William Clyde, interim provost, clarified multiple policies about academic affairs. MANHATTAN.EDU/COURTESY
By Angelina Persaud, News Editor
Updates on remote learning, student diversity and definitive language on the use of artificial intelligence for academic purposes were some of the highlights from the Manhattan College Senate meeting on March 21.
The meeting began with a highlight of discussions from the Educational Affairs Committee (EAC), which was delivered by Interim Provost William Clyde, Ph.D.
Most recently added to the agenda was the updated language in the academic integrity policy to prohibit the use of artificial intelligence chatbots, such as ChatGPT. The language is found under the Academic Misconduct section of the policy. According to manhattan.edu, “Examples of academic misconduct are not limited to, but include…Violating any part of the College’s Responsible Use of Computing and Information Services Policy.”
Clyde explained the language clarification as a way to keep consistent with technological changes.
“We felt it reflected and accounted for recent changes in technologies, specifically ChatGPT and AI,” Clyde said. “And so we’ve made some changes in the existing language to make it very clear that we’re including those kinds of things in this conversation.”
Clyde also highlighted the creation of a posthumous degree policy, which will allow a matriculated student to earn their intended degree in the circumstance that they pass away during their time at MC. The policy is currently being formatted.
Clarification was also given on the concept of remote learning days and their applicability. Currently, it is mainly up to the discretion of the faculty teaching the class how they will accommodate students being remote.
“We know because of COVID most faculty are capable [of remote classes] and we are able to teach that way,” Clyde said. “This isn’t a requirement of going remote. They’re just going to have to manage that and do the best they can.”
However, the main focus was that the class, or an asynchronous assignment, must be instructed during the allotted time in order to fulfill credit hours approved by NYS. On a similar note, Clyde also instructed that a project, exam or presentation must be given during final exam week in order to fulfill credit hours.
“We need to spend all our time giving effort, including doing something during finals week,” Clyde said. “It could be anything but you need to make use of that time because all that time is the same as our time for the class for three credit classes.”
There was also an explanation given for students involved in Title IX learning services and how they can navigate a remote setting when needed.
Cory Blad, Ph.D., dean of the School of Liberal Arts, indicated that once the investigation begins for a student to begin Title IX learning, they enter a contract with the faculty teaching the course for that time.
“Title IX is a very specific case, or other very specific cases,” Blad said. “But when it comes with a statement of requirements… both parties have a lot of commitments. The faculty need to work as they can to accommodate situations that come up.”
The Student Life Committee introduced discussions relating to Jasper Day of Wellness, including the notion of adding it to the academic calendar in the coming years. Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, dean of student life, expanded on the importance of wellbeing days in the future.
“ One of the things that is also a conversation is how much of this is for students and how much of this will impact faculty as well,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “The concept originally brought forward was that we all need wellbeing, flourishing, thriving and stress management. So the conversation was, can it be broader and how should we approach it?”
Abreu-Hornbostel also noted that Resident Advisors will be trained within the Counseling Center to cater for the wellbeing of students and be proactive towards mental health needs.
She also highlighted that Dining Services has been invited to tour dining facilities to gain a better sense of food preparation to bring to the college.
“In particular, they’re looking to have a better sense of safety, holiday meals and overall food presentation,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “The style at Locke’s and the style at Kelly Common are very different approaches…students feeling like one has healthier options than the other.”
Abreu-Hornbostel also highlighted the college’s low eligibility for the Pell Grant yet steady population numbers for a Hispanic serving institution (HSI). This falls under the council’s efforts to increase diversity in the community.
“We’re hoping that there might be a way to approach the situation, and so a motion was filed to see if we can move forward with our status,” Abreu-Hornbostel said.