Academic Policies Committee - 04 Mar 10

Attended by: Ashwin Patel, Chair; Debra Clark; Bob Cohen; Scott Cohn; Julie Luekenga; Anthony Miccoli; Jason Mullins; Gary Pierson; Martha Violett

Excused: Harry Heil; Scott Newman; Reid Edwards

Absent: Kevin Nelson; Jessica Schocker

Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:39pm

Approval: The minutes from the February 4th meeting were approved.  The March 4th agenda was approved.

Old Business

Direction of the Committee:  Regarding the Academic Policy Committee’s attention for the remainder of the year, Vice President Nelson & Vice President Young had not yet reviewed the report.  They will be meeting with various committees to discuss how to:  “… best align our efforts, and reduce workload where possible, in a manner that allows us to have sound assessment, curriculum, and academic policies which continue to improve student learning."  Furthermore, the group will be exploring “what opportunities might be before us if we were to discuss some of the current challenges, reconsider a few of our processes and deadlines, and seek to complement each other's efforts."

First Year Experience:  Carrie Buchanan and Shelley Jansen have expressed a willingness to meet with the Academic Policies committee to tie in activities with a First Year Experience, including expanding orientation. 

New Business

CADRE program meeting will be rescheduled.

Commencement credit policies.  Ashwin Patel reported on graduation policies at peer institutions:

    • CSU-Pueblo: Students must have completed everything by the fall to be eligible to walk in the Spring.
    • Mesa State: No credit hour policy. It is based on if students are done by the end of the summer. They could be in the ceremony but not listed in the pamphlet.
    • Bemidji State: Students who graduate the fall semester prior to commencement, during the spring semester of commencement or the summer session immediately following are invited to attend.
    • Southern Oregon: They have to turn in their application by December and must have all credits completed by the summer term immediately following commencement.
    • Southwest Minnesota State: They have to turn in their application by December and must have all credits completed by the summer term immediately following commencement.
    • University of Minnesota-Morris: You have to be within 15 credits of your degree requirements at the end of the spring term and be registered for your remaining requirements (or have an approved plan in place) by the 2nd day of fall registration in April to be able to partake in commencement.
    • University of Montana-Western: 1 commencement per year which includes previous year's summer and fall graduates, applicants for current spring, applicants for current summer and who are approved to participate via the Early graduation petition process (6 or fewer credits done by the summer).
    • Western Oregon University: Within 6 credits to be completed in the summer only.

Western’s policy is currently at 9 credits to walk in Spring as long as students have everything completed by the Summer term that follows.   The committee pointed out that if a decision on commencement wasn’t made until the May budget is submitted, that there might be catalog issues.

Deb Clark presented the data regarding students participating in commencement with outstanding credits, however, the current system doesn’t allow to get hard data for past 3-4 years.  Anecdotally:  for December, 95 students graduated.  13 didn’t walk.  5-10 members of the graduating class had outstanding credits.  About 7 of 100 planned on walking in December, but postponed it to May instead.  According to Ginny Hayes,  May commencements tend to have 30-40 students who have outstanding credits, with  300 students walking in commencement.  On average, 400 students graduated per academic year:  300 in Spring, 100 in Winter. 

Concerning requirements, the consensus from departments was to keep it at 6 outstanding credits or fewer; not expanding it.   The general consensus of the Academic Policies committee was that we could deal with petitions on a case-by-case basis if Western eliminated Winter commencement, and that conflicts with the 2010-11Catalog were the greatest concern. 

First Year Experience and Week of Welcome.  Gary Pierson reported that Western is positioned to do a “Week of Welcome, “ but that we’d need to get on it sooner than later if students would have to be brought to campus earlier to participate. 

Meeting was adjourned at 4:20pm.