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Faculty Development Committee

Minutes for November 6, 2001
4 PM Faculty Center
Humanities Annex



Present: Harold Hinds (Chair), Bert Ahern, Gordon McIntosh

Absent: Stacey Parker Aronson, Doug Reese, Mike Rea, Cyrus Pansch

Hinds called the meeting to order at 4:00 PM. Hinds asked the committee if they had reviewed the minutes for October 2 and October 9, asking for approval or corrections. The minutes were approved.

Ahern reported that the Instructional Technology team had their first meeting, and says he feels the team is off to a good start. He said team members include Engin Sungur, Chris Cole, Tim O'Keefe, Seung-Ho Joo, Jennie Joiner and himself.

Ahern also reported on The Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and said that the committee will meet November 20 at 5:00 PM in the Prairie Lounge. He noted that Jeff Ratliff-Crain is the chair of the Executive Committee. Ahern said that the committee will explore ways in which the Faculty Center can assist the UMM Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and also develop a theme and appoint a committee for organizing the Teaching Excellence conference in the spring.

Hinds welcomed Dean Schwaller and John Bowers to the meeting for the discussion of the web-base course evaluation forms. Dean Schwaller began by discussing the Student Opinion of Teaching survey. He said he has concerns with the process of how the current survey operates. He said it is not an automatic process; the data is entered manually by one person that takes 3 weeks to a month to complete. He feels it is not the best way to handle this task because of possible errors, workload issues, as well as confidentiality. He also noted that the complete questionnaire is returned to the faculty, and said that handwriting might be recognized.

Dean Schwaller said that there are a couple of options to do the student evaluations better. One option is to use scanable forms, this would require the purchase of additional equipment, which would cost approximately $8,000, and one staff person would have to be trained for the process. He also noted that paper copies would still be needed. He said that the advantage of this process is that the survey could be done more quickly and easily, but it would not be cost effective. The other option is a web-based form. He noted that students would be able to 1) type their comments on the form, 2) the form would be more confidential, 3) students would sign in with their X500 number, insuring that they do the survey only once. Schwaller said from a technical point of view, this is a good idea to try. He said that they would like to run a trial test this semester, adding that he has lined up faculty (tenured-full professor) in 4 divisions that are willing to try this. A concern was raised about the rate of response that would be received by the electronic survey verses the classroom survey. Schwaller noted that he had discussed the electronic survey with the Assessment Committee and also the students.

Bower displayed and explained the electronic UMM Student Opinion of Teaching Form. He noted that the survey questions are identical to the questions on the paper form, but the use of some additional questions is still pending. He said that students will sign in with their X500 number and that a statement will explain what the survey is for. Bowers said that the data will be kept separate for each class, but the data will be formatted the same as the existing format. Schwaller noted that student comments would exist in the data file in conjunction with other choices they have made. Hinds indicated that he would like to see a printout of the survey to be sure that it is readable. Bowers noted that the demographic data will still be visible, but it is optional. Other concerns included the format of the survey, and the window of time available for the survey. It was noted that some faculty prefer to give the survey on the last day of class, and questioned whether or not the electronic survey should be done before the course is completed. Schwaller said that the Professor could have the option of requesting their student to complete the survey after the course is completed. He said that because of the number of students that would have to log in to the survey, he feels that at least 5 days would be required. Bowers noted that classes ended on a Wednesday this year, he suggested that the survey could begin on Wednesday and end on Monday morning (the beginning of finals), noting that each year would be different. Schwaller said that they would look into the possibility of timing the survey, if a time-date can be technologically done.

Hinds said that a faculty member had raised the following question to him. Is it a customary practice or is it mandated for a course to be evaluated every 4 years each time it is offered? Ahern replied that it is University guidelines that every course you teach will be evaluated every 4 years.

Schwaller noted that the trial test survey will include a variety of classes, i.e. (Sungur - lower Div. Stats class, Kissock - upper Div. Ed. course), major GRE course-upper & lower divisions, with results compared with last fall classes taught. He asked the committee if they had endorsement to move forward with the trial survey. The committee said to go ahead with the trial test, but after it is discussed with the students he should return to the committee for further discussion. Dean Schwaller and Bowers left the meeting.

The next meeting will be November 20 at 4:00 PM at the Faculty Center. Hinds said that a possible agenda item would be Aronson reporting on the Quality of Life Survey, which she was unable to report on earlier.

Meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Pederson