Minutes of the Faculty Senate

November 20, 2008

Robert C. Voight Faculty Senate Chambers

3:30 p.m. – 325 Graff Main Hall


I.          Roll Call. 

Present: M. Abler, R. Ahmed, J. Anderson, S. Brokaw, D. Buffton, V. Crank, G. Cravins, S. Crutchfield, L. Dickmeyer, T. Gendreau, J. Heim, J. Holman, D. Hoskins, R. LeDocq, A. Loh, C. Miller, P. Miller, J. Miskowski, A. Olson, B. Riley, S. Shillinger, D. Sullivan, B. Van Voorhis

Excused: B. Udermann


II.         Minutes from the Senate’s Oct. 9 and Nov. 6, 2008 meetings were approved.   


III.       Reports.

         A.        Chair’s Report

         The Chancellor and Provost were out of town. 

         Bill Colclough is a finalist at River Falls. 

         Centennial Campaign:  Across the System, four academic building are having fundraising difficulties.  We are still below 50% on pledges across campus. 

         The SEC needs volunteers for an ad hoc committee dealing with online assessment.  The committee will first determine first whether we should gather SEIs online.  A separate issue is whether students would have access to these SEIs scores.  This issue will be sent to the PTS committee for discussion and recommendation as well.

         Amethyst Initiative:  This initiative failed in the Student Senate.  A “sense of the Senate” vote showed the faculty leaning on negative side as well.

         State Budget:  Projections for state deficit for the next biennium have risen by 2 billion dollars just over the last week.  While the Governor says everyone, including the System, will experience cutbacks, there is still legislative pressure to hold down tuition, so it’s no realistic to think of using tuition to make up revenues from state.  Our pay plan problems will not get better;  there is talk about employees contributing more to their healthcare costs. 

         There is a BOR meeting on our campus in two weeks.   RSVP to the Chancellor’s office if you’d like to attend the Thursday, Dec. 4, 5 p.m. reception.  There will be a Faculty Senate meeting that Thursday, and our first meeting of the Spring semester will be on Feb. 5.


         [Unscheduled item:]  Faculty Representative’s Report

         Faculty representatives have been debating whether and how to review the High Demand Faculty Retention Fund (the so-called “Star Fund”), against which a lawsuit has been filed by TAUWP.  Faculty should share their opinions on the desirability of a legislative audit and/or internal assessment of the fund.

         This will be discussed at SEC and perhaps brought up at next Senate meeting.


B. Student Representative’s Report

            Eric Fuhrmann:  Students request to have their opinions considered regarding the potential publication of SEIs.  

SAH needs a Dec. commencement speaker. 

Student Senate is considering requesting that all courses have a D2L site up;  even if instructors do not use them, students can carry on discussions and share information on them.

The Amethyst Initiative failed in the Student Senate with 14 yeas and 19 nays.

There probably won’t be a referendum on the AI. 


VI.       General Education Assessment Committee Charge.  (Anne Galbraith)

            This came as a motion from the GEC.


Charge for the General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) for AY 09-10:

The ad hoc GEAC was established in Spring 2008 to coordinate annual assessment for General Education courses through AY 10-11, including serving as a continued resource in the coordination, development, and implementation of assessment tools by departments.    

For GEAC’s second year (09-10), the GEC (with faculty Senate approval) charges them with the following:  

•   ensuring that all General Education courses being taught during the academic year are assessed. For courses already assessed in AY 08-09, the same SLO could be assessed for a second time or the department could offer a rationale for changing SLOs. 

•   continuing to ensure that appropriate assessment tools are developed for each SLO.

•   aiding departments in the revision and improvement of assessment tools, perhaps by arranging workshops.  

•   modifying the web site and/or reporting forms as necessary based on experiences in AY 08-09.

•   collecting assessment results from departments at the end of the academic year.

•   preparing a report for the GEC by the end of the 09-10 academic year, including a summary of the departmental analyses and discussions of assessment results, and a spreadsheet that includes a list of the SLOs that have been addressed in the 2-year assessment of General Education. 

•   gathering any additional information that is deemed necessary by GEC.

Note: For further information the GEAC should consult The University Core Assessment Plan prepared by the General Education Assessment Task Force on October 2007 available at http://www.uwlax.edu/FacultySenate/42nd/FS%20Mtgs/11-15-07/GEd%20Assessment%20Plan%2010-07.htm


Friendly amendment:  drop the last bullet on the charge.


Motion Passed with the friendly amendment.


VII.      Discussion of the Assessment Coordinator Description.


DRAFT 10-06-08

Assessment Coordinator Description  


Provides assistance to academic departments and programs, campus committees and groups, and to  faculty and staff to plan, implement and use assessment of student learning to improve educational quality. The coordinator will work with various campus groups to update and revise the university’s plan  to assess student learning in academic programs.   


Assessment of student learning outcomes in academic programs is faculty driven. In this aspect of the role, the coordinator will help departments and programs develop solid, realistic and streamlined  assessment programs to improve student learning and educational quality. The coordinator may consult directly with departments and instructors in any phase of the assessment process (e.g., identify or  develop assessment instruments, identify strategies to implement assessment, analysis of results, ways to use assessment results for improvement purposes).   


The assessment coordinator also

  • consults with faculty groups and committees (e.g., Academic Program Review, General Education) on assessment   
  • develops resource materials and provides campus wide workshops and presentations to help  faculty and staff streamline and improve their assessment practices       
  • coordinates and administers university wide assessment activities (e.g., Collegiate Learning Assessment, National Survey of Student Engagement, Beginning College Survey of Student  Engagement)   
  • disseminates and communicates assessment results to internal and external audiences   
  • develops and promotes strategies to use university assessment results to foster educational improvement   
  • coordinates, tracks and projects needed actions related to assessment for accreditation from the  Higher Education Commission (NCA). Assists departments and programs that need help with their accreditation studies.  



1. Master’s degree, doctorate preferred.

2. At least three (3) years of assessment experience in higher education.  

3. Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods and practices to assess student learning in academic programs in higher education, including assessment of general education outcomes. 

4. Familiarity with the forms and practices of assessment required for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.  

5. First hand experience assessing student learning outcomes in an academic program.   

6. Ability to work in a consultative role with individual faculty, departments and faculty committees  across the disciplines.

7. Ability to communicate effectively about assessment processes and results to multiple  audiences.


The GEC supports this position because it’s important to have one expert devoted to assessment. The Coordinator position would enable the General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC), currently in year two of its three year term, to fade out.   The Coordinator would serve in an advisory capacity to the GEAC while it still exists.

Budget concerns may be salved by the fact that the .5 FTE GE Director position is being eliminated and the .5 FTE for our current assessment coordinator (Bill Cerbin) is being folded into this position.  Approval of the position wouldn’t necessarily guarantee its fulfillment, given the current budget situation.

 This will be an academic staff position, not a faculty position, and this person will not have any policy-making powers.

Will this position be redefined as was the last assessment coordinator position?  Probably not, given the growth of assessment duties since the creation of the last position.

Because this position is one piece of a larger Provost’s Office-proposed reconfiguration of various CATL-related positions, the general consensus was that Senate would like to review the whole reconfiguration before ruling on the Assessment Coordinator position.  However, an Assessment Coordinator will be needed whether or not we approve the expanded CATL.

The Chair will request that the Provost bring the whole revised CATL structure before the Senate as soon as possible. 


V.        CAPS Recommendations (Chris Bakkum and Jocelyn Shadforth):


A.  Eliminating the 4-drop Limit Policy

CAPS recommends the current four course drop-limit policy be eliminated.  Currently, students may drop only four courses after their freshman year.  The Legislature requires the tracking of the percentage of drops from each System institution and enforces a 5% drop rate ceiling.  UW-L has never been near the 5% drop rate ceiling. Data shows that students are not abusing the 4-drop limit.

A concern was raised that we are discussing this only because PeopleSoft cannot track the drop rates.  We could, actually, spend money to change the software to allow the tracking of the drop rates, but we’d prefer not to do this.   The concern was reiterated that this academic policy was being decided because of software.


Motion Passed.  19-3-0


            B.  Converting Semesters to Credits in the Probation/Retention Policy

CAPS recommends that retention standards be administered according to the chart below, that is, according to a student’s semesters attempted rather than her credits attempted.


Motion Passed.



Standards of Retention

Cummulative                good standing if           probation I or II if       ineligible if

Credits Attmptd.         cumltv. GPA not <         cumltv. GPA <              semester GPA  <


1-18                             1.60                   1.60                  1.00


19-29                           1.80                   1.80                  1.25


30-44                           1.80                   1.80                  1.50


45 and beyond           2.00                   2.00                  1.50



C.  Dropping the General Education Midterm Grading Policy

As per the recommendation of the Early Identification of At-Risk Student System (EIASS) Working Group of Summer 2008, CAPS recommends eliminating this policy.


            Motion Passed.



IV.       Approval of the 2010-2011 Academic Year Calendar




VIII.     Old Business.


IX.       New Business.


X.        Adjournment at 5:04 pm.


Respectfully Submitted,


Susan Crutchfield