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MOTION TO ACCEPT THE RECOMMENDATION ON ADDING A MODIFICATION TO THE 45 UPPER DIVISION CREDIT REQUIREMENT FOR BIOLOGY & CHEMISTRY UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS ONLY

Approved by the Mānoa Faculty Senate
5/7/2014
61 in support: 5 opposed


ISSUE #51.12



[PDF] (Transmittal)
[PDF] [DOC] (Motion)

Purpose: To accept the recommendation on adding a modification to the 45 upper division credit requirement for Biology and Chemistry undergraduate majors.

Meeting Date: May 7, 2014

The Senate requests administrative follow-up by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) and other administrative offices (e.g., catalog, records, General Education) who have purview over approving and implementing such graduation requirements.

MOTION TO ACCEPT THE RECOMMENDATION ON ADDING A MODIFICATION TO THE 45 UPPER DIVISION CREDIT REQUIREMENT FOR BIOLOGY & CHEMISTRY UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS ONLY

Background
Prior to Fall 2012, UH Manoa undergraduate majors were required to graduate with 60 Non-introductory course credits. However, in 2010, UH Manoa's Committee on Enrollment Planning’s Task Force on Retention and Graduation recommended that the 60 Non-intro course credit requirement be replaced with a 45 credit upper division (300 & 400 level courses) credit requirement. At the time, UH Manoa counted any 200-level course with a specific content-based prerequisite as a non-introductory (NI) course. However, many community college 200-level courses are not "non-introductory" by Manoa standards since they don't require a content- based prerequisite course. The non-introductory credit requirement was confusing to students and required the Office of the Registrar and Office of Admissions to research 200-level community college courses to see if they qualified as non-introductory courses.

CAPP formed a sub-committee to review this recommendation and then presented it to Manoa Faculty Senate (MFS). On December 8, 2010, MFS approved this recommendation (see approved motion) and it became effective policy in Fall 2012 (see memo from VCAA), along with the change to the total number of credits to graduate from 124-120.

When the new requirement was being discussed, Natural Sciences faculty voiced concerns about the significant impact it would have on their students’ timely progress to degree given the structure of the curriculum in the Biology and Chemistry departments in particular. On February 8, 2012, the VCAA approved a request by the
College of Natural Sciences to delay implementation of the 45 upper division credit requirement for their
majors for a two-year period (see memo from Natural Sciences). The extension was granted so that they could perform an analysis of the situation and propose some solutions to be considered by the MFS and VCAA. With the two-year extension set to expire in Fall 2014, the College of Natural Sciences sent CAPP a document outlining their analysis and proposed solutions (see document attached). CAPP reviewed the document and offers the following recommendation.

Rationale

(See attached document from the College of Natural Sciences for more information.)

WHEREAS, the new graduation requirement of 45 upper-division (UD) credit hours seriously jeopardizes the timely progress-to-degree for approximately 1400 majors in Biology and Chemistry; AND

WHEREAS, a review of the academic records of recipients of undergraduate degrees in Biology (BA Biology, BS Biology, BS Marine Biology) and Chemistry (BA Chemistry, BS Chemistry) for the 3-year period that encompasses AY 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 shows that the majority of Biology and Chemistry graduates – across the board - do not have enough UD credits upon graduation to meet this requirement; AND

WHEREAS, in a striking contrast to the great majority of other majors on the Mānoa campus (for whom the 45 UD credit requirement is not a problem), Biology and Chemistry majors must take a sequence of 100- and 200- level courses in 3 or more areas in the first 2 years, which provides the necessary foundation for the respective majors and are prerequisites for courses within and across disciplines; AND

WHEREAS, Biology and Chemistry majors cannot take most, if not all, UD courses (major- required or elective) before their 3rd year because they spend most of their first 2 years taking the core sequences in the math and sciences; AND

WHEREAS, Biology and Chemistry majors were never jeopardized by the former 60 Non-introductory credit rule because many of the BIO & CHEM courses in the foundation sequences are/were NI; AND

WHEREAS, The Chemistry and Biology degrees meet national standards and/or are comparable to other institutions’ programs; AND

WHEREAS, there is a precedent at UH Mānoa to modify or waive graduation requirements for students in certain schools, colleges, and departments such as the Hawaiian or Second Language Requirement (see UHM Course Catalog: http://www.catalog.hawaii.edu/corerequirements/hsl.htm); AND

WHEREAS, an evaluation of current and past students’ records showed that, for undergraduate majors in Biology and Chemistry, the combination of no fewer than 25 upper-division and 35 major-required lower- division credits would be a viable alternative to the 45 UD credit requirement, and since this would also be roughly consistent with the 60 NI requirement that was previously in place;

THEREFORE, CAPP is recommending that the Mānoa Faculty Senate accept a modification to the 45 upper division credit requirement for Biology and Chemistry undergraduate majors only. (See specific recommendation below.)

Recommendation

The current academic policy language for "M5.320 Upper Division Credit Requirement" shall stay the same: "Effective Fall 2012, students must complete a minimum of 45 upper division credits to earn a baccalaureate degree. Upper division credits are defined as 300 and 400 level course credits."  (See actual policy.)

A notation shall be added beneath the current policy:
"Important Note: The 45 upper division credit requirement for undergraduate majors has been modified or waived in the following departments: Departments of Biology and Chemistry. Students pursuing an baccalaureate degree in Biology or Chemistry must complete either a minimum of 45 upper-division credits or a combination of no fewer than 25 upper-division and 35 major-required lower-division credits."

Motion

CAPP presents to the MFS a motion to accept the recommendation outlined above to add a modification to the 45 upper division credit requirement for Biology and Chemistry undergraduate majors only.


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