Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS)

Minutes for 10/10/03

Faculty Members Present:, Jac Bulk, Mark Headington, Sharon Jessee, Adrienne Loh, Marc Rott

Student Members Present: Larry Golba, Angie Murphy, Jason Sanatski

Members Absent:, Susan Crutchfield Mike Haupert (excused), Barry Schockmel (excused), Rob Wolf (excused)

Guests/Consultants:  Chris Bakkum (CLS), Carla Burkhardt (SAH), Amelia Dittman (CBA), Diane Schumacher (Registrar), Jan von Ruden (Registrar's office), Tim Lewis (Admissions)

1.       The meeting was called to order at 3:25 pm.

2.       Minutes from the 10/3/03 meeting were approved (8/0/0) with an amendment to include Jac Bulk's suggestion of a 5+5 week schedule for summer session.

3.       The possible inclusion of the ACT writing test for admission consideration was discussed.

·         Tim Lewis provided a handout from the ACT web page, and informed the committee that ACT will provide a subscore for students taking the writing component of the test.  According to ACT, the projection is that 50% of universities across the US will not require the test, 25% will recommend but not require it, and 25% will require it.  UW-Madison will be requiring it.

·         There was some discussion about whether the writing test information will be blended into the overall ACT score, and the possible impacts of having a varied population of students (with and without the test) applying for admission.  Tim stated that the likely impact of the writing score on admissions is small to negligible regardless of how the results are reported by ACT, since they receive a lot of additional information and mostly look only at the composite ACT score.

·         Motion (seconded) to not require the writing test component of the ACT exam, with the recommendation that the issue may be revisited by CAPS next year.

·         Discussion issues:

-        SAT is currently including a writing component in all SAT exams.

-        English department will not use the ACT writing test score for placement decisions even if it were required for admission.

-        Short essays may not be all that representative of the type of writing that students will be asked to do in college (although it was mentioned that 10-15 minute short answer questions are typical on science exams).  Research shows that objective exams (such as the current version of the ACT) are good predictors of a students' ability to write.

-        There may be a consistency issue in terms of the information that Admissions receives if some students take the test and others do not.

-        Is cost an issue?  (It will cost an additional $10-15 on top of already high application and ACT fees).  Students are likely to retake the ACT if they don’t score high enough the first time. Presumably there will be different essay questions each time.

-        Concern was expressed about participating in an exploratory phase of implementation.  If it does not affect a student's placement, and is costly, then why participate?

Question called:  motion passes 6-1-1.

4.       The proposed 4+4+4 week schedule for May/Summer terms was discussed.

·         Diane Schumacher provided a handout describing May and summer enrollments for the past 10 years, and also a suggested plan for specified time slots for scheduling classes.  She noted that the enrollments in May term have been increasing, while summer enrollments have been decreasing (especially session 2, which has very low enrollments).  She also noted that the start and stop dates for May term has become increasingly less standardized, and that many professors are choosing to extend May term by adding a week on to the front end of the current May term session.

·         A  core plan was proposed to standardize May and summer session terms consisting of 5 elements:

-        All 3 terms will be offered in 4 week sessions

-        3 credit courses will be offered M-Th for the same period of time each day.  (A plan can then be proposed for 1, 2, and 4 credit courses.)

-        Each term will have final exams on the Friday of the 4th week.

-        If there is a holiday in the middle of a term, then the Friday of that week will be a class day to make up for the missed holiday.

-        Start times for classes each day will be standardized such that they do not conflict.  (Suggest starting at 8:00 am rather than 7:45 am.)

·         Discussion of the core plan:

-        Should be designed so that students can take more than 1 course per session.  This means that start times would have to be chosen such that 1,2, and 4 credit courses can also fit in using same start times.  The idea of block scheduling was proposed (i.e.: one morning block and one afternoon block). Courses with a laboratory component could use the afternoon block for labs.  It was noted that 1 and 2 credit courses can easily fit into the Bulk model with the start times proposed by Diane, but that 4 credit courses only fit over an 8 week session (like two 2 credit courses over 4 weeks).

-        Current credit load limit without Dean's permission is 11 credits (3 May + 8 summer = 1 credit/week).  Unofficial consensus was reached that the new limit would be 12 credits under the Bulk plan.

-        The concern was raised that many faculty like to teach 3-credit/3-week courses in May term.  Would faculty be forced into the 4 week model?

-        A suggestion was made to consider a 3+3+3+3 week model (4 terms).

-        The budget issue was raised:  1st week of the proposed new May term is still officially Spring session.  Concern was raised about the perceived implications for treating that week as summer session at the same time.  According to Ron Lostetter (by email to Marc Rott), this week would not get counted towards base pay.  A suggestion was made to consider starting the new 4+4+4 schedule a week later (when the current May session starts), pushing the entire schedule farther into summer by a week.

·         Diane will try to come up with a proposed time slot schedule for classes to accommodate 1-4 credit classes within the proposed Bulk model.  This issue will be discussed at the next meeting.

5.       The EM-21 plan was briefly discussed.  It was noted that the University is losing a lot of money from not meeting out-of-state targets.  Chancellor Hastad is putting together a committee to address this issue.

6.       The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm.  The next meeting is anticipated for Fri. Oct. 17 or 24.

Respectfully submitted,

Adrienne Loh