Undergraduate Curriculum
and
Academic Policy Committee


Report to Faculty Senate, Meeting of November 5, 2001

The Curriculum Committee held its first meeting of the academic year on October 2 (delayed this year from the usual meeting of September). The committee:

Appointments Appointed Joe Law, Coordinator of Writing Across The Curriculum And Associate Professor of English as Chair of Writing Across the Curriculum Committee

Course Modification and Inventory Requests

COLA
Approved Course Inventories: MUS 405
Approved Course Modifications: PLS 380
COSM
Approved Course Inventories: PHY 246
Approved Course Modifications: BIO 345, CHM 245, GL 201, GL 345, GL 421, GL 422, GL 423, GL 425, GL 426, GL 432, GL 436, PHY 245, PSY 391, PSY 392, PSY 393 (UCAPC Changes: (1) added "Middle Childhood" to Early Childhood Education for the GE substitutions BIO 345, CHM 245, and GL 345 per COSM request prior to meeting and (2) added changes in "Title for student record" to changes in Title for catalog for PSY 391, PSY 392, and PSY 393) 
General Education Program
COBA: Department of Economics
Proposal to Change Designation of EC 200 & EC 201 as Writing Intensive in General Education
Beginning with the Fall Quarter 2003, the writing intensive designation of EC 200 Economic Life and its substitute EC 201 Introduction to Economics (as part of the complete EC 201, 202, and 203 sequence substitution) in the General Education Program will be optional for faculty teaching specific sections.

Therefore, writing intensive offerings of EC 200 and EC 201 will vary from quarter to quarter.  In some or all quarters, it is possible that there would not be any writing intensive offerings of EC 200 or EC 201.

The Department of Economics requests that the Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee undertake the necessary actions to ensure this change is incorporated into the Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing in General Education Program and into the appropriate areas of  (1) the New General Education Program if WSU decides to implement such in the Fall 2003 or (2) the existing General Education Program if WSU decides to continue with such in the Fall 2003.

Prior to the UCAPC meeting, the Writing Across The Curriculum Committee reviewed the proposal:
The WAC Committee met on September 28, 2001, to discuss the memo from Thomas Traynor to UUCAP proposing that the WI designation be made optional for faculty teaching specific sections of EC 200 and EC 201. One of the principal concerns of the WAC Committee was that the possibility that under the terms of that memo no WI sections of EC would be offered in some quarters. To ensure that students would be able to complete their WI requirements in GE, the Committee made the following recommendation: 
If the WI designation is made optional for specific sections of EC 200, not fewer than half the sections offered in any given quarter will be designated WI.
With respect to EC 201, the Committee noted that EC 200 will no longer be required of all students in the new GE program. For that reason, it should no longer be necessary to designate EC 201, 202, and 203 (all three courses) as GE substitutions for EC 200. That being the case, once past the transition period needed to accommodate students still under the old GE program, it would no longer be necessary to designate EC 201 as WI. Students required to take the 201-203 sequence as part of their major would be able to select a different GE course from Area 3, including a WI course in Sociology.
It was also reported that the majority of Department of Economics faculty have responded to accept the WAC Committee's recommendation of "not fewer than half the sections offered in any given quarter will be designated WI."  The UCAPC explored and discussed the proposal from various college and general education program perspectives and approved the proposal with the recommended modification. It was agreed that Joe Law and Tom Sav (in consultation with the Department of Economics) will revise the proposal to incorporate the modification and that it will be submitted for approval to the Faculty Senate and forwarded to the General Education Implementation Committee.
Academic Policy
Athletics Council Excused Absence Policy Proposal
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee forwarded the proposal to the UCAPC:
The Athletics Council, upon the recommendation of its Academic Affairs Committee, recommends that the Faculty Senate enact the following statement on an Excused Absence Policy to aid students who are caused to be off campus on official University sanctioned travel. The model for this statement is found on the attached “Policy Regarding Conflicts Between Class Attendance and Athletic Events” enacted by the Faculty Senate at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in November 1998.

The rationale for this proposal is listed below:
1. Wright State has an athletics department and program which are recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association ( NCAA) and the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) 
2. Students who participate on Wright State intercollegiate teams are required through athletic scholarship agreements with the University to practice and compete in NCAA and MCC events. During these times student athletes may be representing the University off campus.
3. Student-athletes accept responsibility for the initiation of dialogue with faculty members according to a “Missed Class Policy” promulgated by the Department of Athletics and published in the Student-Athlete Handbook. This procedure requires student athletes to notify their instructors of occasions when they will be away from campus on University sponsored travel on the first day of class. This policy also requires student athletes to attempt to arrange to make up missed work, including the determination of make up dates for examination and quizzes. Student-athletes are warned that “…many classroom and laboratory activities cannot be replicated, and …absences may be detrimental to their class performance if this procedure is not strictly followed”.

Consistent with this rationale, and to support individual students who are required to miss class and laboratory time, the Academic Council recommends that the Faculty Senate enact the following policy directive.

EXCUSED ABSENCE POLICY

“It is recommended that the faculty of Wright State University consider mandatory class absences of students and aid them to succeed in their academic endeavors by excusing class and laboratory absences and providing alternative assignments and performance evaluations for students who are caused to be off campus on officially sanctioned University business and activity.”

The UCAPC discussed the proposal at length. Questions and concerns arose regarding "officially sanctioned University business and activity" and what possible co-curricular and/or extra curricular activities may be included, i.e., what constitutes "officially sanctioned." In addition, the committee noted that the proposal is really only a recommendation -- "It is recommended that the faculty" -- and, therefore, falls somewhat short a "policy" that can be implemented university wide with assurances of equal application to all WSU students.  Yet, it was also noted that "recommendations" provide several means (pressures, petitions, etc.) whereby not intended to be de jure potentially become de facto binding. Along these and other lines, the committee discussed the proposal in relation to possible infringements on absence policies in place throughout the university, in specific courses, and implemented by individual faculty. At this time, given the concerns and the potential that unintended negative consequences could outweigh the intended benefits , the committee could not support the proposed policy.
Future Agenda Items

In its e-mail to the university community, the committee received requests regarding concerns/issues related to two areas: (1) a "disjoined" approach to the implementation of a 4 hour course base in some colleges while other colleges are well on the way to converting without any indication from the administration of how teaching loads would be established or how summer teaching would be funded and  (2) a request to put together a "simple short utterance" summarizing how to make a new course proposal and modify an existing course, as well as an overview of the WSU curriculum decision-making process. 

The committee was concerned with the former as it affects program requirements, including the change of an individual college hour base as its impacts programs in other colleges. Currently, teaching loads and funding summer teaching do not appear to be the responsibility of the committee (unless it is informed otherwise).  On the second item, the committee firmly believed that empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports the notion that  "simple utterances" are difficult, if not impossible, at WSU when it comes to policies, procedures, or processes at any level of faculty governance or administration -- curriculum included. But, the committee did much work last year to hopefully satisfy this request and faculty are welcome to visit that work at the UCAPC web site:

http://www.wright.edu/ucapc/ucapc.htm
Although not a direct responsibility of the UCAPC, committee members also raised concerns regarding the student petitions and appeals process and whether or not and to what extent specific groups of students tend to fair better in that process. If such concerns pertain to academic policy, then the UCAPC should give such concerns consideration in the future.
 

The committee scheduled its future meetings for 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 30 and November 27.  Colleges submitting curriculum proposals for review by the committee need to submit the orginal and 18 copies at least 7 working days in advance of scheduled meetings.
 


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