University of Minnesota Morris


UMM Home > Faculty Center > Development Committee > 07-08 FDC Minutes> 11/06/07

Minutes of November 6, 2007
The Faculty Center , East Annex



Cyrus Bina (Chair), Edith Borchardt, Jong-Min Kim, Engin Sungur (Ex-Officio) and Britney Appier (student)

Absent: Paul Grove
Invited Guest: Roland Guyotte, Interim Dean and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Minutes taken by: Linda Pederson

Bina called the meeting to order and welcomed Dean Roland Guyotte at 4:30 PM. The purpose of invitation was further inquiry into the development of the new student evaluation forms proposed for the university as a whole.

Guyotte indicated he had reviewed the portion of October 9 th FDC minutes that relates to the SRT (Student Rating of Teaching) form before contacting Gary Engstrand, Secretary of the University Senate on the same issue. He pointed out that several different committees are working on the quality and relevance of these questions; Guyotte informed the Committee that the issue of the SRT form has been placed on the docket for November 29 th meeting of University Senate. Guyotte noted that if it does not pass, it will return to the docket of the Senate February meeting for passage, with possible implementation at the end of spring semester. He explained that the SRT form is reflective of six different statements—rather than questions; and (following a recommendation by one psychologist) students do not “evaluate” teaching but “rate” it. Guyotte mentioned that also two open ended questions are anticipated in the form.

Bina pointed out that, given the historical precedent, these questions must be developed by committees, such as this, before ratification by the Assembly; but he noted that the FDC was circumvented in respect to giving input and/or critically examining the SRT form. Members discussed with the Dean and wondered about the questions, such as who has access to information contained in the SRT forms, or what part of the information will be disclosed to the public, or what part of it shall be used for the evaluation of faculty in respect to tenure, promotion, merit raises, etc.

Guyotte responded by saying that there are three possible uses for the SRT forms:

  1. Performance – evaluation of instruction;
  2. Faculty development and mentoring;
  3. Making public where the course stands.

Sungur reminded that the FDC was indeed the author of the Student Evaluation Form that is currently being used, including the questions that were proposed by the University as a whole. He reemphasized on the earlier point made by Bina that FDC has been kept from having a critical input into the key questions in the SRT form, and that it is urgent for the FDC and Administration to get together, in order to decide what should be included in the SRT form. Bina held firm to the idea that it is important to reflect the FDC's view, from the objective of faculty development, before the SRT form will be officially used on the UMM campus. Guyotte remarked that the Senate will either adopt the questions or not; noting if the TC cannot agree on student release questions and we wish to have them, then we may be able to development the questions—subject to our division policies. Guyotte also referred to the controversy surrounding student unrestricted (anywhere via online or in the classroom) response to the SRT, having virtually no idea under what circumstance (or influence) the task of rating is accomplished. He anticipated the response rate might be lower if students do it elsewhere on their own time rather than in classroom. Appier asked if such an evaluation can be administered more than once during the semester. Guyotte replied (documented below) that instructors are “encouraged” to adopt a mid-semester course evaluation for possible improvement in the course.

Instructional Support System
Sungur pointed out that with funding from the Bush Grant, we have tried to create effective support for faculty; yet, as Bina and I are insisting during past 2 1/2 years) what faculty need is an urgent technical support for continuous updating of their websites. He said Computing Services does not lend positive support on this; the answer is either no, or it is deferred to a kind of training that faculty have scarcely any desire to engage in. Bina explained that the Committee under his direction has been asking the Dean and the Director of Computing Services to put the resources where it has been needed most by the faculty for well over two years. Support for updating faculty websites is indeed the most urgent task by the Administration for two genuine reasons: (1) internal , i.e., the enhancement of instruction and leaning and (2) external , i.e., the enhancement of UMM visibility and demonstration of faculty's growing stature. This is indeed a small buck for the big bang. Yet, this Committee has met with either silence or worse, “we have no one to take care of this.” It was suggested that the Committee assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing technical support system. Appier believes this is not a computing service issue, noting that disciplines have hired students to do websites for them. Bina responded by saying that disciplines have limited funding for the discipline website. Our objective pertains to faculty websites and faculty at large. This is clearly the primary responsibility of the Administration and Computing Services. Borchardt informed us that she tried to hire a student for her website, but the arrangement did not work due to the lack of student training. Sungur agreed that a permanent support unit is needed where faculty will be able to be reached for assistance. Bina reiterated that Computing Services should be made accountable to assist both students and faculty, not only students—as being perceived with some justification presently. Discussion will continue at the next FDC meeting when the Interim Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs will be invited hear the Committee and respond to this issue.

FDC Minutes 10/09/07
Members reviewed the FDC minutes dated October 9, 2007. Minor revisions to the minutes noted; motion to approve carried unanimously.

UMM Distinguished Research Award
Bina announced there is one nomination from the Division of Science and Math; noting the deadline for further nomination is December 7, 2008.

Office of Academic Enrichment
Sungur pointed out that the task of the Office of Academic Enrichment is parallel with and similar to that of the Faculty Center . He then emphasized the importance of close coordination between the two units. Sungur further noted that the Office of Academic Enrichment would keep track of students' achievements (Study Abroad, Honors, UROP, MAP, etc.). This is similar to what Faculty Center does for faculty. Therefore, the Webpage of both the Office of Academic Enrichment and Faculty Center should be similar in its design and purpose. A member wondered who would design the webpage. Other discussions followed. The consensus was that activities of these two offices have to be carefully coordinated and the side-by-side websites may reflect these activities accordingly.

FDC will meet on Tuesday, December 4, at 4:00 PM, in the Faculty Center . The Interim Dean will be invited again for follow-up on the question of faculty websites as well as the coordination between the Faculty Center and the Office of Academic Enrichment.

Motion to adjourn (Appier/Borchardt); the meeting adjourned at 5:30 PM.