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Admissions and Registration Committee

The committee met periodically through the 2008-09 academic year, and discussed:
1. The impact of the migration of application for admission deadline (from February 1 to January 15 for 2009 and January 1 for 2010) on individual college/school units (CSU), particularly the Butler School of Music.

The Butler School holds national auditions in February. The Office of Admissions has agreed to work with the Butler School so that February auditions may take place as always; the Butler School should advise the admissions office of the results of the auditions within one week. Similar issues arise in CSUs that require a portfolio for some types of admission (e.g. architecture, fine arts). The admissions office will continue to work closely with high school counselors to communicate all necessary information about the new deadlines and their impact for certain majors.

2. The report from the admissions office regarding admissions for fall 2008 (numbers, demographics) and prospects for fall 2009.
Of note: The overall yield dropped 3 percent from the expected rate (to 52 percent). The drop in yield was seen mostly in applicants from families earning less than $60,000 per year. The committee discussed various possible reasons, including rising tuition and late award notices from the Office of Student Financial Services. The recent administrative reorganization at OSFS is expected to correct the latter factor in the future. It is not clear how the worsening national economy will affect yields for 2009.

If the top 10 percent rule is modified in the next legislative session, it will not affect applicants for fall 2009. President Powers has advocated lowering substantially the proportion of the freshman class made up of top 10 percent students. It is worth noting that statistically, our retention rate has actually increased since the top 10 percent law went into effect.

We also discussed whether UT Austin is considering a plan to guarantee that students whose families make less than some benchmark figure will not have to take out loans to finance their education. The University is working on a similar plan offering “free” tuition for students with family income below some level ($40,000 was mentioned). This has not yet been approved.

3. Management of the new “six academic drop” rule, in particular how transfer students’ records are being handled. It appears that there have been no difficulties with this system thus far.

4. Transcript recognition for academic minors, similar to legislation passed last year regarding certificate programs.

A subcommittee was established to examine the idea of transcriptable minors. The committee chair arranged for collaboration with the Educational Policy Committee, if actionable recommendations emerge from the subcommittee’s work.

The subcommittee developed a proposal recommending transcript recognition of minors that was approved by the full Admissions and Registration Committee. The proposal was forwarded to the Educational Policy Committee in the spring and discussions with that committee ensued. A revised proposal was submitted to educational policy early in May 2009, for further consideration and possible legislative action (perhaps to take place in the fall).

5. Faculty role in admissions decision-making.
At the request of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, in April we began discussions of the role the Faculty plays in setting academic and other standards for admissions at UT Austin. What are the mechanisms for handling this, if any, in particular with regard to the so-called “exception” admissions (non-top 10 percent)? The committee will continue work on this issue in the fall.

In the interim it appears that the two primary avenues for faculty input are (a) The Admissions and Registration Committee of the Faculty Council; and (b) Regular consultations with the deans and faculty of the CSUs (annual meetings and other discussions as necessary).

It was suggested that the Admissions and Registration Committee sponsor informational sessions for the Faculty Council on the way admissions are handled.

6. Senate of College Councils' (SoCC) proposal regarding Course-Instructor Survey results.
In November committee discussed the SoCC proposal to incorporate CIS data in the online course schedule.

While the technological issues associated with this are not intractable, the committee recommended to the FCEC that more information be gathered before any further consideration is given to this proposal. There were numerous questions regarding the scope and intent of the proposal. While students’ desire for easy-to-access information about courses during the registration period is easy to understand, we were unable to determine whether to recommend endorsement of this proposal. In addition, the nature of the issues raised by the proposal suggested that it needs to be examined by Faculty Council committees other than admissions and registration. The question was referred back to the FCEC.

7. Mark Bernstein (communication) has agreed to chair the committee for 2009-10.

Recommendations for committee discussion/action for 2009-10:
1. Work with the Educational Policy Committee regarding transcriptable minors.
2. Faculty input on admissions policies; organizing information sessions.
3. Impact of 2009 Texas Legislature action on admissions.
4. Report of the University’s Enrollment Management Task Force/Committee.
5. Ways in which Office of the Registrar and CSU forms and documents might be moved to electronic routing.

Mark Bernstein, chair