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2002 - 02/07

UCAP Meeting of 02/07/2002


agenda status: not approved

University Committee on Academic Policy

Meeting of Thursday, February 7, 2002
10:15 a.m., Board Room, Administration Building

1. Approval of Agenda

2. Approval of Minutes of the January 24, 2002 meeting ............. (Attachment)

3. Comments from the Chairperson

4. Comments from the Assistant Provost

5. Prototype of SOCT Display .....................................................Akshay Kamadh

6. Group Work Sub-Committee Draft.................................................Celia Wills

        (materials distributed at the Nov. 8 meeting)..........(Attachment)

7. Computer Requirement Follow-up

8. Roundtable

Attachment: January 24, 2002 Draft Minutes

Please phone or E-Mail Robin Pline (353-5380; if you cannot be present.

minutes status: not approved

UCAP Minutes for meeting held on 02/07/2002

Approved 2/21/02
University Committee on Academic Policy
February 7, 2002

Members Present: Steven Dilley, Ryan Hedstrom, Rod Phillips, Shaun Phillips, Jon Sticklen, Juli Wade, Winston Wilkinson, Celia Wills, Cameron Wooley, Maija Zile

Others Present: Barbara Steidle (Assistant Provost), Patti Croom, Akshay Kamath, Gretel Miller (all from AIS)

1. Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved.

2. Approval of the Minutes of the January 24, 2002 Meeting: The minutes were approved with one minor edit.

3. Comments from the Chairperson:
a. ECAC referred the proposed Telecommunications Department name change back to UCAP upon the Dean’s notice of intent to have the department respond to the concerns UCAP raised in its discussion. This will be on the agenda at the next meeting.
b. Given the pace of the semester, Professor Sticklen laid out a calendar assigning certain days for the subcommittees to report their progress and recommendations. He asked especially for attention by the Crises Response Committee. We would like to have a formal position or recommendations. The list of subcommittee members can be found on the website.
c. Noting some problems with accessing committee website information, Professor Sticklen volunteered to fix it.

4. Commendation: Professor Wills called the group’s attention to the Women’s Resource Center newsletter an article about Juli Wade, who won a Teacher-Scholar Award this year. We are all very proud of her and recognize her accomplishment by entry of the following excerpt from the article:
      Those who work with Julie Wade know her as a scientist, working hard to contribute to our understanding of how brains develop over time. Those who learn from Dr. Wade recognize her as teacher whose efforts catalyze the development of minds. Dr. Wade is a recipient of MSU’s Teacher-Scholar Award. A Professor in the Departments of Zoology and Psychology, Wade says that it is “an honor to see that my colleagues value my research and efforts.” Though currently working on a “bunch of projects,” Wade makes a point to devote as much of her time and energies to her students as she can. “I really enjoying teaching, and I guess my general philosophy is to engage the students as much as possible, through stimulating conversation, bringing in real-life examples, and so forth,” she says. “I try to give them the opportunity to pursue their won interests as much as possible…by being available.” Her work involves studying the mechanisms of bird and lizard brains to pin down the processes responsible for brain development – of age. While the investigation is painstaking and precise, the things she can learn from studying these simpler systems may one day be applied to investigations of more complex systems, such as the human brain. Wade’s advice to students and young explorers is simple: “Don’t be afraid of taking chances. If there’s something you really want, don’t hesitate to at least try it.” If anything Wade’s success as a teacher is a promising measure of the value of her advice.
5. Comments from the Assistant Provost: Deferred to end of meeting.

6. Prototype of SOCT Display: Patti Croom from AIS noted that she had considered input from the committee and had made appropriate adjustments to the SOCT website. A handout of the PowerPoint presentation was provided and members were invited to Email comments to AIS would be happy to have students help with testing the site. She noted that some adjustments had to be made because of certain deficiencies in the information. For example, instructors’ names are signified on the cover sheet with a five-character first name and ten-character last name. This requires checking actual instructors and having the full names on the website.

Ashkay Kamath then gave the Power Point presentation. As the Box-and-Whiskers display did not seem to give good information to students, bar graphs were used instead. In response to a question about comparison across instructors, Croom noted that could be explored. The pages cannot be saved as “favorites.”

Summer school teaching is not included in the survey because many of the summer classes are taught by graduate assistants and the survey is not intended to be used by graduate assistants.

Kamath noted the different comparison levels available. Academic units were given a choice of three levels. If they did not reply with a specific choice, level three is the default level. In response to a question as to whether departments can choose a different mode of comparison, Steidle noted that changing the parameters now will cause confusion. The committee may want to review this after there is some experience with the system.

Kamath noted that there is a “Comments and Feedback” page for users. Dilley asked about whether student comments are included on the form and would be included on the website.
The response was that “UCAP had decided not to ask for comments, as these forms were not intended to replace regular SIRS forms as the basis for faculty evaluation. Wilkinson asked to come back to this issue, because departmental reviewers seem to want both forms and it’s getting tedious explaining the rule.

Dilley raised some questions regarding possible student interpretation of the ratings information, including what meaning students would impute to the comparisons, why the rating scale denoted
1 as best, and what the differences between the numbers implied. He suggested running a focus group with students on the SOCT display to determine what they learned when they see the data.

Sticklen recommended that we review the experience with the first displays at the end of the year or early next year. Wade cautioned against making any changes without gathering information first. Steidle asked the student members of the committee if they could organize groups of students to talk about the data on the website and how this works. The response was positive
and it was suggested by Shaun Phillips that AIS present the display to a meeting of ASMSU. Phillips will try to work on an appropriate time.

Croom invited comments from members on wording on the forms and the legends accompanying them. The committee expressed its appreciation to the AIS team for their work on the project.

7. Comments from the Assistant Provost: Assistant Provost Steidle asked that the committee think about switching from paper to electronic forms for SIRS and SOCTs. Many universities are switching to the electronic forms and this is increasingly the choice of students for communication and feedback. Questions were raised as to how to assure students filled the reports out. One solution mentioned was to place a hold on grade reports or further enrollments.

8. Group Work Sub-Committee Draft: Celia Wells reported on the first draft of the Group Work report. She explained the wording in the current draft was more severe than the final draft will be. Dilley raised a question as to the intent of the document, in reference to faculty instructional practices. Steidle responded that it was not intended to be either prescriptive or proscriptive; rather, it was intended as friendly advice in an arena that seemed to precipitate problems for students and faculty. Several items were suggested for the next revision. (1) Clarification of the phrase “reasonable ambiguity.” This was determined to be in reference to the ambiguity that arises in grading and assessment. Changes were made to correct this. (2) List available resources available for professors to improve their group work facilitation. (3) List advantages and goals of group work. (4) List specific recommendations for faculty on how to deal with some of the areas that are most problematical. The sub-committee will give its final report at the March 14 meeting.

Computer Requirement Follow-up: Delayed until next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at noon.

Respectfully submitted,

Cameron Wooley
Shaun Phillips