Provost update (Aug. 15, 2017)

08/15/2017

By Rex Ramsier, provost and senior vice president

Aug. 15, 2017

As a follow up to a suggestion by the University Council Communication Committee, here is another update so that all faculty, Chairs/Directors and Deans have the same information on matters of importance to our academic mission. If anyone has other areas that I might address in future communications, please email them to provost@uakron.edu for consideration. The June Provost Update can be found here.

Professional Development Leave (PDL)


The following faculty have been approved for PDL this academic year. Please join me in congratulating them and in hoping that their time spent focused on research and scholarly activity is productive.

Name Rank College, Dept Term
Patrick Chura Professor BCAS, English Fall 2017
Ensu Kang Associate
Professor
BCAS, School of Art Fall 2017-
Spring 2018
Peter Lavrentyev Professor BCAS, Biology Spring 2018
Matthew Lee Professor BCAS, Sociology Fall 2017
Lingyun Liu Associate
Professor
Engineering, Chemical and
Biomolecular Engineering
Spring 2018
Arjuna Madanayake Associate
Professor
Engineering, ECE Fall 2017
Nidda Makki Associate
Professor
Education, Curricular and
Instructional Studies
Spring 2018
Debmalya Mukherjee Associate
Professor
CBA, Management Fall 2017
Hung Nguyen Associate
Professor
BCAS, Mathematics Fall 2017-
Spring 2018
Namkyung Oh Associate
Professor
BCAS, Public Admin &
Urban Studies
Fall 2017
Michael Sheng Professor BCAS, History Spring 2018
William Thelin Professor BCAS, English Fall 2017
Igor Tsukerman Professor Engineering, ECE Fall 2017-
Spring 2018
Gang Zhao Associate
Professor
BCAS, History Fall 2017



These approvals followed the new version of Article 18 in the collective bargaining agreement. Through that process, we were able to approve 14 out of 30 applications (47%), and in addition any faculty member not receiving approval was provided with a written rationale so as to improve their chances in a future submission. Our colleagues on leave this year will present their results in public forums after they return. The window for AY 2018-2019 PDL applications will open October 1, 2017 and I hope to see another set of interesting projects worthy of support.

Academic Issues and Student Success (AISS) Committee of the Board of Trustees


It may or may not be widely know that the Provost serves as the administration's liaison to the BOT's AISS Committee. As such, we provide informational reports at each committee and BOT meeting which appear in the BOT minutes. I think it helpful to include those here so everyone can see what the BOT has received. In particular, we have paid special attention to broadening the inclusiveness of the Research report to reflect activities within as well as outside the scope of externally funded research activities.

The reports submitted in June 2017:

The reports we intend to share at the August 2017 meeting.

Part-Time Faculty Logging Hours


At the request of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, The University has evaluated its current practice of tracking part-time faculty clock hours for the Affordable Care Act and has determined that change is warranted.

Beginning with the Fall 2017 semester, part-time faculty will no longer be required to log their clock hours in the EmpCenter time and attendance system. Instead of logging clock hours, the University will rely on IRS guidance that allows the use of a "reasonable" method to calculate clock hours.

The maximum load hours assigned to part-time faculty members will remain at 9 credits per semester and all part-time faculty will continue to be responsible for notifying their chair of assignments in other departments.

Rules


In certain cases, rule changes that affect academic units come forward to the BOT Rules Committee, and the Provost is called upon for input before decisions are made.

A summary of a relevant rule that was presented to the Board in April follows:

(1) Ohio Administrative Code §3359-60-04.2 - Regulations regarding refunds: credit/noncredit, and

(2) §3359-60-06.5- Graduate fees and refunds

These rules were modified to clarify and simplify the refund calculation process for tuition and fees, which are triggered by student enrollment. (Ohio Administrative Code §3359-60-04.2 controls undergraduate tuition and fees, and §3359-60-06.5 controls graduate tuition and fees.) The most important revision is that these refunds will now be 100% during the first fourteen days of a standard semester and 0% percent after the fourteenth day. This simplified refund schedule replaces a more complicated one that offered graduated refund rates throughout the first one-third of a standard semester. This revision will provide students with an extra week during a standard academic term to drop a course and receive a full refund, while removing the extended time for reduced refunds. These revisions also align the refund policy with the University's add/drop policy and with the refund policies of other Ohio four-year academic institutions. Students who are dismissed from the University will continue to receive no refund, while students with extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


The Rules Committee will be asked to consider revisions to the following rules at its meeting on August 16, 2017:

O.A.C. 3359-20-05.1 – Grading system, discipline, academic probation and dismissal

The proposed revisions are to reflect that decision-making authority regarding undergraduate student retroactive withdrawal resides with the dean of the student's degree-granting college. For a student not yet admitted to a degree-granting college, the authority resides with the dean of the student's intended degree-granting college, or if the student has not yet declared a major, the deans of the degree-granting colleges offering the courses from which the student is withdrawing. The rule also now will state that extraordinary conditions leading to a student's retroactive withdrawal must be documented.


O.A.C. 3359-24-01 – Bylaws of the graduate faculty

The following proposed revisions to this rule were recommended by the Graduate Council and Graduate Faculty:
  • Replace "vice president for research and dean of the graduate school" with "dean of the graduate school," throughout;
  • On page 7, paragraph (F)(1) - Amend Graduate Council membership to include two elected Faculty Senate representatives and the associate dean of the Graduate School; and
  • On page 7, paragraph (F)(2) - Amend language so that Graduate Council members may serve no more than two consecutive terms.


O.A.C. 3359-60-03.1 – Credit by transfer and/or examination

The proposed revisions to this rule were recommended and approved by Faculty Senate at its meeting held on December 1, 2016. Faculty Senate is recommending the proposed revision requiring a student to obtain written permission prior to taking a course at another institution for the following reasons:
  • Suitability of the transient course when evaluated by graduate/professional schools;
  • Continuity of curriculum when the course is part of a sequence; and
  • Assurance that the course will apply to the degree as intended.


O.A.C. 3359-60-03.3 – Repeating courses

The proposed revisions to this rule were recommended and approved by Faculty Senate at its meeting held on April 6, 2017. Faculty Senate is recommending the proposed revision to permit students to repeat a course more than twice with the permission of the appropriate dean.


O.A.C. 3359-60-06.6 – Graduate student assistantship

The following proposed revisions to this rule were recommended by the Graduate Council and Graduate Faculty:
  • On page 1, paragraph (A)(1) – Revision to clarify the timeframes for graduate school funded assistantships for master's study, doctoral degree study and master's/doctoral degree student. Revisions also cap a graduate student assistantship at a maximum of five years.
  • On page 1, paragraph (B) – Revision to add general service fees to student financial responsibility.