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Faculty Senate » 2004-2005 Annual Report

Academic Requirements Committee

2004-2005 Annual Report

August 30, 2005

TO: Jeff Hale, President
      Faculty Senate

FROM: Sheila Roberts, Chair of Academic Requirements Committee 2004-05

RE: Annual Report for 2004-05


Academic Requirements met bi-weekly during summer term, 2004, and weekly during the academic year. The meetings tended to be shorter this year and, at one point during spring term, we canceled meetings due to short dockets. We're not sure why this occurred, because the automatic review process was expanded in the 2003-04 academic year, so that can't account for the change. But it was welcome!

Departments must approve late adds

The most significant change in process during 2004-05 for the Academic Requirements Committee was the addition of departmental approval for late adds. This was the result of ARC's approval of petitions by two residential students to late add a history class taught by Distance Education. The committee was unaware that the History Department does not allow residential students to enroll in online history courses. Approval by the department was added to prevent future occurrences of late adds that violate departmental policy.

Chart of Automatic Processing by Registrars

At the suggestion of the Faculty Senate President, we agreed it is critical for advisors to have the chart available that the Registrar's Office uses to automatically approve a petition. For example, students who are petitioning to late add a class in the term the class is taught are automatically approved if the instructor, advisor (and now the department--see above) approve. Advisors may not be aware of the weight their approval may carry on a petition. If the advisor, instructor, or department does not approve a petition, or if there are any issues that raise a concern, the petition is seen by the committee. The chart is attached and I am recommending that it be distributed at the next Academic Advising Council meeting.

Slash Course Registration Changes

Bruce Rettig, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, sent the following to heads/chairs/directors in November, 2004:

All slash courses (4XX/5XX) are required to provide a qualitative different learning experience for the graduate students (or the undergraduates planning to reserve such courses for use on a future graduate program). More detail is available here.

If you have any graduate students who are enrolled for 4XX credit and if they are completing the requirements to achieve your graduate learning objectives, they should use the form for a late change of registration at this time. After a course is completed and a grade is assigned for a 4XX course, I will not endorse a late drop of the 4XX component and a late add of the 5XX component. As you teach slash courses in the future, I recommend that you make this issue clear at the beginning of the term as you discuss your syllabus. Those students who are willing to make the effort to achieve the graduate level learning objectives should insure that they are registered for the 5XX course during the drop/add period.

In communicating with Academic Requirements Committee regarding this, Bruce Rettig noted that there are occasions when retroactive approvals on changes of slash courses from 4XX to 5XX should be given, particularly when it's documented that there was a registration error, and that the Academic Requirements Committee is the final authority on this matter.

The committee takes Bruce Rettig's recommendations on all of these petitions into close consideration and departs from his recommendations only after thorough consideration of his concerns.

Retroactive Withdrawal From Multiple Terms

This year, for the first time in my memory, the Academic Requirements Committee did approve a retroactive withdrawal on multiple terms for a student. We have considered several of these petitions in the last few years and have typically denied withdrawal from multiple terms. The petitions have tended to be based on mental health issues, such as depression. Our rule of thumb has been that we approve the petition for the term that the student actually received a diagnosis, but not terms prior to the diagnosis. The exception we made this year was a case that involved such debilitating psychosis it was evident from the documentation provided that the student had been incapable of making reasoned decisions for a lengthy period of time. We were also able to see evidence from the student's transcript that they had been capable of academic success prior to the onset of their illness. Since that decision, we received another petition with documentation of psychosis, but the doctor was unable to confirm that the psychosis was present in prior terms. The parents may be appealing this decision.

Approvals of retroactive withdrawals should be made with a close eye to the fact that by so doing, the committee is altering academic history. This is especially critical when there is no evidence that the student would ever have been capable of academic success at OSU.

Publicity and Education

Academic Requirements attempted to gain publicity for deadlines for registration changes, by contacting the Barometer, but was not successful. Faculty Senate President suggested that Academic Programs might be willing to fund advertising for this in the Barometer. We recommend this for 2005-06, particularly during fall term when there are so many new students on campus.

Once publicity has been gained on the deadlines, we suggest reviewing the guidelines for petitions to late drop submitted after the end of the term. Instead of approving a drop, the committee might want to consider approving a withdrawal. A common rationale for these late drops is that they didn't realize they were registered for the course, but when space is at such a premium, the student really should be held responsible for their registration.

2004-05 Academic Requirements Membership
Sheila Roberts '05, Chair Educational Opportunities Program
Cheryl Pereira '05 Pre-Health Advising
Dodi Reesman '05 Animal Sciences
Earlean Wilson Huey '06 Minority Education Office
Linda Johnson '06 Athletics
Garrison Dyer '07 College of Business
Ronald Keil '07 Mechanical Engineering

Ex-Officio: Registrar
Tom Watts (Fall 2004 & Spring 2005)
Heather Chermak (Winter 2005 & Summer 2005)