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Senate Council Minutes - October 17, 2005

The Senate Council met on Monday, October 17, 2005 at 3:00 pm in 103 Main Building and took the following actions.

1. Approval of the Minutes from September 26, 2005

The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes. There being none, the minutes were approved as written.

2. Admissions, Recruitment and Scholarship discussion

The Chair welcomed Acting Provost Smith, Associate Provost Kraemer, Associate Provost Turner and Assistant Provost Witt and invited them to address a variety of topics related to efforts to improve diversity at the University. The Provost began by discussing the importance of consulting the Senate Council and the Senate when issues of Admission are involved and invited Kraemer to discuss the nature of the University's current diversity challenges. Kraemer explained that 100 fewer African-Americans enrolled this year than during the previous year. He said two factors were involved. Kraemer noted that raising the minimum ACT score for the competitive pool to 19 accounted for maybe 40 to 50 students, while the other factor was that the yield rate was down to 39%. He added that other institutions had also experienced decreases in yield. Kraemer said that the rise in admission standards wasn't to blame for the deficit this year and that the increase of the competitive pool ACT rate to 19 was necessary because half of the students who were admitted with ACT scores of 18 were not succeeding academically.

Thelin said that traditionally the best predictor of freshman year performance was a combination of standardized test scores and high school grade point averages. He asked why only the ACT was being considered. Kraemer replied that over the last four or five years Kentucky high schools had experienced considerable grade inflation.

Cibull asked why students who were admitted to UK were enrolling elsewhere. Kraemer replied that the availability of scholarship funds seemed to be a primary incentive, but that further research, perhaps in the form of phone interviews, would be needed to determine if other factors came into play.

Lesnaw joined the meeting at this point.

The Provost added that issues of recruiting and scholarship are very closely related when discussing the question of yield. He distributed a list of immediate actions that would be taken to help the situation, noting that the items on the list represented a beginning but that further work would be needed. Among the items on the list was the creation of a diversity enrollment team, which would unify and enhance the recruitment staff with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He added that a high-level staff position had been created in Witt's area, Diversity Enrollment Coordinator, which would help provide greater unity. He expressed hope that the outcome would be an increased number of minority candidates in the admission pool as well as higher yield rates.

The Provost added that additional funds had been reallocated for diversity related scholarships to the tune of half a million dollars. He noted that due to recent Supreme Court decisions the scholarships could have no exclusive and specific race based test or criteria.

The Provost spoke of the need to speak with faculty and others when moving forward, especially regarding the relative roles of the Senate and the Administration. He noted that Witt had added three new questions to the application form, which would increase the complexity of the application review process and allow the University to move away from simply relying on ACT or GPA as predictors of success. He added that a Provost-level committee of faculty from Education and other areas had been formed, which included VP Ray and Roger Sugarman from Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. The committee will take up the work of doing the actual research on predicting success of minorities in admission and enrollment at UK. The group will also conduct research regarding the question of yield. The Provost emphasized the need to focus on law and graduate students as well as look at the undergraduate population.

The Provost asked the Senate Council for advice on how to proceed, noting that the faculty have some control over the admissions process. Witt thanked the Senate Council members for having them as guests and discussed the nature of the new questions on the application. He discussed the various intricacies of trying to reach enrollment targets each year, as well as the challenges UK faces compared to institutions with less selective admission criteria.

Grossman asked for an overview regarding selective and competitive admission at UK. Witt and Baxter provided an overview of the process. Dembo read the description of the requirements from the Senate Rules.

The Provost noted that the Admissions Advisory Committee recommended a target enrollment of 3,750 the past year, as well as another one point increase in the ACT standard in each of the admission quadrants. He added that the enrollment target was overruled by the President, and that he as Provost had rejected the increase in ACT scores due to concern about the diversity issue as it related to enrollment. Jones noted that while the Committee wasn't responsible for setting the annual enrollment targets, they were responsible for matters regarding the ACT score. The Provost said that it seemed that he had violated Senate Rules.

Duke asked what UK could do to improve yield and retention, and whether the issue was primarily scholarship driven or if other issues were involved. Witt replied that a more strategic endeavor with faculty was needed to improve both recruitment and retention, adding that it was important to find a way for more minority students to identify with UK and visit UK in order to become more comfortable with campus. Duke asked if African- American students who were already at the University had been consulted regarding their choice of UK. Witt replied that anecdotal evidence suggested that finding ways for African- American students to become involved with student organizations, Greek life and the Multicultural Center seemed like vital factors to recruitment and retention, but added that more research was needed.

Turner spoke about the need to be more aggressive when recruiting African-American students, including a more personalized approach. He said he suspected that students who were admitted but who didn't enroll were getting more specialized attention from other schools, which made the other schools seem more attractive. Turner added that it was important to focus recruitment efforts on the Kentucky communities with especially high African-American populations. He noted that faculty should become more involved in mentoring African-American students, and encouraged faculty to walk up to African- American students and simply begin a conversation to help personalize the University.

Thelin suggested that all scholarship recipients should be required to complete FAFSA forms whether receiving need-based or non-need-based aid in order to determine if the scholarship issue was truly one of family financial need or not. Kraemer noted that he had considered that before, but that some parents were hesitant to divulge that sort of confidential financial information.

Grossman made a motion to charge the Admissions Advisory committee to work with Enrollment Management to incorporate new factors into the admission process. The motion died for lack of a second.

Cibull suggested the University should actively recruit students, not just admit them on the basis that they met the selective criteria.

Jones noted that the essence of Grossman's motion was already charged to the committee under Senate Rules, and suggested that the Administration continue working with the Admissions Advisory Committee, coming back to the Senate Council should any changes to the Senate Rules regarding admission be suggested.

The Provost thanked the Senate Council members for their time and promised to return soon to discuss the issue of college-level admission criteria. The Chair thanked the Provost, Kraemer, Turner, Baxter, and Witt and they departed.

3. Quantitative Financial Analysis Minor

Quantitative Financial Analysis Minor (PDF)

Grossman introduced the item, on behalf of the Academic Programs Committee. He said the Committee unanimously supported the proposal. Mullineaux added that the proposal would allow Business and Economics to improve its relationship with students outside the college. There being no further discussion, a vote was taken on the motion from the committee to approve. The motion passed without dissent and will be forwarded to the next University Senate agenda with a positive recommendation.

4. Honorary Degrees

Greissman introduced the item and outlined some changes to the proposal since it was last discussed. Grabau asked if language in the third bullet stating that the President retained the right to address the Senate or the Board was intended to mean that the President had the prerogative of determining which names should be in the pool of candidates and which should not. Greissman replied that was not the case; the President could speak about a candidate he thought was particularly suitable but did not have veto power.

Jones said he was satisfied that the composition of the committee didn't compromise the faculty's position in any way.

Moore suggested that language be included to make sure that consultation occurred between the Senate Council and the President to ensure that the final committee composition was representative of the University committee, such that not too many members would be from one college, as an example. Greissman and the Chair will incorporate appropriate language to reflect the need for consultation.

Jones made a motion to approve the proposal, which was seconded by Lesnaw. The motion passed without dissent.

5. Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Skills

Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Skills (PDF)

The Chair drew the Senate Council members' attention to the revisions provided by Shedlovsky. Shedlovsky explained the rationale, which was clearly included in the revised proposal. Jones made a motion to approve, with a second by Cibull. The motion passed without dissent.

Announcements

The Chair asked that nominations for the Committee on Committees and the Nominating Committee be sent to him as soon as possible. Ms. Scott added that dossiers were pending and the process was being slowed by a lack of members on at least one Area Committee.

The Chair asked the Senate Council members to pay particular attention to two e-mails he sent earlier in the day to the listserv.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by Ernie Yanarella
Senate Council Chair

Members present: Cibull, Dembo, Duke, Grabau, Grossman, Hobson, Jarvis, Jones, Lesnaw, Moore, Thelin, Yanarella.

Liaison present: Greissman.

Guests present: Blackwell, Kraemer, Mullineaux, Shedlovsky, Smith, Turner, Witt.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on October 18, 2005.