Report of the AP Committee

Jan. 26, 2005

Although we have no motions to present today, I can report on three items which we have recently completed --- ones for which we determined that no action was needed.
  1. We were asked to consider the 13 hour rule, which limits undergraduates on academic probabtion from registering for more than 13 credits. Specifically, we were requested to consider suspending the rule. Jean Moore took the lead on this item, and she communicated with appropriate people --- specifically, those who had thought that perhaps the rule was no longer needed. But in the end the AP Comm believed that it would be premature to suspend the rule at this time. In short, in a relatively brief span of time These last two actions, which followed the establishment of the rule, have made it impossible to accurately assess the effectiveness, or the lack of effectiveness, of the rule. Given that no compelling evidence has been presented which indicates that something is broken, rather than suspend the rule now, and then possibly in the future vote it back in for the same reasons that we did in the first place, we think that it is best to leave it alone for now, at least until a proper assessment of its effect can be done. It can be noted that deans have the power to override the rule in special cases in which students on probation make a convincing argument that they are ready to handle a full load. Overall, we think that keeping the rule in place will do more good than harm. The original intent of the rule was to help prevent students in trouble from getting themselves into deeper trouble.
  2. We were asked to determine whether or not the faculty has an appropriately strong role in the approval process for multi-unit-sponsored undergraduate degree programs. Carol Kaffenberger took the lead on this item, and she communicated with a fair number of people, and sent out an e-mail to all Senators to solicit your opinions on the matter. Based on the fact that concern that something is wrong was only expressed by a very small number of people, and because an alternative such as the creation of an Undergraduate Council doesn't seem to us to be a good idea, we determined that no specific action regarding this issue is appropriate at this time, and we believe that it is best to wrap up the matter at this time with an appeal that we all keep in mind that the faculty is supposed to have the primary voice in curriculum matters, and that when unusual cases occur concerning the approval of an academic program which is not housed within a single unit, we are all mindful of the faculty's role and responsibility concerning matters of curriculum.
  3. When last spring we established the ability for undergraduates to, on a very limited basis, drop classes after the usual drop deadline, we said that we would also consider whether or not it would be good to establish something of a similar nature for graduate students. Cliff Sutton took the lead on this item, and last spring Esther and Cliff discussed it with the Graduate Council. There were initially mixed beliefs regarding this matter within the Graduate Council, and they requested that they be given more time to consider the issues. The situation was discussed by the Graduate Council at various times during the fall semester, and although for a while it seemed to me like some sort of a change in policy would be suggested, in the end the conclusion was that it would be better to leave things as they are, because certain problems were identified (some concerning GTAs and GRAs). The AP Committee accepted this recommendation and consider this item to be closed.