Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes

3:00 p.m. – 327 Graff Main Hall

March 24, 2009

 

Present:  Joe Heim, Rebecca LeDocq, Susan Crutchfield, Brian Udermann;

Visitors: Bob Hoar, Kerrie Hoar, Elise Denlinger

 

1.  Minutes from the March 10, 2009 SEC meetings were approved with corrections. 

 

2.  DES Bylaws Suspension

We don’t know yet if this will come before the Senate.  DES members will meet with SEC next week.  TAUWP may be called in to review the situation.  

 

3.  IAS Policy Proposals

J. Heim and K. Hoar separately met with Bob Hetzel.  B. Hetzel agrees to leaving rolling horizon and multiple year contracts in the contract language even though they won’t be offered any time soon.  System Legal advises the same.   Therefore, the current options available include:  terminal one-semester, terminal one-year, and terminal two-year contracts; two-year renewable contracts; rolling horizon contracts; and indefinite limit contracts.

System Legal says that “not intended for renewal” cannot be taken out of the terminal contracts.  However, we will probably add some explanation or language to the contract in order to contextualize that required phrase.

There is a plan to separate the Provost’s letter of notification of job offer from the official contract that must be signed and turned in.

Concerns were raised that there is a widespread misunderstanding that new GQA faculty positions will mean the need to let go of some IAS positions, but this is not the case—perhaps even the opposite.   GQA will cause SCH per FTE to go down.  It was suggested that the Provost hold an open forum for IAS to ask questions about contract language and GQA effects on IAS.

E. Denlinger and K. Hoar will update SEC on April 7 regarding the final word from System on contract language.  The IAS proposal for Chapter 10 policy changes will be up for a vote at the Senate on April 9. 

 

4. Online SEI Taskforce

B. Udermann provided an update on the Taskforce’s work:

 

Workgroup: Bob Hoar, Maggie Mcdermott, TJ Teegan

• Set up, costs, maintenance, etc. – Bob has stated that the plan is to fund any new software centrally (IT or Provost), so no new charge-backs are expected at the department level.  We have attached a document with some preliminary information on companies/services.   The only two we have an idea on prices are Qualtrics (~$4000/year) and SelectSurvey (~$300/year + cost of new servers, database management, etc.).  The rest of the companies we would need to contact for demos and pricing.  We are not sure if we are at a point yet where we should be doing that.

• The campuses TJ has spoken to seem to be using a combination of homegrown applications for f2f courses and some type of survey for online courses.  Whitewater is using software from Scantron called Class Climate for f2f and online SEI’s and they seem pretty pleased.  If we do look at using survey software for SEIs we would have to have a discussion about the process.  For example, who would send out the surveys and who would tally the results, etc.

• Would funding from any offices be required? – Not sure.  But if we use something like Qualtrics we may want to ask the ADAs to do some of the work.  If it ends up taking them longer than our current system this would cost departments money.  If we can save the ADAs time this would save them money.

• Would departments save any money? – See above.  We believe costs not related to staff time should decrease (paper and copying charges, etc.), We think the biggest drain on departments for SEIs are ADA and student help time spent collecting SEIs, sending them for processing, and distributing results.  If we can save them time there we can save the departments some money.  Maggie is talking to some ADAs.  When Maggie has finished collecting information the answer to this question should become clearer to us.

 

SEI Software

  1. Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com)
    1. Survey software not designed for SEIs, but could be repurposed
    2. Cost effective, through a state license ~$4000/year
    3. Each department would have to create a survey and send it out to the students of each course.  They would then have to download the results for each course
    4. Getting a consistent report back from each department could be challenging
    5. Assuming the SEIs do not differ by instructor it could be fairly easy for the ADA to send out survey invitations for each course once the surveys are created.

       
  2. Class Climate (http://www.scantron.com/classclimate)
    1. In depth system
    2. No idea on price
    3. Evaluations can be done off and on line
    4. We would need to contact the company for price quotes and additional information
    5. The website has a lot of information about the software
    6. Whitewater is using Class Climate.  We may be able to reach out to them for more information.

       
  3. OnlineCourseEvaluations.com (http://service.onlinecourseevaluations.com)
    1.  This was passed on to me from Brian U.  He received information about this company from Bill Cerbin
    2. No idea on price
    3. We would need to contact the company for more information to see if this would be a good solution for UW-L

       
  4. D2L (https://secure.uwlax.edu/d2l)
    1. Already available for every course
    2. I’m not sure if the survey tool would be robust enough to meet every departments needs
    3. I’m not sure if the data would export out in a format that would be easy to work with
    4. Each faculty member would be in charge of administering their own SEI, downloading the results and submitting them
    5. Even faculty members who are not currently using D2L would have to use it to administer their SEIs
    6. Using D2L is a possibility, but I’m afraid it would shift the work from the administrative staff to faculty
    7. If the state ever decided to drop D2L we would have to find another system.

       
  5. SelectSurvey (www.classapps.com)
    1. We already have the software license.  It costs us a little under $300 a year to renew the license each year
    2. The hardware we currently host SelectSurvey on is old and would not hold up to the increased usage.  We would need new hardware and a staff member other me should take over as the SQL server DBA if this was going to used campus wide
    3. Each department would have to create a survey and send it out to the students of each course.  They would then have to download the results for each course
    4. Getting a consistent report back from each department could be challenging
    5. Assuming the SEIs do not differ by instructor it could be fairly easy for the ADA to send out survey invitations for each course once the surveys are created.

 

Workgroup: Jo Arney, TJ Brooks, Víctor M. Macías-González, John O’Hare

Response rates / impact on minority faculty

Sub-Committee members identified and posted on its D2L site a number of peer-reviewed studies on Student Evaluations of Teaching (“SET” in the literature).  The scholarship suggests that:

 

• While some of the literature finds that response rates can be lower in an online setting versus face to face, offering incentives can result in response rates similar or higher than in face to face settings. 

 

• The literature suggests that median SEI scores are not different in the different settings.

 

•Studies suggest that response rates can be lower in an online format than in a classroom-administered setting, and refer to the online SETs as “anonymous.”

 

•Women, minorities, and instructors of "difficult subjects” had lower SET scores when students assessed teaching online. We believe that this can be offset with one mechanism that some studies suggest are useful to increase response rates using incentives.  

 

•Classes that require attendance in class and get near 100% response rates. Other response rates can vary from as little as 35% to 100% . Moving to a university wide procedure has the effect of implementing a uniform incentive structure across courses. It reduces the ability of individual faculty to alter response rates, through intentional or unintentional practices.  It will probably reduce the variance in response rates across sections and instructors.

 

Based on evidence here UWL:

• In the Fall of 2008 one faculty member in the department of economics the SEIs were conducted entirely online. The students were given one opportunity to complete the SEIs within a week; they were reminded in class and were sent one follow-up email electronically. The response rates were 80% and 83.1%, within the department range for the semester.

 

•Last fall the SEIs were scanned into 34 different files grouped loosely by department.  By looking at the files there were approximately 34,399 SEIs completed.  According to the database there were 46,579 seats taken last semester.  Based on this data from the economics department, UW-L has an approximate response rate of 74%.econ data..

 

This does match what we know for certain regarding the Sociology department.  John Elmer manually counted up and calculated the response rate for the Sociology department a while back and found 75% of the students completed an SEI for those courses. 

 

Workgroup: Meredith Thomsen, Jodie Rindt, Brian Udermann 

Open records, online SEI’s at other UW-S schools, workload

• SEI being open records and more accessible to students:  Brian spoke with UW-System legal (Tom Stafford).  Tom said that SEI’s are open records and subject to open record laws.  He also said some schools (he mentioned Oshkosh) keep all SEI’s in the library and allow students to view them when requested.  Debbie Veglahn handles open records requests at UW-L … here is some information from Debbie. 

“The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance is the custodian of all public records for UW-L.  UW-L’s policy is that any request for information under the open records law must be made in writing to the Vice Chancellor.  In my role as Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, I usually handle these requests, in consultation with UW System Office of Legal Counsel if necessary.  If a student wants to request SEI scores, they would need to put their request in writing to Bob Hetzel, Vice Chancellor.   The request should be very specific relative to what SEI scores they are asking for and for what time period.

The Wisconsin Public Records Law is not black and white.  Certain records are exempt; for student records, we have to follow FERPA regulations. I should also mention that the open records law does not require us to CREATE records to comply with a request.  These are all things that I evaluate when I receive a request.  Here also is a link to more information on the public records law:  http://www.uwsa.edu/gc-off/deskbook/wprl.htm

I don’t know much about the SEI process as it exists today but if this information is maintained by each department that would make it harder to provide in response to an open records request.  Again, the law does not require us to CREATE records or reports to comply with a request.   If the SEI system was on-line and the data stored in a database, the information would surely be more readily available making a records request easier to respond to.”

• Use of online SEI’s at other schools (still waiting for contacts from other schools)
 
Madison – option available; used by a number of departments F09 for more than 23,000 students. Perception software, 65% response rate.
 
Stout – Used by the English and Philosophy and Art Departments. Vovici software. 
 
Green Bay – used for online classes; done with D2L. 10-50% response rates
 
Superior – Distance Education program uses online evaluations
 
UW Colleges online also uses online evaluations, sensibly enough. 
 
There also is a helpful link to a Learning Community at Eau Claire that investigated SEIs in general; I haven’t delved into this too deeply for online-specific information. 
 
• It is hard to estimate how transitioning to an online SEI process would impact faculty workload until the process is better defined.  If faculty involvement would be limited to encouraging students to complete the SEI online (announcements in class or via e-mail) than the impact on faculty workload should be minimal.  

 

 

Questions were raised about whether copies of handwritten SEI comments would be subject to open record laws if kept in the individual instructor’s office.  

 

J. Heim asked that we gather informal comments from instructors and faculty regarding their preference for online vs. handwritten SEI-gathering, and regarding whether SEIs should be made more formally available to students.  

 

5.  Academic Program Review

The Provost requests that the document  “A Proposal to Implement NCA Assessment Recommendations” be discussed at the next SEC meeting.  The document will also be forwarded to the APR Committee for review.

 

6.  Recruitment and Retention Fund (“Star Fund”)

This will be on the next SEC agenda.  Discussion ensued regarding the drawbacks and benefits of such a fund.   This may eventually come before the Senate.

 

7.  How programs are revised or dropped

Registrar Chris Bakkum has asked for clarification on UW-L’s process for closing a program.  C. Bakkum will do research and get back to the Provost.  This might be the purview of Academic Planning committee, but there is confusion about the actual process.

 

8. Raid on Auxiliary Funds

The Chancellor and J. Heim are in favor of using Recruitment and Retention Funds rather than Auxiliary Funds for UW-L’s contribution to the $25 million financial aid state budget item.

The Student Association has sent a letter outlining their concerns to Senator Kapanke and other area delegates.  If the students do not create a resolution for the Senate to endorse, Senate may take no action.

 

9.  Academic Staff Resolution on Collective Bargaining

The following resolution was discussed.

 

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Academic Staff Council Resolution

Opposing any Collective Bargaining or Enabling Legislation

Language Where Academic Staff and Faculty are Separated

 

WHEREAS, throughout the history of the UW System, the academic staff and faculty have been a single unit of professionals who have been treated the same with regard to salary increases and benefits; and

 

WHEREAS, the academic staff work in partnership with the faculty to provide a quality educational experience for all students in the UW System; and

 

WHEREAS, the UW-La Crosse Academic Staff Council has long opposed the decoupling of faculty and academic staff benefits and compensation plans; and

 

WHEREAS, legislation enabling collective bargaining for the UW System was proposed in the governor’s budget that would create separate collective bargaining units for the academic staff and faculty on each campus; and

 

WHEREAS, separate collective bargaining units for the academic staff and faculty will place academic staff and faculty in competition for salary and fringe benefits;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Academic Staff Council at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse strongly opposes any legislative proposals, now and in the future, that would grant collective bargaining rights to University of Wisconsin System academic staff and faculty that would establish an academic staff collective bargaining unit separate from the faculty collective bargaining unit.

 

11.  Textbook Rental RFP Evaluation and Selection Committee.

B. Hetzel asked for three faculty nominees for this new committee.  These nominees were taken from members of the Ad Hoc Textbook Rental Committee:

 

Ken Winter

Chuck Lee

Heather Hulett

 

M/S/P to nominate these people to the RFP Evaluation and Selection Committee.

 

12.  The meeting adjourned at 5 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Crutchfield