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2010 - 11/18

UCAP Meeting of 11/18/2010


agenda status: approved


University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, November 18, 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 November 4, 2010 Minutes

    3. Comments from the Chairperson

    4. Comments from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
    5. Request for a New Linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering .........(Attachment)
      Request for a New Linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science Degree in Computer Science .........(Attachment)
      Tom Wolff, Associate Dean, College of Engineering

    6. SIRS Subcommittee Report
      Jim Smith, Subcommittee Chairperson

    7. Roundtable

minutes status: approved

approved at meeting of 12/02/2010

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 11/18/2010

University Committee on Academic Policy
Thursday, November 18, 2010
10:15 AM to 12:00 PM
Board Room, 4th Floor, Administration Building

Attending: Paul Abramson, Miles Armaly, Lisa Cook, Laura Dillon, Anita Ezzo, Fred Fico, Kathleen Hoag, Evan Martinak, Matt McKeon, Justin O’Dell, Helene Pazak, Ron Perry, John Reifenberg, Mike Shields, Jim Smith, Linda Stanford, Emily Storrer

Not Attending: Crystal Branta, Justin Epstein, Doug Estry, Tom Morse, Mary Noel, Chris Scales, Mary Kay Smith, Chenguang Wang

Chairperson Bice welcomed Miles Armaly, new ASMSU representative, and Associate Provost
Linda O. Stanford, liaison to the committee in place of Associate Provost Estry.

The Agenda was approved as amended by combining items 5 and 6 into a single agenda item.

The Minutes of the November 4, 2010 meeting were approved.

Comments from the Chairperson
Chairperson Bice announced that the proposed revision to the Course Repeat Policy and its implementation plan had been forwarded to ECAC. In addition, the memo from UCAP regarding the reorganization of the Biomedical Science departments had been forwarded to ECAC.

Dr. Bice noted that a faculty forum sponsored by ECAC to increase participation of faculty in academic governance would be held on November 30.

Comments from the Associate Provost for Academic Services
Associate Provost Stanford stated the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media (TISM) had withdrawn the moratorium requests for the two degree programs currently offered. As a result, the moratorium notices have been removed from the MSU website list of programs in moratorium. After TISM submits their new program, the moratoria will be resubmitted.

Request for a New Linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering

Request for a New Linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science Degree in Computer Science
Tom Wolff, Associate Dean, College of Engineering

The committee granted voice to Associate Dean Wolff.

Associate Dean Wolff noted that two Engineering programs parallel to those being discussed at this meeting had been approved for linked BS/MS degrees. The new linked degree programs were an excellent recruiting tool, allowing the college to retain its best students. He noted that these requests were based on a single undergraduate program from which students could enter one of two master’s programs. The Computer Engineering program is unique in that it does not have its own Masters program nor does it own any courses at the undergraduate level. Courses for the major are selected from both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering programs and the major is jointly administered by the two programs. Dr. Wolff noted that there is a continuum among Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering in the job market. Dr. Wolff stated that the requirement of a 3.5 GPA was commensurate with that of other students entering a master’s program in Engineering.

Dr. Stanford noted that the policy allowing the linking of bachelor and master’s degree programs was approved by UCAP several years prior. The role of UCAP was to make sure the link was appropriate and aligned with the policy. Undergraduate courses selected for the waiver must directly connect to an existing master’s degree program.

Committee discussion centered on the following issues:
    Is counting courses from the undergraduate degree towards a master’s degree standard across other universities? Research has shown that a significant number of our peer institutions in the Big Ten do and as a result, MSU was losing the opportunity to enroll excellent students.
    Is it a disservice for students who intend to earn a Ph.D. to take all of their degrees at one institution?

The committee withdrew voice from Associate Dean Wolff.

Motion by Kathleen Hoag passed with one member opposed.
The University Committee on Academic Policy, in its consultative capacity to the Provost, has no concerns about the request for the new linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and the new linked Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and Master of Science in Computer Science.

SIRS Subcommittee Report
SIRS Subcommittee Chairperson, Jim Smith, reported that a report had been provided to ECAC regarding the online SIRS Summer 2010 pilot. ECAC asked that UCAP provide a report in spring 2011 that included results of the fall 2010 pilot and a report of activities, response rates, best practices, along with recommendations for future action.

Professor Smith noted that ISS, IAH, and other departments were participating in the online SIRS pilot for fall 2010. Of particular interest was the inclusion of testing whether the sequestration of grades or the increased communication about the importance of completing SIRS was responsible for the increase in overall participation. Criminal Justice courses would be adding information regarding SIRS to course syllabi along with instructor reminders to be provided throughout the semester but not sequestering grades. The Department of Zoology participation would provide the opportunity to compare response rates in three consecutive fall semesters, 1) fall ’08 paper administration of SIRS with 2) fall ’09 online SIRS administration without additional effort from the faculty or sequestration of grades, and 3) fall ‘10 participation on the online SIRS pilot. This way a comparison could be made of classes and faculty over a period of three semesters. In addition, the subcommittee would follow up on best practices among the course sections participating by surveying instructors on the methods used to draw attention to online SIRS participation in order to tease out whether the sequestration of grades or additional marketing had more impact.

Motions coming before ECAC regarding statistical validity of the SIRS form questions would be beyond the scope of UCAP. Other questions such as whether there is a correlation between response rates and signal, how the environment in which a student completes the survey impacts the signal and what the current questions actually measure would be more likely a task for survey experts. Beyond the results of the current pilot and the response to ECAC, Professor Smith suggested that UCAP’s next steps should be to review and revise SIRS policy and to work with AIS to develop a user interface in order to allow customization of SIRS forms.

Dr. Smith stated that he would be leaving the committee after fall semester due to a conflict between his teaching schedule and committee meetings. He offered to stay involved as needed to complete the pilot study but a new subcommittee chair would need to be named.

Chairperson Bice stated that in addition, an election to replace Dr. Smith as UCAP Vice Chair would need to be held at the next UCAP meeting.

Professor Fico reported that the working group to review the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy and the Sexual Harassment Policy had begun meeting.

Professor McKeon reported that the University Committee on Liberal Learning had created two working groups that would be working on developing strategies for marketing liberal learning goals within the University.

Dr. Ezzo reported that the recent Athletic Council meetings had been primarily informational. The Council had been primarily looking at graduation rate data and strategizing ways to improve graduation rates. Dr. Stanford noted that reported graduation rates among athletes fluctuate widely due to the small cohort measured.

Dr. Hoag noted that there appears to be an inordinate number of students in emotional distress this semester.

Mr. Martinak reported that ASMSU was discussing the variations in faculty attendance policy and trying to figure out a uniform policy. He noted there seemed to be quite a few cases of faculty not excusing students with valid reasons for absence.

Professor Smith inquired whether there had been a change in the students enrollment required for a class and who determines the number. Dr. Stanford responded that the Office of the Registrar would remind people that a class is under enrolled but it is up to the college or department to determine whether the class will be cancelled. She noted that non-tenured faculty must be notified within two weeks of a course start date if it is going to be dropped.

Professor Perry stated that the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources had begun its restructuring process.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by
Sandra Walther