Faculty Senate
Vol. 37, No. 10
February 13, 2003


I.  Roll Call.

Present:  Barmore, Barnd, Beck, Bigel, Brooks, Cravins, Dixon, Gendreau, Gibson, Hoar, Hollenback, Kernozek, Krajewski, Majak, Nelson, Poulton, Ragan, Senger, Taylor, Tyser, Vandenberg-Daves, Wilson, Wingate, Zellmer.

II. Approval of Minutes.

The minutes of the January 30, 2003, meeting, were approved as distributed.

III.  Reports.

Chair Senger reported that there have not been additional budget meetings with the Chancellor since the previous senate meeting.  Last Thursday evening he attended a dinner at President Lyall’s home along with Chancellor Hastad and representatives from each campus.  At the Friday morning BOR meeting, Lyall described principles to be followed re budget reductions:  whatever cuts are necessary in the short run, we should work to preserve our long run to serve students and the state; we have looked first to cut administrative expenses that are least related to serving students…; we should look to eliminate or merge academic programs and majors that have small enrollments or similar programs elsewhere…; we should support a move-to-the-midpoint policy for tuition, coupled with matching need-based financial aid; after all these steps have been taken – if further position/personnel reductions are necessary, we may review and adjust enrollment targets to reflect the elimination of additional faculty and staff from budget; there are a number of restructuring options that could be examined to reposition our institutions over the long run to operate with much reduced state support.

Senger reminded Senators that nominating petitions for election to next year’s Senate, are due  Friday, February 21.  Eight seats are open:  1 representing HPERTE, 1 representing SAH, 2 representing CLS, and 4 At-large positions.

There were no reports from the Chancellor and Provost/Vice Chancellor.

Assistant Chancellor Lostetter indicated that it will probably be a week or two before administration has something to share as a result of Governor Doyle’s budget speech scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18th.

Senator Cravins distributed copies of the Faculty Representative’s report, which can be found on the faculty senate website:   http://www.uwlax.edu/FacultySenate/

IV.  Audit/Review Reports.

Carol McCoy, Chair of the Academic Program Review Committee, joined the senate and presented the academic program review of the following units:

 A.  Athletic Training Program.  Senator Gibson, who is the program director, was present to answer any questions/concerns.

 M/S/P to endorse the report.  (show of hands)

 B.  Masters of Public Health and Master of Science in Community Health Education.  Gary Gilmore, director of both programs, joined the senate to address any questions/concerns.

M/S/P to endorse the report for the Master of Public Health - Community Health Education, and the Master of Science – Community Health Education. (voice vote)

V.  Report from the ad hoc committee on the Distribution of Grades.
At its meeting in December, the faculty senate approved a motion to appoint an ad hoc committee to discuss the most appropriate way to disseminate grade distribution information across campus.  Since there is a range of possibilities for presenting and communicating this information, the senate charged the ad hoc committee to formulate a precise proposal.

The first motion was presented by Senator Brooks and follows the previously distributed grid Current Variation in Grade Distributions for Large Enrollment General Education Courses.  It is anticipated that the motion will generate discussion that parallels discussions currently taking place in the General Education Committee meetings.

M/S we hereby direct the office of the Director of Institutional Research to report the distribution of grades for general education courses at the conclusion of each semester. The report will include the percentage of B's or better awarded in each general education course with enrollments exceeding 100 students during the reporting semester. The report will be disseminated to all faculty and instructional staff.

Discussion followed – suggested that it be done at end of each semester rather than once/year.  Don’t fixate on grade distributions – creates animosity – less conducive to collegiality – could intensify conflict and anxiety on probationary faculty.  Numbers have a limited meaning without a context.   Way of shaming people and making one college look bad in the eyes of another.    On the other hand, we already have these discussions but based on stereotypes – now we have data.

M/S/P to amend to distribute annually.  (voice vote)

The motion as amended passed.  (show of hands: 13-yes, 11-no)

Senator Barmore introduced the next motion, which allows as much information as possible to be distributed campus-wide.

M/S the Office of Institutional Research annually distribute to all instructional staff a) the total number of all grades assigned and b) the percentage distribution of the fractions of the totals of each grade recorded during the preceding academic year in the following broad categories:

1)      all courses;

2)      all undergraduate courses;

3)      all graduate courses;

4)      all "General Education" courses;

5)      all non-gen.ed. courses; 

6)      all freshman students;

7)      all sophomore students;

8)      all junior students;

9)      all senior students;

10)  all graduate students;

11)  for each of the colleges and schools [BUSI, CLS, HPERTE, SAC, SAH, SED],

11a)  all undergraduate courses,

11b) all graduate courses;

12)    for each term of the academic year,

      12a) fall semester,

      12b) J-term,

      12c) spring semester,

      12d) summer session including May-term.

Comments:

a) It is the intent of this motion that only summary data for the entire category be listed, not individual courses, sections or students.

b) It is probably unnecessary to give both the number and percentage for each entry, hence the wording of total number and the percentage fraction of each grade.

c) There are 24 categories. Category, total number plus the percentages in each of the grades (A, AB, B, BC, C, D, F, WP, WF, I, NA, S, U, and perhaps several others) is 16 or more headings.  That is a grid of 16 or more columns by 24 rows plus heading. It would fit on one side of a single sheet. If it is more than one sheet nobody will read it. It may be that nobody will read it in any case.

d) I have checked with Institutional Research and the Registrar. There should be no problem getting this data from currently existing databases.

The motion failed.  (show of hands:  11-yes, 13-no)

VI.  Consideration of the D and F Grade Issue.
Chair Senger reviewed the history of the D and F grade issue.  Last summer the SEC solicited discussion papers on the assignment and reporting of grades.  Eventually, three papers, authored by Bob Bilby, Jac Bulk and Aaron Monte, and Laura Nelson were distributed and discussion took place in November and December.  An advisory vote (18-in favor and 3-against) was taken in December with the final consideration scheduled for today.  Senger emphasized that all along, it has been the intent of the SEC to try and find common ground on this issue.

M/S to abandon the policy of erasing D and F grades earned in courses by students who then retake those courses for higher subsequent grades.  D or F grades should be retained in the calculation of student GPAs permanently.

The senate discussed the motion. Some felt that the GPA should consider all courses (which would require a change in the current policy) while others felt that the current policy is better. Those in favor of change noted that other schools (Madison for example) include all courses in the computation; allowing repeats to replace poor grades may encourage poor performance; and the overall effect on GPA would be minimal if a student only repeated one or two courses. Those opposed to the motion noted that there are many reasons for which a student may fail; students need to pay to repeat; and our graduates do fine under the current system.  Students and others in the audience echoed many of the reasons stated against the motion.

Call the question. 

The motion failed.  (show of hands:  5-yes, 1-no, 3–abstained)

VII. Old Business.

VIII. New Business.

IX.  Adjournment.
The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Submitted by
Robert Hoar, Secretary