The Faculty Senate discussed the continuous problem of students not completing Student Opinion of Instructions, also known as SOIs, during Thursday’s meeting.
Teacher evaluations ( SOIs) have been a point of concern since the response rate decreased as the transition was made from paper form to electronic in fall 2010.
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.
This gives students a way to evaluate faculty, improving instruction and future lectures.
Senators pointed out that the problem lies in choosing the best method of motivating students to complete them.
There was much controversy over the most beneficial way to handle this problem.
“The main concern, as stated by Dr. (Cecilia) Barnbaum, is that some faculty is providing small amounts of extra credit for completing the SOIs and she does not feel providing any points for completing an SOI is appropriate,” said Dr. Peggy L. Moch, executive secretary and faculty senator.
The electronic SOI issue was remanded to the Educational Policies Committee for further review and consideration.
The Faculty Senate also addressed the Outdoor Lighting Policy.
The purpose of this policy was to ensure maximum nighttime safety for students and faculty. It also helps with maximum security on VSUs’ campus.
Jason M. Allard, Faculty Senator of Environmental Issues, said in response to an e-mail, “The University wants foremost an optimal amount of lighting on campus to ensure the safety of its community, but it also realizes that it needs to consider issues concerning energy efficiency and conservation, the impact on nocturnal wildlife, and light pollution.
The Outdoor Lighting Policy serves the purpose of addressing needs such as these on a regular basis and in a timely manner:
“I believe that the Faculty Senate supports these goals of the Outdoor Lighting Policy, and voted to pass the update to the policy already in existence,” Allard said.
The policy was voted on and passed unanimously by the Senate.
The Faculty Senate also decided to repeal the 30 year rule.
The 30 year rule currently prevents the transfer of credits after 30 years.
President Dr. Patrick Schloss found the rule beneficial.
“I appreciate the Senate’s consideration in overturning the long standing policy causing courses taken over 30 years ago to lapse,” Dr. Schloss said. “ By doing so, the Senate recognizes the presence of lifelong learning.”
This rule will affect nontraditional students returning to college to complete degrees begun from when the student first graduated from high school.
“This helps in recruitment to finish their degrees,” said Eric Nielson, Faculty Senator of Educational Policies.