Senators to learn more about a flat fee for course materials

Faculty senators concluded business during their final meeting of the year Dec. 12 and looked ahead to a key issue when they reconvene in January.

At the first meeting of spring semester, representatives from the ISU Book Store will present information about a proposed flat fee for course materials that would take effect for the fall 2024 semester. Faculty Senate president Sarah Bennett-George said she received numerous questions about the proposed policy.

"This is really immediate access 2.0," said associate provost for academic programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden. "It would use a flat-rate fee for every student that is significantly less expensive than if they were to buy each of those books and course materials individually. It is a policy that still is under review and discussion."

VanDerZanden said more than 94% of faculty already use immediate access materials, but faculty still have the option to use materials that are not part of the program. Students also have the option to not use the immediate access option and must get course materials through the bookstore or third-party provider.

Repeat courses

Senators will vote at the next meeting on three updates to the grading policy on repeating courses in the ISU catalog. Proposed changes would clarify: 

  • The most recent grade for a retaken course initially taken at ISU will be used to calculate the cumulative GPA.
  • Courses originally not taken at ISU do not count toward the 18-credit repeat limit.
  • Students can retake a course taken at ISU at other institutions -- and credits earned can be applied toward graduation requirements. However, the grade earned will not replace the one at ISU or be used to compute a cumulative GPA.

Other business

Senators will vote at the January meeting on:

  • A 30-credit online master of digital health program that would combine aspects of health care, technology and data analytics. It focuses on using digital tools and analytics to improve human health through wearable devices, telehealth, mobile health and more. Students would incorporate digital technology into exercise delivery, use data to develop solutions for individuals or target populations, and help patients manage their health care through technology. Two faculty would be hired to help the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching develop online course content.
  • A new bachelor program in sports media and communication with youth to professional sports applications. Areas of study and practice would include broadcast television, social media, talk radio, podcasts, websites and video games. Students would complete a 400-hour internship. The 31-credit major would require students to complete a minor outside Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
  • A proposed undergraduate minor in applied mathematics to teach students various aspects of mathematics to supplement their major. The minor would be beneficial to students with majors in engineering, computer science, physics and others.
  • A proposed name change for a bachelor program, from biological and premedical illustration to scientific illustration and visualization, in the College of Liberal Arts. The change is designed to improve visibility, clarify what the program offers and boost student recruitment. The term premedical has confused prospective and enrolled students.

Senators approved:

  • A modification to the Faculty Handbook in a section on interim action when filing a formal complaint that replaces "calendar days" with "days." The section on appeals of a provost's decision regarding a conduct case to the president added current details of the process.
  • An online master of applied statistics, helping fill the need to train individuals who can make data-driven decisions across many fields and industries. The 30-credit degree program will use online versions of 23 credits currently taught in person. The other seven credits are from new courses.
  • The fall graduation list of more than 1,800 students.