Motions and Recommendations passed by the

Academic Coordinating Commission 2005-06

(from Minutes) 

Thomas Downing, Chair





ACC approval of courses


Michael Meehan made a motion, seconded by Grant Donnellan, that the Chair of ACC send a memo to the new Dean that this is the last time that ACC will approve courses if they are not submitted to the ACC by the March 1st deadline, which passed.

  • Request from Karen Perry:  Karen Perry asked if ACC would extend the motion.  Perry, the Catalog Coordinator, would like to have ACC look at whether some of these courses are permanent once they are created, since they do not use the X97 temporary course number.  It is not known whether these are temporary or permanent, and there is no way of knowing whether they stay on longer than the 3 quarters that make up an academic year.
  • Karen would like this information forwarded to her with the other information about the course, namely is it going to be temporary or whether it will have a life in the catalog.
  • The Chair recalled this was the exact question we debated in over the suffixes.  We are essentially approving special topics here, but we don�t know if they will be offered routinely or just once or twice.
  • Chair Hearne will make inquiries as to whether Fairhaven has taken any first steps to rationalizing their numbering system.
Postponing of Grad Council minutes for 4/18/2006.


Robert Thorndike made a MOTION, seconded by Jim Hearne, �that we postpone consideration of the Graduate Council minutes of April 18th on the grounds that we just received them at the beginning of the meeting and have not had time to review them. These minutes contain the Graduate Council�s proposed catalog copy reflecting the new �time to degree� policy, which can take effect as soon as the ACC approves it, even though the policy will not appear in the 2006/2007 catalog (since it is not more burdensome than the current policies). These minutes also include an evaluation of the MA program in Political Science, and the chair distributed a response to the review from the Political Science Department. The motion passed unanimously.

Withdrawal Policy


James Hearne made a MOTION, and Robert Thorndike seconded, that the charge to the committee read as follows:

The Ad Hoc Committee shall examine the Withdrawal Policy at Western and make recommendations regarding changes by Winter Quarter 2007.  The membership shall consist of the Provost, the Registrar, the Associated Students Vice President for Academic Affairs, one additional student, and one additional faculty member.

The motion passed.

Course approval process.

MOTION: A motion was made by Jim Hearne, seconded by Robert Thorndike, to decline the course approval process proposed in the IPAC minutes of 2/24/06, which was passed by the Commissioners.

Several problems have emerged regarding the proposed course approval process include:

   Under the IPAC proposal, students would come back from study abroad and have a transcript sent from the sponsoring school describing the courses they took; that in turn would go to a receiving department or departments  here (e.g., Political Science or Modern & Classical Languages)  to see if the course(s) would be accepted towards the major or for general credit.  If a course passed muster, the course would then be assigned a WWU class name and number and be �transcripted� in a way that would represent it as our own.

    The biggest concern is that if we give credit for a course taken abroad by using a departmental rubric, e.g., Political Science x37, we are then �transcripting� someone else�s college course in a way that makes it appear that it was taught by WWU. The Provost averred that this is against the policy of the agency that accredits us. It would be similar to �rebadging� a course taken at, say, UW, with a WWU name and number. This is simply not something we would ever do. We would simply accept the UW course as a transfer course. This proves difficult for courses taken abroad, because it is not always clear how many credits such courses carry or just what the course is about, hence the desire to consider them individually and assign them a WWU name and number after the fact.

Alpha suffixes for repeatable courses only.

A motion was made by Grant Donnellan, seconded by Michael Meehan as follows:

�Alpha suffixes shall be used only to distinguish sections of courses repeatable for credit (e.g., 417a, 417b or 445a or 445b) and in the rare cases where a unit�s offerings exceed the numbers available in the traditional numbering system.�

The motion passed unanimously Commissioners stated that many of the problems created by using suffixes can be addressed by using "attributes" or "section numbers." 

Alpha suffixes for repeatable courses.

Proposed motion:

�Alpha suffixes shall be used only to distinguish sections of courses repeatable for credit (e.g., 417a, 417b or 445a or 445b) and in the rare cases where a unit�s offerings exceed the numbers available in the traditional numbering system.�


This policy specifically excludes the use of alpha suffixes

            To distinguish separate courses, e.g. A/HI 270a, A/HI 270b. These should simply be given different numbers.

            To distinguish separate sections of the same course, e.g., Dance 135a, 135b and Elementary Ed 385a, 385b.

            To distinguish lab from lecture sections. Numbers will do.

            To indicate the quarter in which a course is taught.

            To indicate grading mode (S/U or A-F).


Less clear is what to do about the use of the suffixes to indicate different topics as in the case of �different topics,� e.g., 394A = Elementary Practicum, 394B = Practicum in Literacy. These, however, look a lot like courses repeatable for credit and may be permitted by the new policy. There is a similar problem in knowing how to handle �particular areas of study,� e.g., 101A-409A = Core studies, 101B-498B = Concentrated Studies (I don�t even know where these come from, but see remarks from Registrar on the use of suffixes copied below).  By the way, we do not need to identify FYE sections of regular offerings by means of an alpha suffix; apparently something called an �attribute� (cf. the attribute �HUM�) will do just fine for this purpose.


From the Registrar:

Alpha suffixes appear to serve the following purposes:

1.  To indicate the quarter in which the course is taught, e.g., 350A = Fall; 350B = Winter; 350C = Spring.

2.  To indicate different topics, e.g., 394A = Elementary Practicum; 394B = Practicum in Literacy.

3.  To indicate different credit levels, e.g., 499A-D = 1 credit; 499F-M = 2 credits

4.  To indicate grading mode, e.g., 499A-D = S/U grading; 499N-R = A-F grading.

5.  To make a course repeatable with different topics and alpha suffixes, e.g., 417A Participatory Action Research; 417H Cross-Cultural Law.

6.  To indicate lab vs. lecture, e.g., 458A Beginning Clinical Practice; 458B Lab: Beginning Clinical Practice

7.  To indicate a particular area of study, e.g., 101A-409A = Core Studies; 101B-498B = Concentrated Studies

8.  Lack of numbers, especially at the 300- or 400 level.


Using alpha suffixes on course numbers can cause problems in three areas of responsibility in the Registrar�s Office: degree audit, course repeat tracking, and prerequisite checking.  Here is an explanation of the problem in each of those areas:


1.  Degree audit

 a) CAPP encoding is complicated when a requirement limits the number of credits to a certain level (200-, 300-, 400-, etc.) and there are courses at that level with alpha suffixes.   For example � the requirement is 10 credits at the 400-level.  In some cases it may require multiple lines of encoding (400-4xx, 4000-4xxx) and with multiple lines of encoding there is no way to limit 400-level courses to 10 credits.  We can limit each line to 10 credits or each line to 5 credits � but neither of those will work for every student in all circumstances.

 b) Unique static course numbers can be encoded in CAPP with a high level of confidence.  In other words, if a required course always is offered as 352C, CAPP can easily monitor it for completion by a given student.

 c) Course number and subject code changes create an additional level of complexity making the encoding more difficult.  If 352 is changed to 352D in the new catalog, CAPP must be encoded so that the 352 in the 05-06 catalog is equivalent to 352D in the 06-07 catalog.  (While this isn�t an alpha suffix problem per se, there are frequent changes involving the addition of the alpha characters.)


2.  Course repeat checking

a)  As with degree audit, a range of numbers (e.g., 350A-Z) makes it very difficult to check for repeats.  If course is not repeatable for credit but a student takes 350A and later takes 350H, the system may flag 350A as having been repeated.

b)  Repeat checking also is complicated by course number changes.  For example, a department recently changed a course number from 238 (which was repeatable) to 238A and they also added a 238B and 238C, solid of which is to be repeatable.  Students who had taken 238 and then took 238A were not caught by the system because the machine recognized 238A as a different course.


3.  Prerequisite checking

 The same difficulties listed for course repeats will cause problems in prerequisite checking.

ISTM prefix for CST courses.

ISTM RUBRIC (Interdisciplinary Science, Technology, and Mathematics).

A motion by Jim Hearne, and seconded by Linda Kimball, was passed by the Commission instituting the �ISTM� rubric.  The language of the motion read: 

�The College of Sciences and Technology may use the prefix �ISTM� (Interdisciplinary Science, Technology and Mathematics) for courses it wishes to offer but are deemed inappropriate to designate with a departmental prefix, e.g., CHEM, GEOL.�.

Commissioners assumed that for accounting purposes SCH for courses taught under this rubric are credited to the instructor�s department. (Subsequently verified.)

GUR status for transfer courses.

Role of GER Chair Expanded

A motion by Jim Hearne, and seconded by James Sanders, was passed by the Commission which proposed that final decisions on assigning GUR status to transfer courses in certain situations where the Registrar seeks clarity may be made by the Chair of the GER Committee.  The language is as follows:

�Whereas the Registrar�s office has considerable experience in assigning appropriate GUR status to transfer courses and does so regularly, occasions arise when they are uncertain as to how to do this.  On these occasions, the Chair of the GER Committee is empowered to decide whether and how GUR credit shall be assigned.�

Renaming Fairhaven College.

Proposal to Rename Fairhaven College Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

In two consecutive meetings Commissioners addressed the issue whether the name change will provide clarity to students coming to Western, and how they can identify the purposes of various colleges by their names, i.e., �Huxley College of the Environment�, etc. 

    Commissioners acknowledged that there are many interdisciplinary subjects that reside outside of Fairhaven to which students have access, and that Fairhaven has no plans to expand beyond its present mission and size.  Dean Riggins provided some figures about degrees earned as a measurable product:  Last year American Cultural Studies granted 17 degrees to majors, 3 of whom were from Fairhaven; Canadian American studies: 2, East Asian Studies: 10; Liberal Studies, 14; Linguistics, 30; Fairhaven College: 98. Nevertheless, some urged that including �Interdisciplinary Studies� in the very name of the college might prove confusing to some students who were interested in such studies outside of Fairhaven.  

   At Fairhaven College, interdisciplinarity is a result of the mission.  The courses themselves as taught within Fairhaven are �interdisciplinary�.  Students who are inclined to pursue a straight academic discipline are not encouraged to study at Fairhaven, but to pursue their degree elsewhere in the university.

 Following discussion, Commissioners voted on the following MOTION brought forward by the Executive Committee at the request of Dean Ronald Riggins:

MOVED �that the name of Fairhaven College be changed to Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies�.

 The Commissioners passed the motion, voting 10 in favor, 5 against, with 1 abstention.

FYE courses.  

Agenda Item - Numbering of FYE Courses (117) � MOTION

Chair Downing distributed a proposal that FYE courses be given a generic number such as 117.  FYE seminars, as distinct from FYE offerings of regular courses, would then be offered under this single rubric. This would avoid the unpleasant prospect of filling up the catalog with a variety of FYE seminars using a variety of numbers that would include many idiosyncratic courses that would likely be offered only once or by just one instructor. These courses offered under a variety of numbers would also not be easily identified as FYE seminars. Further, we would not require that each individual offering of an FYE seminar go through the entire approval process. Such an approval requirement would discourage faculty from offering FYE seminars or would require that they offer seminars under an existing and possibly restrictive description. Although individual 117s would not require specific approval, their contents would be reported to the college curricular and GER committees. So, with very slight changes to the chair�s proposal, James Hearne moved, and Robert Thorndike seconded the following motion:


         The number �117� is reserved for FYE courses of variable credit and variable content.  Each department (or non-departmentalized college), division within a department (e.g., SPAN in Modern and Classical Languages) or program with a recognized course prefix (e.g., WMNS) will be assigned that number for the sole purpose of providing FYE courses.

         Units such as those described above will not be required to go through the entire approval process -- currently departmental or program curricular committee, college curricular committee, GER committee, ACC, Senate � for each individual offering of a 117.   Units will, however, be required to supply the appropriate college committee and the GER Committee with a narrative describing the individual offering,   a rationale as to how it meets the FYE criteria, and a justification for including it in the particular GER category in which they intend to offer it. 

         As in the manner of x97s, these individual offerings will not require formal committee approval, but the committee can reject them if they have reason to do so.  That is, the presumption is that the offerings are approved, and unless the committee in question specifically rejects them, they are.  As in the case of x97s, brief descriptions of the offerings will be part of the minutes of the college curricular committee and the GER committee.

         Students are limited to one FYE course in their time at WWU.

--Motion of approval passed by the Academic Coordinating Commission 11/1/05  

Comment:  The Commission chose not to include a condition in the above proposal that would explicitly restrict FYE courses to students with fewer than 45 accumulated credits. The principal reason for not including this restriction is that it would exclude many students for whom the possibility of an FYE experience was intended, namely students who had accumulate a number of credits through AP, running start or simply having taken some classes at a community college.

By accepting the minutes of GER Committee from May 19, 2005, the ACC approved slight changes in the First Year Seminar Criteria, which now read as follows:

First-Year Experience Seminar Criteria


First-Year Experience (FYE) offerings are intended to:

  Give first-year students a small group experience to help them integrate into university life

  Give first-year students the opportunity for more interaction with faculty, fostering a stronger sense of academic community

  Communicate high academic expectations to students

  Help students recognize and take advantage of the roles that various campus resources play in their academic lives

 A proposal for a First Year Experience SEMINAR should identify an existing course or propose a new course with the following features: 

  First-year seminars will have significant academic content and be offered for academic credit (either as GUR or elective credits

  First-year seminars will be taught in small sections, with an expected maximum enrollment 30

  First-year seminars will restrict enrollment to first-year students

  The seminar may be a stand alone course or offered as part of a link or sequence of courses

  The seminar may be letter-graded or pass/fail if it is not offered as a GUR course

Learning Outcomes

In addition to mastery of significant academic content first-year seminars should be designed to meet at least two of the following learning outcomes: 

  Demonstrate an understanding of inquiry and creative processes from disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary perspective(s)

  Articulate individual learning goals in the context of a liberal arts education and identify means for achieving these goals. 

  Enhance competency in academic skills including: framing questions/posing problems, critical literacy, evaluating information sources, writing, oral communication, and collaboration

Proposal Development

  Courses in this group can be altogether new courses or special offerings of existing courses.

  Additional learning outcomes are strongly encouraged in the first-year seminars, and a comprehensive listing of the most common first-year learning outcomes and appropriate assessment methods will be available online to faculty as they design their first-year seminar.

 Commissioners passed the motion unanimously.

Approval of Academic Calendars.


Robert Thorndike moved and Marie Eaton seconded a motion to approve the Academic Calendars of Western Washington University through August 21, 2015.  The Commissioners passed the motion