Undergraduate Studies Council
The page contains the role statement and council charges.
The Undergraduate Studies Council (USC) is a policy-recommending and review body with oversight of any matter related to the undergraduate curriculum at the University. Thus, for example, it will be concerned with the establishment of new departmental programs, new interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, apparent duplication between existing programs or courses, and needs for additional or specialized instruction.
- To develop policy concerning undergraduate programs and curricula.
- To elect faculty members of the Committee to Oversee General Education (COGE); Conceptual Framework, Knowledge Base and Certification Committee; and Intellectual Skills Program Advisory Committee.
- To observe and assess all recommendations of the COGE, including recommended revisions to the University’s General Education Policy, and to select other general education matters that USC believes require review.
- To consider questions of duplication of current course or program content, possibly delegating to an appropriate ad hoc subcommittee the consideration of specific areas, after which the USC can initiate remedial action.
- To consider possible deficiencies in programs or course offerings needed by students in other programs and, if necessary, to initiate remedial steps.
- To consider whether or not the undergraduate curriculum is meeting student needs, and make recommendations as appropriate.
- To consider any other matters that it believes directly affect the undergraduate curricula and programs of the University.
Council Standing Committees
- Committee to Oversee General Education (COGE)—reviews and approves courses for general education credit received from college curriculum committees and deans and forwards its recommendations to the administration; reviews all general education courses at least once within a seven-year cycle as determined by the Committee; and recommends revisions in the University's General Education Policy to the USC. Composition: One faculty member from the Colleges of Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, Health and Human Services and three faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences (one from each of its three divisions). The Office of Academic Affairs may appoint an additional member.
- Intellectual Skills Program Advisory Committee (ISPAC)
Mission: The Intellectual Skills Program Advisory Committee (ISPAC) will assist the Intellectual Skills Development Program (ISDP) in ensuring that all Western Michigan University undergraduate students are able to demonstrate competencies in reading, writing, and quantitative skills.
Charge: The ISPAC will:
- Recommend/revise placement competency requirements in reading, writing, and mathematical skills for entry-level undergraduate students
- Recommend assessment techniques for determining the reading, writing, and quantitative skills levels of entering undergraduate students
- Recommend appropriate skills development opportunities for those undergraduate students needing to enhance their skills levels
- Review data collection for submission to the Undergraduate Studies Council and other appropriate University functional areas, including an annual report (Priority #2 from USC)
- Recommend strategies for assessing learning outcomes of students who need the skills building programs
- Review assessment outcomes to determine if strategies need to be modified and recommend modifications
- Reviews courses which are/may be approved to satisfy the skill-building nature of the requirement
- Recommend development opportunities for faculty teaching the ISDP courses
- Develop recommendations on starting campus dialogues to commit to and make necessary changes happen to ensure the college-level writing, college-level mathematics, and baccalaureate-level writing courses are building on the ISDP foundation and enhancing the students’ skills
- Recommend development opportunities for faculty teaching the baccalaureate-level writing courses (Priority #1 from USC)
Faculty members of USC committees are nominated by deans, directors or chairs and elected by the council to serve three-year terms.
Delores Walcott will serve as the Senate Executive Board representative on USC.
In addition to the specific responsibilities specified in the Undergraduate Studies Council’s role statement and the work of the USC standing committees, the Faculty Senate Executive Board charges the USC to consider, as a committee of the whole or through the appropriate sub-committee or task force, the following issues:
- Top priority: Work with Graduate Studies Council to finalize a revision of the accelerated degree program (ADP) policy.
- Change name of Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) to Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP). AMP is a clearer definition than ADP where students interpret this to mean the undergraduate degree is accelerated. [Work with Graduate Studies Council.]
- Establish learning outcomes for the 10 skills students should develop at WMU as described in Strategy 1.1 – Goal #1 of the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan:
Goal # 1. Offer undergraduate programs that will provide graduates with the distinction necessary to be highly successful in their lives and careers.
Strategy 1.1: The faculty will continually examine curricula and course content, including general education, to ensure that the following skills, knowledge, and attitudes are integrated into undergraduate education:
[Work with General Education Committee.]
- Global understanding and sensitivity
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking
- Environmental sustainability
- Diversity and inclusion
- Civic and social responsibility
- Health and wellness
- Quantitative and reasoning skills
- Artistic literacy
- Information literacy
- Establish a method for listing and assessing the learning outcomes associated with each of the items 1-10 listed above. This should include the development of learning outcomes, evaluation rubrics, method of assessment, identification of the body responsible for analyzing the data and who is responsible for recommending changes based on the assessment data. This process should apply to our general education program. [Work with General Education Committee.]
- Devise a university-wide working definition of service learning and establish the basic components of a service learning course using best practices. Request updates on service learning from the Office of Service Learning.
- What should the policy and procedure be to award credit for specific military experience? [Work with Graduate Studies Council.]
It is understood that the USC will seek information from all administrative offices necessary to carry out its charges. The USC is expected to keep the Senate Executive Board apprised of progress, especially in connection with any memorandum of action it may develop, and to give advance notice of any action the USC seeks to place on the Senate agenda, including the final text of any proposed MOA, report or resolution. The Executive Board should also be notified of substantive procedural issues addressed by the USC. The USC shall provide a written summary of its progress on the above charges and any other activities undertaken no later than June 30, 2014.