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Student-professor committee formed

Teresa Fralish | Wednesday, April 6, 2005

In a major step toward resolving the debate over publication of teacher course evaluations, Faculty Senate announced the formation of a committee tasked with creating a new mechanism for students to review courses at its Tuesday meeting. In December, the senate approved the joint student-faculty committee which stems from a student government effort to publish TCE results – but insufficient faculty representation prevented it from convening until now. Only one faculty member had volunteered as of March, but since then four additional faculty have stepped forward, Student Affairs committee member Rich Williams said. “It was sort of an ongoing embarrassment,” Williams said. “It took a little while but faculty are there en force.”Senate’s December resolution called for a new procedure, separate from TCEs, for students to assess classes and professors and provide that information to other students. Faculty representatives on the 13-member committee, which held its first meeting Tuesday, will include Williams himself, two additional senators and two other professors. Student government representative Vijay Ramanan and associate provost Dennis Jacobs will chair the group, titled “Committee for Better Informing the Course Selection Process.” Undergraduate and graduate student members and a consultant from the Office of Institutional Research comprise the remainder of the committee, Williams said. Williams said the new committee made no specific agreements or decisions at its first meeting but would likely meet twice more before the close of the academic year.Though a long-standing student government project, the impetus for a joint student-faculty committee developed from a proposal University President-elect Father John Jenkins made to the senate in November. Students and faculty have long agreed on the need for a course review mechanism, but disagreed on details for publication of the existing TCEs.In other Faculty Senate news:u Senate also unanimously approved resolutions thanking outgoing University President Father Edward Malloy and Provost Nathan Hatch for their service to the University. On July 1, Jenkins will succeed Malloy and Hatch will depart Notre Dame for the presidency of Wake Forest University. In discussing the two officials’ achievements, faculty commended Malloy’s commitment to community leadership on initiatives such as the Robinson Community Learning Center and efforts to curb student drinking. “I think he’s represented the University well in the media,” senator Ben Giamo said in regard to a discussion of Malloy’s public criticisms of former head football coach Tyrone Willingham’s firing. Other senators noted Hatch’s efforts to further both teaching and research at Notre Dame as an important characteristic of his tenure. u Tuesday’s meeting marked the last for 2004-05 senators. Senate will meet once more before the year’s end to elect officers for the coming academic year.

Contact Teresa Fralish at tfralish@nd.edu