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Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
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Overview of 2004 - 2005 Senate Committee on Student Evaluations of Teaching
Prepared by Laurie Puchner, 9/9/10


1. The committee was organized by the Faculty Senate President.

2. The charge given to the committee in an initial email was as follows: " As senators, your names have surfaced as potential members of a cross-council task force I am pulling together to examine student evaluations of teaching on this campus. Specifically, the task force should probably address at least two issues: the structure of the evaluations themselves (getting them to focus more on evaluating the learning that took place in the course) and their use regarding formative assessment of courses and T&P procedures. It is an issue that cuts across various senate councils, including the Graduate Council, which is why this cross-council group is being formed. Please let me know ASAP if you would be interested in being a member of this task force. There will be a visiting scholar of student evaluations on campus in about three weeks, and we'd like to set up some time to meet/eat with him."

3. Committee composition: I have incomplete information about the composition of the committee. I know it was supposed to have representation from different senate councils, but not all of the people originally asked to be on the committee agreed to participate. Members included, but may not have been limited to: Lesa Stern (chair), David Kaplan, Duff Wrobbel, Bryon Ehlmann, Jane Gillespie, and myself.

4. The committee began work in September of 2004, met for a year, and finished products were sent to the senate in June of 2005.

5. Accomplishments: The committee did a lot of research on how to create, administer, and use good SET instruments, after which the following four items were submitted to the faculty senate: ­

a. A document on Use of SETs

b. A document on Administration of SETs

c. A document entitled Introduction to the SET items

d. A set of actual SET items, intended as a model evaluation form

After these items were submitted to the senate, the Use and Administration documents went to the Welfare Council and were used to make the policy on student evaluations of teaching that are in use today. The actual items were submitted to the chair of the Faculty Development Council, but did not move forward. It is unclear whether it was ever actually taken to FDC. It should be noted that the instrument was intended as a model evaluation form for departments to use if they wanted. The committee did not recommend that it or any other form be used as a university-wide standard course evaluation form.