The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the possibility and mechanics of offering a Bachelor of Arts in “University Studies” degree out of the Office of Undergraduate Studies. The purpose of such a degree would be to graduate those students who have more than the requisite 120 credit hours of university credit but who currently are not on a path to graduate for one reason or another. Megan provided statistics regarding the number of students who fell in this category.
Earle had a list of the students, their GPAs, their total number of hours, and their current declared major and it was estimated of the 150 or so students making that list that maybe half were actually making progress toward degree completion but the other half were maybe in some kind of limbo and could benefit from a BA in University Studies.
Dan Moon, Interim Dean of COAS discussed their current BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and its purpose – that of allowing students to more or less design, with the assistance of an advisor, a program of study that could meld courses from various disciplines together to meet a student’s interest. He further stated that the purpose of the degree wasn’t to create a degree for a student after the fact with a collage of unrelated courses.
Megan also discussed the new/recent efforts to prevent students from finding themselves adrift in a sea of courses with no end game in sight. The 90 hour review being one such new procedure as well as automatic administrative holds that cause a student to see an advisor before they are cleared to register for courses.
However, after a good discussion among those present of the benefit of a BA in University Studies with both pro and con elements being presented – some themes seemed to develop.
A new BA in University Studies degree would/could be challenging to get through the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors.
Some mechanism is needed to assist our current students who find themselves in the position of being well over the overall Bachelor Degree credit hours requirement, but lacking enough hours in any program of study to graduate.
The current COAS BA in Interdisciplinary Studies has been used to assist students in the limbo category to graduate and is a solution to the issue without creating a new degree. Such students, already identified, just need to be required to meet with a COAS advisor for a transcript evaluation. Possibly a registration hold will encourage these students to seek out an advisor.
No further action by the Academic Standards Committee is needed on this issue at this time except to encourage COAS to speedily address the evaluation of the identified students. The Registrar’s office will follow the progress and report to the ASC.