College of Arts and Sciences

Educational Policy Meeting


Minutes of the 401st Meeting

Thursday May 9th, 2005





PRESENT:  Joe Burns, Christina Corea, Lisa Cuklanz, Stephanie Fernandez, Solomon Friedberg, Michael Graf, Michael Martin, Carlos Jaramillo, Thomas McGuinness, Ourida Mostefai, William Petri, Jennie Purnell, David Quigley, Joseph Quinn, Harry Rosser, Catherine Schneider, Robert Scott, Eileen Sweeney, Barbara Viechnicki.

ABSENT:  Akinseye Akinbulumo, Paul Davidovits, Andrea Defusco-Sullivan, Sr. Mary Daniel O'Keeffe, Helina Teklehaimont,

ON LEAVE:  Clare Dunsford.


CALL TO ORDER:  Dean Quinn called the meeting to order at 3:50 pm.


MINUTES:  Minutes for February 17th, 2005, were approved subject to minor changes by Dean Quinn.




APPEALS. Jennie Purnell reported that the subcommittee heard three appeals this year, one appealing a grade and two appealing deans’ decisions.


HONORS.  Grade compression. David Quigley reported that an edited version of the grade compression report had been distributed to chairs adding that departments were to discuss it and submit feedback by the end of October 2005. Dean Quinn reported that he had begun working with Kelly Armstrong of the Institutional Research office, to set up a system to produce grade reports on an annual basis.


Ourida Mostefai stated that the Deans List should be modified to raise the GPAs required for different degrees of honors.  Dean Quinn responded that the honors subcommittee would submit recommendations next year for any changes in policy with respect to required GPAs. Quigley added that the subcommittee continued to research what departmental honors designations can and should be recognized on transcripts


Independent Major Proposals. David Quigley reported receiving five proposals for an Independent Major called “Studies in American Race and Ethnicity” noting that the proposals were submitted after the March 1 deadline and that some of the students might not have the required 3.5 GPA.


Christina Corea, noted that the students were all sophomores and the proposals were viewed as a "pilot project" for an Ethnic Studies major.  Ourida Mostefai noted that Independent Major proposals should go through the dean's office adding that the deadline was set to allow a full review and should be respected.  Joe Burns added that no proposals could be reviewed until the subcommittee was reconstituted next fall adding that, in the meantime, petitions should be dealt with by the sophomore class dean.


Catherine Schneider stated that the minimum GPA threshold should be enforced. Joe Burns responded that while 3.5 is the minimum GPA for truly independent majors in cases where an advising structure like Black Studies existed a minimum GPA of 3.0 had been allowed.


ACADEMIC AFFAIRS.  Jewish Studies Minor. Eileen Sweeney reported the committee had received answers to outstanding questions concerning the Jewish Studies.

  • The frequency of course offerings would fit the parameters of minors already in existence and additional courses looking to establish a major would be developed once the minor was in place.
  • A website for advising was being built and Ben Birnbaum and Nancy Netzer would handle publicity for the new minor.


Noting that programs based in a linguistic tradition often required higher competence than mere proficiency, Ourida Mostefai asked why Hebrew was recommended rather than required. Sweeney responded that Hebrew was not the only language used in Jewish Studies. Mostefai pointed out that Professors Dwayne Carpenter in Romance Languages and Maxim Shrayer of Slavic and Eastern Languages taught courses using original languages and noted that many BC students had their proficiency before arriving on campus.


Dean Quinn stated that the goal was to make the new minor as widely available as possible, hence Hebrew was not required, but he noted that Arabic was required for Islamic Studies. Jennie Purnell noted that most area studies programs have higher language requirements. Harry Rosser noted that higher language requirements were supported by the new federal International Studies in Higher Education Act and should be required if the minor were to become a major. Catherine Schneider noted that the minor did not have room to require more language study while a major certainly would.


Report on Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UGTAs). Eileen Sweeney reported that the subcommittee had fine tuned the report by separating what could be changed immediately and what would require new budgetary support adding that “blind grading” remained somewhat a question though it evidently did not violate FERPA standards. Sweeney then summarized the report’s recommendations as follows:

  • UGTAs should be paid assistantships though the dean could approve either additional 1 credit non-repeatable P/F internships or exclusively course credit UGTAs for “teaching experience”.
  • UGTAs should be used to grade student work only under a “blind grading system” or after having signed an honor’s pledge.
  • UGTAs should have advance standing and high GPAs in field.
  • UGTAs should receive training in both tutoring practices and confidentiality awareness.


Eileen Sweeney opened discussion tating that the subcommittee would like to end the use of UGTAs but the financial realities and the needs of the course instructors prevented such action. Barbara Viechnicki added that departments that did not have graduate programs especially needed the UGTAs. Solomon Friedberg asked if these restrictions would not defeat the goal of getting very beneficial tutoring for the students.


Lisa Cuklanz suggested that each program should develop guidelines for UGTAs and the faculty using them based on these recommendations. Dean Quinn suggested dropping the “blind grading” requirement and allowing departmental guidelines to dictate practice. Quinn added that this report created oversight of UGTA practices for the first time. 


Bill Petri stated that implementation would have to be incremental since there was no budget to cover new paid UGTAs. Cathy Schneider stated that the P/F 1 credit option could be implemented this fall. Dean Quinn noted that the School of Education graded TA’s work. Joe Burns stated that a UGTA’s work and learning could be supervised and evaluated and a grade could reflect learning not simply work completed. Solomon Friedberg stated that departments would need time to implement changes and appeal special cases. Lisa Cuklanz stated that Communications had already removed TAs for credit from the fall schedule.


Dean Quinn asked which points could be implemented immediately. Sweeney responded

  • no repeat credit
  • P/F grading
  • guidelines for use
  • requirement for training.


The EPC voted to accept the report and its recommendation subject to copy editing revisions.


THANKS. Dean Quinn thanked all the members of the EPC for a productive year. He especially thanked

  • Solomon Friedberg
  • Jennie Purnell
  • Eileen Sweeney
  • Carlos Jaramillo


whose terms were expiring. He also announced that

  • James Najarian from English
  • Susan Shell from Political Science
  • and Charles Landraitis from Math


would be joining EPC in the fall adding that Christina Corea would be continuing as Chief Academic Affairs representative of theUGBC.


ADJOURNMENT.  Dean Quinn adjourned the meeting at 5:05 p.m.


Respectively submitted,



Michael Martin