Provost Update Dec. 14, 2018


Provost Update
December 14, 2018
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 might be addressed in future communications, please email them to for consideration. View previous Provost Updates here.

Presentation to Board Committee

A follow-up overview of Retention and Persistence Rates was presented to the Board on November 29, 2018. Again, all of us need to work together to improve retention, persistence, and graduation of our students.

Here are other informational reports that were presented to the Academic Issues and Student Success Committee of the Board on November 29, 2018:

Rules Committee Reports to the Board of Trustees

The following is a summary of the Rule revisions adopted by the Board of Trustees on Dec. 5, 2018:

1. O.A.C. 3359-1-05 - President of the university.

Section (A) has been modified to reflect revisions to the search process for the University president. Key changes include:

  • Switching Sections (A)(l) and (A)(3) to reflect the chronology of the search process;
  • Expanding the constituency groups providing recommendations to the screening committee on criteria, process and scheduling to include the University Council and the Akron AAUP;
  • Elimination of the requirement to hold public campus meetings with constituency groups for finalists in the presidential search;
  • Adding to the presidential search committee the elected representative from: University Council; Faculty Senate; Contract Professional Advisory Committee (CPAC); Staff Employee Advisory Committee (SEAC); Undergraduate Student Government; and the Akron AAUP; and
  • Requiring non-Board of Trustees presidential search committee members to execute a confidentiality agreement.

In addition, Sections (E) and (F) have been modified to delegate from the Board of Trustees to the President, or the President's designee(s) (e.g. the chief human resources officer), the authority to employ, set compensation for, or remove, all full-time administrative officers, faculty, contract professionals and unclassified staff whose base salary is less than $75,000, and all part-time employees and classified staff. The authority to employ, set compensation for, or remove full-time administrative officers, faculty, contract professionals and unclassified staff whose base salary exceeds $75,000 remains with the Board of Trustees. In addition, all delegation of these major areas of authority must be in writing and reported to the Board of Trustees in advance of implementation.

2. O.A.C. 3359-3-05 - Office of talent development and human resources.

This rule has been modified to reflect the correct titles of the chief human resources officer and to more accurately state the role and functions of the office, including the administration of all disciplinary actions for classified, unclassified, contract professional and non-faculty bargaining unit employees.

3. O.A.C. 3359-9-01 - Appointment to the classified and unclassified civil service.

This rule has been modified to be consistent with the revisions to the appointment authority that are reflected in O.A.C. 3359-1-05. Please note: all personnel actions that involve multi-year employment contracts, or that include special conditions of employment or a financial commitment by the University of more than $10,000 beyond the individual's base salary, still must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

4. O.A.C. 3359-20-06.1 - Part-time faculty appointments.

Section (A)(l) has been modified to be consistent with the revisions to the appointment authority that are reflected in O.A.C. 3359-1-05 concerning part-time faculty.

5. O.A.C. 3359-22-01 - Contract professional information.

This rule has been modified to be consistent with the revisions to the appointment authority that are reflected in O.A.C. 3359-1-05. The rule has been modified further to combine in one location information related to property interest and liberty interest hearings (including information formerly located in O.A.C. 3359-22-05(1)) into one rule, and to permit the president's designee(s) to preside at a property interest hearing.

6. O.A.C. 3359-22-04 - Contract professional grievance committee.

Section (C)(l) has been modified to provide that changes to the Rule must be approved by the president, or the president's designee(s), and the Board of Trustees. This revision is consistent with the delegation of certain administrative human resource functions from the president to the chief human resources officer reflected in the revisions to O.A.C. 3359-1-05.

7. O.A.C. 3359-22-05-Contract professional grievance procedures.

Section (A)(3) and Section (I) have been modified and deleted, respectively, since the "name-clearing hearing" process has been moved to O.A.C. 3359-22-01.

8. OA.C. 3359-26-01 - General information.

Section B has been revised to remove obsolete text related to a printed employee handbook.

9. O.A.C. 3359-26-05 - Separation from the university.

Section (A) has been revised to reflect current practices that have been in place at the University. Section (B) has been modified to correct the required notice period for employees who submit a resignation and to provide that once an employee's resignation has been accepted, it may not be withdrawn without the approval of the immediate supervisor and the chief human resources officer.

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Honesty

Please consider using this link on your Spring syllabi for our students’ awareness.

Admissions policy changes for ELI and other international students

At the request of OAA, the Academic Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate looked into issues with admitting international undergraduates and the English Language Institute. The following two new policies were approved by Faculty Senate on December 6, 2018, and OAA implemented them immediately.

1. International students who wish to enroll at UA for an undergraduate degree will no longer be required to present an ACT/SAT score to be considered for admission, but will be recommended. Admission acceptance or denial would be based on high school performance (according to each country’s equivalency of a high-school diploma) and other valid and predictive indicators of potential for academic success.

Rationale: Under the current interpretation of the undergraduate admissions rule (attached), international student applicants are required to submit ACT/SAT scores so that the admissions formula may be used. However, many international students face limited access to testing sites; some countries have few or no sites and travel to/from existing sites can involve international travel and additional expenses for accommodation, visas, and the test fee, and sometimes test scores are delayed or cancelled for security reasons (e.g., fraud). More than 1,000 accredited colleges and universities no longer use the ACT/SAT for admission purposes. Some have adopted a test-flexible (i.e., may submit other standardized tests) or test-optional policy (i.e., scores must be submitted for scholarship consideration). In Ohio, Miami University does not require the SAT or ACT of international students (except for those applying from schools in the U.S. or Canada), KSU only requires them of direct-admit majors, and OU only demands them for scholarships. This change in policy would allow UA to expand its international student body while keeping in line with current state-wide and national trends in international admissions policies.

2. International students who need help with English proficiency would be permitted to enroll in UA’s English Language Institute (ELI) regardless of nonimmigrant status (as long as their status does not prohibit study), and independent of whether or not they intend to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree at UA.

Rationale: Under the current policy, UA will admit international students to ELI if: (1) they are seeking F-1 status and are first granted conditional admission status to an undergraduate or graduate academic program (conditional status is due to English proficiency), or (2) they have a different nonimmigrant status (F-2, H-4, etc.), lawful permanent residence, or U.S. citizenship. Unfortunately, ELI enrollments have dropped recently, mostly due to changes in the SACM (Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission) scholarship and the current political environment. ELI enrollment often fluctuates due to these and other circumstances in individual countries or transnationally.

If ELI were to admit students who need help with English proficiency independent of whether they intend to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree at UA, they would help fill ELI classes at all four proficiency levels. Students of different backgrounds (language, interests, nationality, etc.) would greatly contribute to the ELI experience for all students. In addition, students who do not already have conditional admission to UA may apply after being at the ELI and living in Akron for one or two semesters. Of course, these students pay tuition to ELI whether or not they continue their studies in an academic program at UA, and their presence contributes to diversity on campus. The International Center is able to provide immigration services, programs, and other support services for nonimmigrant students admitted to the ELI, regardless of their intention to continue in academic programs. Should ELI graduates wish to pursue a regular degree at UA, they would need to demonstrate proficiency in English using whatever metrics are employed to assess any other international applicants.

Program Review

The regular program review process will begin in spring semester and run through the end of the fall semester each year. See additional details.