Undergraduate Council
December 16, 2009

Present: Michael Barnhart, Jin Cao, Sarah Fuller, Norman Goodman, Arlene Feldman, Rick Gatteau, Cheryl Hamilton, Beverly Rivera, Scott Sutherland

  1. The changes to the course repeat policy as suggested by the subcommittee were discussed.  The specific language suggested (and approved by the UGC) is as follows.

    Unless a course is designated as repeatable for credit, a student must obtain written permission from his or her general academic advisor to repeat the course.  Note: permission to repeat a course is rarely given to students who received a letter grade of C or higher in that course.

    A student who receives permission to repeat a course may not exercise the P/NC option on the second attempt.”

    In addition to the specific language, several implementation details were discussed.  These include the following:

    1. The directors of advising units will create a rubric to help advisors determine when a student is eligible to repeat a course.  Advisors will receive training on the use of this rubric.
    2. Students who receive permission to retake a nonrepeatable course must sign a statement summarizing the discussion with their advisor.  This agreement will be retained by the advisor, with a copy given to the student.
    3. Where possible, students who are given permission to retake a nonrepeatable course will register on the normal cycle.
    4. Non-impact service indicators (Peoplesoft jargon for a flag on the record) will be placed on the records of students who speak to advisors about retaking such courses.  This is to enable advisors to be aware of what other advisors have decided.

    Rick pointed out that we should revisit how well this policy has worked after Fall, 2010.

    There was discussion about whether a student who retakes a course should be allowed the option of withdrawing.  Forbidding this could lead to trouble with underloads, and might adversely penalize a student who realizes midsemester that retaking the course was a bad idea after all.  On the other hand, allowing withdrawals could send the message that there aren't serious consequences attached to retaking a course.  The consensus was that withdrawals should be allowed, but the issue should be reconsidered in the future.

    A question was raised as to whether repeaters take “extra” courses to compensate for being behind because of the repeated course.  Advisors should counsel against this, in most cases.

    Note that while major departments will be included in the discussion, the decision about allowing a repeat or not should be made by the academic advisors, not major advisors.

    Rick pointed out that certain courses would be more likely to be allowed than others.  For example, denying a repeat course like WRT102 is equivalent to denying graduation.

    The question was raised about how to handle a request for a third repeat attempt.  It was suggested that this should return to being a petition processes, although I don't think we made an explicit decision.

    There was discussion about the grading in WRT102.  Currently it is ABCU; it was suggested that it might be better to give a grade of F for unsatisfactory performance instead.  It was agreed that we would discuss this (and other issues) with Gene Hammond in the spring.

    The repeat policy was approved, with planned implementation for Summer '10 registration.
  2. Items for next spring:

    A. Meeting time: probably Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30 as this term.  A poll will be conducted via email to confirm.

    B. The issue of an explicit “no courses during Campus Lifetime” policy.

    C. Grading in writing courses (ABCU vs ABCF), upper division writing program.  Gene Hammond will be invited early in the semester to discuss.

    D. Undergraduate TAs

    E. Southampton Issues: DEC, Course Equivalency, etc.  Mary Pearl will be invited.

    F. Adopt a (minimal) policy regarding excused absences from exams due to illness, etc.

    G. Questions regarding G0 students:  should they need permission to register for undergraduate courses?  This affects about 200 students.

Recall that because of lack of course availability, most students were limited to 16 credits until December 4.  Then the limit was raised to 17 credits, and will rise to 19 credits on January 22. However, students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher are automatically approved to take an overload.  In order to not interfere with students reshuffling their courses during the first days of the semester, overloads of up to 23 credits will be allowed for these students after January 27 (the Wednesday of the first week of classes).

  1. Meeting adjourned at about 11 am.