Academic Standards Year End Report discussion

May 9, 2008

2007-2008 Academic Standards Committee Year End Report
Kathy Boardman Memo re:Year End Report

The links above lead you to the End of Year Report (including the committee charges) and a memo from Kathy Boardman regarding the year end report.  

There were three charges with specific committee recommendations, so they have been placed in three seperate posts for individual discussion.  For the June meeting, the intent is to have these items on the consent agenda in the same manner so individual or similar recommendations can be discussed or approved without impacting the whole.

Please only comment on this post if you have something general to say.  If it is specific to particular charges or their recommendations, please use the other topics to post.

Academic Standards, Charge #1 Recommendations (Discussion)

May 9, 2008

Please limit the discussion to the recommendations for charge #1 listed below.  It would be helpful if you note which recommendation you are commenting on by number prior to making your comments.

Pertaining to Charge 1:

1.  The existing catalog language regarding the policy for dropping a course should be changed to state that students who wish to withdraw from individual classes must obtain their instructor’s signature on a form stating that they have discussed their intention to withdraw with the instructor. 

2.  The existing catalog language regarding the grade replacement policy should be changed as follows: 
           2a.  Students may repeat a course anytime before graduation, instead of only during the next semester a course is offered.
            2b.  Students may not repeat a course for which a grade of C or better is earned (except where specific degree programs require higher grades)
            2c.  Repeating a course withdrawn from does not count as a grade replacement attempt.
            2d.  The number of allowable grade replacement attempts should be increased to 4 courses.
            2e.  Only one grade replacement attempt should be allowed per course, although more are permissible with approval from the Dean/Chair and academic advisor. Repeating a course more than once requires a plan for improvement, drafted and signed by both student and advisor, which may include tutoring and other forms of academic support. 

3.  Regarding probation, disqualification, suspension and dismissal, the committee recommends as follows:

            3a.  Students under academic warning and probation should avail themselves of progressively more advisement and assistance as a condition of continued enrollment.  This should take the form of a written agreement specifying the assistance the student will obtain (e.g., help with study skills, tutoring in specific subjects). The contract would be developed and signed by the student and his/her academic advisor, then signed by the student’s department chair and the dean.  UNR Admissions and Records would receive a copy of the contract. Course registration would be blocked until approval of the contract.

            3b.  Students not raising their GPA above the threshold for disqualification after two semesters should be suspended from UNR and not readmitted until they can present a record of 15 semester credits of transferable credit at a community college or other accredited institution, with a minimum GPA of 2.5. 

4.  Regarding midterm progress reporting, the committee recommended that faculty teaching lower-division courses be strongly encouraged to use the midterm grade reporting functionality in CAIS, or some other means, to report grades of C-, D and F to students prior to the drop date.  A general e-mail should be sent to alert faculty to the existence of this tool.

Academic Standards, Charge #2 Recommendations (Discussion)

May 9, 2008

Please limit the discussion to the recommendations for charge # 2 listed below.  It would be helpful if you note which recommendations you are commenting on by number prior to making your comments.Pertaining to Charge 2:

5.  The Nevada Faculty Alliance should be involved in future discussions with the Faculty Senate about the formulation of a code of ethical conduct for faculty at UNR.

6.  The “faculty-wide discussion” should not begin with a campus-wide survey of all faculty, but be conducted within the Colleges.  As a first step towards this, the matter should be brought before the Academic Leadership Council.

Academic Standards Charge #3 Recommendations (Discussion)

May 9, 2008

Please limit the discussion to the recommendations for charge #3 listed below.  It would be helpful if you note which recommendations you are commenting on by number prior to making your comments.

Pertaining to Charge 3:

7.  Regarding methods of addressing academic dishonesty by students (reporting and sanctions):

            7a.  The OSC web site should put online the standard format of the letter to be sent to students, or several different sample letters; and should include a link for faculty which would include all the information faculty need to report, verify, and learn about penalties for academic dishonesty.

            7b.  The curriculum of the voluntary course in ethical decision-making for students currently being offered through the Office of Student Conduct (see pp. 31-32 below) should be evaluated by the committee.  The committee should work with Sally Morgan, bearing in mind our specific curricular recommendations of several years ago, to design a course that fits both her and our needs.

            7c.  The committee should propose specific language to be added to the conduct code related to retaking of courses.  The Graduate School should be made aware of and take steps to implement our committee’s earlier recommendations regarding the Q course and implement this policy as soon as the grade has been approved for use.  The committee should discuss whether, with these changes, the current policy is adequate.  If there are other issues not addressed by the current policy or by our other recommendations, the committee should identify them and make specific recommendations for Graduate Council consideration.

            7d.  A mechanism should be developed for noting on the student’s transcript actions taken regarding academic dishonesty that does not involve a specific course (e.g., research projects, TA work, etc.).  The permanence of this notation should be treated in the same way as the Q grade for in-class dishonesty.  The Graduate Council should look into this issue and make sure that a consistent policy is in place.

            7e.  The Office of Student Conduct should put in place a mechanism for notifying the home department of students involved in incidents of academic dishonesty.

            7f.  Sally Morgan should be asked to follow up with the Provost to ensure that changes recommended by the committee in the past (regarding the development of sanctioning guidelines to guide faculty in the academic sanction area) are in fact implemented into the Code.

8.  Regarding ways of discouraging academic dishonesty among students:

            8a.  The committee should discuss the importance of having the Provost’s or President’s office address publicly the issue of academic dishonesty, and of establishing how the administration will promote the importance of the issue.

            8b.  As regards the modality of conducting faculty workshops, face-to-face workshops should be scheduled regularly and online options be made available.

            8c.  As regards faculty and student websites on academic dishonesty issues and resources, UNR’s webpage should be revised to include links to other web pages (as indicated in Appendix A, p. 35 below).

9.  Regarding policy clarity and future directions:

            9a.  Based on the help and facilities available to Sally Morgan, a definite timetable should be set up to ensure the implementation of the committee’s earlier recommendation that the University Code of Conduct and Policies should, in separate sections, lay out explicitly the nature of possible academic and administrative sanctions, and distinguish these two types of sanctions clearly.

            9b.  Policy language should include the instruction that the committee should revisit the policy three years after it was enacted to  determine how well or ill it has functioned.