Fac Minutes 10-13-16

College of Natural Science
Faculty Advisory Council

Meeting Minutes
October 13, 2016

Present: S. Balasubramaniam, D. Bello, F. Downes, J. Hu, J. Kirkpatrick, M. Linabury, D. Liu, D. Long, F. Peterson, C. Sisk, M. Stoury, and M. TerAvest

Approval of Minutes. The minutes from the September 9, 2016 meeting were approved as written.

NatSci Student Advisory Council Report

M. TerAvest met twice with the SAC since the last meeting. The SAC elected committee members and discussed several university and college initiatives.

University Committee on Faculty Tenure

M. Comstock was not present at the meeting but plans to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss proposed changes to the patent policy.

University Council/Faculty Senate Committee Report

D. Bello provided highlights from the September UC/FS meeting.

She reported that some units distributed information about reporting sexual assault and relationship violence and provided clarification that reporters must contact both OIE and the police – in that order. Reporters should contact Officer Andrea Munford at the MSU Police Department 517.353.0732. F. Peterson will contact the director to get the policy correct. Mandatory reporters need something official in writing. The idea of a magnet with reporting information was discussed.

Dean Kirkpatrick related that the president announced a possible budget cut. In addition to the normal 1% budget cut/reallocation, units are asked to plan for an additional 1% budget cut. This is the result of the State of Michigan budget shortfall (roads, healthcare, Flint water problems, pressure not to raise tuition).

Old Business

Awards Coordinator: A. Cognato

A. Cognato has agreed to serve as the awards coordinator for this academic year.

Comments on FAC Award Review

D. Bello thanked all who gave feedback on award nomination packets. Of the 16 nominators contacted with comments from FAC reviewers for packets being sent to the provost’s office for university award consideration, 9 sent back revisions and positive responses. Some responses were:

  • Thank you for your comments.  We have made the following changes in response to the suggestions made by Reviewer 1.
  • Thank you, and the anonymous reviewers, for your efforts on behalf of the nominees.
  • I really like that you guys are reviewing these and providing feedback!

Alternative SIRS

MSU is beginning to explore other online systems to collect student feedback on teaching, which would make coding other instruments better and allow for, for example, mid-semester feedback to instructors. This discussion is still preliminary, but faculty and college input is sought.

Sekhar Chivukula provided D. Bello with information to review regarding the possibility of units choosing alternative SIRS. She presented the following:

  • Pitfalls of student evaluations: Bias against female instructors
  • Some guidelines to consider:
    1. Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) from U of Iowa
    2. Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG), the major alternative student survey instrument used in STEM. This is used by Lyman Briggs college - and I can put you in touch with people there if you are interested.
  • Some local resources:
    1. MSU Academic advancement network (AAN) formerly F & OD
    2. MSU SIRS policy

Note that individual departments can choose what "SIRS" they use. However, the standard form is available to be administered online, and it would take work to make another available in that format.

Discussion took place about the differences with in-class vs. on-line collection and mid-semester feedback. Members were asked to contact D. Bello or F. Peterson if they are interested in joining a subcommittee to explore the possible use of alternative SIRS. This could be a joint SAC/FAC project. The dean will discuss the idea with the associate and assistant deans in undergraduate studies. It is thought that current questions don’t help the faculty members and don’t help evaluate teaching.

New Business

Elect Secretary

K. Osteryoung had to cycle off the council early and cannot take the role as secretary as originally planned. A while back Saul Becceiro Novo had offered to serve. It was decided that he be asked.

Establishment of an Undergraduate Learning Assistant (ULA) Award

A draft of award eligibility and selection criteria along with a draft nomination form were distributed. Changes were discussed, and D. Bello will incorporate those into the documents. She will distribute the updated documents before the next meeting where a vote will take place. Two ULA awards will be given in the upcoming cycle. The monetary award will be $500, the same as is given to graduate students receiving the Excellence-in-Teaching award. More discussion is anticipated.

Next Meeting:                          November 10, 2016

College Faculty Meeting:         November 11, 2016