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 Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Meeting, February 9, 2006
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123

Approved 3/9/06

 

 

Members Present:
B. Allen, E. Ametsbichler, D. Beck, C. Bruneau, J. Campana, K. Canty, J. Carter, b. Chaney, J. Crepeau, D. Dalenberg, M. DeGrandpre, A. Delaney,  S. Derry, P. Dietrich, D. Doyle,  L. Frey, F. Glass, S. Gordon, S. Greymorning, C. Hand, K. Hill, C. Johnston, S. Justman, C. Knight, L. Knott, B. Knowles, M. Kupilik, B. Larson, C. Lawrence,  S. Li, C. Loisel,  J. Luckowski, D. McCrea, J. McNulty, V. Micheletto, M. Monsos, C. Nichols, D. Potts, E. Putnam, B. Reider, D. Schuldberg, P. Silverman, D. Six, R. Skelton, G. Smith, J. Sommers-Flanagan, F. Snyder, H. Thompson, A. Ware, T. Whiddon, S. Yoshimura

Members Excused:
F. Cardozo-Pelaez, G. Cobbs,  W. Freimund, J. Gannon, L. Gillison, W. Holben, , Y. Reimer, F. Rosenzweig, S. Stiff, M. Tonon, K. Unger

Members Absent:

S. Gaskill, K. Kane, J. Sears, A. Sondag

 

Ex-Officio Present:
Provost Muir,  Registrar Bain, Associate Provost Staub and Walker-Andrews

Call to Order:

Chair Crepeau called the meeting to order at 3:12 PM.
Registrar Bain called the role.

 

The minutes from 12/8/05 were accepted as a matter of record.

Communications:

Provost Muir

  •           There are three searches currently underway for the Registrar, the Dean of the Mansfield Library and the Dean of the College of Technology.  The first candidate for the library dean was on campus last week and the second candidate will be here next week.  This position is important to the entire campus community so please attend the open sessions. Notices will go out to departments.  The College of Technology search will be chaired by Dean Perry Brown.

The Regents are still very concerned about transfer issues system-wide.   Keep up the good work facilitating transfers for your students. 

Departments' unit standards are now posted to the web.    If your program has more current approved standards please contact Associate Provost Staub.  Locating the approved current standards for a unit has been difficult in some cases. A review schedule is also posted to the site:  http://www.umt.edu/provost/unitstandards.htm

The Provost sent a memo this morning clarifying that the assignment of grades is a faculty responsibility and prerogative.  Grades should not be changed unless there is an appropriate process.

Senator Knowles asked about the asterisk indicating a decision will be made next to winter session on the official academic calendar.

The Provost responded that the President has not yet made a decision.  Winter session has shown to be progressively more successful, but the final decision rests with the President. 

UFA President Mike Kupilik

  •           The TIAA-Cref saga continues.  Once again the UFA will attempt to get the state contribution to TIAA-Cref raised.  This requires legislative action.  The strategy this time will be to ask for an increase of 1 percentage point rather than the full amount.  He believes this strategy might have gotten the bill out of committee last year. A 1% increase will make a big difference to faculty members over the life of their career.  The UFA can ask for the remaining difference in contribution latter.

MEAMFT passed a resolution to get a supporter of the Bill.  Last year Holly Raiser carried the Bill. Perhaps she will again.

The UFA will be asking the Regents to support the Bill at the March 11th meeting. They have been silent in the past.  It is an important retention and recruitment issue.

Next year the UFA will ask for active participation in the committee meeting, and it is planning a reception for legislators that will allow faculty to communicate what is on their minds.

Chairs Report

  •           Chair Crepeau reported on the grading scale of the various exams in response to a question raised at the last meeting related to the Regent's Writing Proficiency Policy that takes a phased approach to increasing the scores accepted on writing exams.  The ACT and SAT are scored on a scale of 1-12 (two independent readers use a scale of 1-6 and these are added for the total score) and the MUS writing assessment is scored 0-6 (two independent readers use a scale of 0-6 and the scores are averaged.  A 0 score indicates the paper was not legible. Further Information on the scoring rubrics are available at the sites below:
    ACT:  http://www.act.org/aap/writing/sample/rubric.html
    SAT:  http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/about/sat/essay_scoring.html

MUS Writing Proficiency: http://www.montana.edu/mus/writingproficiency/

The President forwarded a complaint to ECOS of a student who was not informed in many of his classes whether the faculty member used plus or minus grading.  Please include this information on your syllabus and inform students at the beginning of the semester.

Please remember to provide input to ECOS on the Centers that are being reviewed this year.

The Deadline for the Evaluation of the Administration is February 24, 2006.

Faculty Senate elections will take place this month as well.  Expect an initial message requesting a response to your ability to serve on the Faculty Senate shortly.

Chair Crepeau announced that Senator Potts has been named the Montana State Climatologist.  Bozeman held the last climatologist ten years ago.

Committee Reports:
ASCRC

  •           ASCRC Chair Jean Luckowski presented the curriculum consent agenda.  One item was requested to be information only by a member of ECOS because it was approved this week at ASCRC and was not reviewed by ECOS. The curriculum action items were approved. 
  •           The dormant course list was presented as information only. The committee received a memo from Associate Registrar Carlyon identifying courses that had not been taught in three years separated into three categories: 1) courses that may not be offered next year, but departments provided justification for retaining them in the catalog; 2) courses that will be deleted from the catalog because they will not be taught next year; and 3) courses that departments have verified will be taught next year and therefore retained in the catalog.  ASCRC reviewed the justifications of courses in the first category and recommended that three of these be deleted, the other justifications were acceptable.


Among those deleted was a course that involved student travel to Bali.  The state department will not allow travel to Bali so the course was deleted.

  •           Internship credits information item

ASCRC was asked by ECOS to explore the issue of internships.  The committee met with the Director of Internship Services, evaluated data and invited comments from departments. After considerable deliberation over the issue, the committee is forwarding the motion to limit the number of X98 internship (managed by Internship Services) credits allowed toward a baccalaureate degree to six for the Senate's consideration.

The title change was added for consistency and to remove outdated wording.

X90 "Supervised Internships" are not affected by the policy. Thus students could have more that six credits of internships between the two course numbers.

The data evaluated by ASCRC shows that the vast majority of students take an average of 2.38 credits.  Out of 1538 students only 48 took 7.5 credits.

Professor Shooshtari, Chair of the Management and Marketing Department in Business Administration commented that they limit the number of credits allowed for the major to 3, with a maximum towards graduation of 9.   In some cases the nature of the internship demands 9 credits to qualify for financial aid during the summer. This policy will undermine the ability of the students to take advantage of internship opportunities.   The policy doesn't speak to the heart of the issue and micromanages for wrong reasons.  In business there is a direct link between what students do in internships and employment opportunities.  This will force departments to find other ways to accommodate students and sends the wrong message.

Professor Luckowski responded that the major concern is that x98 credits are not monitored the same way as those that are focused within a program such as a practicum or a supervised internship.  It could be more appropriate to have independent study

Senator Potts indicated that the policy is a compromise.  Originally ASCRC considered a credit/ no credit grading option only with a limit of 9 credits. In order to accommodate Business Administrations desire to maintain traditional letter grading the limit was reduced. 

According to Professor Shooshtari, this policy would establish a rule and encourage departments to get around it. 

Senator Frey argued that it is inconsistent for business administration to argue for 9 credits of internships when they claim that their students don't have enough flexibility for general education.   The catalog does not allow any credits for career skills.  This many credits of internships is a way to inflate grade point average.  Employers are not qualified to award grades.

In response, Professor Shooshtari explained that business administration has a full-time internship director who is responsible for assessing the academic work required for internships.  A faculty member is awarding the grade for these courses.

The Chair of EVST requested that similar concerns pertaining to their program be addressed. 
EVST relies heavily on internships to meet requirements of the program.  The policy would harm programs and not do what it is intended. 

Senator Hand relayed similar concerns from the department of Social Work.  Social Work is a practice profession and internships provide students the opportunity to develop important skills.  In addition to the required practicum, internships offer a range of experience working with different population adds to students' knowledge.  Social Work has a Field Practicum Coordinator that also oversees X98 internships.  If the concern that lead to the policy is monitoring then clearly some departments have a structure in place.

Senator Carter clarified that not many students are taking more that 6 credits. 

The motion is for the Senate to think about and vote on next month.

  •           Declaration of a major information item

The deans requested consideration of a policy change to make students declare a major after 30 credits or two semesters.  The current policy is 60 credits.  ASCRC considered the proposal and agreed that 30 credits would be too early, therefore it is forwarding for the Senate's consideration requiring students to declare a major at 45 credits, or three semesters.  The goal of the policy is to get students into an academic department.

Senator Greymorning wondered what this will do for students changing majors.  
Students would simply have to fill out a form to change their major.

Undeclared students go to the Undergraduate Advising Center.

Senator Hill asked whether students in Associate of Arts programs would be affected by the policy.   The program is a total of 60 credits.

Associate Provost Walker Andrews responded that students in AA programs have declared their major.

Senator McNulty commented that this will make advising difficult.  She finds that students at this stage still have many ideas and have not narrowed down a direction.

Associate Provost Walker Andrews stated that the highest attrition rate is in students who have not declared a major. This is the population at most risk.  Studies have shown students identification with a department and talking with faculty members improves retention.  

There are no penalties or enforcement tools associated with the policy.  There will be a lot of communication to students.

Chair Crepeau provided a point of order to clarify how these items will come forward as seconded motions next month and may be debated in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.

Graduate Council

 

  •           Graduate Council Chair Neil Moisey presented the curriculum consent agenda. It was clarified that CEP stands for Community and Environmental Planning.  The curriculum items were approved.

 

Old Business:

  •           The Center for Advanced Supramolecular and Nano Systems (CASANS) at Montana Tech of The University of Montana in collaboration with The University of Montana was approved (44 in favor, Senator Frey opposed).   Appropriate changes were made to the proposal after the discussion at the December Faculty Senate meeting and ECOS found these to be acceptable. 

Good and Welfare:

There were no comments

The meeting was adjourned at 4:13 PM.

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Senator Frey moved the question that was unanimously approved.  The motion was also approved unanimously.

Declaration of the major policy change

"Students must declare a major prior to completion of 45 credits or after three semesters, whichever occurs first.  ASCRC was asked to consider this issue by the academic deans as a means to increase retention."

Senator McNulty spoke against the motion.  The reason the Senate is asked to consider the change is to increase retention.  However there is no evidence that declaring a major earlier will lead to graduation.  As an advisor for students who are undecided, she believes students need time to explore, weigh the options, and then decide on a major.

If forced to declare a major and change majors several times, they will not have consistent advising.  An earlier declaration of a major might not increase retention.

Associate Provost Walker-Andrews explained that the deans asked for this to be considered because of a report provided to the deans that identified student engagement with faculty is an important factor in retention. Data was reviewed for students who declared compared to students who had not.  There are other factors that impact retention such as motivation.  The deans felt that faculty advising could help to motivate students.

At a recent teleconference, The Sophomore Year, The Forgotten Year, students were interviewed and felt that they needed ‘deep advising'.  Where they would receive career measure oriented advising that explained multiple path ways to graduation. Students need a lot of guidance when doing exploration.  Students leave when they are not getting good advising and there is a problem on this campus with retention.  Students need to make a connection with faculty and this is one way to do this.


There will not be any punishment if students do not declare a major at 45 credits.  However they will be flagged for special advising attention.

Senator Dalenberg was confused as to whether the correlation applies to causation.  He would argue that there is another factor.  Performance is driving both choice of major and retention. He is concerned about unintended consequences. Resources are divided out by major.  And the earlier a major must be declared the more students a department has to advise, so there could be a potential reshuffling of resources.  On the flip side faculty may not be very good at general education advising.

Senator Dietrich spoke to another unintended consequence.  If we pressure students to declare a major there is potential for students to change their major which could lengthen the time it takes to graduate.  He doesn't support putting pressure on students this early.

The current policy requires students to declare a major at 60 credits.

Senator Ware asked about the number of students is there that haven't declared by 45 credits but do declare by 60 credits.

Senator McNulty had data from the Undergraduate Advising Center.  There are 360 students that are undeclared between 30 to 60 credits, 78 students with 60 to 90 credits, 22 with 90 plus credits, and 81 post baccalaureates. A lot of the baccalaureates are getting certificates in the School of Education.  Many of the students in the 30 plus do not have the GPA requirements to get into their desired major.

Senator Beck asked how this would impact the professional schools.

Senator Luckowski responded that the pre majors can be considered a declaration.  The current language refers to a degree granting program and that was removed.

Senator Silverman suggests that the purpose of retention be considered.  It is primarily financial and not particularly important academically.  One of the key purposes for students at the traditional age is to explore.  He would argue that 60 credits is the appropriate guideline.

Associate Provost Walker-Andrews commented that for every extra year a student is in school he or she is accumulating a larger debt.  The issue is not just a financial concern for the University.  It some since the University would lose money if students actually graduate in four years.

Senator Frey remarked that the declaration of a major is an academic benefit.  Students benefit by being connected in a program earlier.  It might concentrate students mind to require a declaration.

Senator Luckowski is in favor of the motion.  She was persuaded that encouraging students to make choice sooner is beneficial because they would borrow less money.  Students' debt load is almost an ethical issue.  However there is an argument on the other side that it could take longer to graduate if students change their major.

The question was called by Senator Dietrich and passed unanimously

The motion was approved with 23 in favor and 15 apposed.

Good and Welfare:
Senator Justman is concerned about student debt loads.  A considerable number of students are paying tuition on credit cards.

Registrar Bain indicated that a lot of students' parents pay on credit cards because of the convenience. 

Senator Ametsbichler announced that the Graduate Student and Faculty Research Conference is coming up on April 8th in the University Center.  She encourages faculty participation.  The details are on the website at: http://www.umt.edu/gradfacconf/

The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 PM.


Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812