Membership: Melissa M. Bullard (2003), Edward Carlstein (2002), Randall Hendrick (2002), Lloyd S. Kramer (2004), Bobbi Owen (2003), Susan F. Pierce (2004), Heidi Schultz (2002), Joseph Templeton (2004), David Lanier (ex officio).
The Educational Policy Committee meets monthly during the academic year.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 19, 2002.
Report prepared by: Randall Hendrick (Chair) with review of committee.
Committee charge: "The committee is concerned with those matters
of educational policy and its implementation which have significant impact
upon graduate and undergraduate instruction within the Division of Academic
Affairs, and as to which the Faculty Council possesses legislative powers
by delegation from the General Faculty under Article II of the Faculty
Code. The committee's function is advisory to the Faculty Council in respect
of such matters."
Previous Faculty Council questions or charges:
At the October 5 Faculty Council meeting, Prof. Estroff asked the Educational Policy Committee to re-examine the Universityís policy and practice regarding the scheduling of examinations and graded assignments on major religious holidays for substantial minorities of the students. The current policy of the University reads as: "The University calendar does not recognize religious holidays. The faculty are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for students requesting to miss class due to the observance of religious holidays." The committee considered whether it could draft a better policy that might avoid such conflicts in a principled way. It judged that the current policy could not be substantially improved upon, but that some problems could be avoided if the University community was provided with more information about both the policy itself and the timing of holidays. Specifically, the committee recommends that the entire University community be reminded of the policy by e-mail at the beginning of each semester, much as it is reminded of other policies such as the sexual harassment policy. In addition, University calendars should include a convenient referral that accurately catalogues religious holidays in order that the University policy can be implemented. With the help of the Registrar, David Lanier, the committee identified a website (http://www.interfaithcalendar.org/2002.htm) that can be used for this purpose.
At its September 7, 2002 meeting, Faculty Council passed resolution
2001-5 that charged the Educational Policy Committee with reporting annually
on the state of grading practices at UNC-Chapel Hill. The committee continues
to be concerned about the issue of grade compression, and notes the negative
example that Harvard finds itself in (New York Times, December 9, 2001).
The committee has reviewed the distribution of grades since it last reported
in February 2000 on the issue. We have asked the Registrar to make the
information we reviewed available on his website. Since we have only one
further year of data to add to the troubling picture painted in our earlier
report, no corrective trend has emerged. Comparing aggregate data from
the fall seems to suggest a trend toward lower grades, but aggregate comparison
over the spring suggest the opposite. Some individual units show a trend
toward greater compression, while others exhibit movement towards less.
The committee plans to determine whether the formal meetings to discuss
grading practices called for in the Faculty Council resolution have taken
place in every educational unit.
Report of Activities
Academic Procedures require that "Beginning with the first day of classes in the term for which the students expect to graduate, students should file an application for a degree in the office of the dean. A student who has not filed an application for graduation on or before the announced deadlines for fall graduation and for spring graduation may not be included in the list of graduating seniors." The committee was asked for advice from Executive Associate Provost Bernadette Gray-Little and the College of Arts and Sciences concerning the implementation of this policy. There has been some confusion about when a student might reasonably expect to graduate, which has led to practical problems in preparing for commencement ceremonies. The committee approved the following statement as a reasonable means of implementing the policy outlined above.
The committee wishes to reaffirm the Universityís policy on final exams and their scheduling: