matt McKeon, Ron Perry, John Reifenberg, Henry Reinart, Mahdi Saeed, Christopher Scales, Mike Shields, Jim Smith, Mary Kay Smith, Dan Tratt

Not Attending: Paul Abramson, Melanie Helton, Michael Ly, Chris Scales

The Agenda was approved.

The Minutes of the January 14, 2010 minutes were approved.

Comments from the Chairperson
Chairperson Crimp reported that Associate Dean Book, College of Education would not be submitting modifications for the December 3, 2009 meeting minutes.

Reporting on the recent Academic Council meeting, Chairperson Crimp stated the Academic Freedom Report (AFR) was passed and would be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for their approval. Professor Crimp noted that Academic Council passed a motion to change the name of UCAP to the University Committee on Undergraduate Studies (UCUS). The explanation given for the name was for the graduate and undergraduate committees to have parallel names and reflect the title of the Associate Provost who was the liaison to the committee.

Professor Jim Smith stated that Faculty Council had voted unanimously against this name change last year. The questions brought forward were, how a new vote could be taken without conversation about prior Faculty Council actions and the name doesn’t reflect the new committee’s charge.

Chairperson Crimp welcomed Dan Tratt, the new ASMSU representative, to the committee.

Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
Associate Provost Estry announced that CAAP would be administered to MSU seniors on February 2, 2009. Starting February 8, the NSSE student engagement survey will be offered to all freshmen and seniors. Professor Estry asked committee members to encourage students to participate.

Request to Change the Admission Requirement for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism
Lucinda Davenport, Director, School of Journalism
Janet Lillie, Associate Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences

The committee granted voice to Drs. Lillie and Davenport.

Associate Dean Lillie and Dr. Davenport provided their rationale for the request to revise School of Journalism admissions by simplifying the process, specifically by eliminating all but the grade point average requirements. Students not able to achieve the GPA requirement would be able to appeal the requirement.

Questions about the request centered on:

    • How students would be made aware of the appeal process.
    • Why require a GPA higher than the minimum required by the University for each of the courses?
    • What is the correlation between student success at the 2.0 GPA level and the 2.5 GPA level?
    • What was required of the students for the appeal?
    • If all three students who appealed the GPA requirement last year were admitted based on their resumes, statement of purpose, other relevant activities, and an explanation of why their GPA was lower than 2.5, why require a GPA above the standard 2.0?
    • Would admissions decisions have been any different if a 2.5 GPA standard was not in place?
    • How many students took the admissions GPA requirement at face value and didn’t apply to the program?

Associate Dean Lillie noted that if the School of Journalism kept its current policy in place it would not have to revisit its GPA policy, noting that the change in the admission standard was not the GPA but elimination of the portfolio requirement and a formerly required Economics course. Dr. Lillie inquired if the School of Journalism could revise their request to eliminate the change in admissions and continue with curriculum revision with the University Committee on Curriculum (UCC). Dr. Estry responded that if the committee denied the request or the School of Journalism elected to withdraw its request and submit only the curricular portion to UCC, the School of Journalism would not be required to appear before UCAP again.

Professor Cobbett posited that by requiring a 2.5 GPA in the two writing courses required for admission, students who achieved a 2.0 grade in each course would not be able to repeat either course and therefore, could not achieve the required GPA. Whereas, a student who achieved a 1.5 grade in one or both courses would be able to retake the course(s) and possibly achieve the 2.5 GPA required. In this case, the admissions standard would favor a student with a weaker record. Drs. Lillie and Davenport responded that the appeal process was created precisely for such eventualities.

Dr. Cobbett asked whether the 2.5 GPA was a requirement for application or for admission, pointing out a requirement for application does not mean a student would be admitted. Dr. Davenport responded that if the requirement for application were met, the student would be admitted.

Dr. Cobbett asked if the Journalism program was a limited enrollment program. Dr. Davenport responded that it is not a limited enrollment program.

The committee withdrew voice from Drs. Lillie and Davenport.

Motion to approve the request was made by Professor Fico and seconded by Professor Reifenberg.
      The University Committee on Academic Policy approves the request to change the admission requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.

Committee discussion centered on the following:
    • The committee is not bound to accept the request as written. The committee could approve the request subject to change in the catalog language.
    • Is there a way for the committee to review every GPA or grade requirement over a 2.0 in University programs?
    • The department should have provided data showing that the difference between a 2.0 and a 2.5 GPA requirement links to student failure or success in the program.
    • What is the sustainability of using the appeal process as method of application to a program and what is the validity of the appeal process in determination of potential student success?
    • What is the difference in statement of admission requirements in limited admission programs and that of programs without limited admission? By definition, doesn’t an admission requirement limit enrollment?

Motion by Professor Chivukula to amend the prior motion was seconded and approved by the committee. The motion as amended stands as:
      The University Committee on Academic Policy approves the request to change the admission requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with recommended catalog language change per the clarification of Drs. Lillie and Davenport that the request concerned admission criteria not application criteria.
Dr. Bice called the question. The motion passed with 15 members voting to approve and 4 members abstaining.

Professor Fico reported that the University Committee on Faculty Affairs declined to act on the request to revise the University Anti-Discrimination Policy. The UCFA will ask that the procedures and policies by which the Office of Inclusion does its investigations be reviewed. Professor Crimp commented that, in a recent conversation, the UCFA chair indicated the UCFA had been concerned about faculty treatment in this case and indicated there was a need for clarification of the responsibilities and liabilities of faculty advisers.

Dr. Ezzo provided an update regarding the January 14 Athletic Council meeting, noting that a recent survey of athletes indicated a higher percentage of student athletes reported not being allowed to turn in late work or to make up work due to absence caused by participating in MSU sporting events than in last year's survey.

ASMSU representative Reinart mentioned students are continuing to receive emails soliciting students to sell class materials. He inquired if it would be possible to filter these emails sent to students. Dr. Estry responded that the University asks to be notified that solicitations have been received by students. University Council will contact the soliciting group to indicate they are asking MSU students to violate MSU policy and to discontinue any messages to MSU students.

Professor Chivukula recommended that, based on the committees charge to advise the Provost on issues relating to evaluation of instruction, the committee begin a review of the the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) and the Student Opinion of Courses and Teaching (SOCT) policies and practices. He suggested that MSU consider implementing an entirely online student instructional evaluation system, using Yale University’s system as a model.

Associate Provost Estry responded that MSU policy requires that the students enrolled in every course have the opportunity to evaluate instruction. Currently, departments can use the University standard form, develop their own forms, or elect to participate in online SIRS (which uses the standard rating form). At this point, departments using online SIRS have no recourse if a student doesn’t complete a survey. Recently the effectiveness of the standard SIRS form used in online SIRS has been questioned because of the types of instruction offered by the university has grown since the implementation of the form. Questions about the value of the questions has caused many units to develop their own questions.

Professor Smith mentioned that Lyman Briggs was using the SALG instrument available through the National Science Foundation.

After further committee discussion, an ad hoc subcommittee was formed to review SIRS and SOCT policies and practices and report to the full committee its recommendation on whether to pursue review of these policies and practices. Professors Chivukula, Reifenberg, MK. Smith, J. Smith, and ASMSU representative Reinart volunteered for the subcommittee. Committee members recommended that the subcommittee contact Suzanne Wilson and Suzanne Lange for information regarding studies and evaluation instruments that might inform the subcommittee’s work.

Dr. Estry mentioned that no requests for UCAP review of program moratoria or discontinuances had been received in Spring semester-to-date.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther