ASCRC Minutes 3/17/09

Members Present: K. Barhaugh, J. Bergman, I. Crummy, J. Dempersmier S. Lodmell, S. Smillie, H. Thompson, E. Uchimoto, K. Unger, R. Vanita, G. Weix, K. Zoellner

Members Absent/Excused: T. Brockman, J. Luckowski, M. Nielsen, P. Silverman, D. Zolnikov

Ex-Officio Present: B. Hollzworth, S. O'Hare, A. Walker-Andrews

Guest: U. Kemp, A. Klien

Chair Weix called the meeting to order at 2:10 p.m.

The minutes from 3/10/09 were approved.



  • Bonnie Holzworth was welcomed to the committee. She will be representing the Registrar's Office.
  • Chair Weix provided an update from the Faculty Senate meeting last week. The general education catalog language was approved. There was dissent over the number of majors that received exceptions to the foreign language requirement and the college of technology would like its associate of arts to be eligible for the exemption. At one point there was a motion to remove the Symbolic Systems information from the language, but it was pointed out that the framework was already approved.

    As it turns out, according to Board of Regents policy: A student who has completed an AA with an approved general education component package at one unit of the Montana University System cannot be required to take additional general education course work at the lover-division level.
  • Dean Comer is requesting that an internal faculty review of curricular items occur in the College of Arts and Sciences before proposals come to him for signature. He suggests proposals be available for a month in the College to allow all affected programs to review the proposals.
  • A late curriculum item was received from Social Work. The committee will need to decide whether the justification is acceptable to review the proposal.

Business Items:

  • The Writing Committee met yesterday and approved additional writing courses - ASCRC concurs (list appended below). The courses not approved are pending follow-up information. The Committee also needs to discuss the approaches to fulfilling the upper-division writing requirement by the major that do not involve a single course. Professor Hinman, Chair of the Writing Committee will be at the ASCRC meeting next week to present the approved courses.

At the Senate it was asked whether two upper-division writing courses would meet the requirement of a writing course and the upper-division writing requirement by the major.  One course would have to be an approved writing course and the other an approved upper-division writing course in the major.  There are several upper-division courses that are approved writing courses.  The writing component of general education is intended to follow a progression.  The criteria for a writing course and upper-division writing requirement are different.  The upper-division writing requirement should be at a higher level than the writing course.  

The Writing Center Director, Kelly Peterson has been working with the Registrar's Office to find a way to assure students have passed the WPA prior to taking upper-division writing courses.  It is possible to put a prerequisite test score restriction on upper-division writing courses.  Students would not be able to enroll in the course without passing the exam.  The Writing Committee is in favor of implementing the restriction.  It would be effective spring 2010.  She requested that the following information be shared with ASCRC.

The Writing Center and the Registrar's Office will work together to put into place a prerequisite test score restriction on Upper-division Writing Courses.   This means students would have to fulfill the WPA requirement with a score of 3/3 or higher in order to enroll in a UDWR course.  Blocked students would be given a message explaining the prerequisite test score.  Concurrency issues (concurrent enrollment in a UDWR course and registration for an exam) will be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

There are two immediate justifications for this test score restriction:

*This prerequisite test score restriction would be put into place in order to enforce the presumably purposeful and already existing sequence of writing requirements in the catalogue, ensuring that students pass the WPA exam prior to enrolling in a UDWR course.  This sequence specifies that students should fulfill the WPA requirement prior to completing 70 credits and prior to taking a UDWR course.  Currently, students have on average over 90 credits when attempting the exam.

*In order to test the validity of the WPA exam (i.e. whether or not it tests what it intends to test:  preparedness for writing in upper-division courses), we first need students to take the exam at the appropriate time.  We cannot interpret our data to this end if students are taking the exam toward the end of their senior year.

Implementation will take place over the next year.  The prerequisite test score restriction will not go into effect until Spring 2010, allowing for time to advertise this to students and allowing for time to "catch up" the current students who will be taking the exam late (those who will be seniors during the 2009-2010 year).

  • The revised proposal for a BS in Geography was approved with one abstention. Although, the Chair of Geosciences signed off on the proposal, he recommends that a set of criteria be developed to differentiate between a B.S. and B.A. degree to avoid future conflicts.
  • ASCRC discussed the draft general education brochure disseminated by Interim Director O'hare. It was recommended that a booklet be created that had a listing of all general education courses and a section be added of how the new program affects existing students. It is helpful to have a printed course list to reference prior to enrolling in courses through Cyberbear.
  • The Committee reviewed the data regarding how current students fulfill their foreign language / symbolic systems requirement. It would like to have additional data regarding the number of students in majors that are exempted from the modern and classical language requirement in the revised general education framework to determine whether there will be a change in the number of students taking the modern and classical language requirement. Professor Crummy will contact the Office of Planning Budgeting and Analysis.

    Symbolic Systems / Modern & Classical Language Data (OPBA)

Type of course taken to

Number graduated in

Percentage of Graduates

Fulfill requirement







Foreign Language







Symbolic Systems







Total Graduates







  • Chair Weix spoke to two former ASCRC Chairs regarding procedures for appeals. It was suggested that once a proposal is rejected by ASCRC, the program must wait to resubmit during the next regular curriculum review in the following fall. It was also suggested that requesters be given two weeks to respond to requests for additional information. If they do not respond then the proposal is rejected and must wait until the next regular curriculum review in the following fall to resubmit. Professor Bergman will draft language for the committee to consider next week.

    Justifications for the committee to review late proposals will be evaluated case-by-case. There should be some flexibility in considering level I and II proposals due to the lengthy (7-9 months) Board of Regents approval process. The proposal should have merit and be time sensitive.
  • The Writing Committee Chair does not recommend a change to the structure of the Writing Committee at this time. The General Education Committee has broken down and its future function needs to be evaluated. The Graduation Appeals Committee will be lacking continuity next year due to the absence of a chair-elect. Chair Weix will be the only member continuing and she will not have a vote. Perhaps faculty who have previously served on the committee can be contacted for service. Chair Weix would like membership on the curriculum subcommittees to be formalized, so that it does not fall on the subcommittee chair to find members. Members serving on the subcommittees should take responsibility for keeping informed of their obligations.

    Dean Comer's recommendation was discussed. The committee had concerns regarding coordination and dissemination of materials for the internal review prior to the dean's signing and how the approved items would be presented to ASCRC. The additional time for the review is also a concern. Would the subcommittee chairs still serve on ASCRC? There still needs to be discussion across schools and colleges which is currently the function of ASCRC. Some departments currently have functional curricular committees. This structure would not add an additional layer, but rather the review would take place in reverse order so that curricular items are vetted by faculty before the dean signs the form. This takes place under the current system within some disciplines. The change will not resolve the breakdown of communication that occurs across campus. Often someone who has knowledge of the bigger picture needs to assure that all disciplines with a stake in the proposal are contacted - this is the role of the dean and provost.

Good and Welfare

  • Chair Weix thanked committee members for attending the strategic planning town hall meeting on undergraduate education..

The meeting was adjourned at 3:25.

Writing Courses


AAS 372

African American Identity


ECON 350  (ECNS 317)

Economic Development

Upper-Division Writing Requirement Courses


ANTH 450

Archaeological Theory (2/26/09 follow-up: MacDonald)

Computer Science

SC 499

Senior Thesis/Project


ENLT 331

Voices of the American Renaissance


BIOL 304



BIOL 306



BIOL 341

Ecology Lab


BIOL 366

Freshwater Ecology