Dead week recommendations could become policy

A formal dead week policy was introduced by the academic affairs council at the April 23 Faculty Senate meeting. Currently, the language reads as a set of recommendations for faculty, rather than requirements.

"It's no longer a resolution of recommendations," said Rob Wallace, chair of the academic affairs council. "It was requested that the action we take result in an actual policy that can be followed and abided by, as opposed to recommendations and suggestions."

Three dead week restrictions are listed in the proposed policy (PDF):

  • Mandatory dead week due dates for graded work must be listed on the syllabus
  • Mandatory final exams are not allowed during dead week (exceptions: lab courses and weekly courses that do not meet during finals week)
  • Student organizations may not hold meetings, functions or events during dead week (exceptions must be approved by the dean of students office)

"Last year, there were some concerns raised by the Government of the Student Body regarding relatively few cases where additional work was added by instructors and additional exams were given during dead week," Wallace said.

"The academic affairs council has tried to work with the students -- we have some representation on the committee from GSB -- and what we have proposed here (and was approved by the executive board last week), was the complete replacement of the text."

In response to a question about policy violations, associate provost David Holger told senators that processes vary, depending on the issue. For instance, the academic grievance process deals with syllabus items, and the student affairs office enforces student organization activities.

"The mandatory final exams [second bullet point] is not a change and currently is a policy, even though it is part of this statement," Holger said. "That is something that would flow up to me and I would enforce it by not allowing the exam to be given."

Senators will further discuss and possibly vote on the proposed policy at their May 7 meeting.

Other business

  • Faculty Handbook changes to the policy for excusable absences (due to extracurricular activities and military service) and a proposed name change for the agricultural engineering graduate program (to agricultural and biosystems engineering) also are being considered.
  • Proposed revisions to a pair of handbook policies earned unanimous approval, including language that adds procedures for rescinding an honorary degree (section 6.2.5 PDF) and updated guidelines for the review of central administration (section 5.7 PDF).
  • Two council chairs were elected: Micheal Owen (agronomy), judiciary and appeals; and Steve Freeman (agricultural and biosystems engineering), resource policies and allocations. Council chair positions are two-year terms.