Students want to see evaluations

Ashlee Clark

A recurring issue between faculty and student leaders is expected to make another appearance.

Student representatives in the University Senate plan today to propose making two questions from faculty evaluations available to students.

The proposal requests student access to the responses for the statements “my instructor is actively helpful” and “overall, my instructor is effective,” which appear on the faculty evaluations students complete near the end of each semester.

Student representatives Josh Collins, Dana Lockhart and Troy Ransdell wrote the proposal.

Ransdell said they are bringing up this proposal now because of the movement at Western to promote increased student involvement and academic quality.

Collins said the data from the evaluations would supplement course syllabi.

“This is a simple effort to facilitate more effective learning between students and faculty,” he said.

SGA President John Bradley said some of the information in the proposal came from a letter he sent to Provost Barbara Burch and Senate Chair Doug Smith that made a formal request for the information from faculty evaluations.

Members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of SGA had input on the content, he said.

“This has been a priority for SGA for decades,” Bradley said. “It just so happened that this issue came to fruition this year at this point.”

Smith said he was surprised by the timing of the proposal, but not by its content because access to faculty evaluations has come up in the past.

Faculty may be concerned because the students who complete the evaluations can be very satisfied or very dissatisfied with the instructor, he said.

A person on either extreme may not give an accurate evaluation, he said.

Burch said discussion about the proposal will probably focus on whether requesting the information is reasonable, appropriate and whether the data is private personnel information.

The ad hoc committee on academic quality will also submit its recommendation on plus/minus grading to the senate during today’s meeting. It proposes putting pluses and minuses on transcripts but not using them in grade point averages.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected]