UMM CURRICULUM COMMITTEE
MEETING # 2 Minutes
September 12, 2006, 10:00 a.m., Prairie Lounge
Present: Judy Kuechle (chair), Michael Korth, Gwen Rudney, Jenny Nellis, Jooinn Lee, Ferolyn Angell, Van Gooch, Harold Hinds, Escillia Allen, Sara Haugen, Clare Strand, Nancy Helsper, Jeri Mullin, and Isaac Linehan-Clodfelter
Absent: Two students and one Humanities faculty member yet to be named
Visiting: Argie Manolis, Leslie Meek, Tom McRoberts, Brenda Boever
Approval of Minutes from September 5, 2006
Kuechle asked for approval of minutes from the September 5, 2006 meeting.
The chair asked the committee if the minutes are written the way the committee wants, e.g., fewer names, more names, more detail, less detail, etc. The committee agreed that the current practice is satisfactory. The committee also agreed that approval of minutes will be carried out by voice vote, but approval of courses and curricular items by a hand count.
VOTE Motion passed to approve minutes (9-0-0)
Service Learning Notation on the Course Schedule (Argie Manolis, guest)
The chair welcomed Argie Manolis to discuss adding the notation of Service Learning on the course schedule so students are aware in advance that a course has a unique structure. Nellis said that a SCEP policy already exists requiring that if an exam is going to be given outside regular class time, or if the course varies from the assigned class time, it should say so in the Course Schedule. Manolis stated that what she is suggesting is that a line be added at the end of the course that states that it has a Service Learning component.
This would not involve a Calalog change. It is completely up to a faculty member to determine whether a class will include Service Learning. It makes more sense to put it in the Course Schedule than changing the Catalog, which would indicate it’s a Service Learning course for 3 years, especially since some classes have multiple sections, some of which do not include Service Learning.
Strand stated that our schedule is fed through ECAS and this would be a manual process that could be done easily, but that Service Learning designators would only be accepted if received from Manolis. Faculty cannot notify the Registrar’s office that their courses have Service Learning components because there are specific criteria and Manolis coordinates the Service Learning program.
Strand said that this would be noted in the parenthetical information at the end of a course listed. Korth asked if the distinction was that the course has a Service Learning component or that it requires off-campus or evening activities. He asked if it was our intention to notify students what type of methods are being used to teach the course. If, however, we are telling students that the class will be taught off-campus, why would it have to go through Manolis?
Manolis answered that we have never said that students had to go off-campus at a certain time. It depended on their schedule, so it was not actually conflicting with the policy. If the committee thought otherwise, then there would be some Service Learning courses that would not have a Service Learning notation because those courses would have activities that only occur in the classroom.
Nellis stated that she had heard some students say that if they had known it was a Service Learning course they would not have taken it. Some felt they were being used as unpaid labor. Students who she spoke to were specifically negative. However, she did not think it would be enough of a reason to put the designator there. Nellis stated that although the percentage of students who voice negative opinions is small, the students who say it say it vehemently.
Strand said that the information students receive about the astronomy course, requiring students to come in after hours to look at the stars, is a separate issue already being accommodated. Indicating that Service Learning is optional or required for the course is important because the students want to know before they register. The only way they now know is if they go to the Service Learning Web site and look for it.
Kuechle asked if students can find the Service Learning courses in the Course Schedule from the search page. Manolis answered that the only way students would know which courses have a Service Learning component is if they went to the Service Learning Web site, which most students would probably not do. Manolis responded to Korth’s question about Service Learning being a type of teaching method. She said that the notation would not indicate what type of methods will be used to teach the course. Currently, courses have designators such as lecture, discussion, seminar, lab, etc. Linehan-Clodfelter added that those designators are more of a description of the type of course but are not describing what learning activities are expected. It would be nice to have the Service Learning designator there, but students probably would not know what that means. He asked if it could be linked to the Service Learning web site.
Strand answered that as Service Learning starts moving toward community engagement scholar recognition, it will become more a permanent part of the way the U recognizes courses. At this time, a link could be made to it, but to have a hotlink to registration would be a bigger deal and expensive. Strand suggests UMM wait until the Twin Cities initiates the practice and then add it on this campus.
Allen asked if we could say “See Service Learning” so a student could go to see the Web site if they had a question about it. Rudney asked for clarification on whether the intent to include it would be to attract students or to warn students away from the course. She also asked if we are moving toward this requirement as directed by Strategic Plan. If not, she suggested leaving it off and saying that it may require hours outside of class. Strand answered that it is an interim step toward the Strategic Plan. It could be impressive to list it. Students may seek Service Learning courses out to build their resumes.
Manolis stated that she believes that Service Learning is a pedagogy that should be integrated into a class. The reason UMM is moving in this direction is that so many people involved in the program think this is the direction in which the campus should go. If this becomes U wide, then this is a step towards it. She voiced a concern about the aspect of warning students of the Service Learning component because some students, who at the beginning of the class were unhappy, ended up being very glad that they were involved in Service Learning. Some students might remain negative throughout the semester. Nellis added that there are also students who are just looking for a class at 11:00 and will not be paying attention to anything else about the course.
Kuechle asked if a vote was necessary or if we could allow faculty members to decide for themselves whether or not to list it. Manolis stated that she would prefer that it be used by all or none.
Linehan-Clodfelter stated that if we include a Service Learning notation, it might just be read by a student as more work than one without the notation. If there are two sections to a course with no distinguishing description between the two, it might scare them away to take one that has the Service Learning designator. However, when students see the syllabus, they can switch the class.
Strand recommended the notation be “Service Learning is optional in this course” or “Service Learning is required in this course.”
MOTION (as amended informally): (Hinds/Angell) To designate in an appropriate place in the Course Schedule “Service Learning is optional in this course” or “Service Learning is required in this course,” on the grounds that it would be useful to students.
VOTE: Motion passed (8-1-0)
Discussion of GPA and Transfer Credits (Leslie Meek, guest)
Kuechle welcomed Leslie Meek to clarify for the committee the policy on whether or not transfer work affects the major/minor GPA. Meek shared an excerpt from the 2004-2005 annual report of the Scholastic Committee:
"In the past, UMM had based its GPA calculations for graduation on UMM and transfer work. This sometimes resulted in students graduating with a UM GPA below 2.0. The Scholastic Committee reached consensus that we discontinue the use of two GPA calculations for graduation. We recommended to the Campus Assembly, that UMM come into compliance with the University policy: The cumulative GPA required for graduation shall be 2.0 and shall include all, and only, University of Minnesota course work. The Campus Assembly approved this recommendation in April 2005, and the change will become effective for new students enrolling at UMM for the first time in fall 2005. Since the Senate policy does not specify a GPA requirement in the major and UMM does, we requested that a statement be inserted in the description of the major or area of concentration (p. 62): In all majors, students must attain a minimum GPA of 2.0 (or higher as indicated by the discipline) in order to graduate."
The practical outcome of this policy is that transfer work does not count towards the major/minor GPA and that disciplines can accept transfer work as fulfilling a major/minor requirement, but the grade earned from a non-University of Minnesota institution will not affect the major/minor GPA.
We assume that the disciplines will determine whether the transfer work fulfills the major/minor requirement and that a petition to the Scholastic Committee is not necessary.
Also, on page 12 of the Catalog, the third bullet under “Understanding How Transfer of Credit Works” refers to the all-U policy. Meek stated that we have been calculating two different GPAs and are now clearing the way to come in compliance to have one GPA based on just the U of M coursework. Transfer students would have a transfer GPA and a U of M GPA. Transfer courses can count toward a requirement, but are not considered in the cumulative U of M GPA.
Strand stated that it has been a tradition at UMM to allow transfer courses to be allowed to be incorporated into the major or minor. Deviating is a significant change for the campus and warrants significant communication to students and faculty. Meek stated that the Campus Assembly approved the change April 4, 2005, and the campus should have been following it already. Strand stated that she had interpreted the policy differently in reference to the transcript because of the word “cumulative,” and she did not make the change in APAS.
Meek answered that it was her intent at this point that they no longer would be counted in majors and minors. Korth stated that there is a history of having multiple GPAs. Kuechle clarified that it is the official UM GPA that we are concerned about and not the major, minor, or other GPA. Strand explained that when we were using the mainframe, the cumulative GPA was frozen on the transcript. When we moved to PeopleSoft, that functionality was lost. After many years, there was a desire to freeze the GPA the moment the student graduates. If a student continues to take classes, repeats or completes a course, the cumulative GPA may change. No transfer grades go into that GPA. That’s the GPA that is considered for the 2.0 required for graduation, as well as for distinction or high distinction.
Rudney asked how this affects licensure. Strand answered that licensure does include transfer course work, as a program requirement. Licensure requires that you maintain a 2.5 GPA in all coursework.
Strand voiced a concern that if this policy goes into effect now, students will be caught off-guard. Nellis questioned delaying the change since it should have gone into effect as of fall 2005. Strand answered that she had misinterpreted the policy. She suggested that it be in effect for students graduating under the new Catalog, giving them 4 years. Kuechle asked if UMM had a choice to wait until next fall, since it should already be in effect. Meek answered that Campus Assembly voted it to be this way in 2005.
In the Quality of Work section of the catalog (pg. 63, #5), it states that “all coursework that is applied to the B.A. degree and in the major…” Kuechle asked whether a statement that says “cumulative GPA reflects only UM coursework” should be added, as well as to the pages of every major and minor.
Strand stated that she combines courses only in the majors. The disciplines decide what the major requirements are and when to waive them. The faculty members decide that they will let a particular student graduate with a 1.8 because the transfer courses will bump them up to a 2.0 in the major. The Campus Assembly minutes note that Senate policy does not specify 2.0 in the major. We have a minimum GPA for our majors and minors of 2.0. Whether or not transfer coursework is supposed to be part of the calculation is not clear.
Meek answered that the intent of what was passed in 2005 is that transfer courses would not count in the major or minor GPA. Meek noted that the intent was to come up with just one GPA based on only UMM coursework. Strand added that a transfer from Duluth, or from another coordinate campus, would still count in the GPA. Angell asked if this would affect the attractiveness of transferring from a state university or community college. Nellis answered that she didn’t think it would dissuade a student. Helsper noted that the policy is already in the current Catalog.
Angell stated that there is a problem to resolve for the seniors who weren’t aware of the change. If it goes into effect this spring, it would adversely affect this year’s juniors and seniors. Strand stated that the key factor is to ensure that the students are not negatively impacted by this, and the faculty are not caught by surprise. Nellis answered that they voted on it in Campus Assembly, so they should not be surprised. She also stated that it would not affect juniors and seniors who came in under the policy.
Kuechle stated that if we start pointing out the policy to students and advisors now, they would still be able to fix it. Nellis added that if a student does not do as well in a course and expects to take it somewhere else and transfer it back to UMM, the grade would not affect the GPA. The student would have completed the course requirement. Strand agreed that under this policy a student cannot take a course at another institution to get their GPA up to the required minimum. Instead, they would have to come back to Morris to retake the course.
Gooch stated that “Quality of Work” on pg. 63 of the Catalog should include the words “University of Minnesota cumulative.” Linehan-Clodfelter added that the committee needs to define the word “cumulative.”
Kuechle asked Meek if the Scholastic Committee would prepare a note to send to faculty stating the change that was made and what it means to students. She also asked Meek to come up with a statement that will inform students as well.
The meeting adjourned at 10:58 a.m.
Submitted by Darla Peterson