~Index of Topics 4/17/07

Writing Assessment Group (WAG) – Report

           Approved  5/1/07–to Faculty Senate 5/7/07

Writing Proficiency in the Majors - MOTION

 

Academic Honesty Policy – Revised – MOTION

 

 

WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

ACADEMIC COORDINATING COMMISSION MINUTES

Regular Meeting  --  April 17, 2007

 

Chair James Hearne called the meeting of the Academic Coordinating Commission to order on April 17, 2007 in OM340 at 4:06 p.m.  There were twelve (12) members present, and five (5) others for a total of seventeen (17). (See attached roster).

Approval of ACC minutes

Commissioners approved the minutes of April 13, 2007 with minor amendments.

 

Appointments and Elections

Via paper ballot, Commissioners elected Steven Garfinkle, History, and Lina Zeine, CommSci&Dis to the Graduate Council for a two year term through 2009.

 

AGENDA ITEMS.   Course ApprovalsThe following final review and request for approvals came from the Catalog coordinator to ACC on 4/17/07 and were accepted by ACC:

College Science & Technology:  11/20/06 –25 credits for ComputerSci minor.  Delete CSCI 310, insert CSCI 322.

College Humanities and Social Sciences:  11/16/2006 - Anthropology:  Delete 329 and 482, insert 351 and 429.  Approve AMST 362 for GUR status provisionally (pending approval of the GER committee). 

 

REPORT FROM WRITING ASSESSMENT GROUP (WAG, a subcommittee of CATL):

§         Mike Mana, Chair of Committee on Assessment of Teaching and Learning (CATL), and Carmen Werder, Director, Teaching & Learning Academy, initiated discussion regarding Writing Proficiency (WP).  Werder, expressed interest in developing some common expectations around WP, and offering them to departments and faculty to further develop as they found them useful for writing across the disciplines.

§         Commissioners reviewed two pages that expressed the recommendations of CATL, along with the current “Expectations” for student writing.

Resources.  Werder and Mana spoke about available services for faculty, included an annual WAG foundational two-day workshop retreat, and follow-up seminars which occur at noon time throughout the quarters.

Assessing the Program.  Provost Bodman noted that although we can reexamine the graduation requirement for writing, assuming that means the upper division requirement, we really don’t know for sure what is going on in writing across campus.  For example,

§         How frequently do students go outside their major to get WP courses?  Is it not more desirable to have multiple opportunities to write in multiple courses rather than a single large dose in one course?  Bodman agrees there should be more writing, but how can we assure the outcome? And, what do we mean by “outcome”?

§         Bodman asked how many departments do not actually offer WP courses, and what happens to students in those areas?  Now we do have writing for General Studies students, and a great many take Eng302, Technical Writing, with many sections being offered.  However, Technical Writing does not cover all the elements of the “Expectations”.   The upper division WP requirement is generally never waived, but once in a while the Registrar may make a substitution.  He does not allow the waiver for transfer students.

Commissioners’ comments.  Discussion centered on improving writing proficiency across the disciplines, reviewing the point system and introducing a matrix of writing outcomes, and assessing what has been done so far.

§         WAG proposes the adoption of a portfolio so that at the end of four years a student can accumulate their best writing and be able to show people from the outside what the majors are doing in terms of writing.

§         The challenge appears to be the range of writing styles and requirements from, for example, History which is writing intensive, to Computer Science, which may require an entirely different style, including formula writing. 

§         How can we imagine a way that students in both disciplines put together a portfolio over the arc of their career that would best demonstrate writing within their discipline? 

§         One Commissioner found the statement of “Expectations” full of abstractions, and suggested a more concrete description of the typical problems faced by faculty when reading student papers, such as connecting paragraphs and using supporting evidence. 

§         Werder responded that the “Expectations” was only a suggested list.  Werder added that the push towards creating a portfolio is particularly valuable in terms of meta cognition, because it not only presents pieces where students have provided writing, but also provides a chance for their self-assessment of what they did, which is an essential part of composition.  Werder added that this conversation is going on across the baccalaureates.

§         Commissioners would like to find out what the departments are actually doing or think they are doing before proceeding further.  Departments ought to spend some time going back and reviewing how they do writing, and sum it up in a written report that ACC will actually collect; these can get reviewed, either in WAG or in CATL, where support can be offered.  Doing this may lead to a much greater and richer writing experience and to a good change in the writing requirement, allowing departments to equip their students with the tools they need to be confident to write in their major.

§         One Commissioner suggested that providing “Expectations” broken down according to the point system would be extremely helpful, because some courses lend themselves to certain types of points.  This may lead in the direction of a kind of Matrix of writing skills that could be selected from, and rather than being simply numerical, would actually satisfy writing requirements.

§         Commissioners fear that revoking the WP requirement may send a message we do not intend about the writing need.  The way the message is delivered is very important. 

§         Chair Hearne would like to avoid rumors leading to requests to waive the WP requirement, and pass a motion that would allow 1/3, 2/3 or an entire unit of writing proficiency to be spread across courses in the majors (not offerings).  Discussion on this idea will continue.

 

ACC passed the following motion:  (moved by Eaton, seconded by Barrett)

“1)  ACC wants to have the departments develop a satisfying writing experience within their discipline.

2)  A survey will be prepared by the WAG to go to departments to require a discussion within each program asking departments to look at writing expectations and how they are doing now in implementing writing proficiency.  The accompanying message is that writing is being reconsidered by ACC in an attempt to do it in a more productive way for students and faculty, and that ACC would like a response as to how those teaching the 75% of a writing proficiency course are doing.  This also includes a survey to students, possibly targeting students in writing proficiency courses in an effort to determine how successful these are.

Survey may be part of the WELS in the long run; and questions will be the kind that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.”

MOTION PASSED with 1 nay, and no abstentions.

The WAG is meeting soon, and will talk about a timeline; the survey must be completed by the end of Spring quarter, since preparing for accreditation reportage must be completed by the end of Fall Quarter.

 

WAIVER OF MORATORIUM AGAINST FRACTIONAL WRITING PROFICIENCY.

ACC passed a motion to approve a waiver for the Economics department which gives them permission to make changes regarding writing proficiency in course offerings for one year only.

 

MOTION TO RESCIND THE MORATORIUM AGAINST DISTRIBUTING WRITING PROFICIENCY POINTS AMONGS SEVERAL COURSES  - TABLED

Motion tabled in light of earlier report from the Writing Assessment Group and discussion of general reconsideration of writing proficiency by the departments and ACC.


 

DISCUSSION

ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY REVISED– Motion from Executive Committee of ACC

Approved with the codicil that the language be rewritten to improve its clarity.  The deadline is the end of Fall Quarter to rewrite. (This sentence moved by Barrett, seconded by Riddle-Buly)

§         The action as moved by ACC creates an Academic Honesty Board, composed of a pool of 6 faculty and 12 students.  For any particular case a panel of 1 faculty and 2 students will be chosen.

§         The Board responds to only two questions following a student’s appeal of the charge of academic dishonesty:  Whether the academic dishonesty has been committed, and 2) whether the sanction is appropriate.

§         The entire process is somewhat simplified, but continues to be forwarded to the Chair.  If the Chair finds against the student, the student can appeal to the Academic Honesty Board.  The policy as approved will go before the Senate on April 23, 2007.

§         A major concern is the poorly written language in the catalog which needs serious rewriting.  There is also concern about student representation in a hearing.  Hence the approval is contingent upon the rewriting of the entire policy.

§         In editing the policy, some language recommendations were made, including a sentence that instructs the faculty member “to inform the student that the assignment does not meet expectations and has to be redone.”

 

EXECUTIVE MOTION – Writing Proficiency Points Partitioned

In light of the earlier discussion of Writing Proficiency, the following motion, brought moved and seconded from the Executive Committee was tabled.  The text to be considered was distributed, and follows here:

“First, that ACC rescind its original moratorium against distributing writing proficiency points amongst several courses.   Henceforth, a course may satisfy one-third ( ), two-thirds () or three-thirds (1) of the writing proficiency requirement (denoted WP1, WP2, WP3, respectively, on classfinder).   

“Second,  such fractional writing proficiency status may be attached only to regularly offered courses—as opposed to individual sections or offerings—which apply to the major of the unit offering the course.”

 

Adjournment

Commissioners adjourned at 5:55 pm.

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder, April 17, 2007

 

ACADEMIC COORDINATING COMMISSION 2006-2007 ROSTER

 

Membership (term ending 2007)

 

 

Chair – James Hearne 2006-2007

 

1

A -  James Hearne, Computer Science, Chair

P

 

Vice Chair – Roger Thompson

 

2

A -  Louis Barrett, Physics Astronomy

P

 

 

 

3.

D – *Grant Donnellan, Music, ( NElig)

--

 

Ex-Officio

 

4

E -- George Zhang, Decision Science, CBE

P

17

Andrew Bodman  (Provost) (nv)

   P

5

G – Patrick Buckley, Huxley

--

18

Lisa Zuzarte (Catalog Coordinator)

P

6

H – Marsha Riddle-Buly

   P

 

 

 

 

Membership (term ending 2008)

 

 

Registrar, Recorder, Guests

 

7

A –  Michael Meehan, Senator, Computer Science

--

1

Joe St. Hilaire, Registrar

P

8

B – Dan Boxberger, Anthro; rep to GER

P

2

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder

P

9

C -  Leonard Helfgott, History

P

   3

Karen Perry, former Cat Coordinator

   P

10

C -  Roger Thompson, Senator, History

   P

4

 

 

11

F -  Marie Eaton, Fairhaven

P

5

 

 

12

I –  Stefanie Buck, Library, rep to EESP

P

6

 

 

13

S -  James Sanders, ASVP-Academics, 2006-2007

P

7

 

 

14

S -  Christian Opfer, 2006-07, rep to UPC – RESIGNED

V

8

 

 

15

S -  Eddie Jenkins, 2006-07

--

 

Members Present

12

16

S-   Nate Warren, 2006-07 – RESIGNED

V

 

Registrar, Recorder, Guests Present

3

 

      *Not Eligible for Re-election (served 4 yrs)

 

 

TOTAL PRESENT April 17, 2007

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members (18)

 

 

 

 

 

12 faculty (2yr terms) representing each area with 2 as Senators.  6 more members include:  Provost (nv), Catalog Coordinator (ex officio) and 4 students (1 ASVP).  ACC sends reps:  to UPC and to GER Cte.  Registrar & Recorder are permanent guests