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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Faculty Council Minutes

February 4, 1999 Signal Mountain Room
University Center
Elected Members Present: Jim Avery, Tom Bibler, Boris Belinskiy, Mike Biderman, Pedro Campa, Roland Carter, Valerie Copeland-Rutledge, Fritz Efaw, Gene Ezell, Phil Giffin, Diane Halstead, Jim Hiestand, Charles Knight, Lenny Krzycki, Irene Loomis, Deborah McAllister, Eileen Meagher, Jonathan Mies, Cliff Parten, Marea Rankin, Lauren Sewell, Mac Smotherman, Ann Stapleton, Vicki Steinberg, Felicia Sturzer, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Rick Turpin, Bruce Wallace, Randy Whitson, Mike Whittle
Elected Members Absent: Marlene Bradshaw, Joe Dumas, Marsha Scheidt
Ex-Officio Members Present: Bill Berry, Sheila Delacroix, Jane Harbaugh, George Ross, Bill Stacy
Among the Guests Present: Valarie Adams, Barbara Andersen, Richard Brown, Herbert Burhenn, Betsy Darken, Brenda Davis, Bob Desmond, Leroy Fanning, Bill Gurley, Joel Harrell, Marilyn Helms, Lanny Janeksela, Steve Kuhn, Jonathan Looney, Gene Schlereth, Maria Smith, Mary Tanner, Kelsey Vaughn, Steve White, Robert Wynegar, Sandy Zitkus

Important Actions and Announcements

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*President Prevost announces appointment of a committee to examine minority hiring issues

*President Prevost announces appointment of a committee to review policies and procedures for Faculty Development Grants

*Council discusses recommendations from the Academic Standards Committee

*Council discusses January 25 draft of performance review policies and procedures

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Call to Order

President Verbie Prevost called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.

Approval of the Minutes of January 21, 1999

The minutes were approved as distributed.

Committee Reports

Executive Committee:

President Prevost announced a committee will be appointed to examine minority hiring issues. It will be charged with developing plans and suggestions to improve and enhance UTC’s efforts in this area. Professor Oralia Preble-Niemi has agreed to chair the committee. Since several potential committee members have yet to be contacted, the complete list will be announced later.

In response to a question from the January 21 meeting, Provost Bill Berry provided President Prevost with a list of the number of replacement searches currently underway on campus. They are: Arts & Sciences—10; Education—7; Business—1; Engineering/Computer Science—7; Health and Human Services—8; and Library—2.

President Prevost announced a committee will be appointed to review policies and procedures for Faculty Development Grants. In recent years, awards, particularly those involving technology, have generated concern that they fall outside the current stipulations. The committee will review the current guidelines and make recommendations to Council. Professor Tom Bibler has agreed to chair the committee, and a full list of committee members will be announced later.

Academic Standards Committee:

After briefly reviewing the sequence of events and the campus needs that resulted in the contract for the Banner 2000 system, Standards Committee Chair Barbara Andersen noted the dissonance between several UTC standards and the capabilities of the Banner system. She said the committee was offering recommendations at the meeting for discussion and comment in preparation for a vote at a later meeting of Council. Professor Andersen yielded the floor to Ms. Kelsey Vaughn, Banner2000 Implementation Specialist, for a presentation about the issues and problems surrounding the integration of UTC standards into the Banner system.

Reviewing current practice, Ms. Vaughn noted institutional credit is currently awarded for the following developmental studies courses: Educ 105, Engl 105, Engl 106, Math 105, Math 106, Psy 100, Soc 199, and USTU 100. The current policy stipulates students must complete their developmental studies courses in their first 42 attempted hours or 30 for transfer students. Although this policy is in the catalog, it is not currently enforced because no enforcement mechanism is in place. Banner also lacks an enforcement mechanism. The Academic Standards Committee and the Banner Academic Policy Committee are recommending that the catalog "recommend" rather than "require" students to complete developmental studies courses in the first 42 hours.

Discussing when developmental studies grades are counted in the GPA, Ms. Vaughn said current practice is to include the GPA from developmental studies courses in the continuation GPA but not the cumulative GPA. The continuation GPA is in existence while the student is involved with the developmental studies program and determines a student’s eligibility to remain at the institution; it ceases to exist when all program requirements have been satisfied.

In the Banner environment, Ms. Vaughn said only one GPA is calculated. This GPA drives academic standing for continuation purposes. Grades can be defined so they always count in the GPA calculation or never count in the GPA calculation. Banner lacks the ability to record developmental studies grades for a period of time and then remove them when the requirement is satisfied.

The grade mode option in Banner controls the developmental studies grades, Ms. Vaughn said. Banner offers traditionally defined grade options, i.e. A-F, which would always count in the GPA. If the campus decides to use the traditional standard letter grade mode for developmental studies, the grade would be included in the cumulative GPA. Another option would be the use of A, B, C, and NC with A, B, and C always counting in the GPA and NC never counting. A third option would be to use S and NC with the student either satisfactorily completing the requirements or not satisfactorily completing them; these grades would never be included in the GPA . A fourth option would be to define new grades such as * A-* F. While similar to the traditional A-F option, these grades would never count in the GPA.

The Academic Standards Committee is recommending the adoption of the * A-* F mode for developmental studies courses. The grades would not count, but the information would be available to advisors. The committee felt the courses should not count in the GPA since they are not college level courses.

Discussing UTC’s current repeat policy, Ms. Vaughn said students are currently allowed to replace a total of five grades of C or lower. After the five replacement grades, all grades are calculated in the GPA. In any repeated course, excluding the "r" courses, a student forfeits the first earned hours, if any. Previous grades and credit do not count; only the last grade counts in earned hours. For example, if a student earns a D the first time and an F the second time, the three hours credit from the first attempt would be removed under current policy.

In the Banner environment, the institution can define which course attempts are going to be included in the student’s earned hours from several available options: latest occurrence of the course, first occurrence of the course with a passing grade, or highest occurrence of the course. Selecting first occurrence with a passing grade would require the institution to define "passing grade." The passing grade would have to be the same for all departments and courses. With highest occurrence, a grade of F followed by a C followed by a D would cause the C to be reflected in earned hours, regardless of the order in which the courses were taken.

In a related Banner decision, the institution must define which course attempts will be included in the GPA calculation. One option is to include all course attempts, which is what the campus currently does after the five replacement grades. Another option is to include selected course attempts: latest, first, or highest. Choosing to include all course attempts effectively eliminates grade replacement as all grades are used to calculate the GPA. Choosing first passing gives the student a limited amount of grade replacement. For example, if the campus sets first passing to be a D and the student earns an F, the student could repeat the course at a future date and improve the GPA calculation. If the student makes a D on first passing and the campus sets first passing to be a D, then it would not matter if the student retakes the course and earns an A. The D would be the one to be included in the GPA calculation.

If the campus chooses last grade replacement, the student would always be able to replace the grade with a better one. This option involves some risk for the student. If the student takes a course and earns a D and takes it a second time and earns an F, the F would be used for calculating the GPA. Most students would probably select the highest grade option for GPA calculation since it would allow for unlimited grade replacement.

Ms. Vaughn said the Standards Committee is recommending the inclusion of all grades in the GPA calculation, pointing out this option is the current campus practice after the five replacement grades. In conjunction with that recommendation, the committee is recommending that the highest grade be the one used for calculating a student’s earned hours. Banner’s grade audit module checks student records for compliance with specific requirements in the major. By using the highest grade for earned hours, Banner would scan for situations in which a C may be required for graduation in the major.

Professor Gene Ezell said it was his understanding that Banner lacked the capability to track a student’s five replacement grades and, because of that, the campus must consider the four other options. Ms. Vaughn said that was correct. Professor Ezell said he was concerned academic standards were being driven by limitations in software. Ms. Vaughn said the university made the decision some time ago to purchase a product designed to fit the needs of as many institutions as possible. Within the options available in Banner, the campus can seek the best match between current policies and the Banner product. With tongue-in-cheek, President Prevost noted other institutions must not share UTC’s repeat policy.

Professor Lauren Sewell asked if all departments would have to use the same grade mode for developmental studies courses. Could English opt for credit and another department for no credit? Ms. Vaughn said the software had that capability, but the Academic Standards Committee felt all developmental studies courses should use the same grade mode.

Professor John Trimpey asked what happened if a student took four developmental courses and a regular course, making A’s in the developmental courses and an F in the regular course. Is he gone? Ms. Vaughn said the F would be the only one that would count for continuation since it would be the only one included in the GPA calculation.

Professor Steve Kuhn said the proposed grade policy for developmental courses actively discourages students from working hard in these courses. If they can squeak by with a C, then they are going to squeak by with a C, he said. Ms. Vaughn noted developmental studies grades are not currently included in the cumulative GPA. Professor Kuhn agreed but said they were included in the GPA for that semester. He said the proposed change would eliminate UTC’s ability to reward the student for working hard that one semester. Ms. Vaughn said the intent of * A-* F was to make an A still look like an A. Professor Kuhn said students would figure out in seconds the grade did not count. Professor Bob Wynegar concurred in these sentiments.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked what the incentive would be for students to take developmental studies courses in the first 42 hours. Ms. Vaughn said the attempted hours would still include developmental studies courses, but the GPA would be calculated separately. The developmental studies courses can be part of earned hours or attempted hours so that a student can be designated full-time for that semester.

Professor Margaret Trimpey said the developmental courses are often the courses that allow students to remain in the institution long enough to develop study habits and prepare themselves for more challenging courses.

Records & Registration Director Brenda Davis said UTC had no current mechanism for forcing students to take the courses in the first 42 hours. Ms. Vaughn suggested a larger role for advisement. Professor Wynegar said the Math Department has trouble getting them to complete courses in the first 42 hours even though the catalog says they are required. He said recommending they complete them within 42 hours would only make matters worse.

Provost Berry asked if the software could be modified to account for the 42 hours. Ms. Vaughn said it could but that the university had decided not to bear the expense of significant modifications. Ms. Davis said her office attempts to control it with holds now, but students circumvent the holds in the drop and add process.

Professor Betsy Darken noted approximately 40% of entering freshmen place into developmental mathematics. Having studied the problem as the former director of the developmental mathematics program, she agreed with Professor Wynegar that students with C’s have a much lower chance of doing well in later courses than students with B’s and A’s. She agreed that, when students find out a C will do as well as an A, they tend to aim for the C since they have other courses where the grade matters. She said this proposed change would only worsen the retention problem, saying further it was a sorry state when software reduced an institution’s ability to retain students. She said the final question seemed to be how much money the campus was willing to spend to solve the problem. She said the campus needed to continue to put pressure on the students in order to retain them and suggested the software difficulties should be resolved.

Professor Darken said they had been advising students that the developmental math grade impacted their financial aid award. Financial Aid Director Jonathan Looney said his office currently uses the university’s official cumulative GPA for most scholarships. Since most scholarships are renewed on an academic year basis, his office mainly looks at the cumulative GPA in May. He said some scholarship students, particularly in the deans’ merit program, are taking developmental courses. Essentially, if they are making a higher grade in the developmental studies courses and have a higher continuation GPA for that semester, then they currently benefit as a financial aid student, he said.

Professor John Trimpey said he thought it was UTC’s job to help students learn and be successful—not to penalize them for past failures. He said students should be able to repeat courses in which they performed poorly. The goal of the repeat policy should be to help the students succeed, he said. Agreeing in part, Professor Felicia Sturzer said she did not see the repeat B as being the equivalent of a B earned by a student taking the course for the first time, suggesting the two grades should not be totally equivalent. Professor Trimpey said, if he expected 75 right answers to get an A and the student gave him 75 right answers, they deserved the grade—whether repeating the course or not.

President Prevost noted one of the anomalies of the current system is that a student can make an F and graduate from UTC with a 4.0, but a student can make a B and not graduate with a 4.0. Provost Berry added that the student could make 5 F’s.

Curriculum Committee:

Curriculum Committee Chair John Trimpey offered proposals from the History and Math Departments, noting they were passed unanimously by the committee. He said Math 214 was being withdrawn from the proposal for the time being. The Math Department and the School of Education have reached agreement of that course, but the proposal has not yet been returned to the Curriculum Committee. The proposals passed 28-0-0.

Handbook Committee/Performance Review Committee:

Although time was limited, Handbook Committee Chair Deborah McAllister said her committee was able to meet and consider the draft from the Performance Review Committee dated January 25, 1999. They noted wording inconsistencies, grammatical problems, and policies that were a little fuzzy or might be hard to enforce. Although they knew they could not modify the Board language, they wanted to go on record as supporting some changes in that language. They also considered additions and clarifications appended to the Board language by the Performance Review Committee.

President Prevost noted the difficulty in looking at two documents, especially having just received the comments of the Handbook Committee. She suggested a fuller discussion and vote at the February 18 meeting.

Professor Hiestand asked what the timeline was. Provost Berry said he would attend a meeting in Knoxville on February 16 to discuss campus progress on this topic. At the end of the month, a report will be made to the Board of Trustees on the progress of the campuses. The UTC document does not have to be finalized by either of those dates. President Prevost said the UTC process was taking longer because of the greater faculty involvement on this campus; other campuses are moving it along administratively. Provost Berry said UTC was behind the other campuses but that the campus could still meet the due date.

Acknowledging the limitation of not being able to change the Board’s language, Professor Pedro Campa said he felt it was important for faculty to express displeasure with sections they found objectionable, noting inconsistencies in the Board language. Professor Jim Hiestand said he thought it would be possible to go on record as recommending changes even though the campus lacks the authority to effect them.

Noting a paragraph on page 11 of the January 25 draft which discusses unsatisfactory performance, Professor Hiestand asked if failure in one of the three areas would be grounds to be deemed incompetent. Traditionally, he said faculty had been allowed to be strong in two areas but less strong in the third. This wording, he said, seemed to suggest a low rating in one would be grounds for removal.

Professor Efaw said he could not find section 3.7.1 Professor Valarie Adams said it was a typo, noting 3.7.3 should read 3.7.1 and that 3.7.4 should be 3.7.2.

Professor Efaw asked if someone could tell him year by year how many faculty had received below merit ratings and how many times a faculty member had received a below merit rating two years in a row. Assuming the records exist, Provost Berry said the research would be a significant undertaking for his staff; however, he thought it might be possible to look at the last couple of years. Professor Diane Halstead asked how the instance of the bad merit ratings for two years in a row affected the consideration of the policy. How does its occurrence or lack of occurrence impact the proposed policy or procedure? Referring to page 18 of the draft, Professor Efaw said the language refers to a sequence of events that triggers a process through which removal occurs. He said it would be interesting to know how often that takes place. If it has never occurred in the last 15 years, then it is not likely to occur in the next 15 years, he said. If it happens frequently, then there is a genuine threat of a lot of removals, he added.

Professor Bruce Wallace asked if these policies would take effect in July 1999. Provost Berry said the Board of Trustees would act on them at the June meeting and that they would go into effect at the beginning of the following academic year. Professor Wallace asked how the policy would affect a faculty member who has had below merit ratings for the last two years. Is there a grandfather clause? Provost Berry said the policies would not be retroactive. He said he did not know if this year would be considered the first year or if next year would be the first year.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked the Performance Review Committee if there was any content in the handbook in the sections on promotion, appointments, tenure, and academic freedom that was not incorporated into the draft? And is the intent for that section or sections to be eliminated? Professor Helms said those sections would be superceded by the new policies. President Prevost asked if 3.6.1 through the end of the chapter had been replaced. Professor Helms said it had.

Noting page 10 of the draft, Professor Sturzer asked if the fifth year cumulative performance review would replace the normal yearly EDO process? Professor Herb Burhenn said it did not replace the annual performance review, adding the performance review was intended to be a faculty development tool. Professor Helms said the EDO could be part of the cumulative review. The rank and tenure committee merely reviews the faculty member to give the person guidance on improvement, she added. Professor Burhenn said the section was very poorly written and quite confusing and had to be worked through carefully.

Professor Efaw asked if he could propose amendments to the document. President Prevost said the draft was just being offered for discussion at this meeting. Provost Berry said he wanted time to digest the recommendations from the Handbook Committee and speculated that others probably did as well.

President Prevost said Council would vote next week on a document to forward to the full faculty for two rounds of voting. That document would then go to the UT system and finally to the Board of Trustees. She said it was her understanding the campus would need to produce a document or one would be produced for it. While acknowledging the constraints of the Board language, Provost Berry said the campus would craft its own document. Professor Efaw suggested turning the matter over to the Board of Trustees and abolishing Council. Professor Margaret Trimpey said the purpose of faculty involvement was to ensure the document had as much clarity as possible. She said she expected much of the future discussion to focus on how the language might be interpreted, especially the Board language.

Noting page 9 of the draft, Professor Efaw asked if the last sentence of the third paragraph from the bottom indicated four letters or one letter. Professor Hiestand and others said they thought it indicated a joint opinion.

Council members discussed whether to integrate Handbook Committee suggestions into a new draft or let members work with two documents. Sentiments leaned toward two separate documents since some Handbook Committee suggestions were in the form of comments about Board language.

Administrative Reports

Chancellor’s Report:

Chancellor Stacy said he had no report.

Provost’s Report:

Provost Berry said the University Technology Planning Committee is in the process of developing a university-wide technology plan. To assist in that process, a consultant will be on campus February 15- 16. During one session, he will meet with the Classroom Technology Committee and the Executive Committee of Faculty Council.

Provost Berry again stressed that UTC will have to undergo two cycles to pass the SACS review. He will soon be assembling a group to go college by college and division by division to review with the units their progress in developing their student outcomes statements and methods of measuring accomplishment.

Vice Chancellor’s Report:

Vice Chancellor Ross said he had no report.

Announcements

President Prevost said the Challenger Center had sent her a stack of free passes for a showing of the film October Sky Wednesday evening February 10. She offered them to Council members.

Adjournment

President Prevost adjourned the meeting at 4:20 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Breeden

Faculty Council Secretary

 

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