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Admissions and Registration Committee

The committee was comprised of the following members.
Faculty members: Mark E. Bernstein, Molly Cummings, Lesley A. Dean-Jones, Matthew J. Hall, Syed A. Hyder, Lynn E. Katz, Catherine Riegle-Crumb
Staff members: Peter Guzman, Coral Noonan
Student members: James Lloyd, Ryan Alexander Mehendale, Ishwariah Panneerselva, Kathryn Chin Poh
Ex officio member: Kedra Ishop, Shelby Stanfield

The committee met periodically through the 2009-2010 academic year, and discussed:

1. The problem of early internal transfers as a back-door way into certain colleges; discussion introduced by Suzanne Pence (Butler School of Music). Students gain admittance to the School of Music, through audition, then change majors immediately, often during summer orientation. Much discussion ensued (see minutes of meeting). Among other points made, it was noted that
  • The Second Task Force on Enrollment Management report contains recommendations pertaining to internal transfer; it is likely that new policies will emerge.
  • Other college/school units (CSU) (notably, social work and education) have similar issues.
  • The School of Music needs to get the word out that you must enroll for at least one semester. This is not an easy way to get in to UT.
  • The Butler School will strengthen the language in its admission letters, to the effect that “If you are accepted into the School of Music, you are agreeing to stay at least one semester.”, as a sort of moral suasion.
  • Mark Bernstein will bring this to the Student Deans Committee: student deans in other colleges can be on the alert for students attempting to transfer quickly from the Butler School, and should contact Suzanne Pence, who will follow up on particular cases. There was agreement that other colleges should not rubber-stamp requests to transfer from Butler School.
2. Report from admissions regarding admissions for fall 2009 (numbers, demographics), and prospects for fall 2010.

3. Presentation and discussion on SB 175 (newer “Top 10%” law) by Kedra Ishop. The committee reviewed all the provisions of the new law, and discussed ramifications for the university. Of note:
A student who is 10 percent but opts to attend a community college is guaranteed admission to UT Austin if they complete core curriculum, maintain a 2.5 GPA and apply for transfer. There is concern that the new rule may open the way for academically unqualified students to enroll at UT Austin. We’ll have to watch to see what impact this will have. This impact could be minimal because these are highly motivated students. Or, they could decide to save some money, stay local, and then transfer. The current CAP plan is still in place: If a student is offered CAP and takes that offer, they must have 3.2 and 30 hours to transfer to UT.

4. Presentation and discussion on HB 3826 (Required “Recommended or Advanced [High School] Curriculum”) by Kedra Ishop. The committee reviewed the provisions of the bill, and discussed ramifications for the university. The discussion was highly technical, and interested readers should refer to a transcript of the meeting, available from the committee chair. Of note:
The group consensus was that, regardless of how the recommended plan changes (those changes are made by TEA), UT Austin will not change its minimum requirements, until a time comes when it seems necessary to change them (probably when the bill is reworked). The bill’s rule that all students must meet the recommended plan, this provision will be in the hands of the high schools to tell us that the students has met this plan, has met its equivalent, or is exempt because this coursework was not made available to the student by the school. Details are available upon request from the committee chair.

5. Faculty role in admissions decision making.
The committee continued its 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%)?
In February, Kedra Ishop and Mark Bernstein delivered a joint presentation to the Faculty Council at its regular meeting, in which they explained the admissions process and the role of the Faculty in the system. Information flows from the Faculty to the Office of Admissions through a structured process involving individual faculty members, department chairs, deans, Office of Admission staff, this committee, the Educational Policy Committee, and the Faculty Council itself. Decision making regarding policy and procedure may be initiated by any of the participants.
In further discussions at the end of the academic year, the committee concluded that there is regular and ample opportunity for the faculty to be directly involved in setting admissions policy and procedure.
It was suggested and approved that at the start of each academic year, the director of admissions and committee chair conduct a presentation for the full Admissions and Registration Committee describing the structure and process of admissions and the role of the faculty. This would be quite helpful to new committee members, in particular.

6. Isabella Cunningham, chair of the Second Task Force on Enrollment Management, prepared a presentation and led a discussion of the key recommendations of the task force report. A number of points were identified as potential areas of special interest for the Admissions and Registration Committee in the 2010-11 academic year. The committee looks forward to follow up action on the part of the Administration with regard to the recommendations of the report.

7. Kedra Ishop delivered a report on the status of freshman and transfer admission for fall 2010. Details are available through the committee chair or directly from Dr. Ishop.

8. Lesley Dean-Jones has agreed to chair the committee for 2010-11.

Mark Bernstein, chair