Index of Topics 4/14/09

Approved 4/28/09;  to Faculty Senate 5/4/09

E-Forms with pop-up menus


Catalog policy concerns – Discussion





Regular Meeting  --  April 14, 2009


Chair Roger Thompson called the meeting of the 2008-2009 Academic Coordinating Commission to order at 4:05 pm on Tuesday, April 6, 2009.  There were thirteen (13) members present, the Recorder and one guest (1) for a total of fifteen. 


Approval of ACC minutes Members approved minutes of March 31, 2009 with minor corrections.  Commissioners request that the Chair communicate to the Senate that one of the purposes of the LEAP initiative is to promote the values of general education, in case questions came up during Senate acceptance of the ACC minutes.


Appointments and Elections

ACC At least 7 faculty nominees:  From areas A, D,  G, H, 1 At-Lg and 2 Senators.  Forward names to Senate office.  The Senate appoints in Spring quarter.


Report from the Chair

·    Chair Thompson reported on the initiatives currently underway to improve the E-Forms.  Thompson explained that some of the forms are very technical, because of the systems used related to Banner Catalog.  He emphasized that forms also need to be user friendly so that a faculty member does not need to get involved in extraneous information, but only in that which is related to the course he/she is going to teach.

·    Thompson explained that the E-Forms will now have pop-up screens to explain what certain requests on the forms mean.  This can enable faculty to answer questions that previously may have gone unanswered.  The Associate Deans, Chairs of College Curriculum Committees, and secretaries and recorders have all talked through some of these changes, and suggestions for new and improved versions are on their way to ACC in order to expedite the changes for the campus.






Curriculum Committee


ACC Action and notes


Fairhaven College


Concentration titles; other discussion items

Julie Helling will check back with Fairhaven on Fair 337c on Sexuality and Gender; this is a study abroad course.  Title does not make clear that it is in Mexicano/Chicano community.,




Huxley College of the Environment


Revised and approved curriculum committee charge. (Agreement of tenses)



Woodring College


SPED443, 444, ECE432,439, information items

Already approved as TCCC mins of 3/31





Yunker presented some concerns and asked for Commissioners to respond with a sense of those issues they would like to prioritize and discuss ways of making some policy changes in the catalog.  Mainly the questions are “Why and how did we come by this rule, and can we rephrase it?”


Concerns are primarily connected to policies that are difficult for Banner to administer, confusing to students or creating an actual hardship for students.  Some of these concerns are as follows:


Withdrawal Privileges
Western allows two withdrawals per student per year up to a certain point. Students can make schedule adjustments for a short period of time. Once that window closes they cannot withdraw without a withdrawal privilege.  However, students are not so familiar with this rule and seem enormously surprised when they run out of privilege.  Banner cannot police this.

·    Yunker would like to hear what ACC would like to accomplish within the withdrawal policy that is fair to students, meets the goals of faculty, and can be more easily policed.


Graduation Honors

This policy is particularly hard on students who study abroad because it requires certain hours of residence in the junior and senior year. 

·    Some students elect not to study abroad because it hampered their ability to earn honors.  Yunker would like faculty to revisit this and to develop a policy that might not discriminate against students who elect to study abroad.  It is important that the policy be not only simple to explain, but also clear enough that students can understand it.


Repeat Policy in GPA Calculation.

Any course that is repeated must include both grades in GPA.  This comes up around students in academic difficulty because of inordinate difficulty in improving their GPA enough to get into a Major or to graduate. 

·    It would be a good idea to revisit this and see what faculty want to ensure with this policy.  It may be primarily to discourage a student taking a course a second or third time, even though some courses are essential to getting into a major.


Course Attendance

Any student who fails to attend the first meeting of course may be required to drop if another student wants to get into the course. 

·    Students make assumptions that if they did not attend they will be dropped automatically and so they do not make any special effort to withdraw on their own, causing them to receive a grade of Z. 


Fresh Start Policy.  With this students can ask that their GPA calculation start over from the point that they return to WWU.  But in order to begin a Fresh Start a student must be away from the university for five years. 



Yunker noted that it didn’t seem like there was a body of people charged with overseeing or rewriting academic policies, and perhaps a subcommittee of ACC could do so.  Yunker is asking ACC for advice.

·    Provost Murphy recalled an enthusiasm in Western’s earlier history for a certain “moral rigor”.  For example we force students to stay in class so the world knows they flunked instead of enabling them to drop.  But is that a good idea?  Murphy thinks you should be able to drop the class if you want to drop.  The question of the last quarter or so in residence is a real hardship for some people also.  We want them to have a Western education, but all the important things in life are not necessarily taught in the last quarter.

·    Thompson asked if ACC had a mind to discuss these issues.  Murphy suggested that if the faculty ought to weigh in on this then some sort of history ought to be written to get a background sense of some of these issues, and get an idea of the unintended consequences.  If we have a well-informed discussion we can propose changing the language in the catalog.

·    Anthony-Cahill suggested that for some issues faculty input would be critical; policies ought to best be drafted by a group of people with a broad perspective.  Some department managers might be useful because they see both transfer students and others.  Anthony-Cahill would like to offer perspectives on some situations he has seen.  The AS Vice President Academics should also participate.

·    Commissioners suggest that perhaps Yunker might bring a draft of how things could be changed, get faculty input, get others involved including academic advising, to look at some of these issues.

·    Murphy also suggested crating a draft and giving it a very broad exposure, quintessentially academic.

·    Murphy added that his feeling is the temper of times is different now, and these topics are ripe for discussion. The Honors matter for example is very interesting because it differs so much between collegiate units.  Murphy also believes that grades from abroad, even courses from other colleges in the state should transfer to Western, but not community college grades. 

·    Commissioners asked why don’t we offer Summa Cum Laude but only Magna (above 97%) and Cum Laude (92 through 96). No one seems to know the exact tradition, although Honor are percentage based at the college level and GPA related.  Certain rules enable you to be eligible for Honors.  They are quite Byzantine to figure out, however, and are complicated by going abroad. 

·    There is also the Honors Program which is not related. You can graduate from the Honors Program without having an Honors GPA. Actually only about one-third of those who begin actually graduate from the Honors program.  ACC can and ought to make a difference here.  It is important to realize that when students have a cord denied them, for going abroad, for example, it is a fact that they will remember later on in their years as alumni.

·    Anthony-Cahill reported that on occasion his area has to act on an ad hoc basis.  For example the first time a student takes Organic Chemistry they don’t do so well.  When they repeat that course they get a great grade, but may still not qualify.  But the student who is trending upward is exactly the student we want to put into the major, so we act on an ad hoc basis.


Thompson concluded that he will do some research and we will get back to this in the Fall.  Thompson also thanked the ACC for its work on the Committee on Undergraduate Education proposal.  He believes that potentially this will be something that is good for the university.


Adjournment 5:00 pm

Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder, April 14, 2009




Voting Membership (term ending 2009)



Chair – Roger Thompson 2008-2009



A – Roger Anderson, Biology (SENATOR) rep to UPC



Vice Chair – James Hearne



A -  James Hearne, Computer Science, Vice Chair (4 yr)






A – Spencer Anthony-Cahill, Chemistry (SENATOR)



Ex Officio



D – Mark Kuntz, Theater



Provost Murphy  (v)



E – Yvonne Durham, Economics, CBE



Lisa Zuzarte (Catalog Coordinator) nv



G – Robin Matthews, Huxley



Susanna Yunker, Acting Registrar, nv



H –Marsha Riddle Buly,  Woodring,






Membership (term ending 2010)






B –  Billie Lindsey, PEHR, rep to GER Cte



Steven VanderStaay, VPUE



C – Roger Thompson, History, CHAIR



Maria Paredes Mendez



E -  Kristi Tyran, Management






F -  Julie Helling, Fairhaven






I – Sylvia Tag, Library,






S -  Andrea Godard, ASVP-Academics, 2008-2009



Rose Marie Norton-Nader, Recorder



S -  Nikki Brown, AS



Members Present



S -  Brianne Kumar, AS



Recorder and Guests



S-   Shanai Lechtenberg, AS



TOTAL PRESENT   April 14, 2009



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