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Minutes of the Feb. 16 faculty senate meeting

Minutes of the faculty senate meeting Feb. 16, 2000, at 3:15 p.m. in Jonas 110.

Members present: Tim Steckline, Barb Chrisman, Curtis Card, Randalei Ellis, John Glover, Margaret Lewis, Rob Schurrer, Abdollah Farrokhi (for Steve Babbitt), and Larry Tentinger (for Rena Faye Norby). Student: Scott Biggin

Move to approve agenda by John Glover and Margaret Lewis with additions on BHSU web page and retirement board.

Approval of minutes of Feb. 2nd with correction on closing of parenthesis, Rob Schurrer and John Glover.

Steve Ochsner came to the senate with a request to change the 150-minute rule on addition of classes with faculty signatures. He told us that the board census date will be changed to seven days after classes begin instead of the current ten days. He asked that we consider a change to five days after the beginning of classes as a clearer rule to administer. Those who need to have exceptions could be dealt with on an individual faculty basis. After discussion the following motion was made by John Glover: Standard classes which meet two or three times a week shall have a five-day deadline for enrollment without faculty signature. All other classes will be limited at the discretion of the faculty member involved. Seconded by Rob Schurrer. Motion carried.

The new BHSU web page was discussed. Students have gone to faculty with complaints about the access headings. Some faculty felt that they need to be clearer. A concern was expressed about the time it takes to load the pictures on the web page. Tim Steckline will contact Paulette Palladino about this issue. The senate members indicated that they were certain that she would be open to suggestions.

Tim Steckline indicated that President Flickema was seriously interested in having a faculty candidate for the Retirement Board election. Steckline will check to see if an emeritus faculty member might be eligible to serve.

The issue related to double majors with no minor has been dealt with and is stated as follows on page 39 of the new catalog: "19. ...regular majors must complete a minor or a second major."

Tim Steckline met with Verla Fish regarding pay periods for faculty who are teaching classes at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus or distance education classes. Beginning with this semester these faculty will have the same pay options as Ellsworth Faculty—one or three checks.

Dr. Cook indicated to Tim Steckline that the process of telephone registration will not be completed by telephone. Datatel does not have the capability of checking for requirement for pre-requisites while the student is on the telephone. This will have to be done in a batch process overnight with notification of final class enrollment being sent to the student. If the pre-requisites have not been met the student will have to go through the enrollment process again for change in courses.

Dr. Cook has also indicated that the Black State University catalog available online will be the catalog of record. The Faculty Senate members were not in agreement with this. The following motion was passed by the Faculty Senate:

The faculty senate recommends that the students be held to the official paper copy of the Black Hills State Catalog which is in print at the time of their first semester of continuous enrollment.

Dr. Cook has indicated that due to the work overload in the enrollment center some responsibilities were transferred to the extended services office. Dr. Cook will be invited to March 15th meeting.

George Earley will be at the next faculty senate meeting to talk about the assessment report.

The faculty responses to the student opinion survey were discussed. There were a number of suggestions on the content of the document. These are to be forwarded to Dr. Downing's committee for review.

Meeting Adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Barbara Chrisman, recording secretary.

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The following is the summary provided by President Steckline (after the meeting):

Statement by Faculty Senate Feb. 16, 2000

Regarding Proposed Revisions of the Student Opinion Survey

Because the faculty senate cannot in any real sense approve or reject Student Opinion Surveys, they have taken as their objectives in this case, first, the collecting of information about faculty attitudes to the proposed version of the survey; and second, the forwarding of the senate's own considered response to and advice upon the proposal.

As a contribution to the first objective the senate offers the collection of responses to a straw poll conducted in early February 2000. Total responses to the senate's appeals came from 45 faculty members. Asked “Would you prefer to see this proposed Student Opinion Survey adopted?” 22 faculty responded yes; another 16 faculty responded Yes, but with the following changes or qualifications; and 7 faculty said no, they did not prefer the proposed SOS. Also attached you will find an assembly of comments faculty offered along with the straw poll. (Most are from the “Yes, with changes/qualifications” respondents, but it should be noted that comments came from across the range of approval to disapproval.)

After several months of information seeking on this proposed instrument, the faculty senate has evolved its own position on the matter. The senate thanks the ad hoc committee developing the instrument and administration for inviting the senate' s input on committee composition and on the current draft.

The faculty senate cannot and does not endorse the student opinion survey, whether in its recent or proposed versions. The senate recognizes certain uses of this instrument, but evaluation of faculty performance is not a reliable application. Whether such an instrument is to be applied to faculty, and how it will be used, is in the end up to administrators.

If a student opinion survey must be administered, a large number of respondents considered the proposed version an improvement in certain respects. But the comments of faculty and also the senate's own discussion have brought us to a few issues that should be deemed critical. These are as follows:

1. Return global questions to the survey. Though broadly focused, such questions as “This was a worthwhile class” or “The instructor was worth taking” summarize several measures.

2. Give more emphasis to the open-ended questions. Faculty agreed that these were the most useful questions in the formative improvement of classes. Their position at the tail of the survey may already devalue these questions. How can we re-emphasize them instead?

3. Using responses of so unscientific an instrument to produce aggregate scores is misleading and risky. Averaging responses to individual questions should be sufficient.

4. Though useful in a limited sense, student opinion surveys should not be employed as the primary measure of teaching. A deficiency in current means to evaluate faculty is not a good reason for pressing an inadequate means into service.