Faculty Council Minutes- September 2004

SEPTEMBER 10, 2004

3:30 p.m. Rosen Center Conference Room
Faculty Present: J. Rupe, Chair, A. Szalanski (ENTO), R. Gergerich (PLPA), P. Whan for T. Killian (HESC), F. Scott (AEED), L. Parsch (AEAB), T. Yazwinski (ANSC), A. Proctor (FDSC), Mike Richardson (HORT), D. Donoghue (POSC)
Others Attending:
Greg Weidemann -- Dean
Donna Graham -- Associate Dean
Bruce Dixon -- Graduate Council
T. Costello (BAEG)
M. Meisch (ENTO)
1. Call to Order -- J. Rupe, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
2. Agenda -- J. Rupe made one revision to the agenda. There would be no curriculum report for Human Environmental Sciences. Motion passed to approve the agenda as revised. All were in favor.
3. Approval of Minutes -- The minutes of April 30, 2004 meeting of the College Faculty were presented for approval. All in favor to approve minutes as revised with a correction of attendance.
4. Reports --
A. Dean Weidemann reported the following:
1. An upcoming three-day retreat in early November for the development of the strategic plan. Before the retreat, however, there will be a faculty focus group on October 6 to include the Faculty Council. Stakeholder information will be shared with this group as well as the summary of responses from a recent on-line survey of the faculty.
2. The Personnel Document has been forwarded to the Provost for the next step of approval. The Faculty Council Chair has been notified of the Campus Guidelines calling for an "Affirmative Action Statement" to be placed into the Personnel Document. This is to be addressed by the Faculty Council in upcoming meetings. Also, some of the language used in the Personnel Document now violates the Faculty By-Laws and will need to be addressed, (particularly concerning off-campus appointed representatives).
3. Based on informal surveys regarding enrollment, the word on Campus is that enrollment is up. If preliminary numbers were correct, this would represent approximately a 6% increase.
B. Associate Dean Graham reported the following:
1. A final candidate for the Coordinator of Advising and Retention position will be interviewing the second week of September. Dr. Graham made a request for input and feedback from committee members. Two candidates were previously interviewed.
2. Ashley Harris has recently accepted the position of Director of the Alumni Society and will be reconfiguring her roles within the college.
3. Department Heads will now be notified when faculty have not turned in their grades on time. This will be discussed with the faculty member during their annual review.
4. A decision has been made by the Provost that faculty will not be able to review rosters that do not belong to them specifically. UAConnect will be implemented by the end of the fall semester to only allow an instructor to view his/her own rosters. It has been viewed as an invasion of privacy and confidentiality.
5. Two USDA Teaching awards were awarded to faculty members in our college; Don Johnson of Agricultural and Extension Education and Jason Emmert of Poultry Science. They will be recognized at the College Faculty meeting in November.
6. Construction on three classrooms in our college has been finished: HESC Auditorium, AFLS Auditorium and
7. Electronic "checksheets" are currently being developed for each degree program. They will be sent shortly for faculty to try out and provide feedback.
C. Dr. Bruce Dixon reported the following: (Handout)
1. "Dean A. Saxena, College of Engineering, presented a proposal to increase the minimum required enrollment for graduate assistants (which is now six hours per semester for students on 50% appointments). Following discussion, Dean Saxena agreed to write a proposal for attachment to these minutes (Attachment C of handout), which the Council members will take to their constituencies for comments. This item will be placed on the September Graduate Council agenda."
2. "Professor Koski, on behalf of the Graduate School, presented the following two proposals as New Business:
A. Proposal to eliminate conditional admission (Attachment E of handout).
B. Proposal to allow multiple non-consecutive one-term admissions (Attachment F of handout). Following discussion, motions were approved unanimously to table both items to allow feed-back from the various constituencies. These items will be placed on the September Graduate Council agenda."
3. "Professor Koski presented the following item for discussion: A request was made to the Graduate School that the doctoral Record of Progress be modified to require the department head signature. There was considerable discussion of this proposal, with the final conclusion that such an addition would only be appropriate if it clearly indicated, not approval of the dissertation or program of study, but just that all degree requirements have been met."
5. Standing Committee Reports -
A. Agriculture subcommittee -- None
B. Human Environmental Sciences subcommittee - None
6. Old Business - None
7. New Business --
A. Proposal for a new grading system-- L. Parsch (Handout)
1. Proposal. A new Intermediate Grade (8-Scale) System shall be implemented to replace current Traditional (5-Scale) Grading System in the AFLS College for all undergraduate and graduate courses.
2. Letter grades and grade points.
a. Under the current system, letter grades and grade points are as follows:
(5-Scale): A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0, F=0.0
b. Under the proposed system, letter grades and corresponding grade points would be as follows:
(8-Scale): A=4.0, AB=3.5, B=3.0, BC=2.5, C=2.0, CD=1.5, D=1.0, F=0.0
c. Grades of R, I, W etc. would remain as they currently stand.
3. Precedent at other universities. A number of universities around the U.S. have utilized other than the traditional 5-scale (A, B, C, D, F) grading system for a number of years. The University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, and the University of Florida use a variant of the intermediate grade system outlined above which carry a _ grade point increment. (Wisconsin's intermediate scale is a simpler 7-point system, which excludes the grade CD). Other universities, such as the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois, Iowa State University, and Cornell University use a variant of a "plus-minus" system wherein grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-,etc. are allowed and which typically carry a 1/3 grade point increment (4.00, 3.67, 3.33, etc.) and which result in a 12 grade scale.
4. Rationale for proposing the 8-scale grading system. In comparison to the current system, the proposed intermediate grading system provides instructors greater flexibility to assign grades, which more accurately reflect the student's level of performance. Nevertheless, the proposed 8-scale system is simpler than a 12-scale plus-minus system, yet only slightly more complex than the current traditional system.
5. Procedures at the University of Arkansas. At the University of Arkansas, it is in each College's purview to establish its own grading system. Currently, both the School of Architecture and the Law School employ their own plus-minus system on a 12-grade scale. I have been informed by the Registrar Alice Lacey that to enact the proposed grading system will require approval of the AFLS Faculty, Graduate Council, Faculty Senate, and Chancellor.
6. Let's air this issue in the AFLS College. A recent poll showed that 11 of 13 AEAB faculty favor replacing our current grading system with a more flexible one. Other departments responded in much the same way (see summary handout). The goal is to have departments in AFLS air this issue, informally, in preparation for presenting it to AFLS Faculty in fall to evaluate it and also to discuss which of the two new grading systems (8-scale or 12-scale) would best serve our needs.
7. Faculty Council Discussion. It was discussed as to whether to email ballots to faculty members or wait until the fall Faculty Meeting and what the ballot would contain. It was decided to wait one more month until the Human Environmental Sciences Faculty could be informally polled. The discussion will continue next meeting.
B. Change meeting time for council meetings.
The Council discussed setting a new meeting time for the council to meet. It was decided that the meetings should be scheduled on the second Thursday of each month at 12:30. The next meeting to be held Thursday, October 14, 2004.
8. Inquiries from the Faculty -- None
9. Meeting Adjourned
The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Tracy Joslin, Recording Secretary