Southeast Missouri State University

Resolution 07-05 Senate's Response to SB389

Senate Response to the Missouri Department of Higher Education Draft Consumer Information Regulations Regarding Implementation of Missouri Senate Bill 389

WHEREAS the Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University supports giving students information to make informed decisions about the courses in which they enroll, and

WHEREAS student evaluation of instruction is but one measure of the quality of teaching, and

WHEREAS student evaluation of instruction is not universally accepted as a measure of the quality of teaching, but is a measure of student perception, and

WHEREAS students should be informed when they fill out faculty evaluations about who will see the results of their evaluations and how their evaluative data will be used, and

WHEREAS SB389 requires student ratings of instructors, but not of every individual course taught by every individual instructor, and

WHEREAS some classes are too small to provide the number of evaluations needed for reliable and valid conclusions to be made about a faculty member's teaching skills,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT prior to October 5, 2007, the Southeast Missouri State University Faculty Senate communicate to the Department of Higher Education the following requests regarding the Draft Consumer Information Regulations on Instructor Ratings:

  1. The rule regarding “where feasible” should not be changed to “technically capable.” Feasible is commonly understood to mean “possible, suitable, ethical, and logical” and its use here should be consistent with its commonly understood meaning.
  2. The rules should confirm that student evaluations used in the promotion and tenure process are part of personnel files, which are confidential.
  3. Each institution of higher education should, through shared governance procedures, determine how to develop regularly administered instructor ratings on their campuses and the processes by which they should be collected and posted.
  4. Each institution should decide how often instructor ratings will be updated.
  5. The posted instructor ratings will be restricted to enrolled students of the university.
  6. Each institution may begin collecting these instructor ratings during Fall 2007 and/or Spring 2008 semesters, and institutions shall first post this information by August 1, 2008.
  7. That the MDHE clarify the meaning of 2.d in the Draft Consumer Information document, or delete it completely. It states: No later than ten calendar days before the first day that any student may enroll for the next academic term, all available course information for the next academic term. If course information is not available ten calendar days before the first day that any student may enroll for the next academic term, the public higher education institution shall post the information on its website as soon as the information is available. If course information changes at any time before the conclusion of the semester, the public higher education institution must update its website to reflect the change(s).

    This statement is not needed because universities already make this information available as soon as they have it. It is not logical to require “all available course information” (defined under 1.b in the draft: The term “course information” shall include a schedule listing all courses that will be offered during an academic term, all sections of each course, the name(s) of the faculty member(s) who will teach each class, and the time and location at which each course will be offered.) to be posted ten days prior to the first day of registration, then allow any unknowns to be posted whenever they are known. If time frames are being considered, it is important to remember that for current students, spring registration begins more than two months before classes begin, and fall registration begins more than five months before classes begin.
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