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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » October 4, 2001

Faculty Senate Minutes

2001 No. 568
October 4, 2001

For All Faculty

The regular monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order by President Henry Sayre on October 4, 2001, at 3:04 PM, in the LaSells Stewart Center. There were no corrections to the minutes of June 2001.

Meeting Summary

– Action Items: Category I - Nuclear Engineering Rename; Statement of Support regarding September 11 events; and Installation of Faculty Senate President [Motion 01-568-01 through 02]
– Discussion Items: Proposed Bylaws Revisions and Student Evaluation of Teaching Forms
– Committee Reports: Bylaws and Nominations Committee
– New Business: None

Roll Call

Members Absent With Representation:
Barker, J. McGuire; Bruce, G. Beach; Cardinal, J. Yun; Franklin, M. Douglas; Gomez, P. Miles; Harter, M. Hoffman; Krause, M. Olaya; Murphy, D. Jimmerson; and S. Shaw, S. Henderson.

Members Absent Without Representation:
Ahearn, Ahern, Baggott, Balz, Bliss, Bowman, Braker, Brooks, Burt, Burton, Tolar Burton, Cluskey, Collier, Cornelius, Davis-White Eyes, De Carolis, Deschesne, Douglas, Downing, Esbensen, Flahive, Gonzales-Berry, Gross, Haggart, Hamm, Horne, W. Huber, Jones, King, Mundt, Nelson, Obermiller, Pearson, Pegau, Plant, Reyes, Schuster, Selker, D. Shaw, Smythe, Stang, Trehu, Wallace, Warner, Weber, and Winner.

Faculty Senate Officers, Ex-Officios and Staff Present:
H. Sayre, President; N. Rosenberger, President-Elect; G. Matzke, Immediate Past President; Ex-officio - J. Lundy; R. Iltis, Parliamentarian; and V. Nunnemaker, Senate Staff.

Guests of the Senate:
S. Francis, B. McCaughan, P. McMillen, R. William, and K. Williamson.


Category 1 Proposal - Nuclear Engineering

Mike Quinn, Curriculum Council Chair, presented an abbreviated Category I Proposal to rename the Department of Nuclear Engineering to the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics.

Quinn offered the following rationale for the name change:

  1. Since they offer PH. D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in both Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics, the rename would more accurately reflect the existing academic and research programs;
  2. Since there are only four departments nationwide that offer the same degrees in both disciplines, it will give visibility to the department which, in turn, they hope will assist in recruiting students.

Liaison was accomplished with both Public Health and Physics and neither department had any objections to the proposal.

Motion 01-568-01 passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes and no discussion.

Statement of Support

President-elect Nancy Rosenberger presented for approval by the Senate the following statement of support in response to events occurring on September 11, 2001:

We the faculty at OSU grieve at the cruel and senseless loss of innocent lives following the recent terrorist attacks. As we face the aftermath, we reaffirm OSU's commitment to honoring diversity and to respecting all members of our community. We encourage faculty to engage students in open discussion of ideas and points of view on the local, national and global implications of this situation.

Motion 01-568-02 passed by voice vote with no dissenting votes and no discussion.


Bylaws Revisions

Ken Williamson, Bylaws and Nominations Committee Past Chair, presented for discussion proposed Faculty Senate Bylaws revisions (in bold below) to add the senior IFS Senator to the Executive Committee. These revisions are scheduled to be voted on at the November Senate meeting.

Sec. l. Membership: The Executive Committee shall consist of the Senate President, the Senate President-elect, the Immediate Past Senate President, and the Provost and Executive Vice President, or that person's designee, as an Ex-Officio member; the senior IFS Senator as an Ex-Officio, non-voting member; and six others elected from the membership of the Faculty Senate. The elected Executive Committee members shall retain their Faculty Senate seats for the remainder of their Senate terms.

Sec. 2. Duties. IFS Senators are the representatives of the OSU Faculty in matters that cross institutional lines. IFS Senators shall be responsible for seeking opinions of the OSU Faculty and the OSU Faculty Senate as a body. The senior IFS Senator shall serve as an Ex-Officio, nonvoting member of the Executive Committee.

Williamson explained that the revision was proposed by IFS Senators who felt it would be beneficial to have greater interaction between the IFS and Executive Committee (EC). Williamson noted that since IFS is beginning to take a much more proactive role in support of faculty during legislative sessions, they need to have a better understanding of specific issues on campus. Williamson also explained that the senior IFS Senator would be a nonvoting EC member, and would be allowed to participate in discussion only.

Senator Coakley, Science, asked for the rationale behind the nonvoting clause. Williamson indicated that the Committee had discussed this issue and determined that the IFS Senator is not elected to represent the Senate, while the EC members are elected to represent the Senate. Matzke noted that the difference between elected EC members and IFS Senators is that EC members must be elected while serving as a Faculty Senator, while IFS Senators are not required to have ever been a Faculty Senator.

Senator Niess felt it was reasonable to have the IFS person a voting member of the EC since they are representing the OSU Faculty Senate outside the University. Parliamentarian Iltis clarified that, under Parliamentary rules, the reason that an ex-officio member can vote is because they are under the authority of the organization.

Senator Tiedeman, Liberal Arts, felt that the Bylaws do designate elected IFS Senators as members of the Faculty Senate.

The relationship of IFS Senators to the Faculty Senate as whole will be researched prior to the November meeting.

Student Evaluation of Teaching Forms

Ray William, Advancement of Teaching Committee (AOT) Chair, presented information and recommendations for discussion regarding possible changes in the student evaluation of teaching forms. The Committee's recommendations, are available on the web at: It is anticipated that these recommendations will be presented to the Senate for approval at a later meeting.

William explained that the AOT was charged to consider adding a question about diversity to the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) forms. In the process of researching this charge, the AOT researched the form itself and tried to determine if it was research-based (see criteria below). During the past year the AOT met with numerous departments and provided an opportunity for faculty to respond to a website survey regarding the SET forms. He noted that it is important to quickly make a decision regarding the direction of the evaluation forms since OSU will soon be purchasing the forms for the 2002-2003 academic year. The hope is to revise the SET forms and improve teaching through assessment.

The criteria used by the AOT to review the SET form included:

  • improvement of teaching
  • research-based (standard deviation with most of the responses fitting within the deviation)
  • validity (the question actually answers what was intended for it to answer)
  • results are used properly (the summative data are used for comparing faculty across departments, colleges, and universities and would be used for merit, promotion and tenure, and awards; the formative data would be confidential and meant to improve teaching)
  • fair, accountable, and actually achieves the purpose

The AOT recommends that OSU contract course and teaching assessment with the Office of Educational
Assessment at the University of Washington. Overall, faculty responses to the survey, as well as faculty comments in departmental meetings, indicated that the UW forms were favorable because:

  1. The UW has eleven forms available that match various teaching strategies, class size, pedagogies, etc., which allows faculty to choose a form appropriate to their course.
  2. The form is research-based. The UW is very flexible and encouraged adding scanable questions on the second sheet, as well as encouraging additional groups, such as team-taught courses of Extension Service, to develop questions that the UW will place on forms.

Academic Programs Vice Provost Burton requested the AOT to develop a second option which consisted of rewriting the questions on the current form (listed below) using the criteria that these questions would focus on instruction, assuming validation from other universities. AOT advisory suggested writing questions to be useful across classes, Extension Service, and Distance Ed. Since the College of Engineering is required to address outcome-based learning as part of their ABET accreditation, they are working with the Computer Center to add questions to whatever form is used.

William noted that the AOT needs assistance in wordsmithing the following scanable questions contained on the Modified OSU Form that was distributed at the meeting :

  1. Instuctor clearly communicated objectives.
  2. Instruction was directed to objectives.
  3. Instruction was clearly organized.
  4. Instructor presented information in ways that helped me learn.
  5. Teaching aids (visual, hands-on, sensory or technology) helped my learning.
  6. Instructor related information to real life situations.
  7. [Need a theory question]
  8. Instructor encouraged me to think for myself.
  9. Instructor was responsive to my learning needs.
  10. Instructor treated me with respect.
  11. I rate this instructor as an excellent teacher.
  12. I rate this class and instruction as excellent.

William felt that the UW may be willing to allow OSU to use the following written questions:

  1. Did this instruction stretch my thinking? Did it help me see ways to use it? (Please explain)
  2. What aspects of this instruction contributed most to my learning?
  3. What aspects detracted from my learning?
  4. What suggestions do you have for improving this instruction?

The AOT also recommends selective evaluation which would include all faculty/instructors to encourage written comments from students. If the scanable assessment was selective, the AOT believes it would improve student response, it could be cost or information effective, and it may improve faculty use and/or interpretation.

The formative questions, or those meant to improve teaching, should be encouraged by faculty anytime they wish to improve their teaching. The issue surrounding formative questions is who should receive the responses; should they go to the department head or should they should go to a peer committee. The thinking is that if the responses go to the department head, it is already in the administrative stream. Current research and policy suggests that formative responses should remain confidential between the faculty and, perhaps, another group since they are not meant to be used for promotion and tenure, merit, or awards and are, in fact, invalid for that purpose.

In terms of frequency, the AOT recommends that OSU adopt the following policy regarding summative data, which is used for promotion and tenure and merit:

  • New faculty and instructors assess all courses during the promotion and tenure window;
  • Associate Professors and Sr. Instructors assess all courses two years prior to intended promotion;
  • All faculty and instructors choose representative teaching activities every five years corresponding to post-tenure review; and
  • All faculty and instructors be encouraged to assess specific teaching innovations as needed and invite students to provide written evaluation to improve teaching

Regarding the matter of a diversity question, the AOT discovered that it was an extremely complex issue and they could find no American university that included a diversity question on their evaluation forms. They did learn that Nana Lowell, UW Research Director for Educational Assessment, has completed an extensive "campus climate" survey that indicated the need to integrate the community, campus, and classroom functions when assessing this complex issue. Lowell has been invited to present a seminar at OSU to identify the key questions and facilitate a discussion with the Diversity Council, AOT, and others interested in creating appropriate actions or decisions. It is hoped that this seminar will result in an action plan to identify an assessment of diversity.

William then opened the floor to receive faculty comments to be used by the AOT during the next month to assist in formulating final recommendations.

Senator Landau, Science, felt that it was not a bad idea to modify the form, with a strong emphasis on instruction. He would like to see a question asking students if they read the materials and what grade they think they are getting.

Senator Wrolstad, Agricultural Sciences, felt that more emphasis should be placed on how much a student learns from a course.

Senator Coakley, Science, felt that rewording #1 of the new written questions was necessary.

In response to Senator Tynon, Forestry, expressing the feeling that instructors should be able to choose which questions are used, William explained that the University is now paying 3-4 cents per form and individualized forms would increase the cost.

Senator Niess, Science, stated that the AOT felt that there should be four standard questions with an additional handout containing other questions. Senator Cloughesy, Forestry, felt that questions could be customized and still use the same scan sheet.

Senator Jansen, Science, questioned the need for forms and suggested that JavaScript be used instead. William noted that Mark Merickel is currently using that method for Distance Education. Senator Thies, Science, commented that getting students to complete the form online is not easily accomplished.

President Sayre felt that the UW forms are attractive since they have a variety of choices.

Senator Thies felt that question #10 does address diversity.

Senator Doescher, Agricultural Sciences, cost and William explained that OSU currently pays 3-4 cents per form, or about $12,000 per year, and the Milne Computer Center scans the forms for free. The UW would charge 8-13 cents per form, or about $40,000 per year; he acknowledged that the money may not be available.
In response to Senator Helle, Liberal Arts, question if the modified form would be available online, William indicated

Senator Cloughesy, Forestry,

William - frequency

Senator Jensen noted the need to evaluate courses consistently.

Senator Brayman Hackel, Liberal Arts, questioned how this compares for promotion and tenure and merit on the summative portion.

Senator Thies felt it was helpful to have courses evaluated every term to determine trends.

Senator Coakley felt that if evaluations became optional or random, the perception will be that we don't care.

Senator Prucha, Associated, echoed Senator Coakley sentiment and noted that, if she were an undergraduate, she may never have the opportunity to evaluate an instructor if the evaluations only occurred every five years.

Senator Lee, Science, suggested a compromise of having four standard questions on every form and have other questions that instructors could choose from to use.

Immediate Past President Matzke felt that it was important for the chair to intervene as problems arise, not after five years.

Senator Oye, Associated, supported Matzke's position and noted that feedback is only useful if it is timely.

President Sayre reminded faculty that former Provost Spanier recognized that data on course evaluations was useless unless he could see consistent data.

Senator Landau felt that if there was an option to customize the form, the student will be more interested.

Senator Sorte, Agricultural Sciences, felt that timing and consistency are important and suggested changing the timing of the evaluation to be about 2/3 of the way through the term rather than at the end.

Senator Helle suggested informing students who reads the evaluations.

Senator Cloughesy felt that the cost should be the least concern.

Senator Brayman Hackel suggested making the bubble form shorter and expanding the written form.

Matzke felt that students should have access to the written forms.

Regarding the question of whom the formative data should go to, either or both the department head/chair or peer committee, Senator Landau felt that the decision should be up to the faculty member.

Matzke felt that there is no reason for anyone other than the faculty member to see the evaluation since the department heads see the numerical values.

Senator Wrolstad felt it was important for department heads to see the evaluations since this is one piece of data they have to use in evaluating the faculty member.

Senator Coakley noted that department heads would get the summative data and under promotion and tenure guidelines, only the numerical data is used.

Senator Dollar, Liberal Arts, felt that the formative data should go only to the faculty member.

Senator Jansen emphasized that the faculty member needs to see the data to use in improving their teaching.

Senator Cook, Engineering, argued that making formative data available may discourage innovation. Conversely, Senator Wrolstad felt that it would encourage innovation.

Senator Thies felt that question #10 may want to be known by the department head.

Senator Wrolstad felt that the department head has the right to know.

President Sayre didn't feel that any of the questions can be public.


Bylaws and Nominations Committee

Gordon Matzke, Chair, outlined the nomination process for Faculty Senate President-elect and Executive Committee and Interinstitutional Faculty Senators. He encouraged faculty to send him names of potential candidates by October 8.

Information Items

– Building Dedication - Social Science Hall is being renamed in honor of Gordon Gilkey. The dedication will be October 22 from 3:00-5:00 PM.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Vickie Nunnemaker
Faculty Senate Staff