Academic Affairs Committee final report, 2011-2012
Committee members: John Dwyer, Arthur Jago, Norman Land, Nicole Monnier (chair), Stephen Sayers, Shelley Worden
During the last year the Academic Affairs Committee:
1. Updated / approved academic calendars. The 2012-2013 calendar was updated to account for a missing week; the 2013-2014 calendar was also approved.
2. Updated the Faculty Handbook. Most updates involved simple editorial corrections (e.g., fixing typos; mechanical updates of dates, new titles; formal amendment of FH to reflect policies voted upon but hitherto not included in FH, etc.). However
Three changes were more significant:
- Revision of the academic calendar to include a default weather contingency plan for up to two cancelled class days per semester (see 9/22/11 minutes for details);
- Revision of the language for submission of incomplete grades to reflect changes to the myZou system, which now requires electronic submission of information about incomplete grades;
- Elimination of the mid-semester roster distribution requirement by the MU Registrar to reflect the wholly electronic nature of rosters in the myZou system.
(See appendix 1 for a fuller account of these changes)
3. Assessed outcome of FC policy regarding transfer of military credit (A.C.E.). Academic Affairs was asked to assess the outcome of military transfer credit approval. (FC voted in spring 2010 to authorize transfer credit for ACE credit based on department/program approval of course equivalencies.) The Admissions Office, the Registrar and Veterans Center all reported that the process is going smoothly, with no office reporting complaints or concerns.
4. Other ongoing business
- Monitoring the redesign of course/faculty evaluation forms. Over the past year, the Office of Undergraduate Studies together with the Assessment Resource center (ARC) has been working on an overhaul of all course/faculty evaluation forms used at MU in all courses (classroom, online, hybrid, etc.) AA has had periodic updates on the process; currently, the projected launch date for the revised forms is late FS12.
- (With Diversity Enhancement committee) Reconsideration of the proposed "diversity intensive" gen ed requirement. As charged, the AA committee has examined and discussed at some length the 2011 faculty rejection of the proposed diversity intensive requirement. (See "Issues to Revisit in 2012-13" below.)
- (With Student Affairs committee) Reconsideration of the MU +/- grading system. The MSA has requested a reconsideration of the MU grading system, arguing that the "minus" portion of the system puts students at a disadvantage when competing with other students at different institutions.
- (With Student Affairs committee) Increasing undergraduate research opportunities. (Note: this is an MU Strategic Plan issue.) Members of the Academic and Student Affairs committees met with Jim Spain and Linda Blockus, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research to look for ways to increase undergraduate participation in faculty scholarship. (See attached report for full summary.)
Issues for 2012-13:
In addition to ongoing business issues discussed in point 4 above:
1. Diversity requirement: After discussion in committee as well as with individual faculty and various administrators (Provost's office, deans, chairs), there appears to be sufficient reason to revisit the diversity requirement. However, it should be done in a very different manner, one that begins with the individual colleges and schools and considers "diversity" (or cultural competence) more closely in terms of the disciplinary and professional needs of individual academic units (many of which already have relevant courses and/or requirements as part of their curricula).
To this end, the chairs of Academic Affairs and the Diversity Enhancement committees recommend the creation of a task force composed of representatives of each of the MU schools and colleges whose charge would be to consider the pros and cons of a discipline-based cultural competency requirement, and, if appropriate, draft a proposal for such a requirement. A member from each the Academic Affairs and the Diversity Enhancement committees would serve ex officio.
2. Mizzou Online: With the completion of the efforts of the Online Academic Online Task Force and FC approval of the task force’s set of recommendations, Academic Affairs should review initial outcomes and monitor any significant issues that arise.
3. Dual credit: Columbia high schools and MU: UMKC is already offering dual credit (college credit for courses taught in MO high schools); Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher is eager to see the Columbia campus do the same for area high school students. Provost Foster has indicated that there are political pressures from Jeff City to mandate dual credit for all state-funded institutions. Academic Affairs should look into this issue and be prepared to make recommendations.
4. Faculty Handbook updates/revisions: Brenda Selman will submit a list of requested changes and updates after her annual summer "rereading" of the Faculty Handbook.
–Report submitted by Nicole Monnier (chair), June 7, 2012