Meeting Minutes: September 28, 2006

Attendance

Present: Douglas Abrams, Edward Adelstein, JoAnne Banks-Wallace, Rex Campbell, Michael Devaney, Jay Dow, Clark Gantzer, Bryan Garton, Norman Land, Carol Lazzaro-Weis, Sudarshan Loyalka, Kenneth MacLeod, Steven Neal, Tom Phillips, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Leona Rubin, Frank Schmidt, Rose Marra (for James Tarr), Wilson Watt, Lisa Zanetti, Dean Yarwood (Retirees), Bennett Greenspan (AAUP) and Rebekah K. Hart (sec.). Absent: Charles Borduin, Leah Cohn, Ron Harstad, William Lamberson, Alan Luger, Rebecca McCathren, Anand Prahlad, Laura Schopp, Jim Sterling, Michael Taksar, Adrienne Hoard (Black Faculty & Staff), and Geoffrey Swindells (Librarians).

Approval of Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Campbell at 3:30 p.m., in room S203 Memorial Union. [Campbell announced that the order of the meeting is changed in order to accommodate Council's guests first then the remaining meeting would follow.] The minutes of the September 14, 2006 Faculty Council Meeting were approved with the addition of the September 14, 2006 letter from Loyalka to Faculty Council regarding, "Request for Faculty Council action with respect to policies for review of academic units and use of secret committees at MU".

Report of Officers

Campbell reported that there are currently seven grievance hearings underway. He commented that Investigative Officer Laurie Mintz has indicated that the process is moving in a timely fashion. In about one month there will be a formal review of this process with Faculty Council. Campbell reported on his past meeting with Provost Foster. He indicated that his top two issues are Bachelors of Professional Studies (BPS) degree and working toward better coordination of MU with community colleges. He requested any items of discussion to be forwarded to him for upcoming meetings of the executive committee with the Chancellor or Provost. Schmidt, representative to the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC), presented a report from the meeting on September 21. The following business was accomplished. The final report on "Best Practices for Non-Tenure Track faculty" was approved and communicated to President Floyd, and Development of the Organization of IFC Working Groups. These working groups are: Higher Education Assessment and Accountability - definitions, instruments, best practices for review of administrators; faculty personnel policies - conflict of interest issues and leave policies; and, administrative policies - A-21 (federal compliance), e-procurement, best practices for shared governance (primarily for campuses other than MU). The IFC heard a report from Ken Hutchinson, Vice President for Human Resources, on benefit costs projected for 2007. The expectation is for medical benefits to remain unchanged and retirement to improve investment returns. Exact figures depend on the October 1 market status which is the date for marking performance. On medical benefits, there will be a substantial improvement in the enrollee-funded optical care benefit due to negotiated discounts. President Floyd reported on: (1) ongoing proposals to decouple fees at the various campuses; (2) characterized the transfer of funds from the MOHELA situation as "fluid"; (3) possible cooperation between the nuclear engineering programs at MU and UMR; and, (4) his desire to have a single faculty leave policy with subcategories for, e.g., research, development, sabbatical, medical, etc. The IFC agreed to take on these tasks. Senior Vice President Steve Lehmkuhle reported that UM enrollment has increased substantially. The majority of the population increase in Missouri college students has enrolled at UM. A discussion regarding how to ensure access to the university for students ensued.

Action Items

Unofficial Withdrawal - Lamberson. Jay Dow reported on the Unofficial Withdrawal (FN - fail for nonattendance) item. A motion to approve was made and seconded. The motion passed without opposition.

"Unofficial Withdrawal Policy for Undergraduate Students
University of Missouri at Columbia

Proposed By: Financial Aid Office
July 18, 2006

Details of Proposal

Purpose: Current federal Title IV student aid regulations require the Financial Aid Office to identify student aid recipients who unofficially withdraw from MU during an academic term and to recalculate their aid eligibility as required by federal law. To be in compliance with these regulations MU must have a process to monitor and identify financial aid recipients who unofficially withdraw during the term.

Current Process: The current process used to identify students who unofficially withdraw is cumbersome and difficult at best. After all semester grades are finalized a report is run to determine the students who have a GPA of "0.00" for the term. If the grade of "F" was "earned" in a course -- meaning that the student(s) completed all or almost all of the coursework required and the instructor determined that a F (or U) was the proper grade to be assigned - the student(s) remains eligible for the total amount of aid disbursed for that term. However, if the student(s) unofficially withdrew during the term, the student(s) is not eligible for the total amount of federal aid disbursed and some amount of aid must be returned to the federal aid programs by the Financial Aid Office. The only means to determine which of the above alternatives is accurate is to contact the course instructor or the student.

At this time MU does not have an effective and efficient method for identifying students who have not earned a term GPA of "0.00" and there are problems returning aid as directed by federal regulation. Based on data from prior academic terms, the number of unofficial withdrawals from Fall and Winter terms ranges from 300 to 500 students each term.

Official Reason Change Required: Section 34 CFR 668.22(j)(2) of the Title IV federal regulations require that a school have a mechanism in place for identifying and resolving instances where a student's attendance through the end of the academic period cannot be confirmed. That is, institutions are expected to have in place procedures for determining when a student(s) absence is an unofficial withdrawal. The school must make that determination as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the end of the term.

Recommendation: Institutional policies and procedures must be updated to comply with federal regulations. The following policy has been recommended by the U.S. Department of Education and implemented at a number of institutions across the country in order to satisfy federal requirements. The recommendation is to establish a new grade of "F for Non-attendance" (FN) to identify unofficial withdrawals. The value of the grade FN would be the same as F. The FN grade would be assigned to a student(s) who stopped attending class at some point in the semester but is still on the class roster at the end of the term. The FN grade would be used for internal purposes only to satisfy federal regulations for administering student financial aid. Student(s) will a term GPA of 0.00 and all FN grades would have their federal student aid eligibility recalculated for the semester by the Financial Aid Office. It is recommended that this new grade of FN be approved effective for Fall semester 2007 and Article VII, Section 2 of the Faculty Handbook be revised to reflect this change.

Financial Implications: There may be a financial impact on an institution for non-compliance. Non-compliance may result in a fine from the U.S. Department of Education. Some institutions have paid fines of approximately $50,000 and up to $1,000,000 in cases where they found to be non-compliant in this area. Fines are typically assessed based on the number of students who have unofficially withdrawn and the amount of federal financial aid they have received.

Procedural Options for Monitoring Unofficial Withdrawals:
1) When end of term grades are assigned, the FN grade is to be used in place of an F grade in instances due to non-attendance through the end of the term. All FN grades in the system will be translated and appear as F on the official transcript.
2) The Student Financial Aid Office will run a query of financial aid recipients who have a term GPA of 0.00 and all grades of FN. Those students are assumed to have unofficially withdrawn.
3) A recalculation of financial aid eligibility will be performed based on an assumed unofficial withdrawal date of the midpoint of the term. Using such an assumption complies with federal regulations for schools that do not take and report attendance.
4) The appropriate amount of financial aid funds will be returned to the respective aid programs, and the student(s) account will be charged appropriately.

 

A. The undergraduate grading scale has fifteen grade categories. The grade categories (with associated grade points used to calculate the grade point average) are: A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A-(3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), D (1.0), D- (0.7), F (0.0), FN (0.0) and W (withdrawal).

The graduate grading scale does not use plus/minus grading.

The system is appropriate for those subjects and situations that allow discrimination in quality of achievement and performance. The S/U grading system is more appropriate for students wishing to take elective courses in a subject matter field in which they will be competing with majors, for mastery learning situations, and for courses graded primarily on the basis of attendance. The grades of S, U and W are not incorporated in the grade.

The following definitions of each grade are intended to provide a standard for judgment, not a rule that can be applied mechanically; thus, while a grade of C in an undergraduate course indicates adequate work, a grade of C in a graduate course indicates work of less than adequate quality.

1. The grade of A is awarded for performance of outstanding quality.
2. The grade of B is awarded for superior, but less than outstanding performance.
3. The grade of C is awarded for adequate performance.

NOTE: Only a limited number of C grades may be applied toward a graduate degree.

4. The grade of D is awarded for performance that marginally meets minimum standards. In most, but not all, cases a grade of D in a prerequisite undergraduate course is regarded as adequate for enrollment in the next higher course, whether it be the same or a related department. The grade of D is not awarded to graduate students.
5. The grade of F indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable.
6. The grade of FN indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable due to student non-attendance and participation. The FN grade is appropriate for a student that stopped attending class, completing class assignments and taking exams, but is still on the class roster at the end of the term. The FN grade is for internal purposes regarding financial aid eligibility and appears as an F on the official transcript.
7. The grade of W indicates that the student is not failing the course at the time of withdrawal.
8.All regulations currently applicable on a course by course basis and currently tied to a specific letter grade would be interpreted to mean a specific letter grade range. Hence, if a student currently must achieve a "C" in one course in order to proceed to another course, under the plus-minus grading system, that student would have to achieve a grade in the "C range" which would include the grade of "C-".
9. All regulations currently tied to a specific grade average would be interpreted to mean the numerical average currently associated with that specific grade. Hence, the required "C" average or better" on all courses would be interpreted as "2.00 average or better".

B. The grading system (S/U). NOTE: Not applicable in the Schools of Law and Medicine.

To the extent authorized by this article, the S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory) grading system may be used. The grade of S represents the grades A, B, and C, and the grade of U represents the grades of D and F. A grade of UN indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable due to student non-attendance and participation. The UN grade is appropriate for a student that stopped attending class, completing class assignments and taking exams, but is still on the class roster at the end of the term. The UN grade is for internal purposes regarding financial aid eligibility and appears as an U on the official transcript. The grade of U is not applicable toward a degree in any school or college.

In most cases the instructor will report grades initially on the A to F grading system, even though a student has elected the S and U grading system. The conversion from one system to the other will be made in the Office of the Registrar. In appropriate cases, when a course is offered only on an S/U grading basis, the instructor may report grades initially as S or U."

Discussion Items

Guest(s):Ann Korschgen, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, and Joseph Johnston, Professor of Counseling Psychology & Psychology.

Johnston reported on the "Peer Mentoring: Colleague Circles" for new faculty. The program is run by the Provost and is now six years old. The program has at least two senior faculty members leading a monthly dinner at the Alumni Center for about half of the new faculty members (about 50 new faculty). The dinner has an open agenda for new faculty to talk about any issue they wish. This year the program has been extended to include adjunct faculty.

Korschgen presented a report on an "Overview of Enrollment Issues at MU". MU has been working to increase student diversity to compensate for the limited pipeline of college-ready minority students. MU is trying to enlarge the pipeline by engaging students in high school through the MU Summer Academy designed for high school sophomores and juniors. Promotional information has also been written in Spanish to better recruit potential Hispanic students.

An effort to engage fourth grade students is being pursued through Chancellor Deaton's "Fourth Grade Initiative". Phillips has been helping develop models for this program. Also, MU has written and submitted a one million dollar Jackson-Cook Foundation grant to train Mizzou graduates to serve as guidance counselors in high schools where students do not plan to go on to college. The Mizzou Graduates will spend a year in high school coaching students on how to apply to financial aid, and how to apply to college.

MU has a record number of African American students with a percentage increase up 8.2 percent from 2005. Since 2001 there has been a 56 percent increase in first-time African American Students. Also, there has been a 25 percent increase in Hispanic students. MU is now working on increasing international students from Korea, China, and India.

Affordability has been another area of concern. In the past several years MU has had a declining number of low-income students. This year there was an increase of 10.5 MU undergraduates with PELL (Basic Educational Opportunity Grants) grants from 2001 (a good proxy to estimate the number of low-income students). MU's need-based aid to these students has increased by 31.5 percent. MU is now up to nine million dollars. This is due mainly as a result of the amount of funds collected from supplemental fees. Affordability is still a big issue in part because MU's state funding is the least among other state universities. In FY 2000 MU gets $4,768 per student state allocation, whereas the highest state university funding was nine thousand dollars per student. It is difficult to use scholarships and compete with this level of funding. Detailed information was requested on students over the last five to ten years for the following: percentage of low-income students at MU, the percentage of these students receiving PELL grants, and the amount of unmet funding needs for these students.

Another issue involves the question of how to recruit high ability students (ACT scores, core-grades, class rank), MU returns 18.5 percent tuition discount, which is the lowest it has been in 10-15 years. Some Missouri schools have a 40 percent discount rate. This year some adjustments have been made to scholarships such as increasing the Excellence award by five hundred dollars and MU increase the number of high-ability students to sixty. In addition next year MU is introducing ten, ten thousand dollar scholarships to students who have a score of 33-36 on their ACT. Lamberson helped work on implementing this policy. Information was requested on the timing of acceptance of students who apply both to MU and to Honors College. A concern was raised that there is insufficient time for students to make a decision to attend MU.

The question of assessing the performance of students in math and English was briefly discussed. The ACT scores do not appear to have changed since 1996 (ACT-2006/ACT-1996; English 25.2/25.6, Math 24/24.4). These scores are on par with Truman University and Rolla. Washington University scores may be higher. There was an interest in obtaining comparative ACT information from comparable universities with MU (Big 12 and AAU).

Another issue involves how to insure transfer students success at MU. Working on an evaluation of the new transfer admissions policy impact some data show 1,100-1,300 new transfer students thirty percent are from community colleges and of that number 10-14 percent have AA degrees. This year it appears MU had a significant drop (-200) in transfer students. Transfer students who do best have the most credits and highest GPA. Half of the transfer students do not have majors. However, data on how the inclusion of college algebra influences success is not available. Data on the reason transfer students were not admitted to MU was requested (algebra, English, and GPA). Information on the age of incoming transfer students was also requested.

Student retention is also an issue of work. A number of students leave MU in good standing. MU was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Department of Higher Education in Missouri referred to as the 360 degree program recruit back. This program funds a GRA to contact these students to find out why they left and try to entice them back.

Enrollment capacity is another issue being worked on. Data has been analyzed over the past four years. There are many ways to study this topic such as faculty workload, policy-impact, etc. Korschgen solicited information on capacity issues from faculty. Issues of decrease numbers of tenure-track faculty and the need for the Provost's newly proposed Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program were discussed.

Proposal on Non-Tenure Track - Adelstein. Adelstein introduced a motion to include non-tenure track (NTT) faculty as non-voting members of Faculty Council. It was proposed that four NTT members would be appointed by Faculty Council in the areas of teaching, research, clinical, and extension.

Bachelor of Professional Studies - Campbell. Campbell initiated a discussion on the Provost's Bachelor of Professional Studies proposal. He reported that he will be attending their next committee meeting.

Revision of Tenure Regulations - Campbell. Campbell reported on the need for improved clarity of MU's campus tenure regulations. At the campus level the Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee refers to divisional tenure regulations criteria. It was agreed that there is a need to look at MU's statement. This issue will be referred to the Faculty Affairs Committee.

Changes in Nuclear Engineering - Loyalka. Loyalka reported on a letter from President Floyd dealing with developing a union of the nuclear engineering programs on the Columbia and Rolla campuses.

Standing Committee Reports

Diversity Enhancement: Watt, Chair Diversity Enhancement reported that the committee review of diversity documents would develop a set of prioritized issues by the end of October. He also reported on activity of some students who are petitioning to change the names of Brady Commons because of alleged homophobic activity directed by the person the building is named for.

Student Affairs: Devaney, Chair Student Affairs reported that the list of nominated members to the Student Organizations, Government and Activities (SOGA) committee has been forwarded to the committee. Devaney reported that he has volunteered to serve on the search committee for the Vice President for Undergraduate Education. Mel George, President Emeriti, has agreed to chair this committee.

Adjournment

The meeting went into a brief closed session. The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.