Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS)

Minutes for 10/24/03

Faculty Members Present: Jac Bulk, Susan Crutchfield, Mike Haupert, Mark Headington, Sharon Jessee, Adrienne Loh, Marc Rott, Rob Wolf

Student Members Present: Larry Golba

Members Absent: Barry Schockmel (excused), Angie Murphy (excused), Jason Sanatski (excused)

Guests/Consultants:  Chris Bakkum (CLS), Amelia Dittman (CBA), Diane Schumacher (Registrar), Jan von Ruden (Registrar's office), Ron Lostetter (Administration & Finance), Dean Stroud (Provost's Office)

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

2.       Minutes from the 10/10/03 meeting were approved (6/0/0) with minor editorial revisions.

3.       Item:  ACT writing test.

·         It was reported on behalf of Tim Lewis that most colleges plan not to participate in the writing version of the ACT test.

·         Terry Beck and Brian Kopp from English gave a short report on the English Department's opinion of the writing test for placement purposes.  They stated that the English Department would ultimately like to be able to provide an in-house placement exam, but that the grading of such an exam would require too much time on the part of the English faculty.  They are in the process of exploring the idea of a two semester sequence in English composition, with the option of placement into the second course.  In such a case, they would like to see the ACT writing test required as their placement tool.  An update from the English Department will be presented next year for consideration by CAPS.

4.       Item: The proposed 4+4+4 week schedule for May/Summer terms.

·         Diane Schumacher provided a new handout suggesting a plan using specified time slots for scheduling classes.  She noted that all classes in this plan start on the quarter hour, that she included a 5 credit course option, and that some options are presented for courses with a lab component.

·         A question was posed about what the supposed gain would be from this sort of restructuring, particularly if departments continue to opt out of a specified plan and offer courses at different times or under different schedules.  Is it worth the time to plan a new schedule in detail?  A discussion ensued with the following major points:

-        One advantage is in enabling students to take courses over both May and Summer sessions, or even two courses in May session, expanding the opportunities for students to take interim session courses.  Thus the anticipated advantage is in increased student enrollment.

-        Intention is not to allow exceptions to be made to the new schedule except under very unusual circumstances.

-        Is there any data to support the demand for a new schedule:  are overlapping courses currently an issue, do students really want to take two courses in May session, will there be a problem with student enrollment if May session becomes a 4 week session, is there a pedagogical problem with 3-week classes in general?

·         A suggestion was made that there appear to be two major issues at hand:  (1) the idea of standardization of interim session schedules, and (2) pedagogical and preference issues about 3 vs. 4 week courses, etc.  Since the current situation has deteriorated to the point where scheduling of interim (particularly May + Summer) session courses is somewhat chaotic, it would seem that standardization of the schedule is a good idea.

·         Motion (seconded):  Set a standardized start date for each interim session (J, May, Summer I, Summer II), and require each class in that session to start on the same date.

·         Discussion issues: How will requiring a fixed start date impact decisions about making May term a 4 week session, or allowing a 3 week May session within a 4 week session?  Does it make sense to require instead a common start date for courses that run the same length of time (i.e.:  In a  given session, all 3 week courses have the same start date, all 4 week courses have the same start date, etc.)? Concerns were expressed about limiting flexibility in the way that courses are offered.  However, a standardized start date would mimic the simplicity of the Fall and Spring schedules.  A suggestion was made that we hear about the financial aspects of changing the May term schedule before voting on this motion.

·         Motion tabled:  8/1/0

·         Report from Ron Lostetter on the financial aspects of May/Summer session changes:

-        In terms of fees, summer session is any session that runs in the period after Spring officially ends and before Fall officially begins.  Students can take up to 6 credits at a per credit rate, 6-9 credits at a fixed rate, and above 9 credits at a rate set per credit above 9. 

-        In terms of income to the university, summer (+May) session serves as a positive revenue stream that is used to supplement the negative revenue stream during the regular school year.  Last year summer (+May) session brought in ~$1.6 million at a direct cost of only ~$1 million.  The expectation from UW-system is not set in terms of summer enrollments directly, rather it is that UWL brings in ~$29 million/calendar year.

-        In terms of faculty salaries, any salary accumulated after the close of Spring session to the beginning of Summer I is designated as an extraordinary payment.  This is treated differently than base pay, does not help in retirement calculation and is not included in the base pay plan.  This protocol is mandated by the state.

-        Example schedule from last year: 

May 23:  Semester II ends

May 25:  Academic year ends (faculty 9 month appointment ends)

May 27: May term officially begins (although some classes started May 20)

Aug. 8:  Summer II ends

Aug. 25:  Academic year officially begins (faculty 9 month appointments begin)

-        Given this schedule, it appears that officially starting May term a week earlier (i.e.: May 20) to accommodate a 4 week schedule is not an option since faculty are still on their 9-month appointments at that time.  However, there is room in the schedule to push the entire post-Spring schedule back a week (beginning May 27, running to Aug. 15 for example).

·         Report from Chris Bakkum (for Sandy Keller):  if May goes to a 4 week session, new possibilities may open up.  For example, a 4+4+4 schedule would allow for education students to interact with schools during May term.

·         Report from Becky Anderson (student senator for HPERTE):  student senators have expressed concern about moving to a 4 week May session schedule with a early start due to financial considerations (increase in tuition?  Will there be an increase in financial aid?), and due to concerns about the quality of the course offerings (if faculty are burned out, will they offer good courses?).  When asked about moving a 4+4+4 schedule back a week, she replied that this would probably be a more favorable option as faculty will have had some time to recover before starting the new session.

·         Discussion will be continued at a later meeting.

5.       Item:  F02 enrollment report (pertaining to the charge from Faculty Senate to examine F03 enrollments)

·         Documents were distributed by Ron Lostetter concerning the financial aspects of out-of-state enrollment losses.  The documents indicate an increasing mismatch between out-of-state actual enrollments and enrollment targets.  He noted that UWL had a good mix of non-resident students before the tuition was raised for these students in 2001, when the first dramatic drop in non-resident student enrolments occurred.  He also noted that the non-resident tuition is high enough that 6 non-resident students pay for 1 faculty salary.  Missed out-of-state targets (i.e.: revenue losses to UWL) cannot be made up by increasing enrollments of in-state students because of EM21 penalties.  Unfortunately the bulk of the revenue shortfall is made up out of the instructional budget.  Last year the revenue shortfall was on the order of $1 million.

·         A task force is being formed by Chancellor Hastad to address this issue of a precipitous decline in non-resident enrollments.  Dr. Lotstetter is on this task force, and agreed to update CAPS on their progress.

6.       Chairman Rott noted that CAPS will have a new (tentative) meeting schedule of every other week.  Thus, the next meeting is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7.  The new start time will be 3:30 PM.  

7.       The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 pm. 

Respectfully submitted,

Adrienne Loh