SECRETARY’S REPORT
April 14, 2008

VI.
STATUS OF LEGISLATION APPROVED BY THE FACULTY COUNCIL OR THE GENERAL FACULTY.

E. ITEMS UNDER REVIEW BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.

D 3835-3837 Educational Policy Committee Proposal to Improve Course Availability for Undergraduates.Posted on the Faculty Council web site on April 11, 2005. In a letter dated June 13, 2007, to Sue Greninger (secretary, Faculty Council), President Powers disapproved sections 2 and 4, and he approved section 3 with modifications; sections 1 and 5 are pending further review and recommendations from the provost. In a message to the provost dated January 31, 2008, the registrar recommended disapproval of sections 1 and 5 “in light of the six drop limit called for in SB 1231 and the conditions stated in SB1231 for which a drop may not be counted toward the limit.” In a letter dated March 25, Provost Leslie agreed with the recommendation from the registrar to disapprove sections 1 and 5.

Following is the historical tracking of the legislation to date. Archie Holmes, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, was to present the legislation to the Council at its meeting on April 11, 2005. However, due to lack of time, it was addressed and approved at the meeting on May 9, 2005. Transmitted to the president on May 10, 2005. Transmitted to the provost for his consideration and action on June 29, 2005. Transmitted to the president from the provost on January 19, 2006, with the following recommendations:

"I recommend approval of Sections 1 and 3.

"Section I recommends the creation of a new symbol, N, to be used when a student drops a course for documented non-academic reasons. Section 3 requires that faculty provide a syllabus with specified information. I recommend adding to Section 3 that the syllabus also provide a description of the course, an outline of the weekly topics, and faculty and TA office hours. In addition, I recommend that we ask faculty to include the statement, The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY.

"I also recommend the approval of Section 5, which limits the number of Q drops, but with a modification. The proposed legislation recommends that a student who has received 3 Qs must have documented, non-academic reasons for any additional drops after the 12th class day. The limitation on Q drops is a very good idea. Based on the data provided by the Registrar's Office and consultation with academic advisors, however, I recommend that the recommended number be increased to 4. The purpose underlying the Faculty Council's proposal is maintained, and student progress is not reduced.

"I do not recommend approval of the proposed Sections 2 and 4.

"Section 2, which proposes changes to the current add and drop procedures, significantly shortens the period of time students have to add and drop courses each semester. Data prepared by the Registrar's Office indicate that these changes would have minimal impact on course availability and would be costly to implement. In addition, because students would have less time to attend meetings of a course and thus consider whether a course is suitable for them, it is projected that the likelihood of adds and drops would increase substantially. In my opinion, this would not be a healthy outcome for the institution.

"Section 4, which addresses course repeat policy, puts restrictions on the number of times a student may register for the same course. Colleges and schools currently handle these restrictions quite successfully internally. They are in the best position to determine the most effective practice for the courses they offer. I recommend that college/school level discretion be continued."

In a letter to Provost Leslie dated March 13, 2007, President Powers stated "Because of the significance of this proposal and the effect on the academic policy which you oversee, I am returning all five recommendations of D 3835-3837 to you for review, comment, and recommendation."

In a letter dated April 10, 2007, to President Powers, Provost Leslie recommended disapproval of items 2 and 4. Regarding item 3, he suggested "further modifications that serve to include the list in the original legislation that should be included on the course syllabus. This list is as follows:

Course name and number;
Faculty member name;
Faculty member office location and office hours;
TA name, office location and office hours if course has a TA;
Overview of course, including course prerequisites;
Grading policy for course, including whether class attendance is used in determining the grade;
Dates during semester for examinations and assignments that count 20% or more of the total course grade;
Final exam date and time;
Required materials for the course (textbooks, supplies, packets, etc.);
Course web site; and statement:
The University of Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-6441 TTY."

The provost also agreed with the "recommendation to approve item 5 with the modification that limitation in Q drops be increased to four rather than three as suggested in the legislation."

In a letter dated June 13, 2007, to Sue Greninger, President Powers responded to Provost Leslie’s recommendations of April 10, 2007, with the following:
Section1: Before taking action on the recommended approval, President Powers is “asking Provost Leslie to work with Mr. Shelby Stanfield, Registrar, to review the proposal in light of Senate Bill 1231 and provide a further recommendation after that review.”
Section 2: President Powers concurred with the provost’s recommendation to disapprove this item.
Section 3: President Powers approved the provost’s recommendation for approval with modifications.
Section 4: President Powers agreed with the provost’s recommendation to disapprove the item.
Section 5: Before taking action on the recommendation for approval, the president is “asking Provost Leslie to work with the Registrar to review the proposal in light of Senate Bill 1231 and provide a further recommendation after that review.”

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