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SGA members share concerns on student evaluations
Student evaluation review led to a debate between Faculty Senate Chair Diane Wood and student leaders at an SGA meeting on Monday, March 15.
Wood attended the meeting and asked SGA members how professors should be evaluated after each semester. She asked senators to include a “clear” reason behind each of their responses.
Junior senator Sophie Machen said professors should be evaluated on their willingness to work with students during a pandemic.
She said one of her professors had difficulty with in-person class attendance and participation because students who were not feeling well wanted to attend class via Zoom.
Machen said her professor believed if the course was supposed to be delivered in-person, it had to be delivered in-person without exceptions. If students had the chance to attend class via Zoom, Machen said they would lose points.
Wood asked Machen if she suggested all students who do not want to attend class in-person should have the option to attend class via Zoom.
“There’s two sides to that point. What is your reason for not wanting to come to class? If it's a safety issue, I totally get that,” Wood said.
Machen cleared up confusion, stating she was referring to professors’ ability to provide other class delivery methods for students who are not feeling well.
Machen asked if the Faculty Senate will ask for student opinions other than those of SGA senators.
“I’m expecting you guys to also ask the people you represent. If you want to compile feedback from the constituents you represent, then please by all means email [feedback] to me specifically,” Wood said.
Sophomore senator Natalie Augustyn shared a similar idea and said professors' level of understanding of students’ situations outside of class.
Augustyn said she did not have access to certain assignments after being moved to Dearmont last semester because of COVID-19. She said although her professors had COVID-19 related excuses in their syllabi, they did not understand why she asked for deadline extensions.
“I understand classes are a priority — that’s why we’re here. However, when [professors] are not understanding and ask if you signed up for their class or say, ‘Too bad, you knew the deadline’... it's disrespectful,” Augustyn said.
Wood said when professors do not allow deadline extensions it is to remain fair.
Wood suggested Augustyn find a balance between what is fair and what is not.
“I'm going to school you on something, it’s called the chain of command. If you tried with that particular [professor], at that point, then you need to then go to the chair,” Wood said. “You need to be reasonable with them.”
Junior senator Daniel Frew said professors should also be evaluated on their ability to report grades in a timely manner. He said he manages new members of his Greek organization and has issues receiving grades from members on-time which impacts a student’s status.
Frew said fraternity members have trouble submitting grades on-time if their professors have not reported graded assignments promptly.
He said one of his fraternity members had an F in UI100 because their professor has only entered one graded assignment.
Wood said professors grade certain assignments faster than others.
“I can totally get it if it’s a Scantron or multiple choice exam — [professors] can bust through those really fast. If [professors] have 77 written exams, what would be a reasonable time for grading to be done?” Wood asked.
Frew said professors should take no longer than two to three weeks to report grades.
Wood said the Faculty Senate will continue to review student evaluations with those who “have a dog in the fight” — student government members, department chairs, deans and faculty members.
“I am really interested in creating something that is going to work,” Wood said.