Board revises admissions process and 'warning system' for students
In a busy session today, UA's Board of Trustees revised the University's admissions process, approved a new "early warning system" to enhance student success and endorsed "ZipStart," a new initiative to encourage first-year students to enroll in selected general education courses.
The Board also received a budget update and approved recommendations for faculty tenure and promotion.
- The Board approved a significant change in the admissions process at The University of Akron designed to improve student success during the first year of college. A uniquely tailored formula was developed by a Faculty Senate committee to predict first-year college success for students currently in high school, based on their grade point average and ACT score. High school students, parents and guidance counselors can now use the formula to better plan for the future. Full story.
- The Board also approved a new “early warning system” so that students are alerted if they are not performing well in a class before the end of the fifth week of a normal semester. This system gives students an opportunity to impact their grades before midterm. This applies to students taking 100 and 200 level classes. Faculty will assign a student a satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance based on an overall assessment of a student’s classroom performance (which may include behavior and participation). The registrar’s office will alert the student through a computerized system and direct a student with an unsatisfactory performance to seek advice from faculty or an advisor in order to improve classroom performance.
- The Board approved a new initiative, “ZipStart,” to encourage first-year students to enroll in selected general education courses in an effort to have a successful start at UA, with the ultimate goal being successful completion to degree. The introductory gen-ed courses will be offered on-campus or online, at a significantly reduced course rate. One three-credit course would cost $750; two three-credit courses would cost $1,000. General service fees and other fees would be waived for eligible students. The program would be available to undergraduate freshmen who have confirmed they will attend UA in the fall, and who will be encouraged to take courses this summer. More details will be forthcoming after the results of the approval process by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.
- In his report to the Board, Chief Financial Officer David Cummins described efforts underway to close the $26.7 million budget gap and present a balanced budget to the Board at its June meeting. Included in his report was an update on position eliminations: thus far, departments and colleges have identified approximately 115 positions that would be eliminated through canceling some ongoing searches, through retirements, resignations or other departures. Cummins will present further details at the next board meeting, and also emphasized that the current budget planning was based on a flat enrollment for Fall, 2013.
- Provost Mike Sherman focused on “Accountability” in his comments to the Board, noting that course offerings have been expanded across hours of the day and days of the week to be more convenient to students. Sherman praised the work of the faculty and staff in facilitating student academic success, reflecting that “we will become a more accomplished institution, as we become more accountable for our actions and their outcomes.” He cited adjustments to scheduled class offerings, defining part-time work, the Achieving Distinction Initiative and Academic Program Review as examples. He said there is a higher percentage of credit hours that are being taught by full-time faculty this spring, which has helped to reduce expenditures on part-time faculty by $500,000. And, as a result of faculty workload review, about 150 full-time faculty have had their workloads adjusted for Fall, 2013.
- The Trustees approved a recommendation to grant tenure or promotion or both to 36 members of the faculty.
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