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Academic Standards and Student Records Committee

Minutes of Sept. 23, 2003

  1. The Academic Standards and Student Records Committee meeting of September 23, 2003 was attended by the following members: Dr. Michelle Abrego, Ms. Janna Arney, Ms. Mari F. Chapa, Dr. Eldon Nelson, Ms. Laura Villarreal, Mr. Tom Welther, and Mr. Steve Wilder.
  2. Dr. Abrego motioned that the minutes of February 25, 2003 be accepted as presented by Tom Welther to the committee. Ms. Chapa seconded her motion, upon which the minutes were unanimously accepted by the committee.
  3. As their first order of business, the committee members dealt with the charge given to them by the Senate Executive Committee, which consisted of the following items:
    • Develop recommendations to meet the needs for academic standards and student records.
    • Develop recommendations for class size based on pedagogy and room capacity to prevent overloading the faculty and overcrowding the students.
    • Move arena registration to an earlier date.
  4. In response to the above charge, the committee made the following recommendations:
    • To meet the needs for academic standards and student records, the committee decided to embark on a review of undergraduate and graduate admission standards, as suggested by Dr. Nelson. Dr. Abrego noticed that there must be a difference between being admitted to Texas Southmost College, a community college, and the University of Texas at Brownsville, a university.  Tom Welther added that the standards for the admission of international students also ought to be reviewed, and he also mentioned that the articulation between the Language Institute in Continuing Education and the English Department needed to be examined, too.
    • To address class size based on pedagogy and room capacity, a lengthy discussion ensued. The item targeted in this part of the discussion had originally been introduced by Tom Welther during the annual General Faculty Meeting, where Mr. Welther had noted that there was a general overcrowding of the classrooms, possibly often without consideration of the fire code and the pedagogy involved in teaching particular classes. Dr. Nelson recommended that the formula used in determining maximum occupancy of given classrooms should be revisited and random checks should be carried out to determine whether the formula works and if it is followed. Mari Chapa suggested that Mr. Julio Ledezma, the Facilities Coordinator, be invited to a meeting to explore the issue and correct any problems. Dr. Abrego observed that she has moved furniture out of classrooms because they were too crowded to comfortably teach in them. Dr. Nelson reported that in the design of the LHS Building classrooms had originally been planned to house five rows of nine desks. He thought that this was crowding the rooms and impinging on the pedagogy involved in teaching nurses. As a result, he recommended five rows of eight desks, but his recommendation was not followed by Physical Plant. Ms. Chapa offered that ITEC should be utilized to take the pressure of the main campus, as 700 new students were squeezing the campus for space. She further pointed out that ample parking would be an incentive to teach at ITEC. Plus, having more classes scheduled at ITEC would also alleviate the parking problem on the main campus. To avoid scheduling problems, Mr. Wilder said that clusters of classes that have been taught on the main campus be scheduled at ITEC.  In respect to the pedagogy and space utilization, Dr. Nelson felt that individual departments needed to consider the pedagogy involved in teaching certain classes to ensure that space was used properly and classrooms not overcrowded. Ms. Chapa promised that she would talk to Dr. Jim Holt, the dean of Continuing Education concerning utilizing ITEC’s facilities, and Mr. Welther promised to invite Mr. Julio Ledezma to a meeting to explore the scheduling process.
    • To make recommendations concerning the date of arena registration was no longer necessary, according to Ms. Chapa. She stated that this spring, early registration will be till January 4th and that there will be continuous registration through January 15th. If students register early, their schedules will be locked in through early billing, which will make changes impossible until the drop and add period. However, financial aid checks will arrive on time for students who registered early. If they register late, their financial aid checks will be late as well. To encourage students to register early, a late fee of probably $50.00 will be introduced. In addition, students will be able to register though the web, using Scorpion. Ms. Arney inquired as to when students would be approved for financial aid. Ms. Chapa’s answer was November 1st. Ms. Villarreal noted that the computerized TASP offered immediate results, which also sped up the process of registration.
  5. Next the discussion shifted to old business, which included a template for a university-wide syllabus and students’ academic etiquette pertaining to logging complaints and submitting homework/class assignments late or not at all. For this part of the discussion, Mr. Welther supplied the committee members with current Student Handbooks and pointed out to them that these topics were addressed on pages 16 and 17. In addition, the current Student Handbook describes the grievance procedures on pages 18 and 19. He stressed that students should be made aware of them by their instructors. There was no need for additional informational material.
  6. The committee agreed to have their next meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 23, 2003 at ITEC. At 2: 30 p.m. sharp, Dr. Abrego motioned to adjourn. Dr. Nelson seconded the motion, and the committee adjourned without further ado.
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