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Faculty Development Committee

Minutes for November 18, 2003
8:30 AM - Faculty Center
East Annex

Present: Greg Thorson (Chair), Bert Ahern, David Hoppe, Carol Marxen, and Siobhan Bremer
Absent: Jamie Gremmels and Derrek Brunsberg
Guest: Laura Burbank


The meeting began at 8:35 AM. Thorson asked for comments or approval for the November 4, 2003 minutes. The minutes were unanimously approved.

Faculty Affair Committee Consultation
Thorson and Ahern will compose a memo this afternoon to be sent out in the next few days. Ahern stated that hopefully they would be able to meet with some committees before the end of the semester, noting that it might be more difficult to meet with the Divisions this semester. Thorson indicated that if meetings were held by February, this would allow enough time to get a vote before the end of the semester.

Fall Faculty Retreat
Thorson said that it was discussed at the last meeting whether or not the Fall Retreat should be held off campus. He asked for discussion of responses that members had received from the survey. It was noted that 21 survey responses were received. Discussion of comments followed. Some of the comments included: 1) too busy a time with course development, 2) should be off campus, 3) would like to see a variety of topics discussed, not just focused on one topic.

Ahern said that he is reluctant to abandon an off campus event because of comments received. He said that driving distance for the Arrowood may be further for some, encouraging more to stay overnight. He felt that if we have the opportunity to do Arrowood, we should try it before we abandon it. Ahern discussed briefly the cost difference of the Arrowood Resort, Peters Sunset Beach, as well as an on campus retreat. Arrowwood will cost at least $3000 more than Peters and about twice as much as an on-campus event.

Marxen commented that if the event is held on campus, we couldn't call it a retreat. She said that she doesn't think that we would get the same focus on campus as you would a retreat. She said we really should try the Arrowood; it is important to have this type of event and will loose something if it doesn't remain a retreat.

Ahern observed that cost would be less if the retreat occurred after the end of the academic year and before Memorial Day. Thorson commented that people who don't stay overnight now, probably wouldn't do so if the retreat was held at the end of the year. He favors the retreat in the fall.

It was agreed that the retreat should be held at the Arrowood in August 2004, and the committee will now focus on the program

MCSA and Public Evaluations of Teaching
Laura Burbank was introduced to the committee. Burbank distributed information on Teacher Evaluations. She said that the MCSA is interested in making a website on Teacher evaluation and is asking the committee for comments and suggestions. The goals listed on the Teacher Evaluations handout included:

  • To give students a reliable way to evaluate classes/teachers
  • To more closely match students learning styles with classes
  • To allow students a reliable way to get information about their classes and teachers, rather than through word of mouth, or online sites such as that rate the professors in such categories as Easiness and Hotness.
  • Use input from both teachers and students to create an effective and impartial website.
Burbank said that she is checking with John Bowers about setting up a student log in.

Burbank discussed with the committee some of the possible questions. Bremer commented that this is a good variety of questions, but feel there would be a problem getting students to do it. She said that this has been addressed and tried before, but it is difficult to get students to do it. She asked how you could mandate the students to do it. Burbank said that students have expressed interest doing it on-line. Marxen said said that questions could be interpreted differently unless you had annotated comments. Thorson commented that his view is that if the students want to do the evaluation, they have the right to do so (freedom of speech), but he suggested rating the class and include written comments. Thorson feels there could be liability issues if you allow what students' post be made public. It was questioned how this information would be collected. Burbank commented that it could either be done in class or the MCSA could collect the data and post on-line. Bremer said she likes the idea - it could be officially used to see a cross over between student and faculty, but fears with a bit of caution. She also commented that we must look at what the purpose of the plan is. Ahern stated that the Student Government has the right to do this, but faculty must be on board. Thorson said that this plan wouldn't work for everyone, but as far as advising it would fill a substantial hole. Burbank stated that many col-leges have review sites, and that they have looked at alot of these sites. Bremer said that the percentage of options on this campus must be looked at, such as percentage of courses that students have 2 or more professors to select from. Ahern noted that the method of collecting student comments and criteria for eliminating inappropriate [e.g., sexist] comments are not trivial issues. Thorson said Burbank would be invited to a future meeting for further discussion.

The FDC will meet Tuesday, December 2 at 8:30 AM in the Faculty Center. The agenda will include: 1) Structured questions on survey  2) draft goals of Bush Foundation grant.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Pederson