Wood Presents Faculty Senate Report

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Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Diane Wood discussed recent activity of the Faculty Senate during a presentation to the Board of Regents Feb. 26.

This semester, the Senate passed bills on student evaluation policy and procedures.  However, Faculty Senate has decided to review the complex issues around student evaluations, because the intent and purpose for student evaluations can vary greatly between different interest groups (e.g., students, faculty, chairs and deans). Additionally, current research has shed further light on their effectiveness, and potential for bias (e.g., gender and race). It is the hope of senate that through open dialogue with the various interest groups and consideration of current research, we as a university can hopefully develop a better instrument of evaluation.

The Senate and many faculty have been discussing the issue of sexual assault on campus, and their interest in what they can do to support those students that have unfortunately gone through this horrific experience. Woods noted, it is clear to faculty they must first educate themselves on the University’s policies and procedures, and support services regarding campus sexual assault. As well as understanding both state and federal policy and procedures that the university is required to follow.

As a result, the senate has invited the Dean of Students office to present at a special meeting of the Faculty Senate.  This informative presentation will provide information regarding these policies and procedures, and current support services available to victims of sexual assault. The meeting will be open to faculty members in a combined face-to-face and Zoom format.  Additionally, the meeting will be recorded for those faculty who cannot attend via either format.

In combination with this topic will be a short presentation by Dr. Tamara Buck, chair of the Department of Mass Media, who has developed a new way for faculty in her department to incorporate diversity and inclusion experiences to raise their awareness in their jobs. It is the Faculty Senate’s hope that Dr Buck’s presentation can lead to greater conversations about personal and professional blind spots and learn how to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the classroom, hallways and among colleagues.

Wood concluded by saying she believes it is important to constantly be thinking about these issues and find way to put words into action. There may be uncomfortable discussions, but the campus community must be willing to ask questions, learn and do better.

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