Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS)

Minutes for December 9, 2005


Present: Adrienne Loh, Chair;  Mark Headington, Gary MacDonald, Jeanine Putnam, William Wehrs, Bob Hoar, Jac Bulk, Dean Stroud


Consultants: Diane Schumacher, Kathy Kiefer, and Guy Herling.


Guests: T. Pillai from Physics

Members excused: LeDocq and Melanie Cary


1. Approval of November 18, 2005 minutes with minor changes.


2. CAPS heard an appeal from Physics on summer session scheduling. After some discussion of the appeal relating to the requested start date of July 10, 2006 for the Physics 104 course. The issue arose of availability of the dorms for students if last week of the course were to run past the official end of Summer Session 3 on August 10. Dr. Pillai was agreeable to begin a week early to avoid this possible unpleasant situation. Therefore the motion was made, seconded and approved (8/0/0/) to approve the start date of July 3 and that is appeal be a permanent change for Physics 104. This means permission for the course to begin one-week prior to the start of Summer Session 3.


3. Discussion of the Credit-per-week policy. CAPS members were referred to the April 27, 1999 memo from Chancellor Judith Kuipers to Senate Chair David Bange in which the Academic Policies on J- and M-term matters was communicated. Discussion centerd on bulleted item 3 “Students are limited to taking one credit per week in January and May interim terms.” Now that old May term (3-weeks) has become Summer I (four weeks), the matter has changed. The issue will be discussed in Spring semester meetings.


4.Possible Requirement for ACT score for all transferring students. Kathy Kiefer joined the committee to discuss this possibility. She listed three concerns:

            1) Research shows that class rank is a better predictor of academic success than         

                test scores.

            2) We would have to turn away students who could succeed at UW-L.

            3) Does a low ACT score bar students from admission forever?


The Holistic Admissions initiative was described by Chair Loh and this entered into the discussion. Our student member of CAPS (Jeanine Putnam) expressed her concern that the requirement of ACT scores for transfer students is unfair because a poor ACT score prior to college would nullify academic success at the college or university level. Other members expressed their interests in having the data as part of the mix and for advising.

The cost to students for providing these scores was also mentioned, but appears not to be a major concern.


The Holistic Admission policy will have to be in place by Fall 2008. A committee is working hard on this initiative ( Loh and Hoar from CAPS serve on the committee).

Jac raised the concern that ACT is a weak predictor but it may be better than nothing at all.


Kathy suggested ideas for further discussion:

·        ACT scores not be required

·        Consider a minimum number of credits earned

·        Most institutions do not require ACT scores but do require a minimum number of credits earned for transfer.


Chair Loh, with an eye on the clock as it approached 5pm promised members that this discussion will continue in the spring.


Other items on the day’s agenda that were not discussed will return at a future date.


5. Chair Loh reported that closed sections of chemistry courses were causing frustration and anger on the part of students and majors. She knows that this situation is not unique to chemistry. Given the chancellor’s comments to Faculty Senate that measures will be taken to insure the solvency of the university, the issues of academic excellence promises to be a major concern for CAPS in the very near future. There may be a CAPS issue in the measures taken. The eight points in the chancellor’s remarks, as reported in a Faculty Senate update e-mail of December 2 are:


            1. Enroll more resident and non-resident students

            2. Increase the number of degrees awarded annually

            3. Continue to increase diversity of the campus community

            4. Sustain the current level of academic excellence

            5. Maintain current retention and graduation rates

            6. Generate financial aid, creating more access to low-income students

            7. Maintain and/or increase the array of resource-intense allied health programs

            8. Self-fund the necessary increase in faculty/staff FTE


Respectfully submitted,

Dean Stroud, rotating secretary


Approved 6/0/2 at the Feb 10, 2006 meeting of CAPS.