University Council Minutes

April 19, 1999

Present: Bob Bates, Ron Daniel (for Erv Blythe), Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Ben Dixon, Eileen Hitchingham, Mary Ann Lewis (for Janet Johnson), Max Stephenson (for Paul Knox), Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Lisa Wilkes (for Minnis Ridenour), Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Charles Steger, Rodd Hall (for Bill Stephenson), Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Richard Bambach, Jim Burger, Madonna Mendoza, Pat Hyer (for Charles Lytton), Robert Tracy, Muzzo Uysal, Nicolaus Tideman, Terry Swecker, Wayne Durham, Skip Fuhrman, Paul Metz, Kevin Pelzer, George Simmons (for Bob Benoit), David de Wolf, Bernard Feldman, Frank Gwazdauskas, Sam Hicks, John Randolph, John Seiler, Jamaa Bickley-King, Nancy Phillips, Ben Poe, Peggy Rasnick, Joel Donahue, Paul Wagner, Drew Lichtenberger (for Jody Olson), Duncan Neasham, Jovette Gadson (for Kathleen Knight), Natalie Wilson, Sean Blackburn

Absent: Peter Eyre, Elyzabeth Holford, Ray Smoot, Cindy Harrison, Norm Marriott, Deborah Mayo, Eliza Tse, Rosemary Goss, Donna Cassell, Anita Haney, Curtis Lynch, Pete Martens, Aashish Jain,

Guests: Danny Axsom, Bill Claus, Laurie Coble, David Ford, Bert Moyer, Norrine Bailey Spencer, John White, Ian Zack

  1. Call to Order

    Dr. Paul Torgersen called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and announced that a quorum was present.

  2. Adoption of Agenda

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

  3. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of April 5, 1999

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the April 5, 1999, 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. (/)

  4. New Business

    First Reading

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99E
    Resolution Regarding Residency for Doctoral Degrees

    Chair Jim Burger presented this resolution for first reading and introduced Marty Day who gave an overview. The Commission was asked to consider standing residency policies for doctorate degrees, especially in wide growth programs at non-Blacksburg locations, and growth of non-academic career opportunities for doctorates. The sub-committee of the Commission concluded that the residency requirement as it stands remains appropriate in light of recent changes. SACS mandates residency for doctorate degrees. Summary conclusions of a major study conducted in 1995 by National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concerning the importance of maintaining breadth and making sure doctorates were exposed to people working in a wide range of areas in their related disciplines were considered. The sub-committee's approach is not to change the existing policy regarding residency very much, but to make the process of granting degree program permission for students to satisfy residency in a non-Blacksburg location more deliberate. The Graduate School already has permission to grant off-campus programs the right to let their students establish residency other than Blacksburg locations. This has been made more deliberate by asking that those programs make a case by addressing purposes of residency and how they relate in their particular program. The attachment to the resolution itemizes a number of specific purposes of residency. The committee asked that if a program wants permission to let its students satisfy residency somewhere else, that they address those specific issues and how students in their program can satisfy those issues even if not through the traditional Blacksburg residency. It also provides some mechanism for review of such permission. One aspect of the existing residency requirement is that during the term the graduate student is applying toward their residency requirement, they cannot work more than 20 hours a week in a job unrelated to their academic program. This may be a particular item of interest for someone already employed in a professional lab and trying to complete a doctorate at the same time. A provision has been provided to grant exemptions provided both advisor and employer agree this is an appropriate arrangement, and that a large amount of employee time is approved to be spent on doctorate research, and provide for intellectual properties issues that might be implied by that arrangement. The University cannot relinquish any of its intellectual property rights associated with the graduate students' theses and is a legal issue that would have to be resolved in advance.

    In response to a question as to whether this includes GRA activity, John Eaton commented that it could be either.

    Programs that have already established off-campus residency need not apply again.

    David de Wolf distributed information summarizing the present policy requiring at least 24 credit hours for residency. Off-campus residency requires prior approval from the Graduate School and that approval is for designated extended campus programs. Approval will not be granted if students work more than 20 hours per week. Engineering objects to the proposed policy being more stringent. Now requests must be made in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School, which will advocate withdrawal and prior approval as deemed necessary. An exception to the 20 hour workweek limitation will be contemplated; on the other hand the employer will certify that no more than 20 hours is spent on the job. These are self contradictory statements. There is a need to make the process more flexible. In point four there is some confusion between the goals of individual academic programs, which are stated generically, and the list of nine very specific ways to meet the goals. Dr. de Wolf suggested that this resolution be sent back to CGS&P with a request to soften programmatic information.

    Marty Day clarified that the resolution has nine items that are purposes for residency, things Blacksburg or non-Blacksburg residency intends to accomplish. There is a longer non-official document that expresses possible ways to accomplish this. Dr. de Wolf does not feel it is unclear, but feels it is unnecessarily overly specific.

    Marty Day recommended that the resolution go forward to a second reading.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99F
    Resolution Regarding Transfer Credit for Master's Degrees

    Marty Day presented this resolution for first reading and noted that there is a statement in the existing catalog that allows up to 50% of the courses in the program of study to be transferred from a list of Virginia schools. This review was brought about by one incident of someone trying to abuse this policy by doubling it up with the standard or default allowances for transfer credit by claiming 50% from Virginia schools, and in case of a masters degree, an additional six hours. As a general policy for master's degrees, allowing 50% of the courses on a program of study to be transferred is not appropriate for all programs. There was concern about allowing this to stand as a general policy that everyone in every program had access to. At the doctoral level the default policy allows 42 of 90 hours to be transferred. With 50% of 90 being 45, this is only a three-hour difference between the Virginia school policy and the default policy. This resolution would be to rescind the Virginia school rule and replace it by a provision for granting selectively permission to transfer up to 50% from specific programs. There is a grandfather clause for programs already using the Virginia school rule in some significant way.

    David de Wolf distributed information expressing concern that an existing regulation is being made more strict at a time when greater flexibility is needed to help off campus programs. Dr. de Wolf commented that individual departments are in the best position to judge individual requests for inclusion of non-Virginia Tech courses. With demands from off campus for more flexibility, it is important to incorporate this flexibility to avoid losing students to other schools. Dr. de Wolf suggested CGS&P remove the introduction of programmatic permission to restrict the policy change to extension of more transfer credits for courses, rather than to be less flexible.

    Dr. Day said that the proposal is to rescind the rule that allows 50% of courses on a master's degree to be transferred from Virginia institutions and replace that with program by program approval of up to 50% transfer credit for masters.

    Marty Day recommended that this resolution go forward for second reading.

    John Eaton noted that programs currently bringing in 50% of student hours would be grandfathered under this clause. It gives programs an opportunity to re-evaluate whether they wish to continue to accept many Virginia schools or establish a set of schools from which they will accept transfer courses. While it may have the appearance of being more rigorous, the program and not the Graduate School would make it more rigorous.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99G
    Resolution Regarding Changing Advisory Committee Membership

    Chair Jim Burger presented this resolution for first reading. The present policy states that if there is going to be a change in a student's committee membership, it requires approval of all committee members both new and old. It was felt that the following sentence should be added: "In the case that one or more members does not approve the change in the membership of the advisory committee, an appeal may be made by either the student or a faculty member to a department graduate committee. The graduate committee will make a recommendation for action to the Department Head and the Dean of the Graduate School." This provides a level of oversight.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99C
    Resolution to Revise Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 69 Freshman Rule Policy

    Chair Bob Tracy presented this resolution for first reading. On behalf of the committee, Max Stephenson noted that students should accept maximum degree of responsibility for their own learning path, but also noted that problems happen in individual student's lives beyond their first year. The committee tried to systematize the incentive for students accepting the responsibility for the classes they undertook and recognize the reality that individuals might encounter problems after their first collegiate year. An opportunity has been extended to use a total of six hours after the regular drop deadline at some point in the university career. Taking advantage of this is the student's responsibility. After consulting with an advisor and with approval of the academic dean, the decision to drop in this way is irrevocable. It is an opportunity to drop a course, not to withdraw retroactively after a course. This allows individuals some latitude toward specific instances that might develop in their academic careers while at the same time preventing individuals from misusing this system. A "W" will appear on the transcript under the proposed policy indicating that the student took advantage of this option, but does not suggest the student withdrew passing or failing. In response to a question Dr. Stephenson confirmed that under the current policy, if a student receives an "F" the "F" can be deleted - under the proposed rule a decision has to be made to drop the course before the actual "F" grade is entered. A grade has to be "D+" or lower to activate the Freshman Rule. A question was raised about why, if under the current policy a student has a chance to restart if they fail a class, it is considered preferable to allow a senior to withdraw from a course. A follow-up comment was made that the Freshman Rule requires somebody to fail before they can get out of a course and this proposed change is a good idea.

    In a response to a comment regarding the similarity of the Freshman Rule and granting an incomplete because of illness or family problems policy, Dr. Stephenson commented that there is a wide range of circumstances and more than one way depending on the situation to assist students.

    In the existing rule the transcript will show the grade, but it will not be calculated in the QCA. With the proposed change, there will be a "W" without an explanation as to why they it was activated.

    Another concern is it appears this is geared toward students who should already be established academically and does not help freshmen.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99D
    Resolution to Revise Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 72 Credit Granted Other Than That Obtained in Traditional Enrollment At Virginia Tech

    Chair Bob Tracy submitted this resolution for first reading. Norrine Bailey Spencer, chair of ad hoc review, addressed this resolution. Committee members include representatives from the Provost's Office, Registrar's Office, faculty from four colleges, undergraduate student, and a person from New River Community College. Out of 22 peer institutions surveyed 16 responded. Things that have happened since the existing policy was replaced in 1986 are: "State Policy on Transfer in 1991, Perry-Sorensen Report in 1995, and University Task Force on Community College Transfers in 1996. All of these groups had legislation and suggestions that impacted the old policy in 1986 which had never been changed. This document makes changes in the following ways: simplifies and reduces a lot of the limits that currently exist and acknowledges certain basics such as: must transfer from a regionally accredited school, must have a "C" or better, SACS requires a minimum of 25% of credits be from Virginia Tech, State Policy on Transfer requests at most 50% of the work from a two-year school, our university policy dictates a maximum of 18 of last 45 hours can be taken somewhere else. It takes away limits that were previously on A/P coursework, I/B coursework and correspondence courses. It gives authority to the dean's office of the student to make exceptions and also calls for a centralized evaluation of transfer.

    Independent Resolution
    Resolution Regarding Faculty, Staff and Student Parking

    Frank Gwazdauskas, representative from College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, submitted this resolution for first reading. This resolution is the result of a letter received from the Athletic Director dated March 31 regarding a parking charge of $25 for season pass or $5 per game for athletic events. The fees are to be used for athletic scholarships. There is a concern that faculty and staff will be paying twice for parking. A question was raised concerning students off-campus having to pay a parking fee to come to athletic events. Would other groups be able to charge a parking fee at events they sponsor? Of approximately 1300 season faculty/staff ticket holders for football, 400-430 are individual households. The revenues generated would be less than $11,000.

    David de Wolf stated that by virtue of Article 12, Section 2, Number 3, which states that "Any member of University Council may place an item on the agenda but following the procedures for aforesaid article." It points out "That under normal operating procedures policy recommendations and decisions are reviewed by the appropriate commissions and then submitted to University Council." Sturgis recommends that motions in general be delegated to the appropriate committees or commissions before they come to a meeting even if an individual member has a right to propose it. Dr. de Wolf commented that in this case there is no particular reason for this motion to come before University Council before it goes to the Commission on University Support. A motion was made to refer this back to the Commission on University Support. There was no second.

    Laurie Coble reported that the Transportation and Parking Committee -- composed of faculty, staff and student -- is a sub-committee of the Commission on University Support. The parking plan for the Athletic Department did go to this committee for their briefing. This policy was neither approved nor disapproved by the committee. Ms. Coble reported that there will be designated lots reserved for athletic events where this fee will apply and there are also lots available to faculty, staff and students not wishing to attend games but coming to campus. If there is a parking hangtag, there is no way to distinguish between those on campus to work versus those going to games.

    Out of 11,800 available parking spaces, Athletics has requested 7,800 paved parking spaces. They will also use an additional 2,200 spaces in the grass area. The commuter spaces set aside in the cage will also be used.

    Concern was expressed that if this resolution does not go forward, it will be late fall before anything can be done.

    Joel Donahue recommended the resolution read as follows: "Therefore be it resolved that Faculty, Staff and Students be exempt from additional payment for parking on campus during athletic events above the charges for vehicle registration now and in the future, as has been the practice."

    Ms. Coble explained that the proposal for athletics was approved by administration and it was viewed as a proposal that was appropriate. This will involve approximately six days per year and Athletics will be responsible for covering all direct expenses associated with this program plus returning to the university a portion of the debt service it cost VT to build the parking lots. It would be assisting the university in repaying the debt.

    Richard Bambach feels there is no harm in charging those who do not have university parking stickers, but is strongly opposed to charging faculty, staff and students who already pay a parking fee to pay again for these events.

    Dr. Torgersen commented that parking facilities cannot be paid for with state funds and there is a continual upgrade and expansion of parking. Parking fees as an operational necessity, are legitimately established by administration and not by the university governance system.

    Consideration should be given to how this policy affects job duties.

    This resolution will go forward for second reading.

  5. On-Going Business

    Second Reading

    Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99B
    Resolution Regarding Modification of Family Sick Leave Policy

    Pat Hyer submitted this resolution on behalf Chair Charles Lytton for second reading. Dr. Hyer explained that this resolution is designed to: 1) extend number of days that may be charged to sick leave for faculty members from six days to ten days per calendar year when caring for an ill family member or death and funeral; 2) remove the limitation on number of days per incident, with a maximum of ten days per year.

    A motion was made and seconded to approve this resolution and was approved by University Council by unanimous vote.

    Commission on Faculty Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Modifying Assignment of Duties to Faculty Members

    Chair Richard Bambach submitted this resolution for second reading. This resolution does not change the administrative responsibilities. Faculty assigned to unusual assignments should be consulted prior to these duties being assigned.

    A motion was made and seconded to approve this resolution and was approved by University Council by unanimous vote.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99D
    Resolution Regarding Renaming and Restructuring of the Master of Urban Affairs to Master of Public and International Affairs

    Chair Jim Burger submitted this resolution for second reading.

    With no further comment or questions, a motion was made and seconded to approve this resolution and was approved by University Council by unanimous vote.

    Commission on Student Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Regarding the Membership of the Commission on Student Affairs

    Chair Madonna Mendoza submitted this resolution for second reading. Vice Chair Sean Blackburn summarized the issues and actions leading to this resolution. Student concern over the membership of the Commission prompted the appointment of an ad hoc committee to study the membership. The ad hoc committee studied the process and procedures necessary to insure that everyone involved in the discussions had considered all the issues. Conceptual guidelines were established to help the committee and future commission members study these issues. Currently there are about 500 organizations, and there has to be a way to monitor membership. The committee reviewed current organizations that sit on CSA, talked with candidates and held interviews, reviewed the various constitutions and at length discussed all issues. The resolution reflects the changes necessary to properly represent the students. Diversity and welcoming climate are key goals for students and representation at Virginia Tech.

    Dr. Landrum Cross shared that students view this as an important gateway into the decision making process for the university. Dr. Cross feels this most recent proposal is one of the more thoughtful processes the Commission has gone through, carefully considering all the criteria, and it came down to subjective judgement of what is appropriate.

    Dr. Torgersen noted that this resolution requires a majority vote of the total Council membership.

    There is concern that GSA has low representation. It was noted that three out of four GSA representatives on CSA voted in favor of this resolution.

    It is important that chartered organizations be represented on CSA because they are not represented by SGA. Black Graduate Student Organization will sit on CSA for one year to see if this is something they need to pursue.

    Dave Ostroth addressed the organization structure. Registered organizations must submit a registration form with names, agree not to be an agent of the university, and have a minimal legal relationship with the university.

    University Student Life Programs have both student and faculty/staff involvement and are treated as departments of the university, with final say from university officers (Corps and honor system).

    University chartered student organizations have close ties to the university, receive student activity money, have paid advisors who generally are part of student affairs staff. This group included SGA, GSA (student organizations) programming organizations like VTU and BSA, umbrella groups, Council of International Student Organizations, Greek Councils, Black Organizations Council, Residence Hall Federation, Classes and LGBTA. The use of this category as the criteria for membership on CSA is logical because these groups have a stronger relationship to the university. They are generally large or important in terms of their function connected to the university, and generally represent substantial interest of the students.

    Ben Dixon pointed out we should not overlook a major point made by this resolution regarding greater efficiency and equity within the Commission. It is clear they were thoughtful and produced a resolution with a consensus. We have to understand they are trying to implement a position at this university with respect to equity and diversity.

    Dr. Torgersen noted that 32 affirmative votes are needed. A motion was made and seconded to approve this resolution and was approved by University Council by a majority vote of total membership.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Regarding Revision to Academic Eligibility Policy Presidential Policy Memorandum 167

    Chair Bob Tracy submitted this resolution for second reading. Dr. John White, chair of the ad hoc committee, called for questions.

    With no further comments a motion was made and seconded to approve this resolution and was approved by University Council by unanimous vote.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99B
    Resolution on American History

    Chair Bob Tracy submitted this resolution for second reading. In response to a question regarding international students, Dr. Tracy noted that this is an enabling legislation with details to be worked out. This resolution authorized the university to go forward with developing a detailed plan.

    Dr. Tracy gave an overview of how this resolution came about.

    In response to a suggestion that the BOV help to obtain resources, it was noted that it is unrealistic to ask the Board to go to the state for resources and that part of the appropriation process is an appropriation to handle the academic program. This becomes an internal decision.

    Are there other policies that say an on-line course will be offered, if not why is that specific to this resolution? Dr. Bates responded that he does not have information regarding on-line courses in other departments.

    Concern was expressed as to why this possibility should be privileged over, for example, required courses in economics, science studies or world history, all of which are arguably indispensable to an understanding of the 21st century. Bert Moyer explained that only history holds this young and unusually diverse nation together and is our common denominator. History courses today are very rich in history about minorities and women, and strong in areas other than traditional stereotypical domain of history that is social sciences and humanities. History courses at Virginia Tech give good coverage of developments in science and technology.

    From a student's perspective, Virginia Tech students are limited as productive citizens if they do not have the basic fundamental knowledge. A 20th century course will be a benefit to all students.

    Richard Bambach noted that we have requirements for science literacy in some areas of humanities, and some in social sciences. Students have a poor understanding of history and time sequence. This will not add six hours to the student's curriculum. This is only for students who do not have a reasonable understanding at entrance.

    A comment was made that there would be more positive response if this resolution came through the Core Curriculum and not the legislature to the BOV. Is there any evidence that Virginia Tech graduates in the core curriculum they took were or are unsuccessful or non-competitive? Does this so-called failure have anything to do with American History? Our core curriculum is successful. The response was that it has come from the Core Curriculum Committee to honor the request of the BOV. Once a matter passes from the BOV to us it is an internal matter. This requirement is intended to be part of the students' normal program if this requirement was not met in high school. Credit for this course would go toward graduation. Concern was expressed that if this is part of instead of in addition to, it is taking away courses that students may feel are more valuable than American History. This would be similar to taking a foreign language in high school and not having to repeat it in college. Students will know in high school that they will need a certain amount of American History. "In addition to" or "as a part of" is a detail that has to be worked out and will go through university governance.

    This is a broad resolution that allows us to go through all discussions, various interest points, and all has to go back through the governance process. This is an interaction with the BOV that assures them that we know how to work through these and we will come up with an acceptable process at the end. The BOV can go back to the state and report that we have a good procedure, well thought out, has been through shared governance, this is a conclusion that best serves the student body at this institution. This will be at university level.

    It was suggested that world history and geography might be better suit our student for being prepared to compete in global economy. It was then noted that the core curriculum requires people in area seven to take a course like global issues. We are covering the global situation, but are not covering U.S. History.

    Dr. Axsom, as a guest at this meeting, raised a number of concerns, including that politics are involved and it is fast tracked; that the plan was put before the BOV initially before shown to Core Curriculum Committee where second reading was waived; that support has not been unanimous. He also noted that Faculty Senate chose not to endorse this at the March meeting, and that an attempt to mandate this before legislature failed. His view is that BOV concern about the core more generally was diffused at the last meeting, which leads one to believe that a principled response to U.S. History might be treated similarly. He is concerned with the micro-management outside the academy. Questions regarding principle are 1) What is the larger goal the resolution will address? 2) What are ways in which the current core and the Virginia Tech experience address the larger goal of citizenship? 3) Are we lacking in this regard? If so, what is the evidence? 4) Where is the evidence that U.S. History will further this goal? 5) Is the requirement of specific courses a wise approach? He suggested that this be sent back to the Core Curriculum Committee and the principle be addressed more fully.

    The response was that the Core Curriculum Committee started discussing this at their spring meetings last year before the request came forward from the BOV, History Department brought in a group of American historians for advice and Ron Daniel has been involved. Ron Daniel shared information from the National Assessment of Educational Progress 1994 that indicates a trending downward for elementary and high school students. All implementation details will come through the governance system.

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the General Assembly wants the BOV to consider a history requirement. Our Board is following this suggestion.

    A correction was suggested to the statement that reads: "That all entering students at Virginia Tech who score at or above specific standards through the university governance system, " should read as follows: "That all entering students at Virginia Tech who score at or above specific standards, approved through the university governance system, "

    This resolution passed with a vote of 22 in favor, 21 opposed.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Joint Resolution Regarding the Name Change of the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources to the College of Natural Resources

    Chair Jim Burger submitted this resolution for second reading. Dean Greg Brown explained that one goal is to have an umbrella title that will encompass programs in the college. If Forestry is singled out that implies that there is something that does not fit under the "natural resources" umbrella. Richard Bambach is opposed to this resolution because it does not include the mineral resources, water resources or non-renewable energy resources. This is a partial grouping of natural resources. Since there is not a plan to move geological sciences to the "College of Natural Resources," this title is the wrong term for that college. There was concern expressed that extra responsibility is placed on biology and other departments doing research in natural resource areas to call attention to what is being done in these departments rather than what is going on in the "College of Natural Resources."

    It was noted that this does not change department names and students wanting to go into the field of mineral, energy and biological resources, know where they are going. The emerging development of colleges across the country attaching the label of natural resources makes it appropriate to rename this college program.

    Dean Brown commented that there are 18 departments, schools, or colleges currently carrying the title natural resources and he is not aware of problems concerning student confusion.

    This resolution passed with a vote of 26 in favor and 11 opposed.

    Approval of the Collective Commission Minutes. Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  6. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President

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