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Northern Illinois University

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UCC minutes

Northern Illinois University

Undergraduate Coordinating Council

167th Meeting

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Altgeld Hall 203



Present:           A. Azad (EET), W. Goldenberg, (VPA), B. Hart (VPA), B. Henry (HHS), S. Honig (EDU), C. Jones (LAS), M. Koren (HHS), C. T. Lin (LAS), C. Malecki (LAS), K. Mantzke (BUS), D. Matousek (Student/SA), S. Morris (HHS), O. Najjar (LAS), D. Rusin (representative for A. Doederlein), G. Schlabach (EDU), E. Seaver (Vice Provost), C. Snow (LIB)


Absent:            A. Doederlein (LAS), M. Kostic (EET), P. Stoddard (LAS)

Guest:              Greg Long, Co-chair, Baccalaureate Review Task Force Steering Committee

D. Smith, Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator

I.          Adoption of Agenda

A motion was made by C. Snow, seconded by C. T. Lin, to approve the agenda.  The motion carried.

II.         Announcements

A.   Introductions

E. Seaver welcomed everyone, and committee members introduced themselves and stated which college and/or department they were representing.

B.     Approval of Minutes

D. Rusin made suggestions for two minor corrections to the May 7, 2009, UCC minutes.

A motion was made by G. Schlabach, seconded by C. Snow, to approve, with the two suggested corrections, the minutes of the May 7, 2009, Undergraduate Coordinating Council meeting.  The motion carried.

C.      Baccalaureate Review Update

E. Seaver introduced Greg Long, Co-chair of the Baccalaureate Review Steering Committee, who provided the committee with an update of the work of the Baccalaureate Review Task Force over the past year, what the plan is for this current year, and what the impact might be on UCC and its standing committees.

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

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Long explained that the Baccalaureate Review Task Force evolved out of the strategic planning process and the work of the Presidential Task Force on Curricular Innovation which called for reform of the general education program at NIU.  Long said that, after he and several other individuals attended a conference on general education, it was realized that review of the baccalaureate goals would be necessary before reform of general education could be examined.  In order to get a better sense, as a university, of what the baccalaureate goals should be, the task force used an online survey, to which over 900 individuals responded (half of those were students).  The task force also conducted many focus groups with various constituencies across campus. 

During this past summer, ideas and information from the surveys and focus groups were put together as a summary to present to the university community.  Long said that there were three major areas consistently identified that it was felt NIU graduates should have:  critical thinking, communication skills, and understanding of context (the “Three C’s”).  There was broad overall agreement from students, faculty, staff, administrators and employers on these.

Long added that the task force is now beginning to work on communicating this information to the university community through many different ways.  During this fall semester this information will be posted online, in addition to having task force members speak to various groups such as curriculum committees, Council of Deans, Faculty Senate, etc.  He also said that a video is being developed, and it will be posted online soon.   

E. Seaver commented that it is important to remember that these are the “baccalaureate” goals – not the general education goals.  He said that it is hoped that these goals will blend the activities of what is done early on in the general education curriculum with what is contributed by each of the individual majors.  He said that part of the process, as the goals are developed, will be to ask the specific programs to do somewhat of a gap analysis or self-assessment of how each major is contributing to each of these particular goals.  At that point, general education will then be re-examined.  He added that, in addition to the academic community, bodies in the co-curricular process will be asked to identify areas where they contribute or fit into these baccalaureate goals, as well, such as by way of activities in organization, student affairs, etc.  Long added that students are involved as members on both the task force and steering committee to help gain the student’s perspective of what is important and what can be improved on.

Long stated that feedback from the university community will be discussed, and then used to refine and make more precise the proposed goals.  If the proposal is then endorsed, during the spring semester, the next step will be to determine how to translate this into specific proposed learning goals to be submitted to the appropriate university governance committees for approval.  Once endorsement is made, discussion will be initiated on how to implement the proposed goals.

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

September 3, 2009 - Page Three

III.       Reports/Minutes from Standing Committees

E. Seaver asked current standing committee representatives, even if there is no report to present, to provide UCC members with an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the committee they represent.

A.     Admissions Policies and Academic Standards Committee


W. Goldenberg explained that the work of the APASC committee relates to academic matters such as approval of limited admissions programs, add/drop and withdrawal policies.  He also reported on the May 6, 2009, noting that the committee approved the amended language and admission criteria language for the B.S. in Applied Management. 

Goldenberg also reported that, per the request of UCC last spring, APASC reconsidered the 66 transfer hour language.  He explained that there were two issues that UCC had concerns about with relation to the language.  The first issue was the possibility that students who transfer in with 66 or more hours would be able to register before some of the “native” juniors or seniors.  In order words, transfer students would be moved ahead in the registration queue and be able to register earlier resulting in transfer students getting the courses easier than current students, which would be considered unfair. 

E. Seaver explained the concern of UCC about this issue.  With reference to page four, paragraph 3, of the May 7, 2009, UCC minutes, he clarified that the queuing issue referred to is about transfer students and transferable credit from community colleges.  He explained that, if a student transfers to NIU from another four-year institution, every single hour of credit is transferred, no matter how many hours the student has.  However, if a student transfers to NIU from a community college, this is where the issue arises.  The previous catalog language stated that a student could only count 66 hours towards his/her degree, meaning that the student would need to complete 54 hours.  In the current system, the system automatically articulates any community college credit that is on the transcript, but the policy still is that the student would have to complete 54 hours of NIU credit beyond that to get 120 hours minimum.  He said that the remaining issue is the question of how many students will be affected by this in the spring.  The fall semester would not be affected as fall transfer students are not able to register until they go through orientation which occurs after the registration appointments for the students.  The concern was then, how many students would be getting ahead in the first spring semester because they could use more than the 66 credit hours, only if they are from a community college.  He said that UCC has asked for further information from the student information system as to how many students this would affect (students in their second registration at NIU) and how those hours are being counted. 

The second item of concern referred back to APASC from UCC was the issue of which transfer hours would be chosen to transfer in and how they would be chosen.  To clarify this issue further, a presentation by APASC was made at the May, 2009, UCC meeting.

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

September 3, 2009 - Page Four

Goldenberg also reported that at the May APASC meeting there were two course revisions reviewed with one, PHHE 300, being approved, and the second, PHHE 208, being sent back to the department for further clarification.

W. Goldenberg made a motion, seconded by C. Snow, to receive the May 6, 2009, minutes of the Admissions Policies and Academic Standards Committee meeting.  The motion carried.

As a follow-up to the 66 community college credit hour issue, E. Seaver reported that as of September 2, 2009, in looking at only students who have transferred from a community college, there were 1,348 new students this fall transferring in that have more than 66 hours in transfer from a community college.  He explained that the way registration is done is that MyNIU automatically assigns a student a registration appointment based on the total number of credit hours that the student has accumulated.  Restricted registration runs for two weeks, and, after the two weeks, then is open registration for anyone.  He noted that most of our students do not register during their appointment times; they register after, and they do it during open registration enrollment.  He said that students are waiting longer and longer to register because they are able to see the open seats in MyNIU.  Students feel that if they register, they are going to immediately receive a bill, which is not true. 

Seaver went on to say that students with 66 hours versus those students with 90 hours is a difference of about one day.  He said the vast majority of students in the 1,348 figure are in the 66 to 90 hours group.  He said for a student with more than 90 hours there may be three or four days difference.  The number of students with more than 90 hours is 114.  Therefore, in terms of any real advantage for transfer students, there are 114 undergraduates out of almost 18,000 undergraduate students that must register.  He said that the feeling is that we are not disadvantaging a large number of undergraduate students by simply taking more than 66 hours that show up on the transcript and affects their registration queue.  He said he did ask to see if it were possible to use MyNIU to allow only 66 hours of the community college transfer hours.  He said that could not be done without making a modification to the core student element of MyNIU, which would take over six weeks to do, in addition to being quite costly.

Seaver went on to say that he presented these numbers to the APASC committee at its September 2, 2009, meeting, and there was no further discussion or comments. 

The question was raised as to how to communicate with students to encourage them to enroll in classes more quickly and let them know that a bill will not be sent immediately.  Seaver said that this information is on the website, however, he has been working with the Bursar’s office to explore new ways to communicate with students and

get this information out to them.  He said fewer students are reading email, and more are using text messaging.  Our current system does not have the capability to send text messages, but there are some tools being explored through MyNIU that may have the ability to allow text messages to be sent to students.

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

September 3, 2009 - Page Five

Seaver added that during this academic year there will be catalog language coming through APASC regarding withdrawals at NIU.  Due to a negative audit finding, a policy is being instituted immediately that there will be no backdating of withdrawals.  This policy will require a discussion of consequences and proposed language.

B.  General Education Committee

(There was no report.)  E. Seaver gave an overview of the work of the General Education Committee.  He said that the committee has been spending time this past year learning about the process of evaluating the general education curriculum.  During this upcoming year, the committee will be starting to look at the baccalaureate goals and start to talk about what the general education goals should be.


            C.  Honors Committee


C. Snow reported on the March 6, 2009, meeting of the University Honors Committee noting that the search for a director was underway at that time.  The committee also  approved three EYE grant proposals. 

C. Snow made a motion, seconded by C. Malecki, to receive the March 6, 2009, minutes of the University Honors Committee meeting.  The motion carried.


Seaver added that Dr. Daniel Kempton took over in his role as the new University Honors Program Director effective August 1, 2009.

D.  Committee on the Improvement of Undergraduate Education

(There was no report.)  E. Seaver noted that one of the two primary functions of the CIUE committee is the awarding of the improvement for undergraduate education grants.  There are different grant categories for which monetary awards are given to faculty, and sometimes students, mostly in the form of summer stipends, for salary, equipment or support for the improvement of undergraduate education projects.  The second primary function of the committee is the selection of the recipients of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Instruction Awards. 

E.  Committee on the Undergraduate Academic Environment

(There was no report.)  E. Seaver explained that the CUAE committee is involved in many things, with the primary function being the Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research (USOAR) grants.  The USOAR program is the awarding of stipends of up to $2,500 to undergraduate students to be able to do research and artistry projects.  In addition, the committee receives frequent updates on the campus environment and makes recommendations for improvement of the academic environment for students.

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

September 3, 2009 – Page Six

F.  Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum

(There was no report.)  E. Seaver said that this committee’s work revolves around the approval of undergraduate curriculum.  The committee reviews recommendations from the colleges, makes referrals to other committees or groups when additional input is needed, and tries to resolve conflicts about non-duplication.

IV.       Other Reports

A.  University Assessment Panel


S. Morris stated that this committee oversees the assessment plans for the departments, colleges and other units on campus.  There is a review cycle for assessment plans and programs submitting yearly assessment data.  This committee works with Virginia Cassidy, Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Development, and Carolinda Douglass, Director, Assessment Services.

            S. Morris reported on the April 17, 2009, meeting of the University Assessment Panel.

She said that at the meeting it was announced that the Office of Assessment Services’ Assessment Manual is now online.  Also, during this past year the panel assessed the effectiveness of the First Year Composition program, and improvement was seen.  The panel also reviewed an informational handout about the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) – The College Portrait program which NIU has begun implementing processes to participate in.

S. Morris made a motion, seconded by C. Snow, to receive the April 17, 2009, notes of the University Assessment Panel meeting.  The motion carried.

V.         Old Business

            There was no old business.

VI.       New Business

A.  Representatives of UCC Standing Committees for 2009-2010       

The following UCC members volunteered and were approved to serve as faculty representatives to UCC standing committees for 2009-2010:


                        APASC – William Goldenberg

CIUE – Kate Mantzke

                        CUAE – Beverly Henry

                        CUC – Gretchen Schlabach

                        GEC – Christine Malecki (fall 2009 only)

                        HONORS – Cason Snow

                        UAP – Sherrill Morris

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Minutes – 167th Meeting

September 3, 2009 - Page Seven

B.     Selection of UCC Faculty Representative and Student Representative to the University Assessment Panel

Sherrill Morris agreed to continue to serve as UCC faculty representative to the University Assessment Panel for 2009-2010.  As no student committee members were in attendance, selection of a student representative was postponed until a future meeting.

            C.   Date/Agenda for Annual UCC Retreat

E. Seaver discussed with committee members the possibility of scheduling an annual retreat.  No retreat has been planned for the past few years, but prior to that UCC held a half-day retreat, usually on a Saturday morning.  In other years, the committee has invited the Provost to speak at a regularly scheduled meeting.  E. Seaver will talk to Provost Alden about this possibility.

C. T. Lin also suggested having standing committee chairs provide an overview of each committee’s goals for the year. 


VII.      Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m. 

The next UCC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 1, 2009, beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Altgeld Hall 203.

Respectfully submitted,

Mollie Montgomery