Advisory Committee on Academic Quality
Minutes for October 5, 2007

Attendees:  Susan Camp, Jean Chambers, David Clendinning, Steve Abraham, Joan Carroll, Jim Nichols, Mary Beth Bell, Mark Morey, Bill Goffe (Chair) and Michael Leblanc

The major focus of the meeting was setting priorities for the year.

There was general agreement that the group would like to invite the Provost to an upcoming meeting to discuss the Assessment Proposal developed by last years’ committee, which was forwarded to the Provost at the end of the spring 07 semester.

The committee also supported promoting the concept of including student photos in class lists. BANNER does support this function, as does ANGEL. However, in Angel, it is impossible to restrict viewing of the photos to the faculty member only. Students enrolled in a class would also have access and this poses security/privacy issues

A question arose about whether any action had been taken on a conmiittee proposal regarding the College’s present Pass/Fail policy. The proposal was sent to the APC last spring for deliberation. We think it was killed by the APC?

Another suggested topic for review this year concerns limits on how many times a student can retake a course. The committee recommended asking the Registrar for data confirming how often this actually happens. Bill will talk to Andy Westfall about this.

In a recent poll of students in her classes, Jean asked for input on what students would do to improve academic quality. Among the suggestions she received were improving advising, reducing the number of Gen Ed requirements, providing more Gen Ed course options, improving the quality of Gen Ed courses, getting rid of transcripts and making sure that instructors are well prepared to teach courses they are assigned to teach. Discussion of the final item in the list centered on how prepared some adjuncts may be and the fact that we provide little, if any, faculty development support for our adjuncts.

This led to a discussion of faculty evaluation which led to a discussion of current problems with the DSI process as a means of assessing performance. Members of the committee with experience at other institutions talked about the use of a common student evaluation form, which could be required for use by all departments. Mark Morey noted that COLT has actually worked on this type of form. Issues arose re Union problems with post-tenure review. It was proposed that evaluation could take place at the course level rather than the level of the individual instructor, but this would be problematic in courses with only a single section.

Jean noted that one way of getting a handle on the quality of a course is to look at the syllabus and determine which outcomes a course addresses.

An item of interest for the year ahead is to take a look at grading averages by such parameters as school, level of course and department.

Interest in a college-wide subscription to the “Teaching Professor” journal was voiced. Mary Beth indicated that the Library has many online journals that deal with the teaching profession, including many that are specific to teaching in a particular discipline and others that are more general. The Library will look at trying to develop a list of these journals that could be accessed quickly by faculty who might have an interest.

The Library will also pursue information re a subscription to the “Teaching Professor”.

It is already included in several databases but with an embargo on the most current year.

The Library will reinstate a current online subscription with college-wide access for at

least the coming year.

Other possible topics for the year are looking at the academic side of the current student orientation process and orientation for adjuncts. Steve will update us on recent changes being made in the student orientation process as he has worked on this for the past 10 years. Given the difficulties of getting adjuncts together for orientation, it was suggested that we look at the development of a specialized handbook for their use.

 Last Updated: 5/9/08