Academic Policy Committee considers extending summer semester
October 14, 2008 7:55 PM
At the meeting of the Academic Policy Committee today, members discussed topics including revisions to the 2009 summer school schedule.
The committee, an integral part of decisions regarding university academics, talked about the possibility of extending the summer 2009 school calendar. While several members of the Academic Senate recommended that a ten week session be implemented at last Tuesday’s meeting—citing that five and eight weeks aren’t enough for many courses—the committee expressed concern as to whether or not enough information is readily available to make that change.
Concerns surround whether or not there are enough resources to sustain the longer summer term. Among the top issues are financial aid and whether or not the school has enough personnel to upkeep the university’s computer system.
Maziar Behrooz, an associate professor in the college of behavioral and social sciences, introduced the idea of waiting until 2010 to hold a ten-week class session. “Two years is more realistic,” Maziar said, citing that the extra time would be enough to work out the kinks.
A motion was made and passed to approve the 2009 summer calendar without a ten-week session providing that the 2010 summer schedule include this revision.
Another item heavily discussed was amending the faculty constitution to add two more staff representatives—for a total of three—to the Academic Senate. Staff would elect the two new representatives in campus-wide vote.
Committee member Nathan Avani, professor and chair of the Department of Secondary Education, questioned the need for two more staff reps instead of just one. “Academics is academic,” Avani said, citing that staff members don't have much to do with academia.
Committee chair Wei Ming presented a different opinion. “Sometimes it’s very useful to have them on the senate floor,” Ming said. “It would be helpful to have a broader perspective.”
A motion to accept the changes passed, with only Avani voting “nay.”
One of the last items discussed, the graduate writing policy, is an ongoing topic. Again, members had different thoughts as to what type of proficiency exam should be set in place.
“I don’t support it at a department level, but across the school,” Avani said, adding that when he received his Master’s, the university he attended had a school-wide test.
Some members felt that for students to pass a proficiency exam, professors need to work with them to improve their writing and provide much-needed support.
“Different departments have different abilities, they’re not equal to each other,” Behrooz said.
Another point made was that the number of English as a second language learners and foreign students should also be taken into consideration. Though, the point was also made that simply because someone has an accent doesn't mean they don't write well.
“There’s lots of passion around this issue,” Ming said. “It’s an ongoing thing.”
The next Academic Policy Committee will be held in two weeks on Oct. 28.
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