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Faculty senate to discuss course eval policy

 The Faculty Senate will meet today at 3:30 p.m. in the UC Magnolia Room to discuss online teacher evaluations, possible revisions to the outdoor lighting policy, and waiving a policy relating to returning students, among other business.

 As of Fall 2010, all VSU classes began to use online teacher evaluations, known as Student Opinion of Instructions.

 This has become a point of concern since it has caused response rates to decrease.

 The main goal of the evaluations is to give students a way to evaluate faculty, which in turn can improve courses and instruction.

  All faculty members are instructed to administer student evaluations for each course they teach during the fall and spring semesters, as well as summer sessions. Student evaluations are to be completed by the last teaching day of the semester or summer session.

 To administer these online SOIs, VSU is currently using the survey function in BANNER.

 The amount of students that actually submitted an SOI, however, wasn’t as expected, and the problem lies in getting students motivated to complete them.

 Dr. Cecilia Barnbaum, professor of physics and astronomy, wrote in a note to the Faculty Senate her concerns regarding faculty response to low student compliance. Dr. Barnbaum was particularly concerned with the practice of giving extra credit to coerce students to filing out teacher evaluations.

“I find this philosophically unethical,” wrote Dr. Barnbaum in her note to the Senate. “Points toward a grade, in my opinion, should never be given to coerce students to do what they should be doing in the first place, or, especially, to fill out an evaluation of the professor. It smacks of bribery.”

 Dr. Barbaum requested professors get the choice of using online SOIs or returning to evaluations in paper form. She also wants a university wide policy on the issue.
Also on the agenda:

● The Senate will discuss the existing outdoor lighting policy.
This policy was created to ensure nighttime safety for VSU students and faculty. It also helps to provide optimum nighttime visibility for maximum security on VSU’s campus.
 According to the Environmental Issues Committee, this policy provides several positive benefits for VSU’s campus such as conserving energy for both environmental and economic reasons, and minimizing undesirable light trespass and illumination of the night sky.
The specific details of design and installation of new lighting and changes to existing lighting will be discussed.

● The Senate will discuss a request for reconsideration of VSU’s “30 year rule” for undergraduate courses by Dr. Sheri Gravett.

This policy currently prevents the transfer of credits after 30 years.

This requirement will affect nontraditional students returning to college to complete degrees begun from when the student first graduated from high school.
It was agreed by the Educational Policies Committee that the 30 year limitation should be discontinued.

There has been a statement proposed regarding a possible policy change in the undergraduate catalog designated for students returning to finish their degree.

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