Academic Program Committee 2019-2020
The Academic Program Committee will concern itself with the University's long-term plans and strategic initiatives, as well as any major changes or issues requiring particularly extensive study or deliberations related to the academic mission.
CHAIR: Lisa MacFarlane English, COLA
Thomas Haines, English COLA
Kevin Healey, Communication COLA
Marko Knezevic (proxy John McHugh), Mechanical Engineering CEPS
Kevin Pietro, AgNut&FoodSystems COLSA
James Ramsay, UNH Manchester
Andrew Seal, Economics PAUL
Allison Wilder, Recreation Management & Policy HHS
Peter Zaimes, Decision Sciences PAUL
Corresponding Administrators: 1) Provost and 2) the Dean’s/Provost Council
1. Research and, if deemed appropriate, make recommendations regarding options for extending the date in which freshmen (and perhaps all recently matriculated students) can drop a course. Report requested by end of October.
Rationale: requested by CEPS faculty and administration, this charge reflects a concern that early career students are reluctant to drop a course, even when they are struggling, before the drop deadline. This may negatively impact their college career and hamper retention efforts on campus.
2. Working from the advanced, but preliminary report, from AY18–19, continue to define “Student Success” from an academic point of view, and offer guidance how the university as a whole can contribute to academic success of its students. Initial Report in November, Final Report in December (or January).
Rationale: “Student Success” is a term of art among university administrators and is, in essence, an index of retention and graduation rates. It does not include measures of academic learning, student well-being, or any other educational goals that faculty regard as markers of student success. This is our attempt to establish what faculty regard as “Student Success.” The APC from 2018–19 produced two preliminary documents, which may serve as a useful starting point for this year’s deliberations.
(The Agenda Committee has removed this charge - 02/10/2020) -
3. Consider the potential benefits and challenges to moving from a 4 (# of classes) x 4 (credit hour) model to a 5 x 3-credit system. In cooperation with administrative leadership, analyze the academic and financial impact of such a move. Interview or solicit feedback from key stakeholders, including deans, associate deans, department chairs, the Provost's office (Vasu), the Registrar's office, and the Discovery office; work with the new CFO or other budget officers to determine plausibility of such a move. Report in March. Rationale: In addition to potential NECHE (New England Commission of Higher Education) concerns (since credit hours do not match number of class hours per week), such a move may allow highly circumscribed majors to fulfill general education requirements more easily and offer students more variety in their college careers.
4. (Added on 02/14/2020) Develop recommended best practices for syllabi and other communication related to credit hours and minimum hours expected in courses. See February 2, 2020 email from Barbara White for context.
From: White, Barbara (OT) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 2, 2020 1:59 PM
To: Bachrach, David <David.Bachrach@unh.edu>; Sharp, Erin <Erin.Sharp@unh.edu>
Cc: MacFarlane, Lisa <Lisa.MacFarlane@unh.edu>
Subject: Credit hour
Hi David and Erin. As we have previously discussed, transparency in meeting federal credit hour definition will be an important element in our 2023 NECHE site visit.
My suggestion is to address this in two ways:
- Place language in all syllabi dated 2020 and going forward, that explains to students how credits are conferred. This is suggested language but faculty can riff off this however they wish so long as the core message is the same: “Federal regulation defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in the course learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is equivalent to 3 hours of work per credit per week over a 14 week semester. This means that you should anticipate about 12 hours of time spent weekly on this course in class, labs, relevant readings, meetings, writing, quizzes, and participation in course-related experiences, etc. (4 credits x 3 hours = 12 hours)”. This is backed by https://www.neche.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Affirmation-of-Compliance.pdf
- Faculty should include in the syllabus a schedule of topics and assignments/activities that could be judged by anyone outside of their field as a reasonable amount of content to meet the above. For example, slim assignment expectations without a schedule reflective of 14 weeks of content would likely be inferred as not meeting the standard. This reflects what each Academic Review or Policies Committee within colleges as well as the Discovery program does anyway.
Vasu would like to send a message to all faculty but we wished to have your acknowledgement before doing so. Please email me back with any comments or concerns? And always feel free to call.
Barbara Prudhomme White, PhD, OTR/L
Assoc. Professor, CHHS
Faculty Fellow, Provost’s office
UNH Accreditation Liaison Officer, NECHE
University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824
1. Define “Student Success” from an academic point of view, and compare it to the definition
set forth by administrative leadership. Initial Report in October, follow-up as needed.
2. Define UNH’s academic identity now, and survey faculty what they want to university to be
as an academic institution. Working with university leadership and other key stakeholders,
craft a long term strategy to implement that vision and to increase the centrality of the
academic mission of the university. Among possible outcomes are:
a. Establish a mechanism(s) for promoting collaboration, mutual understanding, and
shared decision-making across key stakeholders in shaping the future academic
direction for the University.
b. Identify areas that can improve the academic climate on campus (including better use
of classroom space in mornings and Fridays, attention to the problem of alcohol on
campus, rigor of classes [see self-reported number of hours in classes], and so on).
c. Analyze grade inflation and/or plot grade distributions among units on campus.
d. Examine Discovery as the economic driver of curriculum—is it accomplishing its
goals? Should professional colleges (e.g., PAUL, HHS) be delivering Discovery, or
ought that reside in COLA and hard sciences?
e. Consider moving from 4 x 4-credit classes a semester to a 5 x 3-credit system.
f. Identify, and make recommendations if appropriate and possible, other issues that
pertain to increasing the academic rigor on campus.
3. (Assigned on 02/06/2019) - Research and make recommendations if deemed appropriate regarding options for extending the date in which a recently matriculated student (i.e., freshman) is able to drop a course. As you research this issue, consider fall and spring semester as well as j-term and summer sessions. Background: When CEPS senators met with the CEPS Dean in late 2018 the faculty discussed concerns that UNH’s early semester deadline for dropping a course negatively impacts students who are early in their studies at UNH. Faculty believe that freshman students are less likely to drop a course, even with evidence that they are struggling, because they either don’t know the process or they fear dropping a course will have a negative impact on their college career. The faculty suggested that extending the drop deadline (possibly even to the last week of classes) for students who are early in their academic careers (first 2 semesters at UNH) could improve student retention and success.
Initial reports as deemed necessary, penultimate report at first meeting in April.
Academic Program Committee Members 2018-2019
- Allison Wilder, Recreational Management & Policy, CHHSNiva Gupta, Chemical Engineering, CEPS
- Cristy Beemer, English, COLA
- Xiaowei Teng (Fall 2018 proxy for Niva Gupta) Chemical Engineering, CEPS
- Chris Neefus, Biological Sciences, COLSA
- Joe Onosko, Education, COLA
- James Ramsay, Security Studies, UNH-Manchester
- Chris Reardon, Political Science, COLA
- Lucy Salyer, History, COLA
- Andrew Seal, Economics, PCBE
- Regina Smick-Attisano, TSAS, COLSA