Committee on Academic Policies and Standards

Minutes for December 7, 2007


Members Present:         J. Boyle, R. Gillis, D. Hammen, R. Haro, R. LeDocq, C. Lee , S.

Navarre , J. Rome, J. Shadforth, J. Shanks

Members Excused:       M. Cary, D. Lake

Consultants:                  C. Bakkum, C. Burkhardt, A. Dittman, G. Herling, T. Walls, T.

                                    Thill, J. Von Ruden


Guests:             A. Bayer, M. Coady, J. Majak, K. McLean, M. Sandheinrich, T.

Singh, B. Stewart, S. Stine, S. Trimborn, C. C. Vanderhyden   


  1. Meeting called to order at 2:16 pm by Chair LeDocq.


2.   Committee heard appeal of ******* to repeat PSY 100 through the UW-Colleges 3 credit on-line course “Self and Society” to fulfill both pre-requisite and General Education requirements.


M/S/P  10/0/0


  1. Dean McLean introduced two proposed changes to the Course Repeat Policy to take effect for students entering in Fall 2008.  The first change would limit students to one repetition of a course for which a grade of D or below or a W was originally earned.  The second proposed change would require that both grade attempts be counted when calculating GPA.  These changes would make UW-L policy consistent with both UW-Eau Claire and UW-Oshkosh.


Dean McLean noted that, under the current policy of unlimited repeats, other students were unable to get into the classes they needed, including pre-requisite courses necessary for timely completion of the major.  She noted that, in some cases, students repeating a course would be filling up to 60 seats, or 3 additional sections of a course.


Chair LeDocq directed that the policy changes be discussed in turn, with the issue of limiting course repeats to be dealt with first. J. Shadforth noted that, in discussing the proposal with CLS colleagues, they were often initially opposed until they became aware of the numbers of students involved.  R. Gillis questioned whether the possibility of re-taking a course multiple times was in students’ best interests.  C. Lee said that the central issue was the question of authority for certain faculty and departments.


A. Dittman reported that the CBA was unanimously opposed to this policy change on the grounds that academic standards should not be created on the basis of resources or to punish people.  J. Shanks asked if sufficient steps were being taken to avoid problems in the first place, citing the example of students who might stop attending a class half-way through the semester being advised instead to stick with the course.  She also raised the issue of equity, noting that courses with high numbers of student repeats may pose a particular challenge to students with limited English language skills or students unaccustomed to the rigor of college-level work.  In response, R. Haro stated that equity was also an issue for new students denied access to class “because we have students throwing a class.”  R. Gillis said that it was not uncommon for him to have students earning a C to stop attending a class or request a grade of D, in order to then be able to repeat the class for a higher grade.  D. Hammen noted that, to the Student Senate, the central question was whether this policy would improve the institution.  Given that consideration, he reported that the Senate supported the limitation on the number of course repeats, but was opposed to the second part of the proposal, the inclusion of both grades in the calculation of GPA.


  1. Discussion then moved to the second part of the proposal to include each grade earned in a class and subsequent repeat(s) in the calculating GPA.  R. Gillis said that he strongly supported this proposal and further noted that it “could fix a lot of problems even in the absence of the first part.”  J. Shanks said that the point of a grade is to measure what a student has learned.


B. Norlander, representing Multicultural Student Services, said that she was troubled by this part of the proposal and anticipated problems with student retention.  A. Bayer also expressed concern, noting that students faced with extraordinary circumstances during the semester, who in some cases are advised to fail all of their courses, would be negatively affected by this policy, unless there was some avenue of appeal.  R. Haro said that there was currently a lot of misunderstanding about what options are available to students facing these circumstances.  These misunderstandings would have to be clarified if the proposed changes were adopted.


  1. Meeting adjourned at 3:17 pm.



Respectfully submitted,

Jocelyn Shadforth, Co-Secretary