Sub Committee on Academic Affairs
Present: Scott Dale (new member) Deb Krajec (recorder), Margaret Bull, Ellen Eckman, Mike Schilke, Larry Nosse, Tom Ford (Athletics) , Ed Fallone, Joe Collins, chair
II. Minutes of meeting of April 15th were amended and approved.
III. Discussion of results of Survey on Faculty Governance by-laws:
20 departments have no by-laws
23 have by-laws
It was decided to not post these survey results on the SAA webpage at this time, but to send them to the COF for comment.
IV. Athletes & Education – continuance of discussion from 4/15 meeting:
A. Re: university attendance policy –
Several issues arose:
1.terminology – “excused” vs. “unavoidable” absences
2.how many absences can/should be allowed student athletes?
3. Should faculty have the right to say there are some class events that cannot be missed?
1. Terminology – “excused” vs. “unavoidable” absences – it was decided that SAA use term “excused “ in our document, but that it should be made clear that that term includes “unavoidable” excuses such as a death in the family.
2. How many absences can/should be allowed? – Tom Ford shared his insight from the athletic department’s point of view as to what might be a worst case scenario for a student athlete in terms of missed classes due to tournament participation, which varies from sport to sport each year. Concern was expressed that academics seem to always be chosen to sacrifice when conflicts arise between class and athletic competition schedules. Discussion followed on how to draft a policy that is fair to both faculty and student athletes.
· A dialogue between student athletes and their faculty is vital at the beginning of each semester to determine the number of absences needed for their sport.
· Each student should have documentation given to them by the athletic department listing the maximum number of excused absences needed for their sport. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their teachers know what the intended absences are at the beginning of the semester.
· All absences relating to sports events count towards the maximum number of absences allowed in the class, both excused and unexcused.
· Also – if, due to competition/tournament participation, the student needs to miss more than the maximum number of classes allowed, there needs to be another dialogue between student and teacher.
Suggestion: Perhaps a contract be written for each class an athlete takes each semester stating what the schedule is for the regular season for the sport, with a disclaimer re: tournament possibilities that must be discussed/negotiated again with the professor. Faculty must sign this contact with appropriate dates which must be returned to the athletic department within the first week of classes to ensure that the students give this information to their professors.
3. Should faculty have the right to say there are some class events that cannot be missed? Tom Ford said yes to this query, but requested that teachers be clear early on about such events with the student so that the student athlete can make the necessary choices. Tom stressed that if the athletic department and the athletes are aware of what the facts are at the beginning of the semester, they can be dealt with.
B. re: draft of a cover letter circulated by Tom Ford to be included with the final policy.
· It was agreed to table this discussion until the final policy document has been approved and adopted by COF and other necessary persons.
· The language of this cover letter needs to be faculty-friendly.
· The letter will be signed by the provost and by the athletic department.
C. Ed Fallone agreed to make the final revisions to the document and to get it to SAA members by May 3rd via email for any last corrections, then to COF before their May 9th meeting. Ed Fallone and Tom Ford will represent the SAA at this COF meeting to answer questions. The final draft will be put on the SAA webpage. Much thanks was expressed to Ed Fallone for his work on this document.
D. Suggestion: to post this policy (when finalized) on the Athletics web page and include the attendance policy.
V. The next meeting of SAA will be next semester, date TBA.