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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY 


PROPOSAL TO ALIGN AFFILIATED STUDIES CREDIT WITH RECIPROCAL EXCHANGE CREDIT SO THAT ALL UT-APPROVED STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS HAVE THE SAME ACADEMIC CHARACTERISTICS

On behalf of the Educational Policy Committee and in consultation with the Study Abroad Director Heather Barclay Hamir, Dr. Mary Rose (committee chair, sociology) submitted the following proposal recommending the alignment of affiliated studies credit with reciprocal exchange credit so that all UT-approved study abroad programs have the same academic characteristics.

The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest to the general faculty. The Faculty Council will act on the proposal at its meeting on February 18, 2013. Final approval resides with UT System.
signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary

General Faculty and Faculty Council


Posted on the Faculty Council website on February 7, 2013



PROPOSAL TO ALIGN AFFILIATED STUDIES CREDIT WITH RECIPROCAL EXCHANGE CREDIT SO THAT ALL UT-APPROVED STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS HAVE THE SAME ACADEMIC CHARACTERISTICS

Draft Revision of the GRADUATION section of the Undergraduate Catalog (2012-2014), pp.18-19, related to credit earned in affiliated study abroad programs.

General Requirements

To receive an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a student must fulfill the Core Curriculum (p. 22) requirements and all requirements for the degree as set forth in a catalog under which he or she is eligible to graduate and any special requirements of the college or school and department offering the degree, as well as the following minimum general requirements:

1. The student must have a grade point average of at least 2.00 on all courses undertaken at the University (including credit by examination, correspondence, and extension) for which a grade or symbol other than Q, W, X, or CR is recorded. Additional requirements imposed by a college or school, if any, are given in the college’s chapter of this catalog.

The student must fulfill the following requirements regarding coursework taken in residence. Residence credit includes only courses taken at the University of Texas at Austin; it does not include credit by examination, courses taken by extension or correspondence, and online courses that are recorded as transfer credit. Coursework in University-approved affiliated study abroad programs (international provider programs) is treated as residence credit for the requirements [2a and 2b] below. [However, coursework in University-approved affiliated study abroad programs may not be used to fulfill requirement 2c.]

The student must complete in residence at least sixty semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree. (This requirement is waived for students in the Accelerated Track for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a degree program for registered nurses who hold associate’s degrees or diplomas in nursing.)

B. Twenty-four of the last thirty semester hours counted toward the degree must be completed in residence.

C. At least six semester hours of advanced coursework in the major must be completed in residence.

Additional requirements imposed by a college or school, if any, are given in the college/school sections of this catalog. Many degree plans include residence rules in addition to the above University-wide requirements[; the appropriate academic units have the discretion to determine applicability of University-approved affiliated study abroad credit toward all college-and school-specific requirements for coursework in residence]. Course equivalency [and University approval] of study abroad courses are determined by the appropriate academic units.

Draft Revision of the AFFILIATED PROGRAMS section of the General Information Catalog (2012-2013), p.87, related to grades earned in affiliated study abroad programs.

Affiliated programs. Students register for affiliated studies (A S) when they participate in study abroad programs offered by organizations and institutions with which the University has an affiliation agreement. Students enrolled in affiliated studies pay a fee of $400 per semester and are considered full-time students by the University.

After a student takes part in a program offered under an affiliation agreement, University faculty members in the appropriate academic units review the student’s work to identify the equivalent University courses. Courses and grades appear on the student’s academic record[, but they] and are [not] included in the University grade point average. [In some circumstances,] Coursework in university-approved affiliated [studies credit] study abroad programs is treated as resident credit, which fulfills general requirements for graduation from the university; more information is given in the general requirements for graduation in chapter 1 of the undergraduate catalog.




text box: study abroad contact Text Box: STUDY ABROAD  | INTERNATIONAL OFFICE THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN  P.O. Box A, Austin, Texas 78713-8901 • (512) 471-6490 • FAX (512) 232-4363  2222 Rio Grande Suite 2.201C, Austin, Texas 78705 • Campus Mail: A7000

MEMORANDUM:

TO:   
FROM:  
DATE:
RE:  


Faculty Council
Heather Barclay Hamir, Director, Study Abroad
February 4, 2013
Affiliated Studies Credit

We seek to align affiliated studies (AS) credit with reciprocal exchange credit (SAB) so that credit earned on all UT-approved study abroad programs has the same academic characteristics. This change would eliminate differences in how study abroad credit fulfills in-residence requirements and would increase student accountability for grades earned on affiliated programs.  Specifically, we recommend that:
  • Affiliated studies credit fulfills requirements for coursework taken in residence as described in the Undergraduate Catalog in the section on general requirements for graduation, and
  • Grades earned for affiliated studies courses are recorded on the student’s academic record and are calculated in the cumulative GPA.
Existing Policies

Undergraduate Catalog, Graduation, General Requirements (2. a, b, & c)
General Information Catalog, Study Abroad, Affiliated Programs

Background

The University of Texas at Austin created the Affiliated Studies (AS) registration category in the early 1990s when programs offered by third party providers were first introduced at the institution.  Since its inception, the AS registration category has expanded significantly and now includes programs which allow enrollment in foreign universities where a bi-lateral exchange agreement is not possible (“direct enrollment”) as well as enrollment in courses taught abroad by local faculty as part of a UT faculty-led program (“hybrid” faculty-led programs). 

All fully affiliated programs (e.g. programs other than faculty-led hybrids) are vetted by Study Abroad in the International Office to ensure they meet UT standards for academic rigor, student service, cost effectiveness and safety.  The entire portfolio is reviewed on a biennial cycle to verify that programs continue to meet these standards, identify gaps in program offerings, and eliminate programs which are no longer appropriate.  Program additions and deletions are final approved by the Study Abroad Advisory Council. 

 Currently, UT offers 154 approved programs which award AS credit in whole or in part.  Contracts with foreign universities or third party providers articulate the requirements of both parties when a program is considered approved at UT, including requirements to maintain students’ enrollment at UT and to award credit for academic work completed in the program.  As of summer 2012, approximately 40% of undergraduates abroad earn credit through the AS registration category. 

Rationale

Programs using AS registration are an important part of UT’s study abroad portfolio, yet the credit earned in these programs differs from credit earned in exchange and faculty-led programs, which creates artificial incentives and disincentives for students to participate.  AS credit was originally created as a variation of transfer credit; although the credit attributes were revised in 2006 to more closely resemble in-residence UT credit, credit earned through AS registration still does not meet all UT residency requirements.  These differences deter transfer students and students further into their degrees from participation in programs with affiliated registration, even if the program is the best fit for them academically.  At the same time, grades in these courses do not calculate into the UT GPA, and courses in which a student earns a D or F abroad are not posted to the academic record.  Some students see this as an advantage, and feel less accountability toward their academic performance in affiliated programs since they perceive that their grades do not count.  Both elements of AS credit influence students’ decision making process, sometimes outweighing academic fit as the deciding factor in program selection.

Programs using the AS registration category expand access to study abroad for students who need courses in a particular discipline, additional support services, or who are interested in studying in regions where other program options are limited or non-existent.  As an institution, we rely on affiliated programs to serve our students; we are therefore proposing a revision to AS credit so that credit awarded in these programs has the same attributes as any other credit earned in approved UT study abroad programs. 

Draft revisions of the relevant sections in the General Information Catalog (2012-2013) and Undergraduate Catalog (2012-2014) are attached for your consideration.

Support

This proposal has been reviewed and has the support of the following individuals and groups: Dr. Janet Ellzey, Vice Provost for International Programs; Shelby Stanfield, Vice Provost and Registrar; representatives of the Office of Student Financial Services; and the Study Abroad Advisory Council, comprised of college and school representatives with responsibility for international activities, which approved a motion to pursue this modification to UT policy at their March 2012 meeting.  We have also consulted with Graduate and International Admissions to ensure that this policy change will not be an administrative burden or at odds with any other policies, and have received unanimous support for this change from a working group of senior academic advisors consulted on this proposal.  In addition, the Educational Policy and International Programs and Studies Committees of Faculty Council reviewed and endorsed this modification in fall 2012.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.