FACULTY SENATE MEETING
April 7, 2009
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner; Chair Elect Overton, Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin: Senators Anson, Auerbach, Bernhard, Boone, Carver, Daemon, Domingue, Edmisten, Fahmy, Fleisher, Franke, Genereux, Headen, Hemenway, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kotek, Levy, Lindsay, Murty, Poling, Roberts, Ting, Tu, Williams
Excused: Ambaras, Havner, Honeycutt, Scotford
Absent: Senators Akroyd, Hergeth, Kocurek, Muddimann, Poindexter, Ristaino
Visitors: Marcia Gumpertz, AVP Faculty and Staff Diversity; Karen Helm, Director of University Planning and Analysis; Kelli Rogers, Student Senate President; Lauren Demanovich, Student Senator, CHASS Junior; Jason Lindsay, Student Senator, CHASS Senior; Dimitris Argyropoulos, Professor of Chemistry; Lee Fowler, Athletics Director
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the fifteenth meeting of the fifty-fifth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Senators and guests.
Senator Levy recognized the loss of Dr. Monte McCaw, a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the tragic loss of Monte McCaw this past Saturday. Dr. McCaw was a 1980 graduate of Ohio State where he received the DVM and completed a PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1989. He came to NCSU CVM in 1988 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Swine Medicine and was promoted to Associated Professor with tenure in 1995. He was a leader in the scholarly area of Virology and Immunology and a committed and talented teacher. I can tell you that he will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family. He left a wife and three wonderful sons.
The Senate observed a moment of silence for Dr. McCaw.
Chair Martin thanked Senator Levy.
Chair Martin announced that the ACE (American Council on Education) Fellows Program is a leadership program for anyone that is interested in leadership development in higher education. There were two meetings, one scheduled for this morning and there is another meeting on Thursday, April 9 from 2-3 p.m. in Page Hall. Anyone interested should contact Betsy Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs for additional information.
Chair Martin stated, with the end of the Senate session rapidly approaching I would like to put in a call to all committee chairs and liaisons to University Standing Committees, if you could please submit final annual reports that would be very helpful. These in part could be the final reports from your University Standing Committees or it could be your own liaison report. The reports would go formally into the minutes. Please submit your reports to me so I can compile them to go into the minutes.
Chair Martin announced that most of the Senate candidates have been submitted.
The Senate candidates are in good shape compared to the Grievance with (28 vacant positions with 8 candidates) and Hearings panels (14 vacant positions with 3 candidates). The grievance and hearings panels are in need of attention.
The electronic elections will be on April 13th.
Executive Committee Summary (Chair Martin)
When the Executive Committee met, the plan for today’s meeting was that we were going to focus on the report from the Personnel Policy Committee regarding grievance matters. They indicated to me that they were not prepared to report so we will have to work that into our last meeting in two weeks.
We had significant discussion over a Board of Trustees policy, which is a piece of work that the Personnel Policy Committee has largely finished. The Board of Trustees Appeal Policy is the policy that is invoked only when you have a case where the Chancellor overturns the ruling of the Grievance Committee that was favorable to the grievant, so if the grievant grieves, the committee rules in favor, and the Chancellor overturns, the individual may appeal. If the committee does not rule in favor of the grievant, this appeal process is not possible. That policy was changed on September 18 at the Board of Trustees meeting with no review from the Faculty Senate or pretty much any other body. When I read through the Board of Trustees packet I noticed the revisions to this policy and there were several concerns. I at the time requested the chair of the subcommittee of the Board of Trustees to withhold passing those policy revisions until the Senate could review them. They passed them, but sent a letter that said the Senate could respond after review.
The Personnel Policy Committee reviewed the policy and recommended several changes. Some of the changes needed to happen. There were some changes in the UNC Code that needed to be cleaned up, but in the process there were also some major revisions to the standard of review and as both the Personnel Policy Committee and the Executive Committee found as we reviewed this document, the proposed changes resulted in a major change in the standard of review, making appeal policy so that it appears, as currently written, that there is no way that an appeal could ever be successful. The only means in which that appeal could be successful is if it were found that the Chancellor violated [law] or was basically found to be not competent. We don’t think that is wise language. If you have a policy that is not possible then what is the purpose of having the policy at all? So after strong discussion with the Personnel Policy Committee and the Executive Committee, it is now actually back in the hands of Legal to consider some further revisions.
Senator Levy stated that one of the delays is apparently the need for consistency between the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors.
Chair Martin stated that was a stated issue but the Board of Governors Policy, with respect to this appeal, clearly states that the Board of Trustees may basically offer whatever policy they want. If they don’t, then there is a standard that it needs to go to, but there was nothing that said the old policy, in terms of its standards, was not in keeping with state law. There is nothing in the Board of Governors policy that forbids the policy that we had and that’s the reason for the review.
There is a lot more to the story than meets the eye and if anyone wants more discussion on that I’ll be happy to discuss it, but that is a brief summary and I’m assuming some of this will come back. The time scale in which it will come back to us, I don’t know, but it’s like all policies, when you are dealing with any kind of review like this. If we have a policy that is some appeal or any other kind of thing, [and] if it’s impossible to win, why have a policy?
There was also significant discussion over the summer salary policy. The issue is the potential thought of making it so that if you are paying yourself summer salary, you know our raises are effective July 1, but summer salaries goes from May 15 to August 15 and in the past it has always been possible to have your summer salary be retroactive to whatever your raise was, based on July 1. It was initially a suggestion, so that we didn’t have to go through yet one more round of paperwork, that basically you have one salary for the whole summer and you are not able to do the retroactive until July 1. We recommended with the Provost strongly agreeing that […] the policy remains that if you have the money from your grants, you can go ahead and pay yourself at whatever your raise is. That means in October when the raises come through you can go back and get your pay from July to August.
We also had a fair amount of discussion about the teaching evaluation guidelines and we will be talking about that a lot more today as well.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 14, March 24, 2009
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen announced the results of the Student Body Elections.
Student Body President Jim Ceresnak, Rising Senior in Political Science
Student Senate President, Kelli Rogers
Provost Nielsen announced that the Annual Scholar Athlete Banquet was held last night and there were 330 athletes recognized that had achieved greater than a 3.0 GPA. The top ten seniors are recognized in terms of their grade point average and this year there was a seven way tie for number one because they all had all A’s.
Provost Nielsen stated that large courses and how we teach them is always an interest and UNC GA has a project that we are involved with called Large Course Redesign and we are experimenting and trying different things. We were just granted $172,000 from General Administration to work on some ideas, both in terms of how we teach courses and to do some room renovations.
UNC NDC is a program where we send through the General Administration students from all campuses to DC for a semester internship. That program is being eliminated because of the budget reductions by General Administration. It was never very successful for NC State. A big part of the reason for that is that these are unpaid internships. Those of us at NC State have contacts and can get our students who want to go to DC paid internships typically and so we ended up just not being able to fill that. That in general was the sense through campuses, although some utilized it well.
Our work on a possible Korean Campus and creating programs continues and – joyfully -- the promised money from the nation of Korea has finally arrived.
The summer reading for incoming freshmen is a book called “Three Cups of Tea.” It’s about and partially written by a gentleman named Greg Mortenson who was a mountain climber in Pakistan and Afghanistan and came down off the mountain one time almost dead and was taken care of in this village where he later realized that he wanted to do something for [the people there] and has since build small schools in the mountainous regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan for primarily elementary school students. It is an inspiring story and I believe that we will have him here for the Convocation with the new students at the beginning of the year.
Provost Nielsen reported that the Senate’s budget was released yesterday afternoon and so this is the next stage in the budget process. The governor’s budget came out a few weeks ago. The Senate released theirs yesterday and now it’s in the hands of the House and they will be working on theirs.
The Senate budget doesn’t look anything like the governor’s budget and the Senate’s budget however resembles the budgets that we are used to seeing in recent years primarily because the Senate has been the most important part of the budget process for the last several years. It is a very optimistic budget, much more optimistic that any of us had expected. I’ve been telling you that each budget that we are seeing is going to be worse than the previous one – well, the Senate’s budget is not worse than the governor’s budget, it is better, but there are some items in there that are highly unlikely to remain.
You might have seen in the paper today that the budget funds a good deal of what it’s doing, by increasing average class sizes in K-12 classes by 2 students per class. We do not believe that is something that will hold as the budget process goes along.
Secondly it talks about getting $580M of new revenue, but doesn’t identify where that revenue will come from. One thing that is favorable in this budget is a 3% reduction in our base budget rather than the 5% that was in the governor’s budget and -- unlike what the governor did -- having some of it flexibility and some of it this thing that she has called a truth-in-budgeting, where we would only be funded at 98% of our salary line, -- that is not in there. Instead, there is a 3% reduction all over for us and it’s all flexibility, which means it doesn’t define how we would take it. We would decide that.
Financial aid and enrollment growth are fully funded in this budget as they were in the governor’s budget and that is good news.
Unlike the governor’s budget, which had no “expansion items,” this budget does have some things. Those that affect us in significant ways are:
- The endowment professorship program funded for new professorships. This is specifically there because of C.D. Spangler’s gift to the university system.
- There is $2.0M more recurring funding for the Kannapolis Research Campus, as it would affect us.
- There is $5.0M of recurring money for the College of Engineering. This continues the process of increasing the appropriation to Engineering so we can add more faculty and graduate students, however there is no funding for additional buildings for the College of Engineering. We were hoping that there would be money for planning for one of the Engineering buildings but that is not true.
Provost Nielsen stated that we have asked for several years and have gotten a little bit of money for our Research Competitiveness Fund that would support research campuses. We have asked for a couple hundred million dollars per year and for the second or third straight year, they have put three million dollars into this.
There are two million dollars for graduate student enhancement to pay for graduate student support plan and we have done very well in capturing that. If that two million were to be passed we would typically get about 50% of that money, which would be a little less than one million dollars. We have used this faculty and retention fund to help pay salary differentials and salaries for people we want to recruit and retain, so there is a number of things that look like the kind of budget [requests] we have had in the budget for the last several years. The prediction is that none of these things will actually remain in the budget.
Senator Genereux: Have you heard anything new about the furlough legislation?
Provost Nielsen responded no, [although] there is a bill that was introduced to allow furloughs. I haven’t heard anything about it; don’t know whether it’s likely. The newspaper had it in there this morning about the possibility of furloughs and to be honest this came out yesterday at about 3 o’clock and we are still sorting through to see what’s in there and what’s not. My sense is that furloughs are certainly no more likely this year than they ever were. It seems to be unlikely that a law would get passed to immediately allow furloughs that would be enacted between now and June 30th.
5. Guidelines/Principles for the Use of Teaching Evaluations
Chair Martin stated when we looked at the evaluation of teaching policy [and the Academic Policy Committee worked hard on that as did the university standing committee on evaluation and teaching], there were a number of things that concerned people, as well as the resolution that we passed last year. A number of those concerns were the kinds of things that we all decided didn’t really belong in a policy, but ought to be somewhere to [offer] some level of comment about the ideas, so when we passed the evaluation of teaching policy we all suggested that it was the wise thing to do to put together some kind of a document that would address some of the guidelines and principle kinds of ideas. Well, those are instructions that are about clear as mud, so then what are you going to do? What kind of document should come together? APC has talked about this extensively. The Executive Committee has talked about it some and what we have before us today are a couple of drafts.
The Executive Committee, in our discussion, [asked] what’s the purpose and what’s the audience -- if we were going to have such a guidelines document, it seems that the purpose and audience was groups like department heads and departmental voting faculty. ‘So we got these student evaluations, what are you going to do with them?’ What guideli nes should be put together and how do we deal with it? So the target audience here is probably particularly department heads and departmental voting faculty. That said, the audience [also consists of]anybody that is going through review, because if you have gone through review it feels like somebody is nitpicking over something in the hundredths column in terms of ‘you know you got a 3.82 instead of a 3.81.’ It has to be targeted to the individual so that the individual going through that process can point to some guidelines and say, here are some best practices, here are some standard kinds of things, so my concern over this little detail is not just me. Here’s a bigger framework that says something about that, so that says something [the] purpose [of guidelines]. Now beyond purpose, the question is where would such a thing sit? The likely place for something to sit, I would wager to be, like we have in many of our policies, the additional reference sections.
This is our policy already for the evaluation of teaching. Presumably a guidelines document would fit somewhere in here and what I’ve notice is this is the system code that says there must be some level of teaching evaluations. We have a guide on peer review of teaching. Now, if you click on this, it takes you to what used to be the Center for Faculty Teaching and Learning. [Although] it has a bit of a statement about peer evaluations, it is not really a guideline, and it doesn’t give you a list of principles. I know that there have even been some spreadsheets worked out, but none of that appears here, so I’m going to argue that the thing that is already in place could stand to have some attention given to it. Then there is also this guideline thing here for the RPT dossier description, so my point here is -- in terms of where would this go -- that something should go in a location like this, so that would be [my] recommendation.
The third point that I would like to make is when you have this extra stuff, who’s in charge of it? Who gets to modify it? Where’s any level of responsibility? The Governance Committee worked on this issue significantly this year.
Policies at least do have some formal process, and guidelines don’t, so as we think about what we might put together, we might want to have authority and a contact just like on our PRR, if we should decide to put whatever this is together. We might want to put something together in these guidelines where the authority would be shared responsibility between the Faculty Senate and the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, for example; we might want to have a statement that says any revisions to these things need to be evaluated by the Academic Policy Committee. I’m offering that as a suggestion because of the questions that both I have had and others have raised. ‘So you put this additional stuff in there, where is any review, where is any consistency’ -- those are things that I think are worthwhile. That is my preamble of sort of the what’s it for and where might it go.
Comments by Senator Hemenway
I think the last time we talked about the Evaluation of Teaching REG, several faculty in the Senate brought up the concept of doing something like this, having guidelines for departmental voting faculty so we can, ahead of time, set some guidelines. When the APC started working on it, there was still some discussion as to what are we doing. I want to acknowledge Jae Tu who put a lot of effort in on this.
Basically we have gone back and forth. We had a rough draft that we took to the Executive Committee meeting and people viewed them more as principles than guidelines. So we have come up with two drafts since we couldn’t decide. I think what it reflects is that it is hard to figure out what you put in there. The Evaluation of teaching through class evaluation has a series of questions; and whether it’s on line or on paper, they are the same questions. We get numbers out, then we get a mean for what we have done for various questions. Some of the information we get from that is formative, we use it to provide teaching and the other is used in a summative way as part of our evaluation and personnel [decisions], so it was difficult to separate those in some ways because there was some crossover as to how it gets used. What we tried to do was set specific guidelines using the summative process [about] what you might be able to deduce from the mean and what you shouldn’t compare across different classes. It isn’t really valid either to compare your individual mean for your class save for the two questions that people usually look at—is the teacher excellent and how would you evaluate the course? For your class it might have 30 students and for someone else in your department who has a class of 90 students to the departmental mean, because it’s just not statistically that significant to compare them in those ways.
There is concern not just by faculty, but also by instructors that they are being evaluated based on the fact that they get a 3.9 one year and a 3.8 the next year. They are told that they are not doing their job because they went down to a 3.8 when that probably is not even a significant difference, so a lot of people are concerned about this.
Senator Kellner noticed that one version numbers sections and mentions the Monte Carlo method and the other doesn’t use roman numerals and doesn’t mention the Monte Carlo method. Are there any other differences between the two versions?
Senator Hemenway stated if you look at the introductions, there is a slightly different approach; the introduction sets up in version two the inclusion of the department summative parts together. They [versions] are basically the same, except the beginning paragraph set up the context just a little bit.
Senator Hemenway stated that it would be really helpful to find out if you agree -- especially in the summative aspects -- with the points on how to utilize the class evaluation data. I think there was a strong sentiment that we shouldn’t be [doing] our teaching for the sole purpose of improving our scores; it should be for the benefit of having an excellent class and producing high quality students.
Senator Auerbach stated that the report that they receive when they see their teaching evaluation comes to them with two decimal places. Can we ask them not to do that since the second decimal place has no meaning?
Senator Hemenway stated that she doesn’t think that is a problem [to eliminate the decimal place].
Senator Auerbach: Can we ask them -- since this is what computers are for -- to compute the confidence levels for us, since they have the relevant numbers of class size and respondents.
Senator Hemenway stated that is what’s on the link now. What they have now on the site is a link to courses of different sizes.
Chair Martin stated that statistics are a little bit of the problem. We are not given a lot of methodology about this, we are told it is a Monte Carlo simulation, but as I understand the Monte Carlo simulation, [let’s say] you’ve got a sample of a class that had a lot of people in it and you’re going to start with near basically 100%, take old data where you have had everyone fill it out and then say out of that if a random sampling of 22 of your class of 40 filled it out what is the likelihood that you would get the same results that you got if the 100 people filled it out? That gives you these kind of confidence limits which are in a global context for whatever courses you used as those samples to test your environment, but your philosophy course may have no relation to this.
Senator Auerbach stated that his point is simply, whatever calculation my department head, sitting here clicking on this and doing that, every piece of information we are using to compute the confidence level is available at the time they produce the course evaluation output, so whatever we are doing they have that information and they have a computer.
Senator Martin: My point is that this confidence level says nothing about your individual course.
Senator Auerbach: If we are going to use it, why don’t we have the nice fancy computer do all the work for us?
Karen Helm: The response rate is actually different on every question potentially, so it is a practical [difficulty] of putting this much information on a one page summary. It’s also practical in the sense that we plan to review these tables every time the data base gets bigger and bigger so that we can have more and more confidence level in that information, so it’s a practical matter. We want to get the reports out as quickly as possible without having to recalculate this and insert that information on each question, on each report. This is available at the same time you are reviewing the report, just not on the same piece of paper.
Chair Martin stated part of the issue is that this is almost the best confidence intervals possible. It might be that you had your class of 40 and 90% confidence level, so there is a problem by saying everybody should follow this, this now therefore is meaningful. This gives us a better rule of thumb that we otherwise have.
Senator Genereux stated that he has to disagree with the table even being on the website until we have seen a detailed written report on where the numbers come from. This may be 100% correct, it may be wonderful, but until it’s documented in writing I think it should be considered an experimental product that we just don’t know the details of. I think the first order of business is writing down in detail where it came from and how it was done, for everybody to see in a completely public document and [to make] comments. Then after that comment period, they can go ahead with it. Getting back to the document that came out of APC, I think the document was without that bullet that refers to this. I do object to this even being on an NC State website at all, until we have seen a written report of where it comes from.
Senator Hemenway stated that there are instructors on EOTC who really want this.
Senator Genereux stated that he wants it, everybody wants it, but that is not the point. The point is where did the numbers come from. As a matter of good practice, here is something that is going to be part of the discussion of evaluation of teaching for hundreds and hundreds of faculty members for the foreseeable future and as far as I can tell it’s just not documented.
Senator Headen agreed with Senator Genereux. When you present a table with all of these numbers, someone looks at the table and you are trying to have a conversation, I’m not sure how user friendly that is when people are doing that. Even with the document in the background, the idea of making it a user friendly document for two people sitting down discussing whether this difference makes any difference or not [isn’t clear].
Senator Fleisher wanted to know what a Monte Carlo stimulation is.
Senator Tu stated that you first assume a probability distribution fashion and, based on that, you render another round of simulation and, every time, it comes up different numbers, but there will be a form to the probability distribution fashion. So a number can range, for example, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, so you do, for example, 100 tests and get 90 times by the range that number will change, so then you have got these 90% confidence levels. Often numbers will vary from this level to that number between these two. In my opinion, you can never find a perfect table that will give you 100% truth because this is data, we don’t know. So this is going to go through continuous improvement and to give a document to refer to and say, oh how this is added to the concept, this is not hard at all, just buy a textbook, put it out there. There is no truth about it, it is just a best guess of what you can get, so I don’t see why all this is not proven as a law, [and why] we shouldn’t use it, because this is data.
Chair Martin: I think what I’ve heard David say is he’s asking for how the guess was made; it’s not to not recognize this is not a guess, but what are the assumptions that went into making the guess.
Senator Hemenway stated that they presented that at the EOTC and she thought David was there and the problem is, “I don’t understand what David was looking for if that wasn’t it.”
Senator Genereux stated that he was at that meeting in December and the table was presented. The more questions he asked the more details came out and it finally came out that it was based on responses to question 9 for a handful of course sections that had a high response rate.
Senator Hemenway: I guess what I’m saying is what we discussed, what their response was, answered your question.
Senator Genereux: No, I don’t think so, and I guess my concern can’t be addressed in a meeting because there are twenty-five or thirty people in the room at a moment and time, so what about all the other people who aren’t in the room and all the other moments and times. If we are going to have this quantitative calculation that then becomes part of the evaluation of teaching that’s associated with personnel decisions and everything that we do with these things, let’s document our practice clearly and fully in writing so that anyone can see at anytime, anywhere and have confidence in it. It is a written document that stays forever with these tables and may get changed as necessary.
Senator Levy: We have all taught that students don’t respond in a random matter. Unless you get a very high response rate, you tend to get a bipolar response. Students who hate your course will respond, some of the students who love your course will respond and the students in the middle couldn’t care less and so [although] we are assuming randomness here, it’s not random. Students’ motivation is not taken into account here.
Chair Martin stated some of what you are getting at is what are the assumptions that went into this, and did it take any of that question even into account.
Senator Genereux: And [neither was] the nature of calculations where you got the idea that this was the right way to do.
Senator Kiwanuka-Tondo wanted to know how do you address the weight of very small classes. Did you say that you are using a 90% confidence level?
Chair Martin stated that on the website they have it for different class sizes. The 10 to 14 are also there.
Senator Ting stated that he would like to broaden the discussion, from the sense that he is more leaning toward version two, because in version two, he sees that the main difference as combining the so-called summative principles into one, although we know that we need to submit its review for personnel decision. But if you see version two the formative principles, two or three small paragraphs, were all put together just one principle may mean even in the personnel decision the so-called formative principles in version one should also be considered even in version two for personnel decisions. If you read into the context of two or thee paragraphs under formative principles, they try to achieve things that statistics or numbers or randomness cannot achieve; for example, the first one, the goal of producing highly qualified students requires rigorous course standards and excellent teaching, and should not be compromised for the sole purpose of achieving higher teaching evaluation scores.
We know in personnel decisions there must be some scores, but this principle is not judged by just numbers -- we should do good teaching, which means you need to talk about ultimately is it a good teacher. Does the teacher provide good teaching? So it’s up to the board to vary, so that the personal perspective, the more balanced perspective, will play in, hopefully will balance, the so-called randomness, which in some way we may call subjective because [it arbitrarily] assigns this table. As we just argued, [this] may be the mere truth, it may not be, so when we read on to a segment of the third paragraph, to me [it is] a good balance of this [effort] to achieve just numbers or means, so I like version two better than version one if I use this perspective.
Chair Martin agreed and stated that we run into errors the more we dissect a lot of this stuff and what is the difference between formative and summative. We can understand the extremes, but there is an awful lot between the extremes that I can’t state.
Senator Anson: I had originally supported the division between formative and summative under the idea that you would have these as best practices [because they] have slightly difference consequences for action. This version that has them together, I think, is preferable for the reason that to some extent these two functions blur -- for example if I’m looking at two records of two faculty who have equivalent scores in the same course, I’m going to be more drawn to the faculty [member] who has done more work formatively reflecting on thinking about those scores and other aspects of good teaching than a person who doesn’t do that at all. One of the things that I suggest is in those three formative kinds of bullet points there is a real shift toward faculty responsibility; and it seems to me this is a document about making judgments, the version two, that it’s about evaluating faculty in which case maybe the language should be consistent, so that instead of saying ‘faculty may document’, we focus on the voting faculty, saying something like ‘the DVF should recognize faculty’s attempt to document’, that these are functions that we want to pay attention to as part of evaluation, -- not that somebody must do it -- but when they choose to, it ought to be recognized as a way of improving people’s teaching, so I would try to focus that language a little bit more on valuing of the formative with the process of the summative.
Chair Martin stated that the tenor that we express in whatever we write, I think is as important as the specifics of what we try to address.
Senator Tu stated that it’s the faculty’s choice. If you think for example, one professor’s teaching style is top, and if you are top, [then] of course you can argue that top teachers can also get higher evaluation scores, but the chance is probably around 3.5 to 4 rather than 4.8 and people like that probably never get teaching awards in this university or any university.
Senator Ting: I think we have examples in the tenure-promotion policy for example, when the departmental voting faculty committee has a vote and they prepare a report for the department head. At this time if I remember correctly the candidates are allowed and given the opportunity to write a document to contest whatever is being reviewed. If our dossier tenure-promotion policy have such a provision to allow the candidate to write the document to discuss the DVF [decision], whatever, something similar should be allowed for teaching evaluation and I think “may” is too weak a link to agree. We should change it to something like “should be allowed,” because “may” may mean to the committee member that they need to take a look and “allowed” is a stronger word, that they do need to take a look.
Chair Martin: To some degree, in terms of policy, you want something that is proactive and not reactive. Each candidate has that two page response to every level of review, but the idea here is get some of the ideas out in front of the DVF before a decision is made, as opposed to after a decision is made.
Senator Hemenway stated that she received an email question about the meaning of DVF and how it relates to this document. She read the document.
The department of voting faculty shall consist of all faculty who hold the rank of tenured professor and all faculty who hold the rank of associate professor with tenure. In cases of initial appointments and the rank of instructor, lecture, and other faculty titles a department head or designee shall consult with an at least three members of the department of voting faculty in arriving at recommendations. However, for voting on things outside of tenure faculty in permanent EPA positions including instructors are part of the voting faculty, so for these guidelines I would hope that the latter would be the DVF.
Chair Martin stated DVF is definable for different things. The new efforts in the academic tenure policy and the non-tenure track policy are to specify that. You can narrow the DVF for personnel decisions, but otherwise you are supposed to have the broader definition of DVF.
Provost Nielsen stated that would be his interpretation, that you would include as many people as you could in trying to figure this out.
Senator Hemenway stated so we would have to redefine it, it would already be somewhere in that contents.
Chair Martin: For decisions like this, whoever is teaching ought to be involved in how teaching evaluations are used.
Senator Boone stated that the assumption [is] at that moment when they finish the class, they are in the best position to self-report how effective their class was. In our college (DESIGN) we have had alternative supplementary tools we have proposed that are more like legacy-reflective tools. This gets to Jay’s point earlier about immediately after taking the toughest class in your particular department, you may hate the person’s guts whether you got something out of it or not, but three years later, after a few internships or a chance to work in the real world where you see the relevance of the information that is provided, then your perspective changes. So, echoing what David, the first point I make that wasn’t presented, is that [the process] may benefit from guidelines and some encouragement for more legacy self evaluation, encouraged by students. We do it for teaching awards. You have to be a graduating senior in order to really give the real perspective on all of these teachers.
The second part is more of a digest of what David was saying: the table and, I understand to the best of my knowledge, the Monte Carlo idea, begs the question if the table is already a part of public record and suggests a task endorsement by the university without an explanation [of its origin]. It is possible based on where you are, to have a score that you consider good, but it could be on a sliding scale of half a point based on what strengths it happens to be. It is really not evaluating teaching per se. If you get a 3.8, it could be 3.1 or a 4.2, then it’s really not helping someone make an informed decision and definitely not a student, in terms of how effective a teacher you are. The fact that that precedes this more substantive discussion about addition tools sends a bad message because the table, without being focused on evaluating teaching with precision, lends itself to be used more punitively than as a reward stand point.
Senator Tu: I think one important spirit of this document is to try to break that idea of higher score is better teaching, so we try to recognize that teaching evaluation scores are just statistical data, subject to variations and that direct comparing between courses should not be made. So one professor may be getting constantly 3.2 but [this] shouldn’t penalize that person because it may be his style as he is getting 3.2 -- one third of the students love him and really appreciate what he’s doing, one third might hate him and give him 1 and one third might give him 5 and one third give him nothing and then you got 3.0 basically, but that should be okay because he is doing his job trying to really teach something to students. We shouldn’t say 3.2 definitely is bad; we need to look into it or even say 3.2, due to the statistic variation can be as low as 2.8, then it’s even worse than 3.2, that is not the purpose of this statistical data.
Senator Anson: It seems like we are going into two directions -- one direction sounds to me like we are saying, look at these student evaluations as one piece of a broader set of efforts to evaluate and work on teaching, don’t think of them as the most important index, think more holistically about everything else we can gather and look at. The other direction seems to be validating or providing a sort of set of mechanisms that validate the student evaluations or draw more attention to their importance, with tables and with formulas and with confidence limits, so here on the one side we are saying -- don’t take these too seriously, and on other we are saying, here is a whole apparatus to take these seriously and I don’t know which direction we are trying to go in.
Chair Martin: I think what I’ve been hearing is questions about the apparatus being taken too seriously.
Senator Headen: One concern is that we know people use the simple numbers and they use the summary questions. I was once on a committee that said, you have all the information in the partial question, let’s get rid of the summary question. That got nowhere, which applies that what they care about is a simple number to use and if you give them something too complicated, the sense is they go back to the simple number.
Chair Martin: To be honest I think this gets back to the resolution that Hans authored last year. One of the most important things is that people decide ahead of time how you are going to use it. We did get that into the language of the policy and that is what we enforce here and I think that is one of the most important things that we can say, because if you think of it ahead of time, then I’m not going to pick on you because you got a 3.2 instead of a 3.25. I think that is correct.
Senator Auerbach: I’m hearing lots of things that I agree with and your language for instance about what was said here was much blunter and straight forward and clearer than what is written here. This comes across as weaker than what you and others just said. I mean saying just bluntly, there is a false precision that we should acknowledge – [let’s] say that, write that down, and you can’t use this for cross course or cross faculty comparisons in any interesting and meaningful way. Also say things about using other ways of evaluating teaching that quite frankly are more costly, not as cheap as doing this like the legacy survey, like peer review which it strikes me as probably the single best thing to do, but it costs faculty time and effort. I think all that goes in here; the language is a little too polite, slightly vague about the drawbacks of this.
Chair Martin: Is there anyone who does not think we should have such a guideline on the header to the policy? Is there anybody who does not think we should have some set of guidelines? Do I assume that most people think that there should be some set of guidelines? Okay, we have made a decision. It strikes me that maybe the next thing that we need to do is some word-smithing. This is not the best format for doing that. Do you want me to put it on the MOODLE site?
Senator Fleisher: I think we could just expand on the fourth line down that says “class eval data do comprise one component of the summative review process for evaluation of teaching used in personnel decisions,” I think we just need to expand that and say, but it is just one of several and by itself does not necessarily mean all that much.
Secretary Kellner: Jim, when I thought it would be good idea to have guidelines [and proposed them], what I had in mind was that someone should bring forth the system requirements as they are written in the regulation, and spell out what they do and do not require, so that no one will just assume that this large layer of traditional procedure is what is required by the regulations. The regulations require so much and no more, in so many words -- to have guidelines that point to that and spell out this is what is required and no more. If you want to do more [with teaching evaluation], fine, do more, but this is what the system requires and this is what the law is -- the rest is poetry.
I also would like to say that, as David mentioned, looking at this chart [of confidence levels] has an aura of precision about it. What I would just like to say to some people, [is that] this confidence level could come from the hand of God and some of us would be still be skeptical of it. It all has to do with where you come from, academically.
Senator Hemenway acknowledged that Karen Helm has done a lot of work on this and even though it’s not perfect, she feels that they are trying to help.
Chair Martin: I think one of the very important things is that these tables, like them or not, absolutely provide convincing reason why we should get rid of that second decimal and even that in of itself is a huge step forward, so thank you for that work, Karen.
Chair Martin stated that he would put the document on the WIKI site for all to get involved.
REG 05.20.35 Summer Sessions Comp/REG 05.20.14 Additional Comp
The two policies on summer session compensation and additional compensation, we in the Executive Committee have worked through those. If you look at those policies you will see that there is a lot of strikeout and redo and that is because this was a case where the policy pretty mangled and confused. There was some talk about turning summer salary into additional compensation, but that doesn’t make sense because summer salary is not additional compensation during a time when you are not otherwise covered, so there has been some pretty major reworking of these. I think it moved in the right direction to simplify policy, something that rarely happens around here, so the Executive Committee has looked at these quite extensively. I think on the summer salary compensation a couple of things that may be of most interest to some people is that the new version doesn’t [create an issue] which I know some colleges have had to dance around it, thou shall not pay yourself three months of summer salary. You know if an agency is willing to pay it, why should the university stand in the way? That language is not here and those of you who were on the Senate last year may have recalled that one of the grievance cases from back in 2000 dealt with this summer salary compensation issue and it was a case where the individual wanted to pay that third month of summer salary but took a week’s vacation. [The individual] worked holidays, nights, and weekends just like you are allowed to do if you are a twelve month employee, just alternative work alternative times, and get paid, but there was a fight between the individual and the department head as to whether he should get that week’s compensation. The grievance committee in that case ruled that in fact, there was no policy that made it either right or wrong, so the individual did not get the compensation, but the department was also not in the wrong by not allowing the compensation. The ruling from the committee and the Chancellor at the time was that the policy needs to be changed to address it. It has taken until 2009 and we are now able to get language in that summer salary policy, which is exercising flexible scheduling, i.e., working outside normal business hours is allowed with prior approval from the supervisor, the same as is handled during the academic year. We tried to make sure that the summer sessions and summer salaries policies are treated the same as in you can make up to 1/3 of your nine month salary. There was some effort initially with the new way summer salary is being handled to just take out all requirements so you could just do what ever you wanted with summer salary, but we said it was important to have summer session and summer salary be coherent. The limit was you could get one third payment for summer salary, but initially there had been an effort to take off any limit for summer session compensation. There was no reason to keep summer salary and summer session compensation distinct, they should be the same, so those are the primary things that went on in the review of this policy. The Executive Committee has been over it extensively, you have had it now for the best part of the week to review.
Senator Genereux stated how about when you request two months of summer salary, say May 15 to July 15 you are planning on being away July 15 to August 15, then you have to request that in the middle of the spring semester. Plans change, and its going to be better for you to somehow to be away during June and July, but still the same total over the summer, is there any problem with that? Is there any prior approval needed?
Chair Martin stated 2.1.2 says that approval to earn summer sources must be made prior to when the work begins, you don’t get paid for it until after its done, if you need to change something you can’t get paid until the work is done anyway and to deal with that presumably is through your business office. That is the clause as [the way] things are handled during the academic year is allowed with prior approval from the supervisor, so if you have your supervisor’s approval for doing that shuffle [it’s ok].
Senator Auerbach suggested changing the i.e., in the policy to an e.g. (as an example).
Senator Ting wanted to clarify—we are still working on this summer session and summer salary trying to combine and make more coherent so that if a faculty member receive one or two month summer session teaching they can still do research with outside agencies and if their total summer stipend may be more than three months it will be allowed, whereas right now it is not.
Chair Martin: If your summer stipend is more than three months then that ‘more’ has to be treated just like additional compensation, and there is another policy for additional compensation. What this policy does is to minimize problems that have arisen before if you wanted to get the full one third. There are a lot of people that have been allowed to do more than two thirds, but if you want your compensation to be more than one third of your nine month or if your twelve months, if you want the additional compensation in the twelve month, then that has to go to the additional compensation policy which basically says, you have got to document what you doing to get approval for it.
Senator Ting: And this is not in effect as of this reviewing right? Is it revised already?
Chair Martin: This is a revision process. As you will see on the copy that came out in email, it is checked off that 314, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee recommended approval and that is true. I did not want the Executive Committee to be the only ones to look at it, I wanted all of the Faculty Senate to see what is going on here, so what I would like to ask is, having looked at it, are there any objections or is the full body willing to endorse the recommendation of the Executive Committee.
Senator Fleisher: I just need a clarification based on what you just said, because section three, it says here that, departments may use summer session funds for salary for 1.0 FTE, 12 month employees who teach regularly during summer session courses, but you are saying that money would have to come from a different source?
Chair Martin: No, if you are twelve month, and you teach summer school, you as the individual could request additional compensation. That would mean that you were doing your twelve months worth of work and you were doing summer school on top of that. Now if your department head chose to say, will you please teach the summer school course in lieu of some other responsibility, you still have your twelve month salary? It use to be that the department had to, could not then, really get access to that money that was generated by the summer school course you taught. Under this, if you are teaching that summer school class, the fraction of your twelve month salary that would be covered by teaching that summer school course, your department can now pay you out of the summer school line and now have the rest of your salary line for other departmental functions. So basically this allows money-juggling which wasn’t allowed before. It used to be the only way your department could access the summer school dollars was if it was additional compensation for what you were doing if you were twelve month, so this actually allows more flexibility so that if you teach summer school as your department head, I can pay some of your salary out of summer school dollars and then your salary pot I could use for something else.
Chair Martin asked for a show of hands for endorsement for the revisions to Summer Salaries and Additional Compensation Policies.
The motion passed unanimously to endorse the policies.
Tenure DossierPolicy (shown on the screen)
Chair Martin: The tenure dossier policy, what you see here is the rationale for this request as stated in the history is due to the dean’s request of section 3 about inclusion of submitted work that is in review as long as its clearly marked as such. This reverses long standing practice of not [including that]. If you look through a lot of our departmental policies the long standing practice is [to include] ‘submitted’; some people even say manuscripts and preparation should be used. Where did all of this come from?
Somewhere between February 14, 2008 and March 18, 2008 [it appeared] in the dossier, the RPT process description, so in this process description you have this document. What I’m saying is that these additional things are somewhat problematic, so this process description takes parts of that dossier policy and the material that you see in these blue boxes are provided by somebody to describe what is going on as standard practice. This is not policy, this is not reviewed, it just appears. In the section where these revisions are related to this 6.3, you will see that this line “so then publications are not to be included on the list. Only publications that have been published or are in press are to be included. Publications in press should have a letter of acceptance from a publisher on file in the department,” that mysteriously appeared somewhere between February 14 and February 18. On March 27th that appeared as a revision to the tenure dossier policy, the policy that you see before you. It just so happens that between March 31, and April 29 a grievance was being heard and the revised policy was brought to that grievance -- strange timing. On this fall when the new guidelines for putting the dossiers together went out to all department heads and what not, I just reviewed them because I’m suspicious. I look for policy revisions and that is when I saw for sure that the policy revision had in fact taken place and was enforced. I contacted the Provost, we had discussions and I requested that these kinds of revisions be removed until such time that this body could review them, because this kind of a statement is a direct contradiction to several departmental tenure policies. We went through quite a few rounds and if you look at the official history on the 20.05.20 policy, you will see a note that says the Chair of the Faculty requested that the section be removed until there could be discussions, and so that is where all of this has come from. Now there is this revision that we are saying the deans are also requesting, and it now goes back in, so that is a good thing. Now I went into this guidelines thing just today and was disturbed to find that there is enough new revision that happened sometime between August, which is the last time I looked at this and today and that is this whole listing about authorship. Now why we need that kind of detail about authorship in a guideline, I don’t know. Many authorship issues, I believe, are understood in the local units where the dossier goes forward. Somehow this is now placed as a guideline, and this was the first I knew anything about it. I will tell you that this idea that first author is most significant, last author is least significant was used in a recent decision where there was confusion that the last author was a corresponding author, but that corresponding author position was said author of least significance. The conspiracy theorist in me looks at something like this and questions, was this revision made to allow that decision to have taken place, or was it just arbitrarily there. I don’t know—I personally don’t think that we need to specify this in writing, if we do we have a bigger problem than I realized.
There is one other revision to these guidelines that were made at the same time that the statement that said “thou shall not have submitted works in your dossier,” and that is this bottom one that says, “when a department head, dean, or Provost receive unsolicited letters or emails pertaining to a case, such letters should not be included in the dossier, but should be retained in the candidate’s personnel file. The receiver may use the information to form their recommendation for decision. The receiver may include reference to the correspondence in their evaluation.” Now when this first came through I tried to get this whole thing removed and it did not even have this clause that “anything that came must be retained in the personnel file.” I argued that, sorry, these are parts of personnel information, therefore they must be included, and so if you are going to have this statement you had better at least say that they are held in the personnel file. I have talked to a variety of people along this matter and the whole idea of external letters is a fishy one. You can have a candidate going to drum up letters of support or you can have other people drumming up letters of antagonization -- you could go either way. It strikes me and other people that I have talked to that this is not what evaluation and promotion and tenure ought to be. I don’t know where you come out, but where I come out and a lot of people that I have talked to, I think this is extremely problematic. If I were God and making the decisions I’d say none of that stuff should be considered. If, however, you want to consider it, I would argue that it must be part of the dossier, so that it is documented how decisions are made. I have given you my opinion. When I share my bias I do so obviously with what I think are some good reasons and whether my opinion is valid or not, this kind of a thing, I will argue, should not become de facto policy without review by a body such as this. This is exactly my concern the guidelines issue. We can’t resolve that matter today, but I wanted to call all of this to your attention for us to consider what to do about it.
Secretary Kellner: As I heard you, the part specifying the nature of authorship gives the appearance of being an ex post facto regulation in terms of a pending case. To your knowledge, do you think that this last piece about the letters also could give the appearance of being an ex post facto regulation in a pending case and is it the same case?
Chair Martin responded yes, but the latter is multiple cases.
Senator Hemenway: So the change about authorship, you said something about there was a requirement they define what first author had to be.
Chair Martin: There was a decision that was made.
Senator Hemenway: How can they even put that in, because every field has a slightly different way. I feel that if I were first author it wouldn’t be correct.
Chair Martin: The issue here is making a deal about it in the dossier.
Senator Kiwanuka-Tondo: Do we have to have to print approaches in the departments because we have the solicited letters. Is that in addition to these?
Chair Martin: This is referring to letters in addition to the formal external letters, so the issue here is, you could send an email or get somebody to send an email or a letter about the case that wasn’t part of the dossier, could be used in making a decision, but doesn’t need to be part of the dossier.
Senator Auerbach: A number of things strike me about that and one is that for most of this it’s the sort of thing that should be decided at the discipline level. Aside from the procedure kind of stuff, this has no business being adjudicated up at this level. For one thing, in one part of my department, the religious studies people are the most disciplinary people, I think, that must be in any department, and they publish in all sorts of different journals, all of which have different author rules. It is just nonsense to try to mandate any of that, even at the level of single dossier. This is very bad stuff; aside from the procedural issue the actual content is terrible.
Chair-Elect Overton pointed out that it describes the letters as unsolicited letters. They are not the references and they could not be a letter you ask someone to send, because that means it’s solicited. I say there is no place for that if the process is done correctly.
Chair Martin: My feeling is that they shouldn’t even be allowed to be there.
Senator Genereux agreed. I’m very concerned about changes just showing up unannounced.
Senator Headen: I’m not certain I understand the idea of changes showing up unannounced in the abstract. Only a few people can do this. The system implied that in some sense the mechanism for policy review and so forth is broken down.
Chair Martin: I would like for us to talk briefly about the policy because I think we can endorse some aspects of the current policy, which I think would be wise for us to do. This is coming to you now because of the rearrangement of the schedule of the grievance process, but we have been asked to look at this policy. The revisions that are submitted, as though it was the deans who requested it, add a statement so nothing has been removed clearly differentiate completed work from pending work that has been submitted and reviewed. That I would argue is completely legitimate. I would question the second sentence, “define submitted or review the appropriate language that the discipline uses for the work. This is a disciplinary idea. The point is if we don’t know what the definitions of this are, we don’t belong as faculty members in my opinion, so why do we need to put some extra definition of submitted.
A department could request that anything submitted they see, which is the practice in my department and I think makes sense, because, Heaven forbid that I as a scholar can read what my colleague has written! I might even learn something. It frankly prevents from [rule by] the bean counter and you might have to read something, which might be useful, so I would recommend changing the term designate to distinguish. I would recommend removing the line “same issue came up with funding issues whether if you’ve got a grant that is under review or any of that kind of stuff.” The new language says designate whether funded. I think we need to get submitted or pending language in there.
Senator Fleisher: People also submit grants that were not funded; I mean you list a whole bunch of things and it’s saying distinguish between whether something was funded or not.
Chair Martin: I went to Penn State, Chapel Hill, and Ohio State and all of those peers give you the option to list everything, so I would recommend endorsing these changes with those revisions. Then our ad hoc group looking at the academic tenure policy [will consider this]. The dossier is to be considered in the control of the candidate until the candidate’s portion is completed. Any release of any parts of the dossier before the candidate completes it is to be done only with the candidate’s expressed permission. I’m recommending that we add ‘the candidate shall review the dossier with the exception of the external review letters for completeness prior to its dissemination for review by DVF’. This isn’t my recommendation alone. Do you want to endorse these revisions or do you want to table it for further discussions.
Secretary Kellner: Would you review what we would be endorsing?
Chair Martin: Their language, just to say the candidate checks for completeness, candidates don’t get to look at letters. You can request to look at your letters but it would unusual to look at your letters before it goes to the DVF.
We will be approving that and adding the language that has been recommended at the dean’s level, to clearly designate completed work from pending work. I would recommend that we would strike that section because I don’t think we need definitions in a dossier, a dossier is about describing your work, not giving definitions and I think we need to add language that talks about pending or submitted instead of just saying, designate whether funded or not. Those would be the three things that I would recommend.
Secretary Kellner moved that the Senate accept the recommendations.
The motion passed unanimously to accept the recommendations.
Chair Martin adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m.