Auburn University Steering Committee
Thursday, August 4, 2016, 3:30p.m.
206 Samford Hall

Present: James Goldstein (Chair), Dan Svyantek (Chair-Elect),  Xing Ping Hu (Secretary), Donald Mulvaney (Secretary-Elect), Larry Teeter (Immediate-Past Chair), Emily Myers, Lucretia Tripp, Timothy Boosinger; Emmett Winn

Absent: Lisa Kensler, Jared Russell

Introduction: Continuing and new members.

The first item of business: Approval of the June 9, 2016 steering minutes.

The committee was updated on the three ad hoc committees appointed by Executive over summer. The 3 Ad Hoc Committees are: Annual Leave Banking (ALB), Competency-Based Education (CBE), and Fringe Rating on Summer Salaries (FR-SS).  All three committees have been fully staffed. The members have been approved by Rules in July 2016. Chair for each committee has been appointed by Senate Chair. Charge of each committee has been developed.  The committees will be presented to Senate meeting.

The need to put together an Ad Hoc Committee to Revise Senate Constitution was discussed. Changing the Senate Constitution requires a 2/3 majority vote. The need to revise Senate Constitution was motivated last year by concern on difficulty to get 2/3 votes at June Senate Meeting to change committee composition. Some alternatives for dealing with this issue were discussed.

An information item was discussed about the special charges to Academic Honesty Committee (AHC) and Academic Standards Committee (ASC).  Concerns have been raised over issues with inconsistence in academic honesty implementation.  It was suggested that AHC may conduct a survey on degree of inconsistence among colleges in implementing the procedures; and ASC may do a comparison with peer institutions on “+” and “-” grading to see how AU’s grading system compares with those of its peers.

James wrote to Lisa Kensler, 2016/08/18:

At the meeting of the Steering Committee on August 4, 2016, I announced that I wanted to charge the Academic Standards Committee to study whether Auburn should adopt a grading system that includes plus and minus grades. 

In deciding whether to make such a recommendation, your committee should gather information about the grading systems used by some of our peer universities, including major universities in our region.  It was suggested in the meeting that much of this data is already available in the Registrar’s Office for the purpose of assigning transfer credit.  It would also be worth conducting an anonymous survey of Auburn faculty to determine the level of faculty interest in maintaining our current system or adopting one that uses plus/minus distinctions.  If possible, I would like to have the results of your study and your recommendations by Nov. 1.

The next information item discussed was the agenda for August 23 Senate meeting.  The agenda includes 2 action items and several information items.  Michael Kensler will be contacted for presentation on the STARS sustainability report, Trace Donald will be contacted for presenting accessibility compliance issues with CANVAS.

The last item was a discussion of the problem for summer graduation occurring a few days after housing leases expire. The Calendar Committee, with the assistance of the Graduation Committee, and an administrator, will be charged to look into the problem.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20pm.