Minutes of the Undergraduate Studies Committee

Attending Voting Members: J. Twombly (SSB), R. Steffenson (SSCI), E. Orklu (ECE), E. Nelson (SGA), CW Adams (ROTC), F. Weening (AMAT), G. Pulliam (HUM/CAC), M. Safar (INTM), SH Hong (CHBE), C. Wark (MMAE), N. Menhart (BIO), P. Snopok (PHY), J. Hayek (ITM), G. Popovic (MSED)

Also attending: G. Smith (UGAA), N. Novak (Galvin Library), M. Lopez (UGAA), S. Pariseau (UGAA), J. Rosenberg (SSCI), J. Highnight (Registrar), K. Spink (PreHealth), T. Arshad (UGAA), J. Alexis (IPRO), G. Welter (UGAA), T. Jacobius (IPRO)

Departments with absent voting members:  CS, CAEE, PSYCH, ARCH, BME, CHEM

Quorum declared at: 12:50

Adjourn at: 1:45


Documents for this meeting are available at:


Meeting chaired by Ray Trygstad

Minutes recorded by Rebecca Steffenson


1. Minutes of the 2/27/18 Meeting (http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/2-27-18minutes.html)

Minutes approved unanimously.


Old Business


2. Proposal: Use a centralized advising process for new first-year students this summer [K. Spink – Chair, Advising Committee] Proposal is available at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/Proposal_for_Centralized_Advising_for_New_First_Year_Students_2-12-18.pdf


This proposal would have a staff member from UGAA handle incoming student advising starting

Summer 2019.


While many were in favor of more staff support for non-academic onboarding, UGSC member opposed shifting academic advising to staff. Discussion focused on the following issues 1) whether UGAA had the capacity to handle incoming student advising and how many staff hires would be needed to implement this proposal 2) how this model would work for departments that do not have standardized first semesters 3) whether this shift would undermine one of IIT’s competitive advantages (ie high levels of faculty access due to faculty advising).


Members noted that it would be helpful to have staff fielding non-academic onboarding questions, because students were increasingly turning to faculty advisors with questions about housing, placement tests etc (that were previously fielded by the Director of Advising). In addition, faculty reported that they were no longer getting notifications of academic placement information sent to the students and that it would be very helpful if this information was shared with advisors. UGAA was asked if a website with frequently asked questions could be made available outside of the portal so that advisors could copy and paste links to students.  UGAA stated that it did not have the capacity to advise all new students nor did it have the expertise to advise students on non-academic issues, leading some to question why the staff advisor would be in UGAA rather than Admissions or Student Affairs.


Advisors are asked to send FAQs to Spink so that the committee can work on improving the communication for incoming students.



New Business

3. Proposal: Undergraduate Advising Committee proposal for Advising Best Practices [K. Spink – Chair, Advising Committee] Proposal is available at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/AdvisingBestPractices_3-9-18.pdf


The Undergraduate Advising Committee has identified the following goals of academic advising:


1. To provide students with academic guidance as they fulfill their program of studies.


2. To guide students in choosing a program of study that meets their individual goals and career objectives.


3. To assist students with academic administrative matters (registration, minors, course repeats, etc).


4. To familiarize students with IIT policy (Bulletin), major requirements and general academic policies, enabling them to take responsibility for the successful completion of their academic careers.


5. Provide a custom one-on-one engagement mechanism to differentiate IIT from larger institutions.


The advising best practices outline responsibilities for the institution, the faculty advisors and students. These best practices are based on the premise that no unit should dictate to another unit how they do their advising. In the long term, the committee hopes to draft an IIT advising handbook. It will also work on FAQ sites for students and advisors.


Departments are asked to gather feedback from advisors and send comments to Spink.



4. Co-Terminal Proposal: BS in Physics/Master of Health Physics [Z. Sulllivan – Physics Department] Proposal is available at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/CoterminalProposal_BSPhysics-MSHealthPhysics.pdf


This proposal reduces the number of hours required for the BS/MS degree by allowing students to double count 9 credit hours (from free electives, Math, Physics or Chem requirements).


Motion to allow a same day vote on this proposal passed unanimously. Motion to approve the co-terminal degree was approved unanimously.


5. Report: IPRO Committee report on committee progress [N. Menhart – Chair, IPRO Committee] Report slides are available at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/Future_of_IPRO_committee_to_UGSC_mar_2018.pdf


Menhart reported that this UFC subcommittee was formed in response to a request from Chris White to consider the future of IPRO. The committee completed a faculty survey. The survey showed strong support for IPRO goals: teamwork, communication, problem solving, project management, and ethics. The faculty survey echoes national employment surveys, which highlight the importance of “soft skills”.  


The committee’s main concern is low full time faculty participation. Ten years ago 2/3rds of IPROs were taught by full time faculty. Now, only 12% of IPROs are taught by full time faculty. This committee would like to encourage full time faculty to teach IPROs and wants to communicate to deans and chairs the importance of IPRO counting towards regular teaching loads. The IPRO office will be working on common scheduling block for IPROs in the future (Thursdays/Fridays). Alexis stated that he hoped the common scheduling period would allow students to pick topics of interest and help improve student engagement. In addition, the committee is recommending the creation of an IPRO steering and advisory committee which will serve as liaisons to each college. The IPRO office will be hosting a workshop on how to develop an IPRO later this semester. Interested faculty should contact the IPRO office.


Menhart stated that he wanted to move IPRO closer to majors, stressing the need for departments to develop IPROs that suit their majors. Alexis stated that the committee was testing new visions of IPRO. Those visions were not presented to this body and discussion was limited due to time constraints.


6. Report: Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC) review results for CS and ECE. [G. Pulliam – Chair, CAC] Reports are available at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/Review_of_C-courses_in_the_CS_Department_2018.pdf http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/Review_of_C-courses_in_the_ECE_Department_2018.pdf


Postponed due to time.



7. Selection of the Undergraduate Studies Committee Chair for Fall 2018 though Spring 2020 [R. Trygstad – Chair]


Motion to elect Pulliam as UGSC chair for 2018-2020 approved unanimously.



8. Other New Business



9. The next UGSC meeting will be April 10, 2018 at 12:45pm in WH 115.