UH Hilo Faculty Congress

DRAFT Minutes of Meeting

November 7, 2003


The meeting was called to order by the chair, Jerry Calton , at 3:12 p.m. 


Present : Jerry Calton, Bill Mautz, Barbara Leonard, Helen Rogers, Barbara Heintz, Lincoln Gotshalk, Robert Fox, Philippe Binder, April Komenaka, Sabry Shehata.

Ex Officio: Chris Lu

Guest: Curtis Nishioka


1.              Minutes of the meeting of October 24, 2003 were reviewed and approved.

2.              Reports from committee chairs.

Robert Fox and Jerry Calton met with Chris Lu regarding prioritizing strategic initiatives


3. A motion was made to change the order of the agenda to move consideration of midterm grades to be 2nd item (next).  The motion was approved unanimously.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the proposal to require midterm grades at UHH

Discussion: Barbara Leonard and Bill Mautz reported that the results of faculty surveys in Business and Natural Sciences show universal (business) and nearly universal (Natural Sciences) disapproval of the idea.  The argument in support of midterm grades is that a number of UHH students are not getting adequate feedback on their progress in courses prior to the deadline for withdrawal from courses.  This results in poor morale and contributes to the retention problem.  By requiring that midterm grades be posted on the internet, students can easily check their grade status in mid-semester prior to course withdrawal deadline, and faculty who have not been providing adequate feedback to their students will thereby be compelled to do so.  The opposing arguments cited by most faculty surveyed are 1) Most faculty already give adequate feedback on student status in their courses, and midterm grades will impose a new bureaucratic process burden on faculty who do not present a problem to the students. 2) Many courses, for example, project oriented courses, are not conducive to giving midterm grades, and computerized grading does allow other forms of feedback. 3) Midterm grades will not solve the problem of scofflaw faculty failing to give adequate feedback; the few faculty who do not want to be bothered with giving feedback can devise some trivial test instrument to generate a grade distribution and log it in to the computer system.  The students will likely be even worse served by this process.

         Sabry Shehata stated that faculty felt that the withdrawal deadline should be extended further than 8 weeks.

Vote on the motion to require mid-term grades at UHH.

Yes 1, No 7, abstain 1.  The motion was defeated.


A motion was made to approve Robert Fox’s substitute motion on the issue of midterm grades:

This motion is a statement of agreement for the catalog that the students are entitled to feedback on their performance status at mid semester:


“Students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo have a right to expect

information about their progress and performance in undergraduate

courses prior to the deadline for withdrawal. This information may take

the form of quantitative assessment such as test grades or qualitative

assessment such as graded papers, interviews with professors, etc. and

will vary from professor to professor.”


A short discussion favored this motion.

Vote: yes 9, no 0.  Unanimous approval.


4.     Regarding new members of committees.

A. the ad hoc governance committee.  A motion was made to defer approval of new members of the committee until the committee’s charge is clarified.

Discussion.  The first committee meeting was reported to be unfocussed and rambling, and the committee needs to have clear purpose in order to be productive.

Vote: yes 8, no 0, abstain 1.  The motion passed.


B. UH System Interim Articulation Committee. A motion was made to appoint Chris Keller as Writing Intensive representative to the UH SIAC.

Vote: unanimous approval.


5. Proposal to modify requirements for admission of transfer students. Transfer students must have English 100 and college level mathematics.  Curtis Nishioka reported that this proposal has been in discussion since 1990. It relates to the kinds of transfer students who come to UHH and then need considerable additional lower division coursework.  There followed a complex discussion concerning international transfer students who go through ELI courses who may be admitted without English 100, and whether transfer students may be admitted as “classified” or “unclassified”.

Robert Fox, in consideration of the importance of making a correct decision in the face of an unclear situation, moved to postpone this proposal for more information gathering, specifically the different requirements for international vs. U.S. transfer students.  The proposal will also be referred to the Academic Policy Committee.  

Vote: unanimous approval.


5.     Proposal by the Congress Executive Committee to change the “disclosure rule” in the by-laws from 7 days to 48 hours before a substantive matter can be considered by Congress. 

Motion:  To change the following section of the Congress by-laws from:

1.       Disclosure Rule

 Any business not routine in nature or any proposal of more than 15

words must be available for review by members at least one week before

consideration by the Congress. This rule may be suspended by a two-

thirds vote of the Congress members present.



1.       Disclosure Rule

 Any business not routine in nature or any proposal of more than 15

words must be available for review by members at least 48 hours before

consideration by the Congress. This rule may be suspended by a two-

thirds vote of the Congress members present.

The rationale for this change is that a requirement of one week to review new proposals limits the ability of the Congress to respond to current events and initiatives in

a timely manner.


Discussion. The internet now makes communication much more efficient, and less time is needed for effective notification. Also this change will bring Congress disclosure rules into accord with the CAS Senate rules. 

A change in the by-laws must be brought before Congress in 2 sessions before action, so this proposal will be revisited at the next meeting.


Meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Bill Mautz,

Vice Chair, UHH Congress