SFSU Academic Senate Minutes

September 26, 2000

The Academic Senate was called to order by Chair Vaughn at 2:10 p.m.

Senate Members Present:

Aaron, Eunice; Alvarez, Alvin; Avila, Guadalupe; Bartscher, Patricia; Bernstein,

Marian; Blomberg, Judith; Boyle, Andrea; Cancino, Herlinda; Chan, Jeffery; Cherny,

Robert; Colvin, Caran; Concolino, Christopher; Consoli, Andres; Contreras, Rey;

Cullers, Susan; de Vries, Brian; Duke, Jerry; Edwards, James; Elia, John; Ferretti,

Charlotte; Flowers, Will; Garcia, Oswaldo; Garcia, Velia; Goldsmith, Helen;

Gregory, Jan; Harnly, Caroline; Hu, Sung; Hubler, Barbara; Jerris, Scott; Johnson,

Dane; Johnson, Sharon; Kelley, James; Loomis, Barbara; Nichols, Amy; Pasaporte,

Erin; Raggio, Marcia; Sagisi, Jaymee; Sayeed, Lutfus; Scoble, Don; Shrivastava,

Vinay; Smith, Miriam; Turitz, Mitch; Vaughn, Pamela; Warren, Mary Anne; Wong,

Alfred; Yip, Yewmun.

Senate Members Absent: Warren, Penelope(exc.); McKeon, Midori(exc.);

Strong, Rob(exc.); Langbort, Carol(exc.); Gillotte, Helen(exc.); La Belle, Thomas(exc.);

Collier, James(exc.); Corrigan, Robert(exc.).

Guests: R. Maghroori, P. Barnes, J. Combs, G. Platt, J. Huang,

N. Carnal, J. Hafernik, D. Reyes, R. Daniels, V. Casella, R. Giardina, M. Verhey.

Announcements and Report

Chair Vaughn welcomed two new senators from the College of Business:

Yewmun Yip and Lutfus Sayeed. She also announced that the Academic Senate office

has a new student assistant, Gloria Rivera.

Vaughn urged current senators to help in filling vacancies in BSS, SCI, CA,

ED, HUM and the library, as well as a graduate student position from AS and

a staff position from Staff Council.

Vaughn labeled her chair's report a "chair's editorial" or "view from the chair."

She began by noting that to many it seems that we are faced with a continual

barrage of initiatives, processes, reports and the like, all of which demand

our attention and all of which are piled upon our already extensive workload.

She cautioned that a reduction in teaching load is not likely to alleviate our

overall workload if we take our commitment to the university and to shared governance


Vaughn went on to summarize some of the things that will require our engagement:

program review, General Education review, WASC review, planning for summer semester,

planning for reduced teaching loads, projections for faculty hiring, reallocation

of resources, full participation in serious advising, and a host of other processes--including

renewed contract bargaining--eating into already limited and depleted time and

energy. She acknowledged how difficult it will be to involve our tired and discouraged

fellow faculty, but reminded senators that they have a special duty to remain

engaged. This means considered deliberation which leads to results, consulting

regularly with all constituents and re-question consultation from other areas

of the university in matters which pertain to the purview of the Senate.

Vaughn concluded with a clarion call that we make good as a Senate on our renewal

of our commitment to shared governance: let your voice be heard, reach out,

be vigilant!

Agenda Item #1 - Approval of Agenda for September 26, 2000

The agenda was approved as printed.

Agenda Item #2 - Approval of Minutes for September 12, 2000

The minutes were approved as printed.

Agenda Item #3 - Report from Statewide Senators

Robert Cherny summarized the work of the most recent Statewide Academic

Senate plenary session, which, in an unprecedented event, finished early. Lawrence

Gould, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and David Spence, the Executive Vice

Chancellor, were in attendance, and Spence presented a draft document on administrative

accountability. The Senate discussed a range of issues and passed three measures:

a resolution encouraging the CSU administration and the CFA to resolve their

current impasse; a resolution in opposition to Proposition 38 on school vouchers;

and a resolution endorsing the request of the faculty council of CSU-Channel

Islands to create in the new library a special collection consisting of the

creative and scholarly work of CSU faculty and staff.

Eunice Aaron reported on the work of the Fiscal and Government Affairs

committee, which received the undivided attention of senior vice president Richard

West, who reported that CMS is going well. Aaron also added that in the plenary

session Spence said that all faculty compensation dollars that were sent from

the legislature that had not been paid into faculty compensation would be used

for funding tenure track searches.

Jan Gregory first commented on the above that the total amount of money

from the legislature allocated for faculty compensation but not used for faculty

compensation amounts to $100 million. It appears to be the case that once money

leaves the Chancellor's office no one really knows what happens to it. She went

on to report on the work of the Faculty Affairs committee, which heard from

CSU negotiator Jackie McClain and CFA president Susan Meisenhelder on the recent

mediation, though hearing from them separately, it seems as if they had not

been at the same event. Faculty Affairs is also involved in three other issues:

a governance study, a revived workload study, and a faculty housing proposal.

Cherny added a note from the Academic Affairs committee: the legislature has

established a joint legislative committee to review the master plan for education,

which will be expanded to go from kindergarten through graduate school. There

will be a Statewide Senate response to this master plan soon with a short timeline

for campus responses.

Agenda Item #4 - Elections

Miriam Smith (BECA) was elected to a three-year appointment on the

University Budget Committee.

Agenda Item #5 - Report from Helen Goldsmith, Chair-Programs, Asilomar Planning


Asilomar Planning Committee Programs Chair Helen Goldsmith announced

the theme of this year's Faculty, Staff and Administrative Retreat: "A Community

of Ideas in the New Millennium." The retreat will take place at the Asilomar

Conference Center in Pacific Grove during Faculty Development Days, January

22-24, 2001.

Goldsmith went on to summarize the work of the planning committee thus far,

which has already met twice this semester with a great deal of enthusiasm, creativity,

and optimism about this year's event. The goal is to have a retreat that is

intellectually stimulating, rejuvenating, and fun. The committee's hope is that

it will have some of the flavor of the "old days" where faculty, administrators,

and staff felt connected to each other and to the institution and returned to

campus excited about their work here. The retreat will showcase the creative

and intellectual work of faculty and will offer the opportunity to chat relaxedly

and in real-time with colleagues and administrators.

Goldsmith concluded by encouraging program proposals, suggestions, and, most

of all, attendance at this important and valuable event.

Agenda Item #6 - Proposed Revision to the Bachelor of Science Degree in

Business: Concentration in Accounting

Curriculum Review and Approval Committee (CRAC) Chair Alfred Wong introduced

this consent item, summarizing some of the questions raised in CRAC, like how

the elimination of ACCT 102 as a required course will affect enrollment. Accounting

Chair Jiunn Huang was available for questions.

M/S/P (Edwards, M.A. Warren) to second reading.

M/S/P (Kelley, Smith) to close debate.

The vote was taken and the proposal was approved.

Agenda Item #7 - Proposed Revision to the Bachelor of Arts Degree in General


Wong introduced this additional consent item from CRAC, outlining the

changes and summarizing questions addressed in CRAC. Biology professor Nancy

Carnal was available for questions.

Gregory asked about the seeming abandonment of Evolution in this proposal.

Carnal explained that an introduction to the topic is part of the introductory

course for the major and that an advance understanding of evolution is covered

in required upper division courses.

M/S/P (Duke, M.A. Warren) to second reading.

M/S/P (Bartscher, M.A. Warren) to close debate.

The vote was taken and the proposal was approved unanimously.

Agenda Item #8 - Discussion of Proposed University-Wide Teaching Effectiveness


Vaughn introduced this discussion item from the Executive Committee

by providing a bit of the history prior to Provost La Belle's presentation of

the proposed university-wide teaching effectiveness form in the last Senate

meeting. In 1992, there was a Senate resolution to set up a task force on teaching

evaluation forms, which led to a 1994 report. In 1997, Susan Taylor headed an

ad hoc committee that coordinated the development of the current college-based

teaching effectiveness forms.

Patricia Bartscher asked about the rationale for having 5 as the most

positive response rather than 1. Vaughn added that the current college instruments

have 1 as the most positive. Jerald Combs explained that the 1-5 is causing

confusion and that national studies show 5 as best being better. James Kelley

noted that under the old system there were many different numbering systems;

at least we can get one scale going in the same direction.

Brian de Vries spoke in favor of the opportunity for faculty to describe

the context within which they are teaching a course, but he thought that a comparable

context for the student seems to be missing. For example, is this course required?

He also commented that this evaluation form is constructed in a product delivery

mode, which implies that all of the learning comes from the teacher to the student

rather than creation together.

Vaughn welcomed Marilyn Verhey, Vicki Casella, and Richard Giardina, who were

involved in the development of the teaching effectiveness form and who were

present to participate in the discussion.

Verhey commented on de Vries' suggestion of student context, remarking

that a student sheet was developed, and it is in the background report (interested

parties can email verhey@sfsu.edu for copies). A decision was made that there

were too many elements, but this material could be brought back.

Andres Consoli first commented that this is a significant step forward

overall. He also provided some specific suggestions on the form: anchor every

number on the scale with a qualifier; make the tense of the questions congruent.

Verhey replied that four of the eight college instruments did not anchor every

number; she added that the middle anchor is the problem.

Sung Hu asked where the faculty are supposed to be while completing

the Faculty Information Sheet. Verhey clarified that the instruction to complete

this "at the same time" was meant to be roughly at the same time.

Will Flowers endorsed anchoring all numbers on the scale.

Jaymee Sagisi asked whether this new form meant there would be less

weight given to student evaluations. She also suggested that, one, having six

numbers instead of five might solve some problems and, two, that students probably

do not need the labels on 2, 3, and 4. Verhey explained that student evaluations

are one way of many to evaluate teaching; it is not that it is not important.

Vinay Shrivastava spoke in support of having a uniform teaching evaluation

form, but he wanted to know more about the objective of the faculty information

form. Casella suggested that the notion of faculty taking risks is on

the line; this form gives faculty an opportunity to explain what may be a marginal

evaluation. Shrivastava followed up by suggesting this may be a device to justify

any score that one has.

Gregory made several suggestions: 1) revise the first two paragraphs;

2) consider the six-point option; 3) reconsider #7 to include acquisition of

skills and procedures and not just information; 4) be careful about how items

#4 and #8 could be used even if different from the probable intent. Verhey responded

that the intention of the form was to have a way for faculty to record the information

about the course for their own use. Gregory reiterated that the negative potential

outweighs the merit of the intent.

Dane Johnson first made two general comments: support for a uniform,

university-wide teaching effectiveness instrument; urging that faculty be much

more widely involved in developing this instrument. He then offered some specific

comments on the form, suggesting that items #2 and #3 on the student form overlap

in a way that might be confusing and that item #5 should be made more specific.

He found item #6 to be particularly problematic, and he wanted to make sure

that room for open-ended questions and comments would remain in the new form.

Verhey responded that this form is just the university items that would become

part of the college instrument. She added that the items were chosen

by trying to identify items that were replicated across college instruments.

There will need to be changes after looking at data sets.

John Elia spoke generally in favor of this instrument and offered some

specific suggestions on language changes: change "professor" to "faculty member";

add after "after" "final" with grades; fix the split infinitive "to carefully

consider." He also suggested that item #4 might be misinterpreted in classes

that use TAs.

Lutfus Sayeed expressed his general support for the uniform instrument

but commented that it does not take into account the amount of work that a course


Kelley spoke in favor of adoption and encouraged other senators to relax. He

added that among the three pillars looked at in advancement, teaching is the

one that we measure least well. Student evaluations are a low resolution tool

and trying to fine-tune this can become an exercise in spurious rigor. He also

added that in his college, the committee that developed the college-wide instrument

was entirely faculty.

Aaron agreed with Kelley that we should seek to evaluate teaching as

well as we might, but disagreed with everything else he said. Careful review

of these documents would give most thoughtful faculty cause for pause. She pointed

especially to the "confidential" faculty information sheet, wondering where

the confidentiality is. This is an instrument that could be very harmful in

the current administrator/faculty climate. It is a worthwhile pursuit, but she

has grave reservations.

Giardina responded that Provost La Belle would probably say that the

intention behind the faculty form would be used by faculty as part of his/her

file to make a particular case about his/her teaching. If a decision were made

internally by a department that might change things, Vaughn replied that this

may be something that needs to be clarified. Gregory quoted from the Faculty

Information Sheet: "The information also may be used by the department or college

to assist in summarizing and interpreting the feedback received from students."

She added that she has seen enough problematic "summary" to question adding

to the interpretive burden of administrators.

Looking at the line on anonymous and confidential feedback from students,

Mitch Turitz asked if there was a policy on the administration of evaluations.

Paul Barnes said there is no policy and that it is "loosey-goosey"; he also

suggested the Senate might want to take this up. Miriam Smith favored

policy on the administration of this.

Edwards congratulated the Senate for finally getting excited over something,

adding that he loved the fights between faculty and administrators. On a more

serious note, he reiterated the importance of carefully reading through and

understanding this document, for any instrument that produces teaching evaluation

numbers that are fed up to the administration level and back to the faculty

member get the attention of faculty faster than anything else. He offered some

suggestions before we should accept this instrument: 1) look at this in context

of college instrument; 2) add more items; 3) have more points on the scale;

4) simplify the language of the questions; 5) have lots of different groups

look at this and do not rush.

Charlotte Ferretti thanked the committee for their work on this but

advocated keeping the uniform instrument as simple as possible in order to keep

more room for college and course-specific questions. She also asked Verhey if

there is one question among the seven that is most important to which Verhey

replied, "No." Verhey added that #7 is the most inclusive. Responding obliquely

to Edwards, she suggested that there will be no cross-college comparison and

that the robustness will come from analysis of the data.

De Vries offered praise for the challenging work of the committee from the

perspective of someone who was on his college committee. But he also suggested

that an item addressing physical environment would be worthwhile. He also wondered

whether looking at all the college forms provided some clear dimensions along

which teaching is evaluated. Verhey commented that the factors on good teaching

came from the research literature.

Mary Anne Warren suggested two extra items as important protection:

1) is this a required course? what grade do you expect?

Jerry Duke spoke from the perspective of having been on five or six

committees that have discussed class evaluations and having looked at a range

of forms from other universities, where they looked at a range from three to

twenty questions. He commented that item #7 is the only thing that reflects

what an HRT committee would use; the rest are good for the instructor. He expressed

the need for recording how many forms are taken out in each class, and he spoke

in favor of simplicity. Duke also spoke in favor of the Faculty Information

Sheet, albeit with a different title. He suggested eliminating #4 and making

#9 even more open-ended.

Marian Bernstein suggested two additional areas that have a major impact

on evaluations: 1) the rigor of the course; 2) the grade distribution. Since

student evaluations have to be used carefully, she raised the question of how

much value is put on student evaluations.

M/S/P (Cherny, Aaron) to Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) with instructions

to draft an action item reflecting the position of the Senate on this matter,

preferably in the near future.

Cherny spoke in favor of this motion, remarking that this item is on the agenda

for discussion only, for it does not come from a Senate committee. But the Senate

has taken a role in this in the past, and we refer to student evaluations in

policies that affect personnel policies and merit pay, and it is appropriate

that the Senate look at this in a more formal way, taking some kind of position

on it.

Edwards encouraged FAC to seek strong student input on this.

Sharon Johnson suggested that it may be premature for this to go to

FAC. Cherny replied that the motion does not say that FAC is to draft an action

item on this exact draft but rather "on this matter." FAC should work with the

committee that drafted this as well as any other appropriate bodies or individuals.

Vaughn reminded senators that this item was brought to us for the first time

when there was no opportunity for discussion, which is why it was re-agendized.

She added that further discussion in the appropriate Senate committee seems

to be warranted.

Judith Blomberg noted that FAC had this on the agenda for last meeting

but it was tabled, so they will be discussing it at the next meeting.

The vote was taken, and the motion was approved.

The Senate was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Dane Johnson

Secretary to the Faculty