Academic Senate Reviews Student Experiences and Educational Policy

In this installment of updates regarding Academic Senate, the New University will be examining the Council on Student Experience (CSE) and Council on Educational Policy (CEP).

CSE, in its December meeting, decided on several issues. The council reviewed the Academic Integrity Policy and endorsed all but one change to the policy. The council opposed a change which would give teaching assistants authority to directly report incidents of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Administrative Office. As a result, TAs and readers will still have to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the instructor of the course, who will report it to the AIAO.

Approved changes to the policy allow students to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the instructor or directly to the AIAO. For policy violations, a grade reduction is now the standard consequence, as opposed to a punitive measure determined by the instructor. AIAO is now also required to notify students (and if needed, the instructor), of the alleged policy violation and to maintain a record of each student who receives letters regarding policy breaches.

CSE also unanimously approved the inclusion of graduate-level courses in EaterEvals. However, the council voted against a proposal to include graduate student teachers and lecturers will not be included in EaterEvals.

Additionally, the council analyzed the tuition models that UC President Janet Napolitano and Governor Jerry Brown have put forth for the UC. The council showed concern regarding the Governor’s proposal of putting lower-division courses online. They cited evidence that certain segments of students are actually hurt by taking online courses. The Interim Department of Undergraduate Education Chair, Michael Dennin, commented about the need to focus on online technology instead of online courses.

The Council on Education Policy (CEP) reviewed the Campuswide Honors Program (CHP). Their conclusions recommended that the director and the associate director of CHP no longer report to the dean of undergraduate education due to past issues involving the hiring and firing of CHP faculty directors by the dean. CEP recommended that Senate leadership and administration should explore avenues to obtain a significant increase in funding for CHP in order for the program to support faculty and teaching assistants teaching honors courses. The council also recommended the program to work on creating a fellowship program that would attract prospective students.

CEP also reviewed the programs and courses of the Undergraduate/Undeclared (U/U) program. Their recommendations included a focus on additional advising for students wishing to major in STEM programs due to major policy changes in those programs and the increased difficulty students face in declaring a major in those programs.The council recommended the continuation of programs of Freshman Integrated Program, UTeach, Summer Bridge Program and Freshman and Transfer Seminar Series.

Lastly, the council approved the dates of this year’s commencements, which will be held on June 12-15 at the Bren Events Center.

In future installments, the New University will reporting updates from other Academic Senate councils.