University Senate meets for final time of the semester

Taylor Harrison

The University Senate met for a brief final meeting of the semester on Thursday afternoon to report on multiple topics and vote on new business.

At the meeting, Gordon Emslie, provost and Academic Affairs vice president, and Cory Dodds, the Student Government Association president, talked about the value added grading system proposal. The proposal regards giving students who earn final grades in the top one-third of B and C grades an extra quality point to their grade. They would then receive a B+ or a C+.

Emslie presented the proposal to SGA last week.

“The SGA executive committee generally supports this proposal, and when we come back into session next semester, we are planning a resolution of endorsement,” Dodds said.

SGA’s executive committee has also drafted a proposed policy regarding student teaching assistant evaluations, submitted to Emslie for his review.

“Basically, what the policy that we proposed is, is graduate students and undergraduates who are teaching assistants have to undergo mandatory evaluations all across campus — very similar to what we do for faculty right now,” Dodds said.

Currently, the process varies by department. While some departments conduct these evaluations, others do not.

“…I think it’s important to have a process that all departments follow to protect the academic quality of our courses at WKU,” Dodds said.

Emslie also discussed Student Input to Teaching Effectiveness evaluations moving online this semester instead of doing the evaluations in class on paper. Emslie said the online SITE evaluations had an increased level of participation.

The evaluations had a 67.54 percent response rate as opposed to the previous 67.25 percent response rate.

“Most universities that go to online course evaluations see a precipitous drop in the number of students participating in the evaluation process,” Emslie said.

Emslie said the forums regarding bi-terms at WKU, which were held at each of the colleges, led to good dialogue with faculty members and mixed feedback to the bi-term proposal.

Also at the senate meeting, the senate approved two items of new business. The first item dealt with revisions to a research-track faculty policy. The style and formatting of the policy changed and “research professor” was replaced by “research-track faculty member” throughout the policy.

The policy was approved.

The second piece of new business was also approved. It regarded the Colonnade program and moving certain math courses into that program.

Mac McKerral, faculty senate chair, said the Colonnade program will go into effect in fall 2014.

“What they’re doing right now is they’re taking courses that are in the general education program now, that are not going to change, and they’re putting them into the Colonnade program,” McKerral said.

Reports from the graduate council and undergraduate council committee were approved.