University Council Minutes

May 3, 1999

Present: Michael Williams (for Erv Blythe), Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Eileen Hitchingham, Elyzabeth Holford, Janet Johnson, Paul Knox, David Ford (for Peggy Meszaros), Carole Nickerson, John Eaton (for Len Peters), Minnis Ridenour, Ray Smoot, Rich Sorensen, Charles Steger, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Richard Bambach, Jim Burger, Madonna Mendoza, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer (for Charles Lytton), Robert Tracy, Nicolaus Tideman, Wayne Durham, Deborah Mayo, Bruce Obenhaus (for Paul Metz), Kevin Pelzer, Bob Benoit, David de Wolf, Bernard Feldman, Joann Boles (for Rosemary Goss), Frank Gwazdauskas, Sam Hicks, John Randolph, John Seiler, Anita Haney, Curtis Lynch, Pete Martens, Nancy Phillips, Ben Poe, Peggy Rasnick, Joel Donahue, Jody Olson, Duncan Neasham, Aaron McCly (for Kathleen Knight), Drew Lichtenberger (for Natalie Wilson), Sean Blackburn, Jeffrey Sutton (for Paul Wagner)

Absent: Bob Bates, Muzzo Uysal, Terry Swecker, Skip Fuhrman, Norm Marriott, Eliza Tse, Jamaa Bickley-King, Donna Cassell, Aashish Jain

Guests: Laurie Coble, Steve Mouras, Norrine Bailey Spencer

  1. Call to Order

    Dr. Paul Torgersen called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and announced this would be the last meeting of the academic year. A quorum was present.

  2. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion passed to adopt the agenda.

  3. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of April 19, 1999

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the April 19, 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. On-Going Business

    Second Reading

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

    Chair Jim Burger made a motion that CGS&P be allowed to withdraw this resolution for the purpose of clarification of wording and bring back to Council in the fall. The motion passed.

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

    Chair Jim Burger moved that Council approve the resolution Regarding Transfer Credit for Master's Degrees. The motion was seconded. Marty Day distributed a handout and addressed concerns of Council members. The resolution will remove the policy currently in place that allows 50% of courses in a program of study to be transferred from Virginia schools. Reason is that at the Ph.D. level 50% of the 90 hours is 45, the default transfer allowance for all Ph.Ds is 42. At the master's level the Commission felt a 50% allowance of transfer credit is too high as the general policy - the policy that would apply to all students. This resolution would selectively grant permission to specific programs to allow students in those programs to transfer up to 50% of the courses on their program of study for programs for which this is appropriate. This would allow programs to design more specific guidelines. This resolution will remove the restriction on transfer credit limitation on Virginia schools and allow more than 20% of transfer credit to come from non-Virginia institutions. This resolution does not put the Graduate School in the position of judging individual requests for transfer on individual programs of study - this is the role of advisory committees. The Graduate School does have a role in setting baseline and default standards that should apply to the majority of programs, but with enough flexibility to adjust them to accommodate the specific needs of individual programs. There is a grandfather clause that will allow programs using the 50% allowance to continue without interruption. For a new program, request of transfer credit of more than 20% can and should accompany the proposal to institute the program and will go through the governance system. There will be no waiting period beyond the already existing waiting period to institute a new program. In conclusion, there is a new restriction - 50% transfer credit from Virginia schools will not be available to every graduate student on campus. The change is to prevent abuse while allowing programs that have a legitimate reason to use 50% transfer credit. Dr. de Wolf made a friendly amendment to refer this resolution back to CGS&P for modification. This was seconded. It was noted that the College of Engineering is responsible for the majority of courses in off-campus sites.

    It was also noted that every program that has been using the existing rules allows the Graduate School to accept the programs' history into a written request to continue with the 50% allowance. In response to a concern regarding the impact on future degrees, it was noted that programs can ask that the same restriction be removed as part of the proposal. This resolution asks new programs to consider accepting additional coursework for programmatic reasons and not for individual exception. The motion to refer the resolution back to the Commission was defeated. The original motion to approve this resolution was passed.

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

    Chair Jim Burger moved that Council approve this Resolution Regarding Changing Advisory Committee Membership. 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. This resolution adds to this: "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 is a simple appeal process. Resolution passed unanimously.

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

    Chair Bob Tracy moved that Council approve the Resolution to Revise Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 69 Freshman Rule Policy. Motion was seconded. Concern was expressed that this is a disadvantage to freshmen. Freshmen not doing well in a class are encouraged to do well on a final exam and this resolution puts freshmen at a disadvantage if they do not do well on the final exam. Students sometimes do not have a test during the first six weeks and do not know how well they are doing. Freshmen are overwhelmed and it is difficult knowing all policies. Academic advising cannot always tell students what to do. The Freshman Rule is a last chance solution for students who try and are not doing well, since they can drop the course and it will not hurt them so much. We should require freshmen coming in to meet a higher standard. By the time students are upper class, they should have a better feel for the courses. Others noted that the current Freshman Rule is a disservice to students because of the way it appears on the transcript. Freshmen are forced to get a bad grade to get out of it. This resolution is to provide a consistent incentive to assume responsibility for one's curriculum throughout one's academic career. In response to a question about problems in regard to graduation with last minute data coming through until the end of classes, it was noted that there will not be a negative effect unless the student is opting to reduce the number of credits below 120 or whatever is appropriate for their major or college. The resolution passed.

    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 moved that Council approve the Resolution to Revise Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 72. There being no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

    Independent Resolution
    Resolution Regarding Faculty, Staff and Student Parking

    Frank Gwazdauskas asked for discussion prior to motion being offered. Dr. Gwazdauskas noted that: 1) Transportation and Parking Committee did not approve or disapprove this increase in parking assessment for athletic events. 2) Why do faculty, staff and students have to pay twice for parking? 3) 6,102 spaces have been approved for athletics on football game days; this number accounts for approximately 20,000 season ticket holders at a rate of 30%. What happens to the rest of the 35,000 tickets possibly up to 10,500 additional people on campus? 4) Do students have to pay for parking if they come on campus for a football game? 5) With only around $10,000 in additional revenue generated, it would be a good gesture not to charge faculty, staff and students to park. 6) Would others be able to charge for parking for other events? 7) What happens to faculty and staff members that are Hokie Club members now that voluntarily contribute to the athletic fund for scholarship activities?

    Executive Vice President Minnis Ridenour summarized the plan. There are four basic objectives to be considered: 1) The Athletic Parking Plan is an attempt to charge actual users of the parking facilities at athletic events. There are more people on campus for football games than any other event. 2) Appropriate parking would be provided and monitored for faculty, staff and students who are on campus for other than football games. 3) This plan will help to control the cost of faculty, staff and student parking fees. 4) Provides athletic scholarships. Mr. Ridenour noted that the rationale was to spread operating costs across the real users of the facilities. Hokie Club members will also pay to park.

    A Council member suggested it would be more appropriate to cover this cost through an increase in ticket prices and voluntary donations. A concern was expressed that this parking fee would be a hidden cost and would not be good for the university. Faculty senate members are opposed to paying this fee. Dr. de Wolf made a motion to refer this resolution back to the appropriate commission/committee for approval. Concern was expressed over lack of communication regarding this decision, and the fact that it had not been formally taken through the governance system. In response to a question regarding persons with hang tags parking in lots not designated for football parking, Mr. Ridenour responded that there is no way to monitor if a person is going to work or a ballgame.

    Mr. Ridenour noted that in light of this discussion, his view is that Council should pass the resolution. Several members commented that the issue should be restudied and returned through the governance system. Others specified that they want to be sure there is a moratorium on additional event-related parking fees for faculty, staff and students until or unless this matter returns through the governance system.

    Dr. Torgersen summarized the motion and noted that this resolution functions as a moratorium since it calls for no additional payment above the charges for vehicle registration for parking on campus for faculty, staff and students during athletic events. The resolution passed unanimously.

    Approval of the Collective Commission Minutes

    Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  5. For Information Only

    Minutes of University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning of April 7, 1999.

  6. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President

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