I. Minutes of previous meetings
II. Report of the Faculty Senate Chairperson
III. Report of the Student Senate President
IV. Report of the Graduate Student Organization
V. Report of the Administrative Officers
Associate Provost Burns announced that the University Theme Committee is requesting proposals from faculty related to the new theme, Reason & Hope in an Age of Uncertainty. These proposals are primarily to identify campus events and activities that may be linked to the overall theme. Submissions may be made until March 20.
Dr. Burns also indicated that a number of faculty and administrators have been attending an FYE conference where Dr. McNairy gave the plenary talk. He noted that Millersville is recognized as a leader for our activity and progress in the area.
Senator Mowrey shared that the Wellness Department Chair spent a great deal of time resolving errors in the new electronic schedule. She also noted that advisors must now correct students individually because students only checked the information as originally posted and did not think to look again for posted corrections. She requested that the Registrar consider giving chairs an opportunity to review scheduling information prior to making the information available to students. Other departments agreed that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Dr. Burns indicated that he would contact the Registrar regarding an appropriate solution.
VI. Reports of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees
Senator White asked senators to remind faculty that course proposals must be submitted to UCPRC soon to be reviewed in time for the fall semester.
(1) NEW UNDERGRADUATE COURSE GOVT 361: The Politics of Race and Ethnicity, 3 credits, G3. Proposal to create a course to examine the role of racial and ethnic minority groups in American politics.
The APC proposal discussed previously regarding Withdrawal End Dates was approved without dissent.
Senator West distributed a recommendation for revision to the Graduation Honors Policy. [see Attachment #1] She indicated that this is not required for the Commonality process but that Millersville has one of the lowest GPAs needed to earn cum laude honors and one of the highest for summa cum laude among PASSHE schools. In fact, the current levels allow students never named to the Dean’s List to be awarded graduation honors. APC recommends revising the graduation honors GPA levels, raising the cum laude level to 3.50 to match Dean’s List. A question was raised about whether this proposal would impact the Honors College since the current 3.35 GPA level correlates to that required for students in the Honors College. Senator Schaffer indicated that he would bring the issue to the Committee but did not think it would be a problem.
Another issue addressed was whether to continue including transfer credits to calculate an honors GPA that is different than the Millersville GPA. Senator Luek noted that the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society bases its GPA calculations on all post-high school credits. She expressed concern that transfer students would have an advantage if their transfer credits were not counted. She noted that grades in transferred courses are often lower than work done at Millersville and disqualify students for honors when included in the honors GPA. Other departments noted that their transfer students tend to bring in higher grades than they subsequently earn at Millersville and are more likely to earn honors than students completing all their work at Millersville. The proposal to use only Millersville credits is consistent with awarding honors based only on the academic performance as assessed by Millersville faculty. It was pointed out that the proposal also recommends an increase in the minimum credits that would need to be completed at Millersville, from 30 to 60, to be eligible for graduation honors. Senator West noted that the committee discussed these issues at length but additional feedback from departments would be welcome.
It was also proposed that students completing a second degree would not be eligible for graduation honors and that Academic Amnesty students would not have their pre-amnesty grades included in the honors GPA. The proposal includes a modification in the Academic Amnesty policy that reflects the proposed changes in the Graduation Honors policy. A concern was raised about the GPA listed to qualify for Academic Amnesty. It was questioned why these grades would not be counted. The response was that Academic Amnesty has a very specific application and this would be consistent with the philosophy of the policy. It was also highlighted that the changes would make it easier for students to be aware of their standing for honors since the Millersville GPA is what they regularly see on their DARS.
Senator Schaffer distributed a proposal recommending that 3 credits of study abroad experiences be allowed to fulfill the Honors Perspective requirement for General Education. [see Attachment #2] The proposal matches the policy for students not in the Honors College, allowing the P requirement to be satisfied by an international study experience. The change is necessary because Honors students must take a P course with an Honors designation. It was clarified that this would apply to any course taken during regular semesters or summers. Although, courses in the major would still be excluded, and courses taken online from an institution in another country would also not qualify. It was noted that the Honors College Committee discussed various implementation options at length but found many too complex. This proposal allows for broad application.
VII. Reports of the Faculty Senate Special Committees
Dr. Kathleen Schreiber distributed a summary and a ballot for Senate review. [see Attachment #3] She then addressed questions and concerns from Senate regarding the upcoming vote on the proposed Honor Code System. It was noted that the ballot should have a line added for an abstaining vote before being sent to the Chair of Senate for distribution. Senator Kevorkian expressed concerns from the History Department that the voting mechanism planned by Senate did not match standard practice. It was pointed out that this format was approved as a way to garner maximum faculty participation in this decision since faculty buy-in is critical for an effective Honor Code System. It was stated that voting at a centralized location generally draws only 40-100 faculty members out of more than 300. It was clarified that there is no voting procedure speccified by the CBA.
Concerns and suggestions about the integrity of the voting mechanism were discussed. It was noted that this seems to be an issue of trust among colleagues. A DeCaria/Kevorkian motion that votes on the Honor Code System be collected anonymously by each department from all eligible faculty members, sealed in an envelope and submitted to the Secretary of Senate to be counted by two faculty members was approved without dissent.
A question was raised about the role of accusing faculty in the Honor Code Court. The response was that they attend but do not vote. The advantage of this approach over individual faculty determining their own sanctions was questioned. It was pointed out that students respect the potential of severe repercussions for infractions.
Another question raised was related to the application of the system to graduate students. Dr. Schreiber indicated that specific details of implementation have not been resolved but would be considered over the next three years.
Discussion was held regarding the fact that signing the honor pledge would be a requirement for admission. It was noted that legal implications were considered but should not be an issue. Again, it was stated that these details would be deliberated in detail once the proposal is passed.
The specification that religious conflict constitutes an exemption for signing the honor pledge was discussed. It was suggested that removing the reference to this as a pledge or oath should eliminate the need for this allowance. Another idea shared was that the statement could be included as part of the agreement already signed by students on admission.
A question was asked about how an issue would be handled for a student at the point of graduation. The response was that the student would need to be given an I grade until the issue was resolved.
Concern was expressed about the difficulty of approving the proposal without knowing how some of these issues will be resolved. A suggestion was made that the vote ballot should specify that approval of the Honor Code System would be dependent on further approval of an implementation plan. Dr. Schreiber indicated that an implementation plan would be brought to Senate in the future for approval.
VIII. Proposed Courses and Programs
IX. Faculty Emeritus
X. MU Online
XI. Policy regarding "Incomplete" grades
XII. General Education Proposal
Discussion was held regarding the specification of a 3500-word minimum of revised prose. Dr. Warmkessel noted that this number reflects similar requirements from other institutions. The need for assigning a numerical value was questioned. It was suggested that 3500 words is too high, particularly in courses where enrollments are high. Senator Kevorkian noted that the History Department teaches many of these courses and expressed that 3500 words would be a burden in large classes. In response, it was pointed out that some courses currently designated W may not fit the revised guidelines. Doubt was expressed about the effectiveness of the guidelines with no standard given regarding word number. This would make it difficult to maintain the integrity of an approved W course when the faculty teaching it changes. It was suggested that the 2500 word level from the 1998 guidelines might be a more appropriate benchmark.
It was also noted that courses with other types of writing revision may not fit well with the wording of the guidelines. It was stated that the committee reviewing W designations would be willing to consider alternate interpretations of “revised prose” relevant within specific fields. Another concern raised was that students transferring in credit for a course that is designated W at Millersville receive that credit regardless of whether the course they took was writing intensive. Dr. Warmkessel reminded Senate that the faculty response last fall was very strongly in support of setting and upholding standards for W courses. However, the question is whether the proposed guidelines and recommendations are sufficient.
XIII. Other/New Business
Aimee L. Miller
Faculty Senate Secretary