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                                    Faculty Senate 2007-08

University of South Alabama
Faculty Senate
January 16, 2008
University Library, Rm.110

Approved Minutes

Present:        Amare, Baggett, Britt, Brown, Bru, Burnham, Carnahan, Crumb, Engin, Estis,  Falkos, Hamilton, Heins, Irion, Johnsten, I. Khan, Z. Khan, King, Kinniburgh, Lauderdale, Loomis, Major, Meyer, Morris, Perez-Pineda, Porter, Prendergast,  Prescott, Prokhorov, Romey, Robinson, Sachs, Simpson, Tate, Woodford, Tony Wright, Tootie Wright.

Excused:      Aliabadi, Aucoin, Carter, Doran, Fresne, Haas, Li, Pettyjohn, Rowell,
Santoli, Vrettos.

Unexcused: Allsion, Byrne, Dardeau, Douglass, Green, McNair, Phelan, Sherman, Teplick.

1.  The meeting was called to order at 3:00 P.M. by Chair Tate.  Quorum present.

2.  Approval of Minutes:
Motion by Chair to approve minutes for the November 28 meeting; no changes or suggestions; unanimous approval.

3. Guest Speaker:
Gordon Stone of the Higher Education Partnership spoke to the general caucus about the upcoming March 6 Higher Ed Day in Montgomery.  He encouraged everyone to attend this meeting and he distributed promotional fliers to share with our colleagues. Also he made everyone aware of their expanded summer program and their developing student groups. Membership is $12 annually.   

4. Chair’s Report:  Chair Tate summarized points from the written report which is available in its entirety online. Highlights are listed as below:

5. Old Business:
The Academic Affairs Policy Committee discussed the “Resolution Endorsing a Modification to the Late Course Withdrawal Policy”.  The discussion centered mainly on the problems involved with implementing the proposed policy.  There has been strong objection from the Registrar’s Office for the policy and there was concern that the benefits for having this policy may be outweighed by the cost of implementation.  The group is looking at a compromise which could move the withdrawal deadline up to the end of the 10th week of classes, as well as increase communication regarding the consequences of withdrawing from a course.

6.  New Business.
Cynthia Crumb brought forward an issue from the Mathematics & Statistics Department regarding the student evaluation forms.  She noted that the preparation of these forms represents a significant cost to their department in secretarial hours.  In addition, she pointed out that the documents that accompany the returned forms which show comparisons between scores by department, by college, and by university are flawed.

In view of the fact that these forms represent what could be used as a measure of teaching effectiveness while also providing a comparison of this measure with different individuals and groups in the university, it would be in the interest of the faculty to insist that the comparison problems be addressed.  The problems stem from the manner in which the forms are processed. 

A second problem is that there is no year by year comparison of the individual score so that the evaluator could discern whether improvement in a given area occurs over time.

The faculty of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics would therefore request that an ad hoc committee be formed in the Faculty Senate with the mission of creating an instrument to measure student evaluation of teaching effectiveness.  This measure would then need to be designed in such a way that data can be collected from it allowing departmental, college, and university comparisons and time line comparisons for each individual instructor or professor being evaluated.

Pertinent questions:
1.  Who should carry the burden of cost for these evaluations?
2.  Who should complete the evaluations?  (Should only students who finish the course - - or who finish a specified portion of the course?)
3.  Is an on line survey a possibility?  Is there a way to make this instrument meaningful in that a significant part of each class completes it?
4.  How much bearing do comparative results have on tenure and promotion decisions?  How much bearing do comparative results have on award decisions?
5.  Who are the campus experts on surveying and on questionnaire development?  Have they had a part in this instrument?  Should they have a part in the data gathering for this evaluation of teaching?

In response to this request, Chair Tate asks that all senators send digital/paper copies of their various course evaluations so that the Senate may move forward in this inquiry.

7.  Committee Reports:

8.  Caucus Leader Reports:

9.  Meeting adjourned at 3:52 P.M.


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