La Verne Magazine
"The University of La Verne: A Day in the Life"
Faculty Congress of ULV
by Melissa A. Collett
Call it the Congress of the University of La Verne. The representatives
do not come from different states, but from different departments within
This is UGAP, the Undergraduate Academic Policies Committee, a faculty
committee where presentations are made for changes in policies that affect
the undergraduate students at the University. It is in their meetings that
important decisions are proposed, discussed, changed and passed on for a
signature or veto, not from the president, but from the faculty. UGAP deals
with anything that has to do with a policy, a change in policy and the interpretation
of a policy.
Once a policy change is passed in UGAP, it goes to the faculty assembly
for a final decision. "We try to set up something fair, something we
think the faculty will approve," says Dr. Michael Frantz, associate
professor of mathematics, and chair of UGAP.
Nine voting members, the chair, plus other administrators who participate
in the discussions and decisions but do not have a vote make up the Committee.
At any given meeting, as many as 20 people may attend to ensure they have
a voice in the important decisions the Committee makes. Administration members
can attend and are sent agendas, but they cannot vote.
"It's a wide variety. The general task of the Committee or responsibilities
are to review, evaluate and recommend undergraduate policies, curriculum
and academic standards. That's the general statement that encompasses almost
anything that has to do with academic life here. If somebody wants to bring
in a new major, it's going to come through UGAP," says Dr. Frantz.
Dr. Frantz has been involved with the committee since he first came
to ULV as a teacher in the fall of 1983. He has been re-elected for three-year
terms ever since, though he did take a three year break from the Committee
at one time.
UGAP meets Wednesday, every two weeks from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Depending
on the agenda for that week, a meeting might run over 10 a.m., or it might
be waived for another two weeks during slower periods.
To be on the agenda, faculty or administration members call Dr. Frantz
to request agenda listing. At the meeting, the issue is presented and discussed
but usually is not voted on immediately. Often, an item re-surfaces at subsequent
meetings for further discussion and a vote. Changes often need to be made,
or more research needs to be done before further discussion can occur. Sometimes,
final decisions are made months later.
"The University, in a way, is kind of like a huge computer program;
it's so complex that you can never test all the possible outputs. So, constantly
there are problems that are coming up, and you go to the catalog to try
and figure out the rule that applies, and, it turns out, this exact situation
has never quite come up before, or we don't really have a rule that covers
this one specific case on how to interpret the policy," says Dr. Frantz.
"UGAP is only a feeder to the faculty assembly," says Dr.
Al Clark, assistant vice president. Dr. Clark has been involved with UGAP
for almost 15 years as an administrator. If the Committee feels the occurrence
is something that is going to happen frequently it will try to adopt a policy
to add to the catalog, he says.
UGAP is a filtering system, according to Dr. Frantz. "We have representation
from all different aspects of the University." As incidences occur,
policies also change.
Of the nine voting members, there are four faculty members from the
arts and sciences, two from the school of business and economics, one from
the school of organizational management, one School of Continuing Education
representative and a student ASF representative.
"We try to get a broad sampling of input on all the different issues,
so that if we, as a committee, approve a certain policy, then we are hoping
that the faculty as a whole will approve it, too," says Dr. Frantz.
If there is discrepancy within the committee on a policy, and the vote
goes through five to four, or six to three, that is a sign that the faculty
might not approve. If this happens, UGAP will try to rework the policy changes
until it reaches a point where the whole Committee can agree before it is
sent to the Faculty Assembly.
UGAP is busiest toward the end of each semester, when curriculum revisions
are made by faculty. Dr. Frantz believes that, because of the new general
education requirements, questions about the new policies will begin to arise.
The Committee has already dealt with some of those issues within the
past year, including how to fit transfer student credits into the new general
education curriculum. "What appears to be a very simple policy-general
education transfer-took us a total of about a year to hammer out before
it came to UGAP," says Dr. Clark.
Part of being a faculty member at ULV is partaking in committees such
as UGAP. Wednesday is the day for committee meetings at ULV. Like many faculty,
Dr. Frantz has four meetings, each right after the other, until 3 p.m. on
"Students and family members have somehow come to think that Wednesdays
are vacation days for faculty. Actually, I get less done of my school work
on Wednesdays than I do any other day of the week," says Dr. Frantz,
"It's a committee-intensive school. There is a lot of work to be done."
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