Memo

May 15, 2009

 

To: Joe Heim, Chair

Faculty Senate

 

From: Dean G. Stroud, Chair

CGAAF

 

Re: End of Year Report

 

In response to the committee charge that was received  at the beginning of the academic year 2008-2209, I am happy to report that we had no cases to hear. Let us hope that this means that everyone got along just fine this year.

 

There was, however, a special charge in the original charge letter to the committee that requested that we contact the Dean of the College of Science and Health regarding “a personnel problem involving final exams.” As the committee chair I did  met with the dean of SAH to discuss the details of the incident mentioned. Following this meeting, CGAAF met on November 10, 2008 to discuss the incident and to determine if committee action was warranted.

 

CGAAF decided to take no action because no complaint has been filed with the committee.

 

Following the meeting, the chair of CGAAF met with the dean of SAH to inform her of the committee’s decision.

 

Yet the situation may be one that warrants the attention of the executive committee in that it raises questions about the UW-L final exam policy. There seems to be no real policy enforcement to deal with situations that arise from time to time. There seems to be no real penalty for violating the vague policy that we do have. Does it make sense to have a policy in the catalog with no consequences for ignoring it? Does a professor have to be in class during a final exam? Does a professor have to be on campus or in the city or even in the country? And if a professor e-mails  final exam questions to a class after the close of the final exam period, must students do this exam because  the professor says he or she will grade these question the following week? It they do not do the exam, can the professor fail them? To whom do students turn for immediate answers to problematic situations? Certainly academic freedom comes into play and professors have legitimate reasons to vary their approach to final exams, but should there be some clear boundaries to guide both professors and students?

 

 These were the kinds of questions that the committee discussed at our meeting, but we felt we were not the proper committee to explore them in depth or to make recommendations to the senate.

While the committee makes no firm recommendation on this matter, informally there was a sense that perhaps an appropriate committee might wish to review the current final exam policy to see if changes might be in order.

 

We did not have other meetings, so there are no attendance problems to report. The members are excellent colleagues with whom it is a pleasure to work.