Senators discuss recent change in student athlete attendance policy

UCA’s Faculty Senate discussed class attendance among student athletes and the reconstruction of committees such as the health and wellness committee at its Feb. 27 meeting.

The senate met at 12:45 p.m. in Wingo Hall 315.

Senator Don Bradley, marketing professor, gave the committee on committees report, saying the athletic committee is concerned about student athlete privileges.

A change in policy was instated that made it the instructor’s discretion whether to allow student athletes missing class for sporting events to make up missed exams.

“It is now up to the teachers whether an athlete can make up an exam or not, which is different from the policy in the old days,” Bradley said.

Previously, instructors were expected to allow athletic students to make up any exams missed due to sporting events.

Several opinions were expressed that, if the student athletes are allowed to make up exams, non-athletic students should be given the same privilege.

Athletic academic advising uses a Grades First program that allows advisers to have multiple communication methods with the students and allows them to keep better track of grades. Academic advisers are working to bring the program to students not involved in university athletics.

Provost Steve Runge said UCA is working on extending Grades First to all students, with a projected fall 2014 start date.

Bradley said he has reviewed which committees are inactive and will reconstruct or disband ineffective committees.

One committee creating few results is the health and wellness committee. Senator Kim Eskola, kinesiology program director, said she wants to get the committee running again.

“I feel that this is a very important committee,” Eskola said. “The focus has been on the health side of things, which is important, but we also need to focus on the wellness factor.”

Eskola said she wants to extend this committee’s functions to support the entire UCA community.

“It is important that we take care of our students, but we also really need to take care of our faculty,” she said.

Runge announced the hire of Chris Davis as the new chief technology officer. Davis is from Plum Borough School District in Pennsylvania.

“He is the kind of person who doesn’t just speak ‘techie’ language because he knows that isn’t your specialty,” Runge said.

Davis starts his new position June 1.

President Tom Courtway answered questions from the senate and discussed the move to start the fall semester on Monday rather than the traditional Thursday start.

According to the fall 2015 calendar, classes will start on Thursday but there is consideration of starting classes on Monday in fall 2016.

Runge expanded on the change later in the meeting.

“This will make things much easier for classes that only meet once or twice a week, especially labs and studio classes,” Runge said.

This move from Thursday to Monday would allow for three more instructional days as well as more complete weeks throughout the semester.

The faculty senate will hold its next meeting at 12:45 p.m. March 11 in Wingo Hall 315.

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