Minutes for meeting of February 12, 2009

Present:  Cynthia Dietz, Donna DiDonato, Arlene Feldman, Adam Kent, Norman
                 Goodman, Scott Sutherland

Minutes of the previous meeting:  The minutes of the meeting of January 29, 2009 were reviewed.  It was decided to remove the parenthetical phrase at the beginning of item 4: Final Exams, and to eliminate the italics from that paragraph.  With those changes, the minutes were approved.

Calendar issue:  The UGC’s concern, expressed at its previous meeting about the scheduling of final examinations on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday, has apparently been resolved according to an e-mail from Mark Aronoff to Scott Sutherland.  The e-mail also invites the UGC to nominate one or two people to the Calendar Committee.  After some discussion, it was decided that it is important that full-time teaching faculty and students be included on the Calendar Committee.  Consequently, the UGC nominated Brian Colle and Adam Kent for the Calendar Committee.  The UGC also recommended that the Interfaith Council be automatically represented on the Calendar Committee.

Uniform policy on missing final examinations:  There was a discussion about whether the campus should adopt a uniform policy of how to handle situations when students miss a final examination.  Reference was made to a student who had four examinations on the same day, and others who have had three examinations back-to-back.  It was decided that since the reasons why students may fail to take a final examination are quite varied, no single policy would be useful, and faculty should have the right to make a decision based upon the individual case. 

The university has made final examination schedules available for students to use when they enroll in their courses so as to eliminate, or at least minimize, multiple exams on the same day.  However, it was pointed out that some fraction of the student body does not consider the final examination schedule when planning their courses.  Consequently, the UGC recommends that the course schedule and the final exam schedule be linked together both in their printed and electronic versions, and that faculty be requested to review the final examination schedule for their course with their students at the beginning of the semester so that potential problems can be dealt with earlier rather than later, when the problem becomes more complicated to resolve.

There was concern expressed at the meeting that some faculty do not observe the regulation against giving final examinations during the last week of classes. It was suggested that this issue be raised at the next meeting of Department Chairs and of Undergraduate Program Directors.

DEC:  Scott discussed a memo he received from Provost Kaler regarding the establishment of a committee to review the DEC.  The UGC had previously suggested a committee of Distinguished Teaching Professors and Chancellor Award Winners for Excellence in Teaching for this purpose, and many in those two categories are included in Provost Kaler’s list.  There was a discussion of the list of about 25 names that Provost Kaler had sent to Scott indicating the individuals he suggested might be  considered to comprise this committee. There was general agreement among the members of the UGC that though full-time teaching faculty should constitute a majority of the committee, it should also include appropriate academic administrators, relevant professional staff, and undergraduate students.  The discussion also led to a further discussion of potential chairs for this committee.  It was agreed that whoever becomes the chair, s/he and the UGC should develop a priority ordering of the list of possible members that Provost Kaler provided to Scott so as to obtain a committee of approximately twelve people.

Respectfully submitted,

Norman Goodman