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ASCRC Minutes 9/30/08

Members Present: J. Bergman, T. Brockman, I. Crummy, J. Dempersmier, S. Gauthier, S. Lodmell, D. MacDonald, H. Thompson E. Uchimoto, K. Unger R. Vanita, G. Weix, K. Zoellner

Members Absent/Excused: J. Luckowski, M. Nielsen

Ex-Officio Present: M. Hoell, D. Micus, A. Walker-Andrews

Chair Weix called the meeting to order at 2:15 p.m.

The minutes from 9/23/08 were approved.

Communication

  • The curriculum proposals were distributed to the subcommittee chairs. Camie asked that they check to make sure items on the summary are available on the web. Given the volume of forms processed there are bound to be items missed. The following is a preliminary count of proposals.

Business & Journalism

49

Education and Fine Arts

50

Forestry & Biomedical Sciences

59

Humanities

77

Science & Math

57

Social Science

61

  • Professor Tangedahl from Information Systems and Technology agreed to chair the Business and Journalism subcommittee.

 

Business Items:

  • The committee reviewed the proposed course description changes for ENEX 100 and 200. The language needs to be changed to be in compliance with Board of Regents Policy. The CAS Dean's Office would like the language updated in time for spring pre-registration. The language was amended to reflect the C- requirement and approved.
  • The Committee discussed, amended and approved the repeat fee proposal appended below. One member who was absent voted against the proposal via email communication. It was suggested that the proposal include language that the fee would be lowered if it became feasible to do so with the ultimate goal of eliminating the fee. The committee did not agree to the addition.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Repeat Fee Proposal

Background:

Last year (2007-2008) the ASUM passed a resolution to eliminate the grade recalculation fee (1)  ASCRC supported that resolution, and Faculty Senate modified the resolution and passed it in the modified form (2), with a failed attempt to remove the grade recalculation option altogether.  The President refused to remove the fee, and the Provost asked the Faculty Senate to arrive at a compromise.  A member of ECOS and ASCRC proposed one alternative (3) at the end of the year, which ASCRC discussed briefly at its final meeting in April 2008.  In August, the ad-hoc committee was formed of ASCRC, administration, Disability Services, ASUM, and Registrar, with input from the Business Services staff (4).  The committee has met four times, and considered peer institution policies on both grade recalculation fees and academic policy for repeating courses (5), and has arrived at a proposal for consideration by ASCRC, ECOS, and the Faculty Senate as a whole.  We are submitting this proposal together with the results of peer institution comparison, the O'Hara study (6), and the testimony from Disability Services and ADSUM students (7).

 The issues at stake are fourfold.  One, students continue to advocate for a reduction of the recalculation grade to zero, with the option of repeating courses and having the final grade replace all other grades when calculating GPA, on the grounds of equity and fairness.  Representatives from ASUM are amenable to a revenue neutral transition, in which the fee would be reduced to $50. 

Two, the Administration, specifically the President, has asked for a revenue-neutral proposal; the current $100 fee for each repeat course grade being recalculated generates approximately $110,000 a year.   The proposed reduction in the fee from $100 to $50 would likely achieve this, and would be paid at the beginning of each semester, rather than at a time of the student's choosing before graduation.  This prediction is based on the O'Hara study, and its recommendation, which would charge the fee of all students electing to repeat a course, but excluding students who withdraw from courses.

According to the O'Hara study, approximately 4300 courses are repeated each year, with about half of those course repeats ending in withdrawal.  Of the remaining total, approximately one half of the students pay the fee for one or more courses repeated.  It appears that a majority of students repeat a failed course within one year, and of those, a majority of those students earn a passing grade and do not repeat the course again (see the O'Hara study).  Students who do not pay the fee have all grades calculated in their GPA, including failing grades (F). 

A third major interest at stake, articulated by the Provost, is that of academic success: the proposed policy should enhance successful completion of courses, and aim to reduce the overall number of courses repeated.  One factor that would encourage this success would be for students to be invested in repeating a course to completion, and to have a stake in performing as well as they could in the course the second time, with the result of replacing a failing grade with a passing grade that improves their GPA.

A fourth interest is to avoid discrimination against students who have, or who come to be identified with, disability(ies). The testimony from Disability  Services and ADSUM suggests that the current policy presents inequitable difficulties for students with disabilities (See letters from Marks and Pialet) when faced with their options early in the semester to address a course in which they are failing.  In particular, students whose tuition is paid by grants and federal support must be approved to withdraw from a course, or courses, and the additional level of review can inhibit them from exercising that choice.  Therefore, they are more likely to be affected adversely by the current policy of repeating courses, and having to pay $100 for each grade that is recalculated to replace the final grade only for that course.

The concern of the CAS administration and retention efforts are for students who must withdraw from courses for legitimate reasons of hardship.  Those students who withdraw from course(s) are heterogeneous, including both those faced with illness and family emergencies, as well as those who elect to drop a course for whatever reason.  In order not to penalize or burden the former, the subcommittee is proposing that no change in policy be proposed to affect those who withdraw from courses, or a semester, in order not to penalize further students facing personal hardship.

We propose a change in how the current policy is implemented to include the following:

a)      Students may repeat courses;

b)      Student must indicate at registration their intent to repeat a course, and pay a fee of $50;

c)      The fee would be billed automatically; the most recent grade replaces all prior grades in the GPA. 

d)     All grades will show on the students' transcript.

The consensus of the ad-hoc subcommittee is that these changes would help reduce both the number of repeated courses, and the fee associated with processing recalculation of grades. Advantages of this change in policy are:

  1. It is revenue-neutral, generating the equivalent to cumulative revenue from the current $100 grade recalculation fee. 
  2. Students must indicate their intent to repeat the course at registration, and pay the fee up front.  This would provide incentive for completing courses successfully.

3.  It expands access to all students to use the current option to request grade recalculation, and reduces economic discrimination by reducing the processing fee by half.

4.  It does not apply to students who withdraw from a course, including those who are unable to complete courses due to unexpected circumstances such as illness, or death in the family.

5. It allows students with disabilities, who have funded college through grants and scholarships and are restricted from withdrawing from class, to have the same opportunity as other students to repeat a course.

6. It reduces paperwork processing requests for grade recalculation between Business Services and the Registrar by replacing an automatic fee initiated by a student at registration.

Current Policy  (Catalog, p. 24)

Repeating a Course

Grades of AUD, I, N, NC, NCR, NF, W, WP, or WF do not repeat other grades but an F grade does. All courses repeated remain on the permanent record but only the last grade received is used to determine credits earned. If the last grade received is an F, no credit is given for previous passing grades. All grades are used to calculate the grade point average unless the $100.00 per course repeat fee is paid. If the repeat fee is paid, only the last grade received is used in calculating the grade point average.

Proposed Policy

Repeating a Course

All course grades remain on the permanent record but only the last grade received is used to determine credits earned.  If the last grade received is an F, no credit is given for previous passing grades.  A $50 processing fee is paid at registration and only the last grade is used to calculate the grade point average.  Grades of AUD, I, N, NC, NCR, NF, W, WP, or WF cannot replace a traditional letter grade.