COMMITTEE:   Academic Standards Committee      


MEETING DATE:   October 24, 2007




REGULAR MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE:  Lorenzo, Richardson, and Spaulding


EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE:   Bailey, Brown, and Sprague


OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE:  David Weismiller and Michael Poteat






Agenda Item:     Approval of minutes from 9/17/07 meeting


Action Taken:  Approved


Agenda Item:   Preparations for ECU’s review by SACS with regard to Core Requirements for General Education


Discussion:  Dr. David Weismiller, who has been appointed by the Chancellor and Provost to head the preparations for our review for accreditation renewal by SACS, discussed some of the issues regarding our committee in assessment of Core Requirement for General Education.  He explained that not many colleges have assessment requirements, however there are programs within departments that sometimes have outside accreditation.  ECU’s accreditation comes due in 2013, so preparations must be made to see how we may achieve satisfactory assessment at the course level, department level, and school level.  Bailey explained that as the Academic Standards committee will oversee, the true GE outcomes would best be placed as the responsibility of any unit or department since they are the most expert in the specific discipline.  For the SACS review preparation, there might be a workgroup, perhaps ASC, for GE assessment, another workgroup for DE assessment, and yet another for Quality assessment.  Another issue with regard to SACS review is faculty credentials and the issue of the SOIS.  How could the SOIS be improved upon and how should it be used?  Though it is early in the process, Dr. Weismiller stated that we should look at those individuals that have worked on the SACS review in the past.  Faculty credentials as they have been recorded are being stored and added to the SEDONA database.  One problem is explaining faculty credentials that seem less established due to fields that are just emerging. 


Action Taken:  The committee will continue to discuss these issues in future meetings



Agenda Item:   The SOIS used for faculty assessment with regard to SACS review


Discussion:  Dr. Poteat states that there is a SACS standard for the evaluation of faculty—a policy applied to all instructors regardless of tenure-track or non tenure-track appointment.  Bailey states that there is already a measure for evaluation in place in that everyone (excepting graduate students) teaching a course MUST be given an annual evaluation. 


Action Taken:   Further discussion by the committee will be necessary on this topic.



Agenda Item:   Change of policy to allow for SOIS evaluations of co-instructors for DE courses rather than only primary instructor.


Discussion:   Dr. Poteat explained that the SOIS should be able to evaluate 2 instructors per course for DE courses just like on-campus courses. 


Action Taken:   Approved



Agenda Item:   Development of a secure system for storing SOIS results on-line


Discussion:  Dr. Poteat asks for our committee’s approval to explore moving SOIS results from paper copies to an on-line database.  Much time is spent pulling out results for individuals that have misplaced their results.  Of course the long-term consideration for storage of SOIS results will need to be a secure database—perhaps through One-Stop.  Committee members suggest that Banner might be the eventual ideal location.


Action Taken:   Approved


Agenda Item:     Consideration of combining small sections within units (if approved by the unit’s Chair) for the sake of compiling an SOIS review


Discussion:    Dr. Poteat explains that currently his office has Faculty Senate approval to combine small sections of courses in Music and Art for SOIS surveys.  He has extended this practice to other units when approved by the unit’s Chair.  This is commonplace now in Music, Art, Theatre, English, Psychology, and Education courses.  This can be done with multiple sections of the same course taught by the same instructor or the same type of course.


Action Taken:   Approved with the addition that the faculty member as well as the chair must approve the combination of sections.


Agenda Item:  Consideration of combining small sections of face-to-face courses with DE courses (of the same course type) for SOIS surveys when the sections are too small to evaluate separately. 


Discussion:  Dr. Poteat said that this situation often arises in the Business school when small sections of the same course are taught both face-to-face and as DE versions.  For instance, a graduate statistics course with 3 students in a face-to-face setting could be combined with a DE section containing 4 students.  Usually these courses are really the same course but with different section numbers.  The data are combined so students cannot be identified.  Questions from the committee arose, however, concerning the designation of the course—for there are some on campus web-based courses and then there are off campus DE courses.  The designation has to do with student fees, though the assessment is alike.


Action Taken:   Approved, if the policy states for all on-line courses


Agenda Item:     Consideration of the use of SOIS results from summer sessions and whether a policy should be established or just left to the discretion of department units


Discussion:  Dr. Poteat explained that the use of SOIS in summer session has been voluntary.  A proposal to make summer SOIS mandatory was defeated by the faculty senate.  The question remains, however, if it is used in the summer session if there should be an established policy on its use.  Could the SOIS results during the summer be considered for merit pay raises?  Bailey and others oppose this issue as the summer session is outside of the 9 month contract—faculty elect whether or not to teach summer school and it should not be used against those who elect not to teach during the summer to allow summer SOIS to be used. 


Action Taken:   The committee agrees that the use of the SOIS during the summer should be left up to the discretion of the department chairs and faculty member.  A faculty member may ask his or her department chair to include summer SOIS results in his evaluation, but it should not be mandatory.



Agenda Item:  Revision of Appendix C in the Faculty Manual with regard to the use of the Student Opinion of Instruction Survey in the evaluation of faculty to reflect the Faculty Senate resolutions.


Discussion:  Dr. Poteat explained that it is necessary to revise the Faculty Manual Appendix C to be more specific with regard to the use of the SOIS in faculty evaluations.  He suggests that the SOIS results should be only one item and be move further down the list of criteria that chairs should consider in faculty evaluations.  He states that the use of the SOIS as the primary method of evaluating teaching effectiveness is not warranted by the extant research data. He suggests the following revision:


1.The quality of teaching must be evaluated by means of:

a.formal methods of peer review, including direct observation of the classroom teaching of new and tenure-track faculty.

b.Review by the unit administrator and/or peers of course materials including syllabi, reading lists, outlines, examinations, audiovisual materials, student manuals, samples of student’s work on assignments, projects, papers, examples of student achievement, and other materials prepared for or relevant to instruction.

c.   Data from surveys of student opinion when an individual faculty member’s data is consistently (more than 2 semesters) and significantly (more than 1 standard deviation) from the unit’s mean for similar courses.

d.Other procedures provided for in unit codes


The hope is, Poteat said, that chairs will do things differently in looking at final exams, syllabi, and course materials rather than primarily SOIS results.  Several members mentioned problems, however, with what is set out and what is practiced.  Bailey stated that SOIS results should really be considered if there is some deviation—not for average teaching.  This means that you would not be using the SOIS as much for primary evaluation, and thus you would have to look at the true content of the courses.  There was further discussion about item c) in the list above—it seems unclear and may be misinterpreted.   



Action Taken:   Linda Wolfe suggested and the committee agreed that this issue needs more discussion after some further thought. Dr. Poteat will be invited to return to our next meeting to facilitate the discussion on this topic.



Agenda Item:     Outcomes assessment of Foundation courses


Discussion:  Led by George Bailey who has prepared the draft for outcomes assessment, the discussion centered upon the goals of the assessment and how these goals conform to the requirements of the SACS review.  Bailey stated that there must be direct connections between the Foundation goals and the learning outcomes.  You can target specific goals within the Foundation goals as long as they fulfill an objective.  He stressed that we need to identify weaknesses and not just strengths so that we can show improvements based upon these weaknesses.  The individual units should evaluate and assess their own foundation courses based upon the foundation goals and tell us the outcomes.  Poteat states that SACS requests that each institution sets its own goals in assessment.  He said that there are already some assessment criteria from some units, but other assessment will need to be done.  The CLA is now mandated by the State of North Carolina, which was approved by the Board of Governors and the Faculty Assembly.  Poteat states that there will likely be a pretest and a post-test in Composition and maybe in Mathematics.  This will be a first step toward the SACS review preparation.  Dr. Poteat then outlined the steps of the SACS review which involves an off-site visit (with ECU reviewed and compared to other like schools), a written response by ECU with regard to the list of deficiencies, an on-site visit (in which the SACS reviewers look at the ECU responses and its plan to remedy) and finally a Quality Enhancement Plan.  Other issues were raised concerning courses that were not recently approved for Foundations credit—how would these be evaluated?  Can or should outcomes assessment be used to make older courses fall in line with current Foundation goals?  Most agree that it will not be an easy task to encourage faculty to list the weaknesses rather than the strengths of their courses.


Action Taken:   The issue of outcomes assessment will be tabled for now and revisited in future meetings.


ADJOURNED:   3:50 p.m. 


NEXT MEETING:  Monday, November 19, 2007



ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED:       Further discussion about the use of the SOIS and teaching outcomes and assessment; also discussion concerning ITCS proposal to change student e-mail