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THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES

February 16, 1995
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

ELECTED MEMBERS PRESENT: Valarie Adams, Jim Avery, Tom Bibler, Ken Carson, Prem Chopra, Betsy Cook, Neal Coulter, Robert Duffy, Fritz Efaw, Howard Finch, John Garrett, Phil Giffin, Nick Honerkamp, Larry Ingle, Doug Kingdon, David Levine, John Lynch, Jim Macomber, Jim McDonell, Anna Panorska, Loretta Prater, Katherine Rehyansky, Greg Sedrick, Maria Smith, Jim Stroud, John Tinkler, Margaret Trimpey, Jeannette Vallier, Ling-Jun Wang, David Wiley, Sally Young

ELECTED MEMBERS ABSENT: Martha Butterfield, Lloyd Davis, Aniekan Ebiefung, Ahmed Eltom, Renée Lorraine, Mike Russell

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS PRESENT: Jane Harbaugh, Fred Obear, Charles Renneisen

AMONG THE GUESTS PRESENT: Deborah Arfken, Pam Holder, Jerry Patton, Clint Smullen, Randy Walker, Monty Wilson, Janet Wixson

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 3:17 p.m. by President Tom Bibler.

Professor Jim Macomber of the College of Business Administration questioned whether Faculty Council representatives Fritz Efaw and Phil Giffin should be allowed to vote at this meeting as they are both members of the Economics Department which has now become a part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

President Bibler asked parliamentarian David Wiley for a ruling. Professor Wiley said that the parliamentarian can suggest, but not rule. In his mind, he thinks they should be allowed to serve until the School of Business replaces them. At that, Professor Macomber asked when the vacancy would be officially declared. He believed that the loss of the Economics Department would reduce by one the number of representatives the School of Business was entitled to; in fact, it might increase the number of representatives the College of Arts and Sciences was entitled to.

President Bibler said that the usual practice to replace a vacancy was for the senior member of the School in question to call a meeting to fill such a slot. However, since there are likely several adjustments to be made, he suggested that we not declare a vacancy at this moment. Instead, he will ask the Executive Committee of Faculty Council to review the situation and make recommendations at the next meeting.

Approval of Minutes

Professor David Wiley moved approval of the minutes. Professor Neal Coulter asked when a fifth floor had been added to Grote Hall. Those present agreed that Grote still had only four floors, so page 4 should read, "The fourth floor of Grote has been a problem for a year."

On page five, the property loss must be greater than $5,000.00, not $500.00 as written.

The minutes were approved as corrected.

Report of the Graduate Council

Professor Greg Sedrick, Chair, presented the Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration to the M.S.N. for Council’s approval. Professor Pam Holder, Head, said that all students in this concentration would take core courses too. There is a significant demand for Family Nurse Practitioners.

Professor Nick Honerkamp noted that the proposal requires addition of another faculty line. If that is turned down, will nursing offer the program if it is approved?

Professor Holder said no. They need a Ph.D. certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner to offer the new classes. There is less urgency in their request, however, because the first semester of the program is all courses currently in the curriculum.

Professor Ken Carson asked if Council could urge approval with the understanding that they get a new faculty member. Professor Holder said she believed that it was Faculty Council’s responsibility to approve the curriculum, but that it was the Provost’s responsibility to provide needed personnel. Professor Larry Ingle asked Dr. Holder what her reading of the situation was, to which Dr. Holder responded, "Positive."

Professor Ingle noted that on page 4 under "Resources," the document suggests that the program will make money for the University. He wonders how anyone could turn down a program that makes money. Dr. Holder said that it should make money over the three-year period; it would not make money the first year.

Professor Ingle said he was pleased to see an impact statement and wondered why we had not seen such a statement in programs like this before. Professor Deborah Arfken, Director of Graduate Studies, said that impact statements are now requested.

Professor Ingle, who said he thought this was generally a very good program, asked about pages 9 and 10 which compare costs to Vanderbilt and Emory. He wondered if courses from those universities would be available via satellite. Dr. Holder said no.

Professor Ingle also wondered why the report said that the program would have an impact on rural areas since it appears that only urban hospitals were surveyed. Professor Holder replied that they had surveyed rural hospitals and she is sorry if it is not clear that they did so. Many potential candidates are already in rural areas and are willing to drive to Chattanooga to take the courses.

Professor Doug Kingdon moved and Professor Greg Sedrick seconded the motion to approve the concentration, which passed 30-0-0.

Wiring/Internet Update

Janet Wixson said CECA’s slogan was "Data for every desk, a laptop for every lecture, and a port for every pillow." This week they finished connecting the School of Education to the network. Next week, they will try to connect the Chemistry Department. They had originally planned to survey departments, but two departments had done so on their own (Chemistry and Communication), so they are being rewarded for their efforts. Departments must spend $100/card to link computers.

Once hookups are completed, Ms. Wixson will offer classes. If you complete the classes and still have questions, CECA will come to your office. On the other hand, if you do not attend the classes, do not expect one-to-one education in your office. Internal wiring is complete in seven buildings; internal and fiber wiring is available in Hunter, Grote, Founders, and Holt. To residents in Holt, she added that you can wait until CECA comes to Holt, or you can coordinate your own inventory and cards, which will permit you to go up on the priority list. They also hope to have a solution to the problem in the Math Building.

Professor David Wiley noted that residents in "Cyberia" who have to dial in on modems have no way to get on the Web. What can be done? Ms. Wixson explained that our existing modems do not support the World Wide Web. We have a problem with our trunks, which is what you use when you dial in on a modem. A few people hook up in the morning and stay on all day, making it difficult for others to get a chance. One possible solution is to offload to South Central Bell and get support which would allow using the World Wide Web.

Professor Wiley also noted that the mail program on IBM seems out of date. He recalls that it has been in place ten years and is ponderous to use. Will there be improvement? Ms. Wixson said yes. Once you are connected with fiber optics, it is easier because the new mail program is on a campus server.

Professor Wiley asked what had been decided about community access to the Internet. Ms. Wixson said that had been an important topic in regional meetings. The problem is two-fold: having the resources to do it (widespread community access would sink the modem pool) and possible liability. Monty Wilson is looking into an MCI hookup service. Mr. Wilson explained that for $12.00 per month you get 15 hours of access; above that, you pay $0.75 per hour. Professor Wiley said that he was concerned about linking with the K-12 community. Ms. Wixson said they had done that previously and also through the Annenberg grant. One day, however, no one could get on the network. They shut down the network and were able to determine from phone calls asking what had happened to the service why the lines were overloaded: a number of unauthorized users were tying up the lines.

Dr. Holder asked what modems were needed. Mr. Jerry Patton replied that the Communications Server is the key, not just faster modems. Professor Sedrick asked Mr. Patton to explain the boxes in the classrooms which have access. Mr. Patton answered that they are for future video or bandwidths that could not run on twisted fiber. Professor Clint Smullen added that wiring cost is mostly labor, so CECA had installed the boxes in most classrooms even though it was not yet needed.

Professor Ken Carson asked if our Bitnet addresses still work. Ms. Wixson said yes, so long as you use IBM. Later they will give you a new address; they will inform you when it is time.

Mr. Monty Wilson explained that there are three phases still in the draft mode. They have completed wiring in most major buildings; met wiring standards; run dark fiber into classrooms; and installed the electronics for the hub servers and routers. Phase One is wiring to Health and Human Services and to Guerry. In the fall, they are looking at finishing the main academic buildings such as Race and Hooper, Brock’s inside writing, the University Center, Fletcher during its renovation stage, and Founders. Then they will complete the rest of the campus. Underground conduit will be installed during the street renovation on Douglas. Then the Arena, Boling, Maclellan, and Development Office will be done. Later, Fine Arts, Cadek, Patten House, and the Central Energy Facility will be wired. Finally, student housing will be done. It is believed that this will encourage dorm residency. Voice mail for the campus is also being considered.

Professor Sedrick said he had heard it rumored that there are to be focus groups for CECA. Ms. Wixson said yes. They will be conducting a self-evaluation through surveys to improve services on campus. It is a TQM effort being done internally, and they are beginning with the Help Desk. Dan Webb from Personnel will direct the focus groups. It is a two-step process which involves having a focus group to get general information; from that, they will produce a questionnaire to find out from "internal customers" what they think.

Student Evaluation of the Faculty

Professor Ken Carson, Chair, began by saying that it took more courage to face Faculty Council with the Committee’s report than it did to spend two weeks in Vietnam in the adoption process for his daughter. The committee held four meetings. There was a good cross-section of faculty on the committee, and they differed in how much information they thought we should request from students. The result is a compromise. In a sense it is radical, but he also believes it is reasonable. He recommended adopting the six items.

Professor Wiley said that he thinks the committee should be congratulated; he likes what he sees. He wondered that they had returned to "student evaluation" rather than using "student rating." He likes the student questions and would like to add "student’s major" to the student information asked for. He also likes the fact that it stresses that the faculty member will work with the head to evaluate the evaluation and how the form should be interpreted. In his mind it is a "baseline thing" so that we will know in the future what an individual faculty member has done and whether the entire faculty has improved.

Professor Carson said the committee never talked about the title. He imagines they will not mind changing it back to "rating." The problem with adding the student’s major was that it would have to be open-ended, unless they put a whole list of majors in. Professor Tinkler asked if we couldn’t just ask if it was a course in the student’s major. Professor Carson said the committee had discussed that, but they were afraid students would misinterpret it. If your major requires you to complete general education courses, then is a general education course a course required in your major? Professor Wiley noted that majors are coded. Could respondents have a list of codes and enter the code? Professor Carson said perhaps. Is the information you would get from that question worth the trouble it takes to get it? Professor Wiley believed that we were beginning to see that certain majors have certain expectations for grades that may affect teacher ratings. Professor Carson was sympathetic with the request.

Dr. Richard Gruetzemacher said that we could distribute the codes, but he is not sure how to put the information in a meaningful way in any report.

Professor Phil Giffin asked who is responsible for administering the forms, getting them, turning them, etc. He thinks we should not expect students to perform free labor for administrators, especially at night, when students may be far away from the University Center. Professor Carson said that Institutional Research is in charge of distributing, but not collecting them.

President Bibler interjected that he thought this matter was beyond the charge of the committee.

Professor John Lynch worried that numbers may be used simplistically. In chemistry, they plotted the relationship between grades and evaluations by class. The median grade corresponded linearly with the rating of the instructor. Thus Professor Lynch believes that students do rate teachers on the basis of their grades; yet most studies say there is not a correlation.

Professor Doug Kingdon suggested looking at the figures over time; many factors affect student ratings. Professor Carson agreed that there is debate in the literature about this and much disagreement. Professor Honerkamp agrees with most recommendations and commends the committee. He especially likes the suggestions for instructional improvement. Every student rating committee before this one has cut the number of questions; now we are down to one.

Professor Kingdon suggested that we do one more round!

Professor Honerkamp asked why the committee thought that less information was better than more information. He assumes that more is better; was this discussed in the meetings? Committee member Fritz Efaw said that it is not less because having a page with open-ended questions gives more information. The purpose of the rating is to improve teaching, not help administrators in making personnel decisions. Secondly, the answers to questions in the previous form were closely correlated and did not give much additional information. Having the single question gives the administrators a number.

Professor Honerkamp noted that they already have an opportunity to answer open-ended questions. Many students do not avail themselves of this opportunity. Why did the committee think students will react better to this one than the previous one? Professor Carson did not know. The committee hoped that the information provided by students was helpful; students assumed their remarks were seen only by the individual faculty member. This instrument is meant to be both developmental and evaluative. As far as the number of items, they received feedback from the faculty. Each respondent asked for different questions to be added. Many faculty members already complain about the time it takes to complete these. If we asked more questions, it would take more time. Furthermore, with the currently proposed form, you can individualize the test with a couple of questions of your own choice.

Professor Howard Finch said he speaks for himself and applauds the results. For ten years, he has asked three questions at midterm: What do you like most about the class? What do you like least about the class? What suggestions for improvement do you have for the rest of the course? He thinks he is a better teacher for finding out at this point.

Professor Ling Jun Wang suggested adding questions: Is the course required or selected? What is your midterm grade? and What grade do you expect to receive?

Professor Katy Rehyansky said that although she likes the questions, she fears that students still will not organize their thoughts and write. Professor Carson agrees. He is going to try the evaluation at the beginning of the class and have a student come to get him when all are through writing.

Professor Honerkamp also thought the midterm grade question should be there; if not, many faculty will not give them out. Dr. Jane Harbaugh said that Professor Honerkamp raised an important issue of tracking midterm grades, especially with adjunct faculty. Professor Efaw noted that there are ten more scantron items you can add if you want. With respect to use of the form, copies of an earlier draft was distributed to a class, but the results have been sitting in the Dean’s office so that they do not have the information yet. He urges prompt reporting of the results.

Professor Wiley asked what was to be done with this report. President Bibler said that most reports are considered motions. Professor Wiley believed that Council should recommend that this go back to the committee and moves that we postpone action until the committee has had time to consider Council’s comments. Professor Ingle asked if the mover would wait until questions were finished. Professor Wiley said yes.

Professor Larry Ingle said he thought the question about absences was worded oddly. Professor Carson said that had been done to clarify the situation for night classes. Professor Ingle then asked if the evaluation results were to be made available to students. Professor Carson said that the committee had briefly discussed it at the first meeting and decided not to pursue it further. He noted that UTK had just gone to such a system. Professor Carson said in his personal view, that is an SGA issue. If SGA wanted to take the question up, they could. Professor Wiley noted that from a legal standpoint, if the University revealed the results, there might be a problem; if the students do it, the circumstances are different. Professor Carson said the Faculty Council could recommend that SGA look into the issue. Professor Honerkamp said it means more work.

Professor Rehyansky said that she prefers the current scantron form because the students will do it. They do not do the discursive part; she does not think the form should be longer. Professor Jim Stroud asked if this was a process we do for the students. We seem to be going to great pains to get students to do something they don’t want to do.

Professor Carson said that there are two purposes: Administrative and evaluation for teaching improvement. The students are beneficiaries if the system works well. There are suggestions about teaching improvement. Professor Margaret Trimpey notes that she uses a similar form at the end of the semester. She gets much more information there than she gets from the current student evaluation. There is also consistency from semester to semester.

Professor Stroud believed that when you ask, students help. This system seems to breed student apathy. Professor Carson said that students he had talked to were not apathetic; they thought it was pointless. President Bibler said some of their response depends on how you hand out the form. Professor Jim McDonell said that if you put the three questions—what did you like, what did you not like, and what would you improve—and on a scale of one to ten rate this teacher, wouldn’t that be easier? Professor Holder remarked that students do course evaluations which may not have anything particular to do with the teacher. Professor Carson said he encourages reading directions to the student. Professor McDonell thinks the questionnaire might go straight from student to faculty member. He could still pass on information to the Administration. Professor Carson remarked that any faculty member could supplement this form with one of his own design.

Professor Efaw noted that this form does not go to the faculty member until after grades are in.

Professor Doug Kingdon seconded the motion to let the Committee reconsider the suggestions and bring back the form by the end of the semester. The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business

Professor Larry Ingle noted that the Board of Trustees had approved two million dollars for the stadium. Is that an additional amount?

Chancellor Obear said that the Board of Trustees agreed that a request for a capital outlay which included $1.8 million to go to residence hall bonds and $2.2 million (an amount inflated for increased construction costs) for the stadium could go to the bonding authority.

New Business

There was no new business.

Announcements

There were no announcements.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sally Young

Secretary

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