Faculty approve new policies regarding test scores and bias reporting

Abigail Tetzlaff, Managing Editor

Faculty in attendance voted to pass two policies at their April 11 faculty meeting. Both came from proposals made by faculty senate.

The first of the two will amend the admissions policy at Augsburg, making the submission of ACT or SAT test scores an optional item to include on prospective student applications. Rather, the faculty senate proposed to use a “holistic essay assessment” where students would answer short essay questions aimed to evaluate skills like “critical thinking, problem solving, [and] social skills” according to faculty senate’s FAQ on the proposal.

The senate also cited that such a change aligns “with the University mission to be intentionally diverse and accessible while having our admission policies reflect these values as well.” Additionally, they mention that competing institutions like Hamline, Concordia and Macalester have moved to a test-optional admissions policy.

The Senate did write, however, that the University could request scores from prospective students after admission to determine math and writing placement.

The provost opened the Chapel floor to arguments on the topic. Some faculty remarked that the ACT had strong predictive properties, helping to see which students would succeed in college and also indicate which students may need more help in their courses.

Others were excited for the pilot, citing that it would give them data on admissions outcomes and student success among the group who would not submit their standardized test scores.

The vote took place on a paper ballot; the majority voted to implement the test optional policy.

The faculty then voted on a second policy, brought from the faculty senate, which aimed to install avenues for anonymous bias reporting while also amending language to clarify and limit the option’s usage for fear that the anonymous aspect of these reports might lead to inappropriate uses.

Bias reporting allows students, faculty, staff or others to report incidents incited by other students, faculty, staff or guests. Dependent upon the complainant’s preferences, various levels of action can be taken, including no action at all or a meeting with the person named in the report. Currently, reports without a name attached are received and filed but not acted upon. The amended policy would give credence to reports filed anonymously.

The floor was opened to faculty for responses to the policy. The faculty body then took an oral vote, ultimately approving the new bias reporting policy.

Next year, it is fair to expect changes on the bias reporting website, and the university will soon see new language outlining admissions standards.

This article first appeared in the Friday, April 20 edition of The Echo.