The Academic Requirements Committee (ARC) is charged with considering student petitions relating to the University's graduation requirements, removing grades of incomplete after the deadline, and resolving a variety of registration issues. Periodically, ARC also responds to requests from the University Registrar or of other Officers of Administration. All such requests relate to the University's set of general education or graduation requirements. As ARC carries out its charge, it is not to create an unwritten dual set of standards, nor is it to be arbitrary in its responses to student petitions. Rather, the task of ARC is to search for solutions that fit the intent of University requirements and the faculty legislation, while addressing the concerns and circumstances of individual students. During the current year, members of ARC have faithfully carried out that charge. Attendance was not always great, but we had at least 6 voting members at every meeting.
The committee generally meets every other week, and sometimes adds an additional meeting during finals week to address the larger number of petitions which are filed toward the end of term by students who have filed for graduation that term. During this academic year from the October 6th, 2003 meeting through our May 17th meeting we approved 99 petitions and denied 37 petitions.
The biggest news of the year in the ARC was the change in the undergraduate group requirements approved at the April senate meeting, reducing the credits to 15 from 16 hours in each group. At least 29 of our petitions Prior to this change were to fulfill one of the three groups with 15 rather than 16 credits, and the committee found it difficult to find consensus or consistency on how to rule on these. As Malcolm Wilson explained in last year's report, the ARC in recent years had struggled to reach a policy with regard to the 15-hr petitions, but generally without success. The change makes sense because the distribution requirement for the AAOT degree at many community colleges, including Lane, are for 15 hours, and we heard many petitions from students who had 3-credit group-satisfying courses on their transcripts, whether community college or other transfer credits, and thus wished to clear the group with 15 credits. The change will reduce the number of petitions that the committee hears, and, I think, simplify our deliberations. It will not, of course, affect the rules on courses in various prefixes used to fulfill the group requirements. The prefix rule is quite complicated, in that not all students or advisors understand that no more than three courses in any one prefix can be used to fulfill the three group requirements in toto. It is also rather arbitrary, insofar as the distinctions between prefixes do not always represent clear differences in academic disciplines. The committee was therefore generous in granting exemptions to the prefix rules.
Other common types of petitions were to satisfy the multi-cultural requirement with courses not on the approved list, to remove incompletes after the deadline for doing so had passed (see below), and to adjust the residency or upper-division credit requirements. The group was fairly strict in regards to petitions to take more than 25 credits in the regular year, but was more willing to consider that possibility in the summer when students can split a heavier load up over several different sessions. Most of the petitions requesting increased credit loads were in regards to summer term.
Another rule change is being prepared by the Undergraduate Council after being proposed by Malcolm Wilson, last year's ARC c hair. This would change the current policy on incompletes. As it stands grades of "I" can be changed to a passing or letter grade if the students completes the work and the instructor submits a change-of-grade form within 4 terms of enrollment, or three calendar years , from the end of the term in question if the student is not enrolled, or 30 days after the date of graduation. If no change-of-grade is filed, the "I" remains on the transcript. The ARC heard a number of petitions this year from students trying to change grades of incomplete after this deadline. The proposed change would cause all "I" grades to revert to "F" after one calendar year, or 30 days from graduation. The ARC supports this change, even though we anticipate that it may lead to many more petitions from students who may have been content with an "I" but do not wish to have an "F." We support the change because we believe the "I" grade is sometimes awarded inappropriately, to students who have not completed 75% of the work for a course, or who do not have plan to complete the missing assignments. The fact that the "I" grade remains on transcripts in perpetuity and does not affect GPA invites possible manipulation by students who might erase a low grade by taking an incomplete. When this proposal comes up in the Senate next year I plan to support it and express the ARC's support for it.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Academic Requirements Committee
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