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Faculty Senate » 2003-2004 Annual Report

Academic Requirements Committee

2003–2004 Annual Report

TO:     Stella Coakley
          President, Faculty Senate

FROM:  Academic Requirements Committee
          Sheila Roberts, Chair

RE:      Annual Report, 2004–05

Process for automatic review
In August, 2003, Sarah Ann Hones, the previous chair of ARC, and I met with Bruce Sorte regarding the volume of petitions the committee reviews. Since many of the petitions we reviewed were routine and automatically approved, he recommended defining categories that the Registrar's Office should be able to pre–approve without committee review. The committee met and recommended that the following categories of petitions be reviewed by the Registrars Office instead of by the committee:

Late Course Adds during the current term – all late adds submitted during the term for which the add is requested. The committee will continue to review late course adds beyond the end of the term.

Section Changes (Add/Drops) – when the instructor and the college head advisor approve, the Registrars Office will review all petitions submitted during the term for which they are requested. The committee will continue to review late section changes beyond the end of the term.

Late Course Drops – If a student indicates that they registered in error for the course and the instructor verifies that they never attended, the Registrars Office will review all petitions submitted up to the 7th week of the term. The committee will continue to review after the 7th week of the term.

Extension of Incompletes beyond one year – if the instructor and the department approves, the Registrars Office to review all of these petitions.

Special Examination for Credit or for Waiver – if the department and college head advisor approve and they meet all of the conditions in AR 23, the Registrars Office to review all of these petitions.

Graduate Students – changes in registration to correct course enrollment or to enable the student to maintain full-time status, the Registrars Office will review all that the Graduate School has approved.

Categories the committee reviews: The committee will review petitions to late withdraw from individual courses, to change grading basis, to drop if the student attended class, to audit, to exceed maximum course overload, and to withdraw from the university.

This system appears to be working well. We continue to meet weekly during the academic year and every other week during the summer, but the meetings tend to be shorter.

Review of Proposed Changes by Academic Regulations Committee
The other action the committee was involved with was reviewing two proposed changes by the Academic Regulations Committee.

The first change was to AR28a as follows:
"First sentence change involving placing a period after the word 'enrolled' and then deleting the rest of the sentence. Rationale: the Academic Regulations Committee does not get involved in these decisions and so this change brings the Academic Regulations into alignment with current practice."

Academic Requirements reviewed and approved this proposed change.

The second change was to AR 11, paragraph "a" as follows:
delete whole paragraph and replace with "Students may add courses each term through the end of Dead Week, depending on the nature of the course and the availability of space. During week 1 of the term, students may add classes via the web. Beginning week 2 of the term, add forms are obtained from and returned to the Registrar's Office. During week 2, add forms must be approved and signed by instructors. During week 3 and continuing through Friday of Dead Week, permission forms must be approved and signed by instructors and the student's college head adviser. Not all requests to add after the first week of the class will be approved by instructors or advisers. Unofficial 'attendance' of a class will not guarantee approval of a request to add. "The purpose of this change was originally to make the academic regulations fit the reality, which is that the Academic Requirements Committee now routinely approves all requests to add if the instructor and advisor have also approved it."

Academic Requirements approved this change with the recommendation that the forms to request late adds be termed "permission forms" to underline the fact that this process is not automatic, we clarified the week numbers, and we initially recommended that the departments be included in the process since the current 2nd week add forms include them and since they sometimes have grounds for not approving an add even when an instructor has approved it. Academic Regulations requested that we reconsider this latter recommendation based on the reasoning that individual departments can request instructors to obtain their approval, without making it a campus–wide policy. We discussed it and agreed to drop the recommendation that all departments be required to approve late adds.

Audits
One other item of interest arose from the proposed changes that the Academic Regulations Committee worked on. They had also considered changing the timing on audits, allowing students to change to audit through the 7th week of the term. The Academic Advising Council opposed this change based on the rationale that students would use the audit to avoid withdrawals or poor grades. The timing of changing to audits was a question Academic Requirements posed in the annual report for 2002–03, so it's helpful to have an answer.

Publicity and Education
Academic Requirements has also attempted to gain some coverage in the Barometer on the deadlines for registration changes without much success. We tried sending them a "sample article," and we also asked them to just print a quick reminder a day or two before the deadline. Our next attempt should probably involve a meeting with the editor.

We have also discussed meeting with departments that tend to have a high volume of petitions, but since we've continued to meet weekly just to review petitions, we haven't taken the additional time that would require.

Guideline Changes for Petitions Submitted After the End of the Term
One other item we have discussed, but taken no action on, is devising guidelines on the timing of petitions, particularly when students are attempting to drop a course after the term has ended. A common rationale for these late drops is that they didn't realize they were registered and it wasn't until they saw their grades for the term that they became aware that they were registered for the course. This is a particular concern since seats in classes are at such a high premium. Hopefully we will be able to revisit this issue during the summer.


Attachments:
Statistics on Petitions Reviewed Spreadsheet (Excel file)