Proposal 2-22 makes comeback to University Senate

Tucker Nielsen, Lode Writer

On Dec. 1, Proposal 2-22 returned to Senate discussion with amendments. Proposal 2-22 would incorporate student comments more into instructor evaluations, along with numeric ratings. Academic and Instructional Policy Chair Tim Scarlett elaborated on the amendments; he wanted to clarify the language used in the proposal. He stated that, “…the policy makes plain that…teaching evaluation instruments shall be used by academic administrators as they are doing evaluations and making personnel decisions.” Scarlett reiterated that the proposal doesn’t go into specifics, as departmental functions will define the final processes. The proposal specifies the responsible administrator will use both the numeric reports and student comments to evaluate instructors. However, exactly how this data will be used isn’t specified in the proposal.

Senators showed concern in the proposal’s missing details, such as what student comments would add to qualitative instructor evaluation data. Secretary Kette Thomas asked about the benefits of including student comments in evaluations when the instructors and administrators are aware of the problems with such tools, such as bias. She remarked, “…we’re insisting on adding this element that is indeed going to be used in invalid evaluations.” Scarlett replied, “…I have heard sincere and repeated expressions of frustration from students that their written comments are not being used for anything constructive…in reviewing policy, the board didn’t see a way where written instruction or written comments were allowed to be used for oversight.” He affirmed the proposal is a compromised solution that meets the needs of ensuring the use of written comments for evaluations.

Dec. 8’s meeting saw the senate accept both language amendments to the original proposal. However, there was a motion made and approved to postpone Proposal 19-20 (similar to Proposal 2-22) in the spring semester, with April as a final deadline for the meeting. 

Among other proposals passed that night included the creation of a Master’s degree in Science of Manufacturing Engineering and Jazz Studies minor.

Recordings, agendas, and minutes for all senate meetings can be found at https://www.mtu.edu/senate/meetings/. Students can voice concerns and opinions to the Senate next week on Jan. 18 in DOW 642.