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C-4 Educational Policy Committee

The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) held four meetings during the 2002-2003 academic year, during which the following topics were addressed.

A. The committee took up legislation regarding the minimum residency requirement for obtaining an undergraduate degree at UT Austin. This legislation originally had been submitted by the EPC to the Faculty Council in 2000-2001 and was returned to the committee for reconsideration. The revised legislation was passed by the Faculty Council on March 17, 2003, and is currently pending, awaiting action by the president.

B. Legislation permitting students to register in two majors simultaneously, which had been passed by the Council on March 23, 1998, and approved by the provost on March 8, 1999, was successfully implemented for the first time in the 2003 spring semester, four years after its passage. The enactment of this legislation was accomplished only after extensive efforts by the committee chair in meetings with academic advisors, associate deans, and the provost, a process that was unreasonably laborious.

Action taken by the Council and approved by the president should not require such additional attention and effort by the initiating committee in order to bring it to fruition. It is clear that the Council still lacks an effective procedure for following the progress of legislation all the way through to its full implementation. Although the recent change in the posting of "Legislation Status" has been a marked improvement over past procedures, there needs to be a mechanism in place for following legislation until its intended effects have been fully realized. The question of whether this monitoring is undertaken by the committees in which legislation originates, by the Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC), or by the staff of the Office of the General Faculty should be discussed by the FCEC in the next academic year.

C. The committee reviewed the University's policy for public posting of course grades, which, in accordance with guidelines specified by the US Department of Education's Office of Management, has been revised to read that

“ course grades or any other confidential student information may not be publicly disclosed or posted, on the Web or by any other medium, using any part or combination of a student’s social security number without the written consent of each student.

“ Faculty may continue to use student specific password protected systems (such as UT Direct and its applications) to communicate final course grades or other confidential information to individual students.”

D. Sadly, legislation regarding the inclusion of credit-by-examination grades in student GPAs, which was passed by the Faculty Council on November 15, 1999, has yet to be acted on by the president. Several meetings were held with the president, provost, the FCEC, and members of the Measurement and Evaluation Center (MEC), during which the legislation and alternatives to the legislation, which had been suggested by the president, were discussed. It was determined in a thorough review by MEC and the deputy to the president that the alternative courses of action were not practicable. The FCEC reiterated its request that the president approve the original legislation. No action has been taken as of this date.

E. The committee began a review of the academic performance of students who are admitted under the University's Summer Freshman Class program, in which select students who do not qualify for regular fall admission are admitted to UT with the stipulation that, prior to enrolling in the fall semester, they must attend summer school and enroll in nine hours of core courses in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. For some students, this requirement means that they will begin college immediately after completing high school. (Some students may attend their high school graduations after beginning summer classes at UT, and there are approximately ten days between the end of the required ten week summer school session and the beginning of the fall classes.) Initial comparisons of fall semester performance between Summer Freshman Class students and students who begin in the fall semester indicate that further review of the program is warranted.

Robert Duke, chair

This document was posted on the Faculty Council Web site, on August 20, 2003. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.