TO:          W. Andrew Marcus, SENATE PRESIDENT



DATE:          JUNE 8, 2005


The Academic Requirements Committee (ARC) is charged with considering student petitions relating to the University's graduation requirements, removing grades of incomplete after the deadline, and resolving a variety of registration issues. Periodically the ARC also responds to requests from the University Registrar or other Officers of Administration. All such requests relate to the University's general education or graduation requirements. In carrying out its charge, the ARC is not to create an unwritten set of shadow standards (applicable only to students who think to petition) nor is it to be arbitrary in its responses. The task of the ARC is to search for solutions that fit the intent of the University requirements and faculty legislation, while addressing the concerns and circumstances of individual students. During this academic year, members of the ARC have conscientiously carried out that charge. Attendance at meetings was variable, but 4 to 6 voting members were present for most meetings.


The committee generally meets every other week, and sometimes adds an additional meeting during finals week. During the 2004-05 academic year, we approved 103 petitions and denied 36 petitions.


With the reduction of required credits in the general education groups from 16 to 15 credits, the ARC began to see, predictably, requests for further reductions--from 15 to 14, 13, or even 12. Given that the required credits had already been reduced in hopes of facilitating transfer among institutions, the committee tended to be fairly strict in maintaining the new minimum of 15 in each group. We were more flexible on the prefix rule, given the complexity of the rule and the sometimes arbitrary distinctions between prefixes. Confusion often arises, in particular, regarding those departments that offer courses satisfying more than one group category (for example, both social science and science in Anthropology, or both social science and arts and letters in Religious Studies).


Other common types of petitions relate to the multicultural requirement (using courses not on the approved list, or two courses from one category; see also below), registering for more than 25 credits in a given term, removing an incomplete past the deadline, or reducing the number of upper division credits required to graduate. The committee generally allowed students to register for larger numbers of credits in the summer, when those credits are broken up into smaller four or eight week units and therefore do not entirely overlap. The committee was strict in upholding the 62 upper division credit requirement; the consensus of the committee was that 62 credits already represents a relatively small proportion of an undergraduate degree.


In response to student petitions requesting that completion of an overseas study program might count toward the International Cultures category of the Multicultural Requirement, the ARC sought guidance from the Undergraduate Council, which discussed the issue at its January 20 meeting. After a discussion of the many issues involved (such as how a change in the requirement might apply to international students and whether informal international experiences might be considered or only formal UO study abroad programs) the UGC concluded that formalizing and implementing curricular policy is properly the role of the UO Senate. The Undergraduate Council did have the sense that in some circumstances, formal overseas programs should be accepted as fulfilling the UO Multicultural Requirement in the curriculum. With this guidance, ARC therefore continued to consider petitions relating to the Multicultural Requirement on a case-by-case basis. It should be noted that, following the UGC discussion, no further petitions requesting multicultural credit for an overseas program were submitted to the ARC this year.


The ARC met with Jack Rice, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs of the Cascades Campus in Bend to discuss the question of residence credit for UO students enrolled in Bend programs. Because of the offerings at the Cascades campus and the timing of Cascades students' upper and lower division requirements, the ARC agreed that it was appropriate to allow Cascades campus students to meet the UO residency requirement with 45 upper-division Cascades Campus credits and meet the graded requirement with 45 upper-division Cascades Campus credits (because of the potential interrelationship with the residency requirement). A copy of the complete memorandum is on file with the University Registrar.



Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Academic Requirements Committee.