University Council Minutes

May 4, 1998
3:00 p.m.

Present: Landrum Cross, D.P. Sponenberg (for Peter Eyre), Eileen Hitchingham, Rene Rios (for Elyzabeth Holford), Janet Johnson, Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Lisa Wilkes (for Minnis Ridenour), Jean Eversole (for Ray Smoot), Rich Sorensen, Janis Grubb (for Charles Steger), Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Martin Day (for Robert Brown), Kelli Campbell (for Raphael Castillejo), Terry Herdman, Spencer Allen (for Ben Poe), Cosby Rogers, Terry Swecker, Richard Bambach, Deborah Mayo, Bruce Obenhaus (for Paul Metz), Kevin Pelzer, Eliza Tse, Frank Gwazdauskas, Bob Benoit, James Yardley, John Seiler, Rosemary Goss, Bernard Feldman, Kay Burke, Jamaa Bickley-King, Tom Head, Terry Lawrence, Marilyn Norstedt, Nancy Phillips, Joel Donahue,

Absent: Bob Bates, Erv Blythe, Greg Brown, Paul Torgersen, Sigrid Gustafson, Charles Lytton, Larry Shumsky, Norm Marriott, John Randolph, David de Wolf, Curtis Lynch, Peggy Rasnick, Rajiv Khosla, Ningling Wang, Jody Olson, Tekisha Everette, Natalie Wilson, Drew Lichtenberger, Moya Toohey

Guest: David Ford

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda as distributed. The motion passed.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of April 20, 1998

    Provost Meszaros noted that the minutes of the April 20, 1998, University Council meeting have been voted on and approved electronically. Once voted upon, University Council minutes can be publicly accessed on the Governance Information System on the WEB.

    Provost Meszaros noted that Dr. Torgersen was called away to meet with the Chair of the State Council on Higher Education.

  3. New Business

    None

  4. Ongoing Business
    1. Second Reading
      Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
      Resolution 1997-98D - Policy on Independent and Special Study Courses

      Dr. Marty Day, representing Dr. Robert Brown, presented the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, Resolution 1997-98D, Policy on Independent and Special Study Courses for second reading. Dr. Day summarized the history and content of this resolution. Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies has been working on this resolution for two years. Due to an increased number of requests for allowances to exceed the standard limits, Dr. John Eaton requested a review of the limit on use of independent study courses and special study courses that are allowed on programs of study for graduate degrees. Regarding the standard baseline 30 hour masters degree program, the existing rule is that there is a maximum of six hours of independent study and special study courses total. The Commission's recommendation would increase that number to nine, but not allow all nine hours to be of the same type. The student can take a maximum of six hours of independent study and a maximum of six hours of special study, with the total being no more than nine. To find an appropriate way to scale this up for other masters degree programs that have a higher total number of hours, contact was made with the programs to seek advice before formulating guidelines. At the Ph.D. level the current existing rule is that a total of nine hours combined of independent and special study courses be allowed. The Commission's recommendation is to double the number to eighteen to allow a maximum of twelve of either type. The reason for the change is that in many areas the "state of the art" is advancing so fast that many programs need to increasingly rely on special study courses, which are usually the first step toward a course becoming a regular offering. These limits are not to be viewed as an absolute and inviolate rule. The Graduate School grants exceptions where there is good cause. Individual programs are free to impose their own rules and guidelines, and could be more restrictive if they want. In response to a question in regard to how many students are requesting to exceed the existing limits, the response was "several dozen per semester." In response to a question regarding the necessity of this resolution, it was noted that the requests for exception were already being granted. This also helps students who may not request waiver because of the stated limit. It is a matter of communicating what is appropriate. A motion and second was made to accept this resolution. The resolution was approved unanimously.

    2. Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

      Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, April 13, 1998, presented by Cosby Rogers.

      Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, April 27, 1998, presented by Cosby Rogers.

      Commission on Classified Staff Affairs, April 8, 1998, presented by Spencer Allen for Ben Poe.

      Commission on Faculty Affairs, March 27, 1998, presented by Janet Johnson for Sigrid Gustafson. Note: Mary Moore and Darlene Grega were not listed as present or absence. A quorum was not present at the meeting.

      Commission on Faculty Affairs, April 10, 1998, presented by Janet Johnson for Sigrid Gustafson.

      Commission on Faculty Affairs, April 24, 1998, presented by Janet Johnson for Sigrid Gustafson.

      Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, April 1, 1998, presented by Marty Day for Robert Brown.

      Commission on Outreach, March 26, 1998, presented by Terry Swecker.

      Commission on Student Affairs, April 16, 1998, presented by Kelli Campbell for Raphael Castillejo.

  5. Announcements

    Provost Meszaros announced that this is the last University Council meeting of the academic year, and reminded Council that Graduate Commencement is on Friday, Undergraduate Commencement is on Saturday.

    Carole Nickerson announced that plans for next fall include an even more "exciting" workshop for Commission chairs and staff who work for Commissions. A meeting of the Commission chairs will be called before the year begins to plan discussion topics. A more sophisticated web page is being planned for next year that will begin to log and track some of the items.

    Provost Meszaros reported that the draft report of the Self Study has been received and it did verify the information from the exit interview. There were twelve recommendations, and we are already making progress on improvements. (Some other recent self studies had brought much higher numbers of recommendations.) In our case, most were technical, small detail items that need attention, and none were regarded as substantive or qualitative. The Self Study was in two parts: 1) the compliance component (the twelve recommendations fall in this area), and 2) focused strategic self-study - a more non-traditional approach of studying an area of interest to the university. We chose transforming the university with technology. This portion of the self study had a consultants group of four people who examined what we said about ourselves and offered observations and opinions and validation, as well as pushed us into the future. Recommendations are not made for part 2. We are not required to make a response, although there will be some way to follow up with what the consultants told us about ourselves. The consultants' summary at the exit interview was highly complimentary of the university and the large strides we have taken in the recent years building on a strong foundation of technology transformation. We have received the draft report to look at errors of fact. Response to the draft report was sent on May 1. Between May 1 and August we have a chance to prepare a more substantive response in terms of the recommendations: what steps are we taking, how are we organizing ourselves, which ones have already been accomplished. This will be submitted to the team chair and in turn the committee report and our response will be sent to the SACS reaffirmation team. The reaffirmation team will meet in December and make a decision regarding reaffirmation. We fully expect to be reaffirmed. The complete report and response will be shared with University Council, possibly at the first University Council meeting in the fall.

  6. Adjournment at 3:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President

/sws


Virginia Tech Governance Information

URL: /uc9798/ucm98-05-04.html