U Senate alters grad rule

The Senate met at Coffman Union for its scheduled March session.

Matt Graham

The University Senate voted on Thursday to change a credit requirement for graduation.

The change, if approved by the Board of Regents, will require students to complete at least half their major credits at the college and campus from which they graduate.

The Senate met at Coffman Union for its scheduled March session. The University Senate is a body of faculty members, students and academic professionals who discuss and vote on institutional policies.

The credit change replaces the current rule that requires transfer students to take 24 credits from the college they plan to receive their degree from.

If a student has already completed all credits in his or her major at a different school within the University, the institution currently does not require the student to take credits in the major from the degree-awarding school.

Along with students transferring from other institutions, the rule change affects students moving from one University campus to another and students changing colleges within the Twin Cities campus.

“(The new rule) is to ensure that students are actually taking the credits in their major from the school awarding the degree,” said Craig Swan, a University Senate member and vice provost for undergraduate education.

Other Senate news

The Senate also carried a motion to encourage University faculty members to make public the student release sections on their end-of-the-semester student evaluations.

“This is so students can choose classes that fit with their learning styles,” said student senator Nathan Wanderman.

He emphasized that this is not a rule change, rather the first part of an attempt by the Student Senate to overhaul the way student evaluations are handled.

University President Bob Bruininks said he “strongly supports the resolution and what it stands for.”

Another resolution that passed would allow a Senate committee to consider making tenure-track professors eligible for the Faculty Retirement Plan immediately after being hired.

Currently, the retirement plan does not go into effect until after a professor has worked at the University for two years.

“This is the right thing to do, and it makes the University more competitive in recruiting faculty,” Bruininks said.

Bruininks ended the meeting with a statement on the University’s efforts at passing a bonding bill at the Legislature.

He said he does not expect to receive the $158.1 million the University has requested, but he is encouraged by the State Senate’s recommendation of $118.3 million.

He emphasized that the University will need to make some changes.

“We need to find some ways to lower our operating costs,” he said. “This is all about improving the long-term profile of the University of Minnesota.”