The faculty meeting was called to order by President Ronald A. Crutcher at 2:00 pm on Friday, December 7, 2012 in Hindle Auditorium.
The minutes of the November 9, 2012 faculty meeting were approved as circulated.
President Crutcher began his remarks by announcing that three students have won Benjamin Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad--Maya Ennis is going to Egypt, Alexis Nieves is going to Spain and Gilda Rodrigues is going to Brazil. These scholarships range between $3,000 and $5,000 and are awarded to students who might not otherwise have such an opportunity because of financial constraints.
The President announced that, in honor of the celebration of the start of Hanukkah, there will be a lighting of the Menorah at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 8th on the Chapel steps. He updated the faculty on actions in response to the recent anti-Semitic graffiti incident on campus. Referring to the email message that went out to the Community on December 6th, he announced that he has asked the President’s Action Committee on Inclusive Excellence (PACIE) to take the lead in developing proposals for “sustaining a diverse community in which everyone can appreciate differences and learn from each other.” The Committee will begin its work in the New Year and complete a full report by the end of the spring semester. Professor Russell Williams and Raquel Ramos, Associate Dean/Director of the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning, serve as the Co-Chairs of PACIE. The President announced that Derek Schulman, the Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England will be on campus on Monday, December 10th. The President will be hosting a luncheon for Mr. Schulman and Ms. Ramos, Professor Williams, and other staff and students will be attending that event.
President Crutcher thanked faculty members who participated in two recent alumnae/i events. On December 6th, Professors Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus and Betsey Dyer attended the event held at the Museum of Science in Boston and two weeks ago, Professor Meg Kirkpatrick spoke to alumnae/i at an event held in San Francisco. The President stressed how important it is to the alumnae/i to have faculty participation in these events.
Provost Linda Eisenmann began her remarks by reminding everyone of the plans for a faculty get-together immediately following the faculty meeting at the Trattoria Della Nonna in Mansfield. She then highlighted faculty publications and exhibitions; Professor Kim Miller has co-edited a special issue of the journal African Arts. This issue is on the topic of “Gender and South African Art”; Professor Tim Barker, Gary Ahrendts and Shelby Delos ’14 have a second article on the “Rotation Period Determination for 247 Eukrate”published in Minor Planet Bulletin; Professor Delvyn Case’s new musical piece “Fire in the Big Top!” a 45-minute composition for narrator and brass quintet intended for elementary school audiences, has been performed for thousands of children at schools, libraries, and performing arts centers across the state of Maine by members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. His holiday overture, “Rocket Sleigh” is being performed by numerous ensembles across the country this December including the Arkansas Symphony, Alabama Symphony, the United States Coast Guard Band, and the Yale Concert Band; Professor Jay Goodman’s article “U.S. Supreme Court Narrows Theft of Honest Services Crimes” has been published in the November/December issue of the Rhode Island Bar Journal.
President Crutcher called on Dean Alex Trayford, Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing, to present proposed changes to Faculty Legislation regarding definitions of good academic standing. Before presenting the changes, Dean Trayford distributed a document outlining the various designations within the Academic Review. He explained each designation and the process followed by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). Professor Tommasina Gabriele, a member of the committee, explained that athletics and student financial services are two factors that never come into play during the academic review. The Committee only focuses on the student’s academic record. A brief discussion followed. Dean Lee Williams summarized the role of CAS. She noted that the Committee operates on a platform of very rigorous standards with a great deal of intense consideration of a student’s individual circumstances. She also gave a quick summary of the background for bringing the changes to Faculty Legislation noting that Faculty Legislation is inconsistent in some of its definitions due to a number of historic changes; and this has a number of significant implications because some actions are based on the definition of particular student designations. Dean Williams gave athletics as an example. She said that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) states very clearly that a student must be in good academic standing to participate in athletics. Because Athletics has found multiple definitions of good academic standing in Faculty Legislation, they asked for clarification.
Dean Trayford, on behalf of the Committee on Academic Standing, formally presented the changes to Faculty Legislation, Part II, VIII, Academic Standing as well as the rationale for each change:
NOTE: Proposed changes to wording are represented in bold. Deletions are shown by strikethroughs
VIII. Academic Standing
A. Good Academic Standing
A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she is matriculated at Wheaton and is considered by the Committee on Academic Standing to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.
Rationale: To eliminate inconsistencies in, and update, faculty legislation to reflect longstanding college practice that differentiates between Good Academic Standing and Academic Probation. It is the role of the Committee on Academic Standing to give thoughtful consideration to a student’s semester and cumulative grade point averages, as well as to any pertinent extenuating circumstances that can interfere in the student’s academic success (e.g., medical issues, family troubles, loss of close relatives, disruptive campus living conditions, to name a few). The committee thus understands that students are placed on Academic Probation and Suspension for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, it is the committee’s understanding that the longstanding college practice which differentiates Good Academic Standing from Academic Probation is meant to enable those students whom the committee allows to re-matriculate at Wheaton a full participation in campus life as the best possible course of action for academic improvement and success, for full integration in the Wheaton community, and for retention.
A. B. Class Standing Year
A student's standing class year in the College is stated in terms of the number of credits which have been earned. A student's academic standing class year is as follows when the student has earned the following number of credits:
Freshman First-year 0
[December 19, 1972, p. 3081]
Rationale: Clarification of terms
C. Minimum Grade Average
B. C. To be in good academic standing, a A student must earn at least an average of 2.0 in the freshman year and a yearly and cumulative average of 2.0 thereafter. will normally be placed on academic probation if the semester or cumulative grade point average is below a 2.0. For graduation, a student must have an average of 2.0 in the major and overall. [February 3, 1995, p. 4049]
Reports of unsatisfactory work shall be sent to the Associate Dean's Office in the middle of each semester. [October 14, 1969, p. 2927]
Rationale: Not practiced.
D. Academic Review
1. A student whose semester record, or a First Year student whose tentative record at the middle of either semester, includes an average grade point average is below C 2.0 (for members of the Class of 1999 and beyond) or C- 1.67 (for members of the class of 1998 or earlier) shall be reviewed by the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing.
Rationale: Not practiced.
a. First Year students at Mid-Semester shall be placed on Mid-Semester Academic Probation.
Rationale: No longer practiced.
b. a. All students who fall below the minimum for Good Standing whose semester or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of any semester will face any of a range of institutional responses, from placing that student on Academic Probation through Suspension for one academic year to Academic Dismissal. The determination of that sanction shall be the responsibility of the Committee and shall be made based upon the student‘s academic record and all other information available to the Committee at that time. Students shall have the right to appeal the Committee decision.
c. Students who have fallen more than two credits behind their class as a function of withdrawn or failed courses are defined as making insufficient progress towards the completion of their degree and will be placed on Academic Probation.
Rationale: No longer practiced.
d. Students on Academic Probation shall be considered in conditional good standing during their first semester and will be eligible to participate in all student co-curricular activities. [May 6, 2005, p. 4502]
Rationale: Never practiced.
2. If a student meets the minimum semester's 2.0 semester Grade Point Average criterion for academic good standing during their semester on academic probation, but not raise their cumulative Grade Point Average above the minimum criterion 2.0, they may will be continued on Academic Probation and in conditional good standing for one additional semester. Should a student be continued for a third consecutive semester on academic probation, she or he will no longer be eligible to participate in co-curricular activities.
[March 12, 1962, p. 2678; February 3, 1995, p. 4049; December 5, 1997, p. 4169]
Rationale: Not currently practiced.
E. Academic Suspension and Dismissal
1. All students on Academic Probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester. A student on academic probation who fails to achieve both a semester and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (for the Class of '99 and beyond) or 1.67 (for the Class of '98 and earlier) shall be placed on academic suspension for one year. Once suspended, a student falls out of academic good standing. A student returning from academic suspension shall be placed on academic probation until the cumulative grade point average is 2.0. for one semester to earn grades sufficient to return him or her to academic good standing. Failure to return to good standing in any semester after a student has been suspended shall do so may result in Academic Dismissal from the college. [December 19, 1972, p. 3080; April 11, 1980, p. 3455; February 3, 1995, p. 4049; December 5, 1997, pp. 4169-4170, May 6, 2005, p. 4503]
Rationale: More clearly expresses current practice. Eliminating contradiction within E1.
Professor Betsey Dyer (on behalf of a number of co-sponsors) presented the following AMENDMENTS to Section A and Section E of the proposed legislation from CAS, especially concerning Good Academic Standing(changes for this amended amendment are in bold with ** before and after) as well as the rationale for the proposed amendments.
NOTE: Proposed changes by CAS to wording are represented in bold. Deletions are shown by strikethroughs.
VIII. Academic Standing
A. Good Academic Standing
A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she
**maintains a cumulative grade point average of
After two semesters: 1.67
After four semesters: 1.67
After six semesters: 2.0
After eight semesters: 2.0**
**OMIT : <is matriculated at Wheaton and is considered by the Committee on Academic Standing to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.>**
E. Academic Suspension and Dismissal
All students on Academic Probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester. A student on academic probation who fails to achieve both a semester and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (for the Class of '99 and beyond) or 1.67 (for the Class of '98 and earlier) shall be placed on academic suspension for one year.
**A suspended student is not in good academic standing.**
**OMIT :<Once suspended, a student falls out of academic good standing.>**
Rationale for the Amendment
The essence of this amendment is that we wish to maintain (or to raise in practice) the standard of good academic standing such that it is connected with the numerical GPA required for graduation (as stated in the original faculty legislation.) We are opposed to having no GPA at all associated with the concept of good academic standing.
A technicality of the term “good academic standing” is that it is used primarily in only two Wheaton Departments: Financial Aid and Athletics; good academic standing is not typically used by CAS nor is CAS involved with the application of the term by Financial Aid or Athletics
- Some grace for first and second year students is built into this amendment such that they are allowed to fall short of the graduation GPA of 2.0 and yet still be considered in good standing since usually there is still enough time to catch up. Furthermore, since GPA for good standing is checked only once a year, it allows a longer period of grace especially for first year students. Indeed a student (especially in the first year) may be “on probation” (as determined by CAS) but still allowed a time period in which to try to balance academics and athletics and get back on course for graduation.
- Most student athletes have GPAs surpassing the minimum of 2.0 and so are unaffected by this. The legislation is primarily for those few who are in imminent danger of being suspended by CAS (ie not retained) due to academic performance, ie those who repeatedly were placed on academic probation by CAS especially after the first year. Current practice is that student athletes at risk may participate fully in their sports right up to the point of suspension by CAS; this amendment provides a season off from athletics, in order to focus on academics and to assure retention by averting suspension. This is in the spirit of the NCAA requirement to not have students who devote themselves to athletics but who are then suspended because of academics. (Note that such suspensions also increase the financial burden of a student at risk by necessitating summer courses or additional semesters.)
- An athlete temporarily ineligible for NCAA participation would not be deprived of the Athletics Department Study Hall, good academic advice from coaches, from FARs, and from "Wheaton Athletic Mentors" (WAMs); it would be the other way around. That athlete would receive at least as much support and perhaps even more from Athletics during that period.
- The college currently advertises itself as having a GPA (of 2.0) associated with its definition of good standing at three public sites: The Academic Advising site, The Registrar’s site, and the Financial Aid Site (which further modifies our GPA standard to conform with federal guidelines.) Furthermore a GPA of 2.0 is how good academic standing is defined in legislation. (This amendment is more lenient than current legislation.)
- Wheaton is required by Federal Financial Aid to have a minimum GPA definition for students to get federal financial aid. We are allowed to have more stringent criteria. This amendment mirrors exactly the minimum required. http://wheatoncollege.edu/sfs/awards-applications/satisfactory-academic-progress/
Thus (if this amendment is passed) we will have the same standards for federal financial aid students as for all other students, rather than two different standards.
- Wheaton requires students to have a GPA of 2.0 in order to graduate. Associating “academic good standing” with a grade point average reinforces the idea that a particular GPA ultimately is required and that the college recognizes the importance of preparing students to graduate.
- All but one of the colleges in our various comparison and competitive groups have a GPA cutoff (typically 2.0) for academic good standing and for academic probation. Typically the two (good standing and probation) have complementary criteria.
- The college (as do all colleges) already has a mechanism for confirming that a student is “enrolled” or matriculated. This is a document called an “enrollment verification”. Instructions for requesting one may be found at the registrar’s site. Such verifications are used to get veteran’s benefits and some insurance, loan or medical benefits. No student who is matriculated or enrolled is prevented from getting an official certificate confirming that status. “Good Academic Standing” is not a typically requested status from outside ventures. Instead transcripts are requested in cases in which a student’s grades are of interest.
- Wheaton’s CAS does not typically use any version of the phrase “good academic standing” in its regular meetings and does not foresee doing so; CAS is primarily concerned with students who are either on probation or not on probation, as currently defined by them as a 2.0. Good academic standing is used by two outside agencies who require Wheaton to have it defined clearly: Federal Financial Aid and NCAA Division III Athletics. The purview of CAS is not over the phrase and its specific use but rather over the particular section of faculty legislation in which the phrase is defined. However most of our comparison colleges do equate or approximate “probation” (a purview of CAS) with failure to achieve good academic standing. The request of CAS to uncouple completely the two is unusual.
- Typically just as soon as any Wheaton Department finds itself practicing something different from what is in faculty legislation, it brings a change in legislation to the faculty via the appropriate committee. In this unusual case, Athletics has not used the GPA of 2.0 as its definition of good academic standing for many years, even though the college websites use a GPA definition. The matter should have been brought to the faculty years ago, dating probably from when the college went co-ed and the athletics program was built to accommodate many more teams. Around that time, a new definition for academic standing (pertaining entirely to NCAA compliance) was established but not publicized, by which mere enrollment was considered sufficient. Although NCAA requires that we publicize our standard, currently we do not or rather we publicize it as 2.0 but in fact do not use that standard.
- After much discussion between the Director of Athletics, Associate Director of Athletics, the former and current FARs, and President Crutcher, this standard (presented in this amendement) of associating these particular GPAs to good standing was endorsed by all in Fall 2012 and submitted by Director of Athletics John Sutyak (as a proposal from the Athletics Department) to CAS. The plan was to have those standards brought to the faculty for a vote via the committee that would typically bring up such matters, CAS.
- It puts a particular burden on a student athlete to have to deliberate (often with the help of a coach who recruited that student and now is mentoring and advising the student) a difficult (albeit uncommon) choice between participating in athletics and maintaining a GPA commensurate with graduation when there is no stipulated GPA at all for that deliberation. Typical academic advising is done within realistic constraints such as advising future majors within the constraints of a 2.0 required to graduate with that major.
- As with the required GPA for Federal Financial Aid, there is recourse for students who wish to contest and apply for exceptions. In the case of a student athlete who seems to be not on track to graduate but who nonetheless would like to continue as a varsity athlete, that student may make an appeal to the FARs (who are entrusted and required by the NCAA to oversee the academic progress of varsity athletes) for an exception.
(See attachment for back-up data referred to in the rationale.)
Dean Trayford gave the rationale for presenting the changes to Faculty Legislation being brought to the faculty by the Committee on Academic Standing. He explained that the practice outlined in Faculty Legislation has been followed for many decades. The proposed change is intended to bring the Legislation up-to-date and reflect the current practice.
The discussion on the proposed amendment to the original proposal followed. Professor Dyer spoke to the amendment. She said that the co-sponsors of the amendment are requesting a GPA associated with the concept of good academic standing. She explained that several departments (Career Services, Financial Aid, the Global Center, Athletics, and others) use the GPA when referring to good academic standing. Only two departments, Athletics and Financial Aid, are required by outside agencies to have a definition of good academic standing. She explained the NCAA requirement that the academic progress of athletes be monitored to assure their graduation; NCAA requests that student athletes not be allowed to participate in their sport if they are at risk of not graduating or being suspended. Professor Dyer noted that this is a retention issue since students who come to Wheaton to participate in sports and are not allowed to do so may be likely to leave. A lengthy discussion followed. A motion was made to call the question and was approved. A vote on the amendment to the original proposal was taken and the amendment was approved.
President Crutcher proposed a further amendment to Part II, Article VIII A. as follows:
- Good Academic Standing
A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she maintains a cumulative grade point average of:
After two semesters: 1.67
After four semesters: 1.67
After six semesters: 2.0
After eight semesters: 2.0.
A very brief discussion of President Crutcher’s proposed amendment to the amendment followed. Professor Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus called the question to end the discussion of the amendment to the first amendment already approved. A vote was taken and approved. The faculty then voted on the amendment to the amendment and it was approved. The original proposed change to Faculty Legislation from CAS as amended was now on the floor for consideration. A motion was made to call the question; the vote was taken and passed. The faculty then voted on the original proposal by CAS as doubly amended and it was approved.
Professors Touba Ghadessi and Yuen Gen Liang announced the Wheaton Institute for Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH) events planned for the spring semester of 2013. Professor Ghadessi showcased the WIIH website highlighting each segment (Mission, Directors, Theme and Events, Students, Visitors, and Faculty) and encouraged the faculty to visit the website for further information. Professor Liang noted that the inaugural theme for the Institute is “The Humanities Give Back: The Role of the Humanities in Professional Fields.” A number of events are planned for the spring; on February 20th, Dr. Evelynn Hammonds, Dean of Harvard College and Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrants, Professor of the History of Science and African American Studies will be giving a guest lecture; on February 28th there will be a roundtable discussion featuring four leading medical practitioners in the community on “Practicing Medicine and Practicing the Humanities”. These two events will lead into the inaugural roundtable gala on April 1st entitled “The Humanities Give Back: Inauguration of the WIIH”. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University and 2011 President of the American Historical Association. Professor Liang noted that the website will be updated frequently and he encouraged the faculty to check the website often. Professor Ghadessi mentioned that funding for the spring programming is made possible by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the Evelyn Dansig Haas Visiting Artists Program, the Student Government Association’s Speaker, Venture, Senate and Educational Council Funds, Phi Beta Kappa and the Women’s Studies Program. She invited the faculty to email her and/or Professor Liang with questions and suggestions.
Professor Russell Williams, Chair of the Faculty Business Major ad hoc Committee, reported on the work of the Committee. He began by introducing the members of the Committee: Professors Matthew Allen, Fran deAlba, Peony Fhagen-Smith, Michael Kahn, Elita Pastra-Landis, and Jeanne Wilson, Provost Linda Eisenmann and staff support for the Committee by Susan Colson. The Committee meets once a week and has met three times as of this date. He noted that there is a deep commitment on the part of each Committee member “to anchor this new major in the liberal arts and in the values of the Wheaton curriculum including global perspectives, infusion and interdepartmental synergy”. He is optimistic that the Committee will be able to develop a recommendation of a program that meets these goals. If any faculty members have questions or ideas they are welcome to contact members of the Committee. Professor Williams said that the Committee will be meeting with the Educational Policy Committee to garner their feedback and input. He will report to the faculty again at the February faculty meeting.
Professors Bob Morris, Rachelle DeCoste and Dean Jim Mancall reminded the faculty that the Academic Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 26th. Dean Mancall said that an informal working group (Professors Morris and DeCoste, Claire Buck, Dean Alex Vasquez, Scott Hamlin and two students), has been formed with the goal of reenergizing the Academic Festival. He and Professor Morris said that some of the parts of the festival worked well while others did not. They asked the faculty to think about how their spring semester classes (especially the junior and senior seminars) can work toward the Academic Festival, perhaps highlighting the exceptional or exciting work of a group of students or an entire class. They would like suggestions of how to present, in the most exciting way, the most exciting work in the various disciplines. Professor DeCoste noted that the group is planning a kick-off event on Thursday, April 25th and asked the faculty to mark their calendars.
Professor Matthew Allen announced that there would be an end-of- semester Jazz Band concert that evening (December 7th) in the Experimental Theater to honor Professor Rick Britto who passed away this summer.
Professor Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Scholarship and Promotion noted that an email announcing summer research funds and revised guidelines,will be distributed to the faculty very soon.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.
Lynda S. Marcoccia
Senior Executive Assistant to the Provost
Secretary to the Faculty