Academic Policies Committee - 19 Nov 09

Attended by: Ashwin Patel, Chair, Kevin Nelson, Robert Cohen, Jessica Schocker, Scott Newman, Martha Violett, Reid Edwards, Deb Clark, Gary Pierson; Jason Mullins; Julie Luekenga

Absent:  Harry Heil; Scott Cohn

Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order 3:34

Approval:  The minutes from the November 5th meeting required correction; the November 19th Agenda was approved.

Old business

Ad hoc committee for orientation.   The committee agreed that Sara Phillips (Assistant Director of Campus Life & Orientation) and Shelley Jansen should be included in discussions regarding orientation.  It was also suggested that changes in orientation should be considered regardless of the budget.  The committee was reminded that additions to orientation that involve credit and/or graduation requirements would also involve the Curriculum Committee.    

New Business:

Budget cuts and student-to-faculty ratio.  In order to lessen burden on faculty, the possibility of doing away with the advanced registration code was raised. The committee considered whether or not that would be a positive step, especially regarding undeclared majors and freshmen.  Discussion then focused on the “Degree Works” system and that, if the system worked as advertised (and students used it), it should catch any possible “mistakes” students might make in the registration process.   Some committee members pointed out that in other institutions, Degree Works was introduced solely to help students, and not for budgetary reasons.

The discussion turned to the overall goal of the advising process, and that some academic programs are more sequentially structured than others; not all programs have the same needs.  Members of the committee then pointed out that much of the success of the advising process relies upon the students’ own personal responsibility.   The committee then considered how doing away with ARCs fits in with its original discussion about advising.

Gary Pierson stated that first year students needed guidance via advising, and that a lack of guidance takes away from the mission of the college.  He then raised the possibility of student affairs being more involved with guiding students who aren’t sure about majors or course selection.  He noted that a few years ago, an undergraduate advising program for undeclared students was instituted, but since the staff weren’t their “real” advisors, the program wasn’t as effective as it could have been.  Gary noted that willing faculty could also volunteer in a student affairs-based program. 

The committee then discussed ways in which the image of the overall advising process itself could be overhauled, including presenting advising meetings as “planning sessions,” which would help foster a sense that advisors were there to do more than simply hand out ARCs and sign forms. 

The committee members agreed to bring these issues back to their respective departments for feedback. 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:08pm