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Academic Standards and Student Records Committee

Minutes of February 25, 2003

  1. The Academic Standards and Student Records Committee meeting of February 25, 2003 was attended by the following members: Dr. Michelle Abrego, Ms. Kathleen Carter, Dr. Susan Hardebeck, Ms. Linda McDonald, Dr. Ruth Ann Ragland, Ms. Laura Villarreal, Mr. Tom Welther, and Mr. Steve Wilder.
  2. Dr. Abrego motioned for the minutes to be accepted after the following changes were made: In # 5, the spelling of WICAM courses was changed to WECM courses, with WECM denoting Work Education Course Manual, according to Ms. McDonald. In # 6, Dr. Ragland requested that the sentence “Dr. Ragland also mentioned that the catalogue will be on the web and that there are plans to have it available to students on a CD.” be changed to “Dr. Ragland also mentioned that the catalogue will be on the web and that some of the discussion has been to have it available to students on a CD.” In # 10, the sentence “The last topic, the bookstore copyright, was only briefly discussed.” was changed to “The last topic, the bookstore copyright statement, was only briefly discussed.” Finally in # 11, Mr. Wilder’s name was included to state that he had motioned for the meeting to adjourn, and Ms. McDonald’s name was also included to indicate that she had seconded his motion. At the end of the February 4th meeting, Mr. Welther, who is acting as chair and secretary of the committee, in a state of absentmindedness, had failed to include their names, although he managed to record the time when the meeting adjourned. Ms. McDonald seconded Dr. Abrego’s motion, and the minutes were unanimously accepted by the committee members.
  3. Next, Mr. Welther reported about the final drop date, which is listed in the Spring 2003 Academic Course Schedule as Friday, April 4th. Having it listed so late in the semester is contrary the recommendation sent forward by the Academic Senate. According to this recommendation, the final drop date was to be placed within the seven to ten week time segment of the semester. Mr. Welther had talked to Mr. Benton, who is a member of the Calendar Committee, to find out why the final drop date had been scheduled so late in the semester. Mr. Benton’s reply was that the Calendar Committee had recommended an earlier date, which was communicated by Mr. Hector Castillo, the chair of the Calendar Committee, to the administration of the university. However, decisions made by the Calendar Committee are recommendations only and, therefore, not binding. Mr. Benton believes that the decision to make April 4th the final drop date was made in the administration. Dr. Ragland reported to have looked at the recommendation sent forward by the Academic Senate and talked to Mr. Hector Castillo about the late drop date to make sure that in the future scheduling the final drop date will fall within the recommended time period. Dr. Ragland also talked to Dr. Hymson, a member of the Academic Senate, who had alerted the Academic Standards Committee about the fact that the final drop date had been scheduled too late.
  4. Mr. Welther briefly informed the committee about his effort to talk to the staff of the UTB/TSC Bookstore and BookBee to ensure that both stores were aware of the fact that some students had been violating copyrights by photocopying books and reselling the original books to the stores, using fake drop slips. Talking to Mr. Jules Frapart, Mr. Welther was informed that the staff of the UTB/TSC Bookstore requires of students reselling their books to show a stamped and signed drop slip to make forgery of the drop slip impossible. A staff member of BookBee told Mr. Welther, after being made aware of the problem, that from now on Book Bee’s staff will be sure to ask of students to present a stamped drop slip when reselling their books.
  5. The next topic the committee turned its attention to was the task to develop a syllabus template for the university. The following items to be included were suggested by the member whose name appears in brackets after each respective item:
    • Disability statement (Mr. Wilder)
    • Attendance (Ms. McDonald)
    • Testing (Ms. McDonald)
    • Office hours (Ms. McDonald)
    • Grading requirements (Ms. McDonald)
    • Course objective (Dr. Abrego)
    • Assignments (Ms. Carter)
    • Required/Optional Materials (Dr. Abrego)
    • Teaching Methods (Ms. McDonald)
    • Revisions statement (Dr. Abrego)
    • Plagiarism/Academic dishonesty statement (unknown)
    • Statement as to where to go when problems arise (Mr. Welther)
    • Statement about incomplete or missing assignments (Dr. Abrego
  6. In conjunction with discussing what items to include in the syllabus template, various related topics were touched on. Dr. Ragland mentioned that the HOOP should be consulted. Dr. Hardebeck expressed concern that tenure track professors might be afraid of following a standardized syllabus unless there was a “party line,” making enforcement of syllabi content easier. Ms. McDonald pointed out that standardized statements should help.  Some discussion ensued about students immediately turning to the presidential office when they ran into problems with instructors, instead of following the appropriate hierarchical route, starting with the respective instructor and department chair. Another discussion focused on many students’ unwillingness to do and submit their assignments. Dr. Hardebeck observed that homework is a problem in the Business Department. Ms. McDonald and Dr. Abrego mentioned that the same was true in the Nursing Department and at the graduate level. Ms. Villarreal pointed out that the Learning Assistant Center’s tutors had a tendency to overdo it when helping the students with their assignments.  Ms. Carter added that a statement pertaining to late or missing assignments was definitely needed. Ms. McDonald also mentioned that for students doing the assignment was crucial as Nursing students had to participate in mandatory testing. Unless at least 85 % of the Nursing students passed the required exam the first time they took it, Nursing would run the risk of losing its accreditation. Thus, there is a lot of pressure for faculty and students to do well. Dr. Ragland suggested that the committee invite Dr. Mari Fuentes-Martin for a little chit-chat. Dr. Hardebeck asked if SACS had any rules concerning syllabi, and Dr. Ragland responded that SACS wants colleges to follow their internal rules as expressed, for example, in the HOOP.
  7. At 2:30 p.m., Ms. McDonald moved for the committee to adjourn. Seconded by Dr. Hardebeck, the move was accepted by the committee, which then adjourned.

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