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Academic Affairs / Provost

Administration 203
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4116

Academic Council Minutes


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

3:30 p.m.

WDE 3601

The Academic Council functions as the primary organizational group for department chairs and deans. The Council functions in an advisory capacity to the Provost/Chief Learning Officer for Academic Affairs. The Council recommends actions to the Provost who either responds or directs the recommendations to the proper person or organization within the university governance structure. These recommendations will indicate the Council's majority opinion on an issue or a call for action. The recommendations will be in writing and will contain the appropriate individual or group to receive the recommendation. 

I.             Department Chair Discussions

               A.           Open discussion/future topics

      • Changes in Catalog - Student absences Attendance Policy 2013 catalog. Corey Bowman. Dan Shiernbeck: in the previous policy only instructors could excuse an absence. What do faculty do when they have an absence? How do they verify that an absence is legitimate? The background of this issue is that faculty were sending students to the Health Center for notes; they were almost pushed to hire a fulltime staff person to write notes. Chris Opatrny--Advance arrangements could be made. Mick Luehrman tells students that good communications are important. He encourages students to communicate, but this doesn’t encourage that.
        • We need to consider policies in programs and specific to individual courses as well.
        • Chris Opatrny—Team-based class groups will fire students who don’t participate, and students will have to drop the course. Her students practice an HR process.
        • David Kreiner—what is stated in the syllabus?
        • Buzz Herman—programs don’t ask for documentation. They use the rule of 2-3 unexcused absences.
        • Nicole Nickens—if you don’t take attendance, how do you know students aren’t present? HLC frowns upon tying points earned to attendance. If faculty drop points for absences, this is a concern to HLC because this does not assess performance.
        • Mick Luehrman—assignments are performance based.  He expects and requires students to be in class in a studio-based environment. Otherwise, he doesn’t know if the student actually produced the work. Given that, his faculty reduce the grade for absences. In a studio interactions with faculty are very important to learning.
        • Art Rennels—enforcement to the policy is implemented in classes when faculty design an attendance policy that includes penalties for absences.
        • Chris Opatrny—they teach people to be leaders, and that needs observations across the semester in order to see the change.

      • Midterm grade/early progress/formative grade discussion (mandatory?  only Ds & Fs?  All grades?)
        • Dawna Lisa Buchanan—Submit Ds and Fs to limit the extra work. This is good for alerting students that they are already in trouble. Also for courses that have major assignments later in the semester midterm grades of A or B may mislead some students and final grades will surprise them.
        • Buzz Herman—what does the university intend for the policy?
        • Odin Jurkowski—most students know how they are doing. This is a way to provide an extra kick for students
        • Julie Clawson—has many clinical courses that are pass/fail. Her department requires faculty to submit Ds and Fs.
        • Art Rennels—provide a magic button to click on all students are passing.
        • Dan Shierenbeck—call it “early progress.”
        • Nicole Nickens—it was adjusted a little later in the semester last year to move it closer to Midterm.
        • Dawna—a midterm alarm is not too onerous. Even in large classes, reporting failing students will not be too challenging.
        • Chris Opatrny—If freshmen are flunking out, will this do anything? Those first semester patterns show up pretty early.
        • Dawna Lisa Buchanan—Maxient.  Could it all be folded into one attempt? Financial aid may also be involved.
        • Mick Luehrman—whatever the decision it should be communicated in a timely manner.
        • Pat Antrim—include students at all levels

II.           Approval of Minutes from August 13th, 2013 Motion to accept, Chris Opatrny; seconded, Art Rennels. Approved.


III.          Information Items

A.           New items

1.            Dashboard – steering committee is being formed [5 chairs, all Deans] Members of the executive committee will solicit nominees. Purpose for the “dashboard” is for continuous program improvement. This committee takes on the charge of the Annual Report subcommittee established last year.

2.            Faculty Senate is again taking up the issue of faculty classification and faculty load as the charge for the committee last year was not met.  The committee will bring forth recommendations to the Provost by December with recommendations by spring.

V.           Discussion Items

A.           Changes in Catalog - Student absences Attendance Policy 2013 catalog -

Corey Bowman is planning to operationalize the 2013 Attendance Policy. They are still developing their processes. Their understanding is to have students work directly with faculty. When appropriate the faculty works with students to make up work. Faculty who need more information (verification) could send students to Student Engagement. They’ve always done this when students miss 3 or more days (as for a health crises, for example). They work closely with the family and get the information out to faculty. New to the policy is the inclusion of 1 and 2 day absences. Students have been confused in the past because faculty ask for different things. Corey’s office looked at policies in place (military activation, athletics, victim of crime). If a student has the flu, we don’t want them going to the health center or his office. If there is something weird about a situation, Corey’s office can help. His office will send a student an emailed note the student can forward to faculty.

His office also tracks attendance. That will also help if a student is abusing the system. If student is gone 3 or more days, Corey’s office will communicate directly with faculty.

Corey didn’t intend for faculty to send all 1 and 2 day absences, but they will work with them.

Skip Crooker is involved with data analysis. Corey’s office contacted students who missed all classes for several days in the first week of classes and recovered about 30 students.

Corey’s office can get verification for students who go to medical facilities or are absent because of a family death. If a faculty refuses to work with a student, then that issue goes to the department chair, unless the absence is addressed in policy. If addressed by policy, the issue goes to Corey’s office. If a student self-isolates for flu, that should be an excused absence.

The following questions and comments followed:

Faculty should set the policy for their classes. If a student isolates herself because of the flu, he wants to be able to tell his faculty what the university policy is.

If someone misses class, we know they are doing themselves harm.

If a department wants to establish a policy, can they?  As long as it is reasonable. Try to avoid the far end of the spectrum either way. Foster student responsibility.

If you are sick and will infect others, the responsible thing is to stay home.

If we had a departmental policy that says two consecutive unexcused absences are ok, everything else has to be validated through your office. Would you be ok with that? Corey thinks that is what is supposed to happen.

It’s about student success.

What obligation does this create for faculty to work with students? Discuss with faculty what you want to do when the flu is going around.

Encourage students to communicate with faculty, even before the class.

Some students in crisis may not be able to contact faculty.

What is the policy on expectant mothers? No policy.

Federal guidance is there that we have to conform to.

“X was in an accident. How do I contact all the faculty?” Contact the Office of Student Engagement.

Some students have heard they are required to get a note from Student Engagement before they can come back to class. That is not the case at all. Don’t set up barriers for students to get back into class.

Can we fail students based on attendance? Can we drop students? Should attendance be directly tied to grades?

Attendance is very important.

A motion was brought to FS that would allow faculty to request administrative drop of students. That’s why we have Early Alert. Construct the class so that if they miss, they can’t pass the class. We don’t have policies in place.

We also need to protect students from intractable faculty.

Faculty can tell students they are in danger of failing a class as the Withdrawal date approaches.

Can we give points for just being there? HLC doesn’t address that specifically, although we can ask.

It would be nice to allow faculty to include attendance as a significant part of a grade because we are trying to train these students up into professionals.

You are much better to have something in your syllabus about professionalism with attendance

Over 99% of faculty participated in the Enrollment Verification Process.

B.           Choices of logo for business cards - Deborah Curtis—The change was made a couple years ago to drop the Friendship Tower. It was communicated through UCM Daily. According to the new style guide, pages 12-13, an alternative to the Fighting Mule is the University of Missouri/Learning to a Greater Degree logo. Deborah will start a conversation about other alternatives with the President. Students would love to get involved in this process—a competition.

C.           Issues with technology access - Jim Graham

  • “No individual printers policy”— Jim Graham—no policy in place that says individual printers are going away. He has put a group together to look at printing campuswide. Their goal is to make it more efficient and financially responsible. Based on conversations with HP and Zerox, Sharp, Cannon, Ricoh—money can be saved by doing away with personal printers. Volunteers to serve on a personal printer committee: Odin Jurkowski, Art Rennels, Mick Luehrman, Barb Hicks volunteered. Concerns about confidentiality when using shared printers. Several departments are willing to pay for that personal printer.
    • Mick Luehrman—Is pay for print a possibility? Jim said it is.
  • Classroom wireless projectors—Wireless projectors were purchased for a particular classroom, but OT had to have them wired.
    • The devices that you communicate wirelessly with (between access point and the device) do not work well. Apple TV and mobile devices need to communicate with the data projectors—OT supports that work.
  • Scanning documents from networked copier/scanners—printers that only send scanned documents to one person are a problem. Those are configured at the printer. Different companies do this work differently. OT is trying to develop best practices about these devices. For individual questions about implementing copiers with advanced features, contact the Office of Technology.
  • Faculty computer account requests—OPs have to go through “8,000 steps” to process a new hire and to get everything that faculty members need. We process students in an automated way. OT would like to do the same for faculty, but HR doesn’t have a specific place where a Banner account is created. When is an appropriate place to begin that process? Some OPs begin to request before the faculty are hired. All their processes are manually done. Permissions. Auditors and best practices come into this.
    • OT and HR need to work together to build a better process
  • Jim has received a request to put Office 2013 in classes for spring semester
  • Multimedia requests are in process
  • Faculty computer upgrade process is underway
  • Considering moving to the laptop as the baseline system rather than a desktop computer.
  • Printers—OT is building rules and needs to communicate more
  • Wireless—some other institutions are having difficulties.
  • If you have new technologies to implement in a classroom environment, notify them early rather than late.
  • Surface Pro devices are ready to work on campus.
  • Windows 8—not going to use it on desktops. Better for touchscreen devices
  • FTP for faculty? Mike Jeffries has a streaming video server (Adobe Connect). Open to different suggestions.
  • Mick Luehrman—systematic problems for logging in. Macs and new faculty on PCs. Jim will visit with his team. Mick will provide more information.

VI. Meeting Adjourned.