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 C-4  Educational Policy Committee

The Educational Policy Committee held seven meetings during the 2001-2002 academic year, during which the topics outlined below were addressed.

Upon review of past educational policy legislation, the committee learned that two important matters of educational policy that had been approved by the Faculty Council several years ago had not yet been put into practice. One item, passed by the Council in 1999, was awaiting approval by the president; the other, passed by the Council in 1998, had been approved by the president in 1999 but had not been implemented. The committee worked throughout the year to bring closure to these two pieces of ever-pending legislation. The details of the progress made are given below:

A. Changes in Policies Concerning Grades Awarded with Credit by Examination (D 77-81).
STATUS OF LEGISLATION (from the Council Web site): Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on October 29, 1999. Approved by Faculty Council on November 15, 1999. Transmitted to the president on November 16, 1999. Comment by the provost on November 10, 2000: "The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost continues to explore various options. A final decision has not yet been reached."

The committee chair met with the president and provost through most of the academic year in an effort to end the delay in enacting this legislation. In the course of those meetings, the president asked the committee to answer the fundamental question of whether it is appropriate to award course grades based on one-shot examinations, irrespective of whether those grades are included in students' GPAs. After reviewing data compiled by the Measurement and Evaluation Center (MEC), the committee reported to the president that one-shot examinations not associated with organized courses are not reliable indicators of students' performance in coursework.

The president indicated that he would initiate a policy in the coming academic year (2002-2003) requiring students who wish to have credit-by-exam grades included in their GPAs to indicate their intention prior to taking the examinations, thus precluding credit-by-exam grades from being counted if the examinations are not administered through the MEC on our campus. The committee will follow the progress and assess the ramifications of this new policy. The committee will also continue to work toward enactment of the original legislation.

B. Recommendations for Guidelines for Undergraduate Students Pursuing Baccalaureate Degrees in Two Majors (D&P 16722-16724).

STATUS OF LEGISLATION (from the Council Web site): Approved by the Faculty Council at its meeting on March 23, 1998, and transmitted to president on March 31, 1998. Approval received on March 8, 1999, from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. A memorandum was sent to the academic deans, which sets out the new policies and procedures that will implement the recommendations for students pursuing two baccalaureate degrees.

The committee chair met with the provost, the registrar, the council of student deans, and the council of academic advisers to resolve the remaining impediments to implementing the legislation. Most of the logistical problems impeding the implementation of the policy were the result of changes to the original legislation that were made in the provost's office after the legislation had been approved. Confusion about the original policy's intent was created by referring to the policy as a "dual degree procedure" in official correspondence between the provost's office and the student deans. Of course, the University has had, for some time, a procedure through which undergraduate students may obtain more than one bachelor's degree. The current legislation does not affect that procedure, but only facilitates students completing coursework by permitting them to enroll in two majors simultaneously (being assigned two major codes). Additional procedures were devised after the legislation's passage that would have required the identification of so-called primary and secondary colleges in the administration of students' degree programs; procedures which did little to assist students in completing their degrees, but which succeeded quite handily in making the policy unmanageable. These unnecessary changes to the original legislation were deleted and the intent of the original legislation was restored.

At the time of this report, the provost has directed the deans to implement the policy as originally passed by the Council and as articulated in a statement of procedures written by the committee chair, based on the discussions with the student deans, advisers, and the provost.

Extensive discussion of the problems involved in implementing legislation passed by the Faculty Council led to a recommendation by the committee that, in the future, the Faculty Council monitor the progress of all legislation passed by the Council not only until it is either approved or denied by the president, but until the policy outlined in the legislation is put into practice.

C. Recommendation for Residency Requirement in the UT Austin Undergraduate Catalog (D 333-334).
STATUS OF LEGISLATION (from the Council Web site): Legislation posted on the Faculty Council Web site March 14, 2000. Presented to the Faculty Council at its meeting on March 20, 2000. Returned to Educational Policy Committee for reconsideration.

The committee voted to forward to the Council in the fall of 2002 a proposal to change the residency requirement for undergraduate students at the University. The original proposal was presented to the Council in the spring of 2000 and was returned to the Educational Policy Committee for reconsideration. At the beginning of the fall semester 2002, the committee will compile additional background information, including a report of the residency requirements in peer institutions, and submit the legislation to the Council.

The committee established a subcommittee on online instruction, whose task it was to compile all of the URL's of sites related to online instruction at UT Austin and post them on a page on the Council Web site. The subcommittee's work is ongoing.

The committee was asked by the Council chair to review the recommendations of the Drake Group on Intercollegiate Athletics. It was the consensus of the committee that, although some of the ideas presented in the Drake group's document were consonant with prevailing faculty sentiment on our campus (and perhaps faculty sentiment in higher education in general), the precise content of the proposals did not warrant an official endorsement by the Educational Policy Committee or by the Council at large.

The committee voted to approve a recommendation by the provost, changing the eligibility criteria for participation in Honors Day. The provost's proposal raises the minimum enrollment for eligible non-seniors from nine hours to twelve hours.

Members: Alice B. Andrews, president, Academic Counselors' Association; Jennifer F. Barnhill, Cabinet of College Councils student representative; William Andrew Brummett, Cabinet of College Councils student representative; Michael E. Crawford, professor, mechanical engineering; Lesley A. Dean-Jones, associate professor, classics; James W. Deitrick, professor, accounting; Robert A. Duke, professor, music; Richard R. Flores, associate professor, anthropology; Steven J. Fitzpatrick, associate director, Measurement and Evaluation Center; Lita A. Guerra, chair, Student Deans' Association; Marvin L. Hackert, professor, chemistry and biochemistry; Jonathan G. Rude, Cabinet of College Councils student representative; Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, professor, classics; Michael P. Starbird, professor, mathematics

  Robert A. Duke, chair

This document was posted on the Faculty Council Web site, www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/ on July 29, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.

  Last updated:July 29, 2002
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