MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
April 14, 2008
Final Amended Motion on Certificate Recognition on the Transcript: 4/14/08
Professor Desiderio Kovar
Proposed Amended Motion
Submitted by Desiderio Kovar (professor, mechanical engineering, and Faculty Council member).
Undergraduate academic certificates earned at The University of Texas at Austin will be indicated on the official University transcript only if the certificate program meets all of the conditions specified in A, B, and C below.
A. Minimum Criteria for Certificate Recognition on the Transcript
1. The transcript-recognized undergraduate academic certificate program must be completed in conjunction with or within one year of completion of an undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin; students pursuing an integrated undergraduate/graduate program must complete the requirements for the certificate within one year after completing the undergraduate requirements of their program. A maximum of three courses in the certificate program may taken after completion of the undergraduate degree. 2. Transcript-recognized undergraduate academic certificate programs must require a minimum of 18 hours of certificate course work but not more than 24 hours. 3. At least half of the required course work in the certificate program must be completed in residence at The University of Texas at Austin. 4. A student may not earn a certificate in the same field of study as his or her major, and at least one course required in the certificate program must be outside the requirements of the major. However, courses in the certificate program outside the major may fulfill other degree requirements such as general education requirements or required elective hours. 5. Students apply for transcript-recognized undergraduate academic certificates within one year of completing their undergraduate degree or undergraduate requirements of their program; transcript recognition is awarded at that time.
B. Approval Process For Transcript-Recognized Undergraduate Academic Certificate Programs
The requirements of transcript-recognized undergraduate academic certificate programs shall be listed in the undergraduate catalog, with proposals reviewed and approved by the Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review (CUDPR) and subsequently sent to the Faculty Council as minor legislation for approval. Proposals for these certificate programs are required to obtain prior approval from the sponsoring College(s) or School(s).
Program proposals must include a statement of objective and need (expected demand), academic course and other requirements, and the composition of the certificate program faculty committee, including the committee chair. The committee must have a minimum of five members, and at least 2/3 of the committee must be tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Once approved, programs are required to submit a report to CUDPR and the Dean of Undergraduate
Studies every two years. The report must list the current chair and all committee members and include the number of students completing the certificate program in the prior two years. If the committee plans any changes in the requirements of the certificate program, these changes should be explained; changes require the same approvals as an original application, that is, approval by the College(s) or School(s), CUDPR, and the Faculty Council.
C. The Certification Process for Students Completing the Requirements
Certification of completion of the requirements is done by the program’s faculty committee chair (or designee). An application for the certification of completion is initiated by the student and submitted to the chair of the faculty oversight committee either at the same time as the application for graduation is submitted or within one year of completing their undergraduate degree or undergraduate requirements of their program.Application for certification must be made directly to the certificate program and is not a substitute for the application for graduation required by a student’s degree-granting school or college. After approval of the student’s application, the Registrar’s Office will be notified so that the certificate can be shown on the official transcript.
Rationale for Amendment
We believe that the original wording of the proposed legislation defines the scope of these programs too narrowly and does not provide the flexibility that is needed to develop new certificates programs that would benefit students. A number of students—especially those enrolled in academic programs having few required elective hours—find it difficult to complete their undergraduate degree and certificate program requirements at the same time. The original motion would either 1) encourage these students to delay graduation in order to complete their certificate program, resulting in an increase in the time to graduate or 2) discourage these students from completing these supplemental programs, which are designed to enhance their academic experience and training. Neither of these outcomes is in the best interests of students or the University.
The proposed amendment will allow students to first complete their undergraduate degree or program requirements and then complete, within one year, their transcript-recognized undergraduate academic certificate program to be recognized on their Official University Transcript. Some students may choose to take these courses via Extension or through long distance learning classes. Note that we are NOT asking for any retroactive changes to university documents; we are simply asking that, at the time of completion of the requirements for a certificate, this information will be added to a student’s official transcript.