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Minutes of April 30, 2007
4:30 PM, Faculty Center
East Annex


Cyrus Bina (Chair), Edith Borchardt, Jong-Min Kim, Sara Mattison, and Engin Sungur (Ex-Officio


Carol Marxen

Bina called the meeting to order at 4:45 PM.

FDC Minutes 03/26/07
Bina asked for any corrections, revisions, and/or approval of the FDC minutes dated 3/26/07. A motion to approve the minutes carried unanimously.

Student Rating of Teaching (SRT)
Members received a copy of the SRT (Draft, March 1, 2007). Bina informed that he received an e-mail (and attachment of SRT draft) in March, which disclosed the formation of a joint all-U senate sub-committee consist of SCEP (senate committee on educational policy) and SCFA (senate committee on faculty affairs), in Fall 2006, in order to revise the main core questions concerning the current “Student Evaluation of Teaching” and/or “Student Opinion of Teaching” forms. The e-mail noted that this was a draft of the recommendations by the subcommittee—before SCEP's approval.

  • Members reviewed and discussed the SRT draft.
    Sungur noted that the questions are posed are based on investigation into effective teaching, not based on anyone's particular idea.
  • Scale of responses: (6-1, NA).
  • N/A (not applicable) might be an improvement.
  • Members had concern about question #3. One member noted that it may inadvertently reflect upon the instructor's feedback. Bina explained that this particular question does not necessarily reflect upon the Professor; it is rather concerns students' perspective if they used the Professor's feedback successfully to improve one's class performance. Borchardt suggested breaking question 3 into 2 separate questions in order to prevent misinterpretation.
  • Positive name change (from SOT to SRT) was also noted.
  • Reverse order of numbering, was noted, can potentially create problem if students do not read the instructions. In order to correct this, Sungur suggested that the numbers may start from higher to lower.

By consensus, the Committee was of the opinion that these questions are improvement over the previous ones, but given the specificity of each question, this questionnaire will not serve its supposed purpose. Bina pointed out that one must be aware of limitation of this sort of surveys and documented research that put the value of these evaluations well below 50% mark. So, we, as a faculty, should not deceive ourselves by totally relying on such hype as teaching evaluation. Sungur noted that, according to SCEP, decision for tenure and promotion should be placed merely on teaching and these teaching evaluations. Borchardt indicated that the student evaluations principally serve as feedback for faculty and should not be overvalued as a part of decision on tenure and promotion.

Motion (Borchardt/Kim) to attach the SCEP Report (Peh Ng) to the FDC Minutes 4/30/07; motion unanimously carried.

Sungur reported the existing form was developed ten years ago by the FDC, with a different set of questions, and now the Twin-Cities Campus is imposing these questions. He noted that the FDC was neither asked for input nor informed of this proposal (survey draft/scale) for change in advance, and it is of grave concern how UMM will handle this. Bina concurred with this assessment with much regret.

With full consensus, the Committee grievously resolved:

  1. Student Rating of Teaching is a faculty development issue and duly within the jurisdiction of FDC. FDC should have been consulted from day one; this is a remarkable violation of faculty governance at UMM.
  2. The primary object of SRT is assessment and thus proposed improvement concerning faculty's performance; as an instrument for the purpose of administration of such faculty performances FDC was not consulted; this is totally unacceptable to this Committee and, by implication, to (governing) faculty at large at UMM.

Bina wished to reiterate, for the record, the FDC's displeasure with this particular (evaluation) questionnaire and the way in which it has been put together and imposed, without any faculty input whatsoever via the governing committees at UMM.

ADT Conference
Sungur reported that four presentation from UMM were delivered at the Academy of Distinguished Teachers Conference (4/23/07). The FCLT made the posters for the poster session, bookmark and prepared the website which listed the presentations. These presentations can be viewed at .

Faculty Surveys
Sungur reported the first announcement for the Faculty Quality of Life and Faculty Opinion on Administration surveys was e-mailed on April 17, with two to three additional repeats during the following weeks.

Fall Faculty Retreat 2007
The first planning committee has been formed; the committee will decide on organizers, facilitators, and topics for the Fall retreat accordingly.

Thursday Afternoon Faculty Seminars
List of the 2007-2008 Thursday Afternoon Seminars was distributed to the members; eleven (Teaching/Research) presentations are scheduled for the upcoming year. Professor Emeritus Eric Klinger wil present his talk, as a ‘special event,' in October.

New Business
Bina reported, for the record, that faculty (student advisors) received e-mails from Office of Advising (late in Spring 07) to the effect that they have to report anything “suspicious” and/or “wrong” to the campus police. Bina objected to imposition of such a wide, cards blanch, and open-ended responsibility, which indeed belongs to the Campus Administration itself, upon the faculty. The Acting Dean then, in an e-mail, repeated the same thing and registered the same expectations to Professor Bina. Bina's response was the same. He—in no uncertain terms—indicated to the Dean that, while he is normally cognizant of safety and security his workplace, he refuses to be deputized as a police and to shoulder the responsibility that is solely of the Administration. Bina further indicated to the Acting Dean that he is here to teach, research, and engage in all activities that are academic and scholarly; the surveillance/police work he is neither hired for nor paid for nor indeed interested in. The FDC, by consensus, accordingly objected to being deputized or commanded to report such activities on behalf of the Administration to campus police. Academic institutions have no affinity with creation of a police state; the responsibility lies with the Administration.

Bina expressed his gratitude to the FDC members for their participation, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas that have made the Committee so productive during the 2006-2007 academic years; and conveyed that he is proud to serve as chair. He praised the Faculty Center and its indefatigable director, Professor Sungur, for initiating superb programs and indeed becoming a hub for faculty development. Lastly, Bina acknowledged Pederson's unparalleled dedication to the manifold administrative tasks of the committee.

Meeting adjourned at 5:28 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Linda Pederson