Minutes of the Undergraduate Studies Committee


Attending Voting Members: J. Twombly (SSB), R. Steffenson (SSCI), 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), M. Young (PSYC), J. Budimen (CAEE) X. Guan (CHEM), P. Troyk (BME).

Also attending: G. Smith (UGAA), N. Novak (Galvin Library), S. Pariseau (UGAA), J. Rosenberg (SSCI), P. Krolewski (Registrar), K. Spink (PreHealth), J. Gorzkowski (UGAA), C. Himes (LCHS)

Departments with absent voting members:  CS, ARCH, MSED, ECE


Quorum declared at: 12:45

Adjourn at: 1:50


Documents for this meeting are available at:


Meeting chaired by Ray Trygstad

Minutes recorded by Rebecca Steffenson


1.       Minutes of the 4/10/18 Meeting   (http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/4-10-18minutes.html)


              Minutes approved unanimously with correction “slate of officers”.


Old Business

2.       Motions: Selection of the Undergraduate Studies Committee officers for Fall 2018 though Spring 2020 [R. Trygstad – Chair]


Motion to elect Steffenson UGSC vice chair passes unanimously.


UGSC secretary still needed.


New Business

3.       Motion: Allow 4th and 5th year undergraduates to register for online courses without adviser approval [G. Pulliam – Humanities]


Undergraduate students with UG4 or UG5 status (for registration purposes) may register for online courses without advisor approval. This policy is to be re-evaluated by UGSC two years after it becomes effective.


Addition discussion focused on whether a) 4th and 5th year students are most instead of least in need of advisor approval and b) if permits are being required because it is assumed that online courses place students at a learning disadvantage.


Pulliam will redraft proposal.


4.       Proposal: Draft proposal for Core Curriculum E-Course (Ethics) Requirements [G. Pulliam – Humanities]

This draft proposal at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/Guidelines_for_E-courses.pdf is introduced for discussion.


The proposal to add an “E” course designation stems from core curriculum assessment process which indicates deficits in students’ abilities to describe and explain ethical dilemmas. It was noted that this would constitute a major change to the core curriculum.  Pulliam will head a subcommittee of the IIT Core Curriculum Assessment committee to consider this issue. Troyk, Trygstad and Steffenson volunteered to serve on this committee.




5.       Discussion: Assessment of Individual Student Work as part of core assessment [R. Steffenson – Chair, Core Curriculum Assessment Committee]


After consultation with the HLC, the Deputy Vice Provost for University Accreditation (Siva K. Balasubramanian) met with the IIT Core Curriculum Assessment committee to communicate the HLC’s expectation that the next step for assessing the core should include direct assessment of individual student work. The core curriculum assessment committee has discussed establishing an assessment rotation for S, H, N, CS, Math (in addition to the group assessment of student work produced in IPRO) and would like to work with the subcommittees chairs to develop a plan for this next phase in the assessment process. Steffenson will seek further clarification about HLC expectations. Current subcommittee chairs are:

Communications-intensive (C) courses:  Greg Pulliam

Humanities (H) courses: Greg Pulliam    

Social and Behavioral Science (S) courses: Rebecca Steffenson

                      Natural Science or Engineering (N) courses: Nicholas Menhart

Mathematics courses: Fred Weening

Computer Science (CS) courses: Matthew Bauer


6.       Information: Changes to the Bachelor of Industrial Technology and Management degree [M. Safar – Industrial Technology and Management]


Changes to the degree are at http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/documents/BINTM_curriculumadjustments_April2018.pdf. These changes are minor and are brought to this committee as an information item.


7.       Discussion: Transfer credit evaluations at variance with Bulletin requirements. [R. Trygstad – Chair]

A concern was brought before the Executive Committees of the UGSC and UFC that transfer evaluations were reflecting counting of two 100/200-level social science courses as one 300-level course, and that possibly this may also have been applied to some undergraduates who were not transfer students.

The following explanation, slightly edited, was provided to Greg Pulliam in response by Greg Welter, Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs:

i.                     “At the request of UG Admissions, Chris White and Dean Himes held a meeting with the chairs of Humanities, Psychology, and Social Sciences on March 5th to discuss the possibility of accepting more transfer credit for Humanities and Social Sciences electives from the community colleges. UG Admissions believed that the 300-level requirement put IIT at a disadvantage with its competitors, UIUC and UIC, since these schools do not have a level requirement for Humanities and Social Sciences. One item of this meeting was to discuss having two lower-level Hum or Soc Sci electives combined and transfer as one 300-level elective. This was the transfer policy from 1995-2012. After some discussion, the chairs wanted to ask their department faculty for input before a decision was made. UGAA was notified on March 21st by Chris White that Dean Himes, in accordance with her academic units, approved that two lower-level Humanities or Social Sciences electives can be combined into one 300-level elective. This only can be done once and transfer students needed to take the remaining 300-level electives at IIT. This policy is effective for entering 2018 Fall transfer students.

ii.           “This is not new UGAA policy. UGAA is implementing this policy which was approved by the College of

Human Sciences for transfer students starting IIT in 2018 Fall. UGAA is not using this policy for current

students and when official academic audits are completed, two 200-level Social Sciences courses completed at IIT are not being substituted for one 300-level elective. I do not know about the specific case [under discussion and the faculty member] did not contact UGAA to verify this statement from the faculty member. However, there are occasions when a student is not properly advised about the level requirement and the student is told to submit a petition to UGAA so that the distribution requirement can be waived. UGAA will do its best to determine the validity of this type of petition. In the past month, two petitions of this type were approved based on a note in Degree Works by an advisor stating that a student will be taking these courses or should take these courses. If a petition is approved, the 200-level course is substituted for one of 300-level electives and this will appear in Degree Works.”



iii.          Changes to Core Curriculum requirements cannot be made without approval of the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Changes to Core Curriculum requirements cannot be made by an academic unit, group of academic units, or a college. The policy as stated above appears to be at variance with policy approved by this Committee and clearly stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin.


The chair of Social Sciences (Rosenberg) initiated discussion by stating that his academic unit did not agree to this policy change. Psychology (Young) concurred, adding that the blanket substitution of two 200 level courses for one 300 level course was not the same as substituting courses based on equivalency of content, which is the current criteria by which psychology grants 200 level course substitutions for 300 level classes for major transfers.


There was some discussion about the need to address inconsistent requirements of 100, 200 and 300 level courses at IIT. Several units explained why it would not be prudent to simply downshift all course numbers, as this would affect how students are exposed to major and core curriculum content. Social Sciences explained, for example, that 200 level courses could not be easily swapped with 300 level courses because these courses have different learning goals and different communications requirements.


Dean Himes argued that the policy of substituting two 200 level S or H courses for one 300 level S or H course did not constitute a change in the core curriculum, but rather a change in transfer policy, under which academic units were authorized to approve course substitutions, because the substitutions would be printed in the transfer guidelines but not the bulletin. She also advocated changing the core curriculum to allow more credit to be granted to transfer students.


The following views represent a consensus expressed by members of the committee present, because by conclusion of the discussion we no longer had a quorum present and no motion was made.

i)                    While UGSC members acknowledge the prerogative of academic units to assess transfer credit based on equivalency of course content, it was noted that these substitutions had not been evaluated for equivalency.

ii)                   UGSC members agreed that substituting core courses for courses that were not considered equivalent by academic units did constitute a change to the core curriculum and that differential policies could not be applied to transfer students and freshman admits without changing the core.

iii)                 While changes to the core curriculum could be entertained in the future, UGSC members agreed that any such changes needed to be formally proposed and reviewed by UGSC and UFC in accordance with the processes and procedures governing curriculum change. 

iv)                 In light of these points, UGAA was asked to stop granting core curriculum credit for two 200 level social science or humanities courses in place of one 300 course and to return to having departments approve community college course substitutions on a case by case basis.


8.       Other New Business

                    The UGSC committee thanks Trygstad for his service.

9.       The next UGSC meeting will be September 11, 2018 at 12:45pm in a location to be announced. Have a nice summer!

All minutes and supporting documents may be found on the UGSC website: http://www.iit.edu/~ugsc/