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,
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
Secretary to the Faculty