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March 26, 1992

Signal Mountain Room
University Center

ELECTED MEMBERS PRESENT: Dave Anderson, Martha Butterfield, Pedro Campa, Terry Carney, David Carrithers, Joe DePari, Robert Duffy, Arlie Herron, Debbie Ingram, Irene Loomis, Fred Nixon, Betty Pickett, Peter Pringle, Marea Rankin, Edgar Shawen, David Shepherd, James Stroud, Gavin Townsend, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Jeannette Vallier, Donald Weisbaker, Robert Wilson

ELECTED MEMBERS ABSENT: Stephanie Bellar, Tom Bibler, Stan Byrd, Don Cassell, George Helton, Doug Kingdon, Ed McMahon, Gail Meyer, Tapan Sen, Ken Venters, Terry Zivney

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS PRESENT: Jane Harbaugh, Joe Jackson, Fred Obear, Sandra Packard, Charles Renneisen

AMONG THE GUESTS PRESENT: Dawna Aragon, Ryan Bishop, Latonya Dargan, Paul Gaston, Debbi Pringle, Marlo Ross, Margaret Smith, Roy Stinnett, David Wiley

Summary of Actions

Council accepted corrected drafts of Chapters 4 and 5 of the Faculty Handbook, pending receipt of some rewording.
Council received the report of the Evaluation of Faculty Instruction Committee; approved a change in name from "student evaluation" to "student rating"; and amended and approved the committee's recommendations on "Standard Procedures."

Call to Order

President Butterfield called the meeting to order at 3:16 p.m.

Approval of Minutes

With the addition of Brenda Davis and Ray Fox to the list of guests present, the minutes of the meeting of March 5, 1992, were approved.

Executive Committee Report

President Butterfield announced that the State Insurance Committee had advised Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee that it was required to give to the insured 45 days' notice of changes in the Tennessee Preferred Provider Network. Personnel Director Richard Hannah would report developments to the campus.

She announced that she had been invited to attend a meeting of the Tennessee Higher Education Faculty Assembly in Nashville on May 2. The meeting would consider a Board of Regents' proposal for post-tenure faculty review.

Old Business

Professor Carney, chair of the Handbook Committee, invited members to look at the proposed Chapters 4 and 5 of the Faculty Handbook. Acting on the advice of UT System attorneys and comments from faculty, he proposed the following changes to the drafts distributed:

Chapter 4: Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights

1. Move Section 4.1.2. from page 34 to page 35 to precede immediately Section 4.3.1.
2. In Section 4.1.2., omit "extracted" (line 4) and the sentence "Release of information . . . needs for information." (lines 10-12).
3. In Section 4.2.1., replace "handicap" with "disability" (line 4) and "handicapped" with "disabled" (line 22).
4. In Section 4.2.1., insert "or by" between "of" and "its" (line 24).
5. In Section 4.2.2., omit the sentences "Cases involving . . . recently, however." (lines 22-23), and "Additional cases . . . and private parties." (lines 27-29).
6. In Section 4.3.2., the parenthetical matter (lines 8-11) will be reworded to include details of the appeal.
7. In Section 4.3.4., number 2, omit "adequate" (line 14) and "(see Chapter 3)" (lines 14-15).
8. In Section 4.3.4., number 4, the last sentence (lines 24-26) will be reworded to include details of the appeal process.

Chapter 5: Faculty Responsibilities; Faculty-Student Relationships

1. In Section 5.3.1., Attendance Policy and Excuses, replace "presents" with "prevents" (line 5).
2. In Section 5.3.1., Grade Change Policy, details of the grade appeal procedure will be added.
3. In Section 5.6.1., number 4, omit the sentence "At the time . . . malice is involved." (lines 12-15).

Motion 1: To accept the drafts of Chapters 4 and 5 of the Faculty Handbook, as corrected, pending receipt of the rewording. Moved by Professor Carney, seconded by Professor Wilson.

Professor Anderson wondered if there was a conflict between the statement on the requirement for course and/or instructor evaluation in Section 5.3.1. and that contained in the report of the Evaluation of Faculty Instruction Committee. Was this an example of circular reasoning? Professor Herron advised that student evaluations became a requirement under former Chancellor Drinnon. In fact, he chaired the committee at the time.

Professor John Trimpey wanted to know if there was a UT Board of Trustees' statement requiring student evaluations of faculty. Provost Packard replied that there was no formal statement on how campuses should evaluate teaching. The method was within the prerogative of each campus. She noted, however, that student evaluation was practiced on all campuses and had been included in the first cycle of the Performance Funding formula.

Professor Duffy did not understand the motive for "burying" Section 4.1.2. (Personnel Files and Release of Information). He understood the rationale had something to do with faculty morale. But he was not convinced. Professor Carney replied that Chapter 4 dealt with academic freedom and it was appropriate to start it with Section 4.1.3. (Academic Freedom). Professor Duffy suggested merely switching Sections 4.1.2. and 4.1.3. Professor Carney had no objection.

Motion 1 was approved by voice vote.

Evaluation of Faculty Instruction

Professor Wiley (chair) introduced the report of the Evaluation of Faculty Instruction Committee (Attachment).

He noted that the committee was not recommending that student ratings be abandoned. The committee had not looked at the rating instrument. Nor had it considered other evaluation procedures that might be introduced. Instruction was evaluated annually in the EDO process. However, student ratings may have become removed from that process, and the committee recommended that the closer relationship be reestablished. If the committee's recommendations were adopted, one-third of tenured faculty and all non-tenured faculty would be rated annually.

He drew attention of members to the section of the report headed "Standard Procedures." There, bold type reflected recommended new procedures.

Motion 2: To receive the report of the Evaluation of Faculty Instruction Committee. Moved by Professor Herron, seconded by Professor Anderson.

Motion 2 passed by voice vote.

Motion 3: To approve the change in name from "student evaluation of faculty instruction" to "student rating of faculty instruction." Moved by Professor Anderson, seconded by Professor Stroud.

Motion 3 was approved by voice vote.

Motion 4: To endorse the recommendations contained in the "Standard Procedures" section of the report of the Evaluation of Faculty Instruction Committee for implementation in Fall 1992. Moved by Professor Campa, seconded by Professor Margaret Trimpey.

Professor Carrithers inquired about the purpose of II(A) in the report. It seemed to contradict I(B). Professor Wiley said II(A) did not apply to people excluded under the terms of I(B).

Professor Carrithers suggested that there was redundancy in the characterization of faculty in I(A). Professor Wiley responded that the committee had tried to be all-inclusive in the wording.

Amendment 1: To amend motion 4 by replacing "non tenure track faculty" with "non tenured faculty" and removing the parenthetical matter in I(A). Moved by Professor DePari, seconded by Professor Townsend.

Amendment 1 passed by voice vote.

Professor Carrithers observed that evaluating tenured faculty every third year was insufficient. Professor Wiley replied that the committee wanted to reduce the frequency. He realized that some departments and individuals would want more frequent evaluations. However, the present system was bad for faculty morale. It was also bad for students, for whom it had become a mere check-off. They did not take it seriously. Additionally, the recommendations promised some monetary savings.

Professor John Trimpey said he failed to see how any faculty member was going to benefit from not being evaluated regularly by students. Those who were not evaluated might have no information on one-third of their EDO criteria.

Professor Campa opined that there was a hidden agenda. Student evaluations had never been taken seriously. The department head needs them to stockpile information about a faculty member. The current system is like a turnstile. Faculty and students may take it more seriously if it were conducted less frequently. But what was most repugnant to his faculty colleagues is the secrecy that surrounds the evaluation results. He warned that he would take the report to the next full faculty meeting if the motion failed.

Professor Nixon thought that attempts to enhance instruction would be improved if evaluations were carried out among seniors and those who had graduated. They would have a better perspective.

Professor Shepherd said the evaluations provided information he would like to have, even if he were tenured. He was afraid that we were sending the message that we did not care, except every three years.

Provost Packard was concerned that a reduction in the frequency of the evaluations would reduce the emphasis on, and rewards for, teaching. She concluded that faculty would be left only with research, since it is easy to quantify.

Professor Herron cautioned that evaluations allowed for information on both teachers and courses. Since courses also were being evaluated, he was not sure that it was wise to adopt a three-year cycle. It would be better to improve the use of the evaluations than to reduce their frequency.

Latonya Dargan, a student, expressed disappointment at the prospect of anything less than annual student evaluations of all faculty. She also disagreed that students do not take evaluations seriously. Students were interested in a teacher's accessibility, expertise, and mentoring, and valued a regular opportunity for evaluation.

Debbi Pringle, also a student, agreed. She thought that evaluations were important. Just because administrators thought that some faculty were good instructors did not mean that students were of the same opinion.

Professor John Trimpey believed that faculty were not concerned about students rating them. It was how the evaluations were used that was a concern.

Professor Stroud was impressed with the arguments made by the students present. He thought factors such as faculty mentoring and accessibility may be more important than the questions posed on the evaluation form.

Professor Wiley agreed with the students on the desirability of evaluating all faculty regularly. He agreed with Professor Trimpey that problems arise in the use of evaluations. He drew attention to the committee's conclusion that evaluations should always be utilized "in an objective, impartial, and equitable manner." If only a method could be found to ensure such a use, he mused.

Professor Townsend inquired about the bureaucratic challenges posed by the recommendations. Provost Packard answered that the cost was not a significant variable, certainly not significant enough to be used as the basis for a decision.

Amendment 2: To amend Motion 4 by replacing "non tenured faculty" in I(A) with "faculty" and deleting I(B), (C), and (D). Moved by Professor Herron, seconded by Professor DePari.

Amendment 2 passed by voice vote.

Motion 4, as amended, was approved by voice vote.

Professor Campa announced that he intended to collect the required number of signatures to place the committee's report on the agenda for the full faculty meeting on April 23.


Council adjourned at 5:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter K. Pringle

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