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March 7, 2013 Volume 34, No. 22

Faculty Council discusses ins and outs of possible shared authority of budget


MU course evaluation forms get first redesign in 25 years

Faculty Council had a full agenda for its Feb. 28 meeting in Memorial Union, discussing snow days, new course evaluations and shared authority of the MU budget.

The MU Collected Rules and Regulations allows for two snow days during spring semester that don’t have to be made up, Faculty Chair Harry Tyrer said. 

So far this year, the university has closed Feb. 21 at 1 p.m., Feb. 22 and Feb. 26. Council voted to count Feb. 21 as a full day of classes, reducing closed days to two and satisfying the collected rules.

If another snow day occurs this semester, Reading Day on May 10 is an option as a make-up class day, said Nicole Monnier, associate teaching professor of German and Russian studies and chair of the Academic Committee.

Also on the agenda was a discussion of the proposed revisions to the Student Evaluation of Instruction and Course, prepared by MU’s Assessment Resource Center. 

The main form would be used by graduate and undergraduate students to evaluate teachers. A second form would enable teachers to include questions specific to a course. Forms will be available on paper and electronically, said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. 

“This will give us a better tool [for evaluation] than we’ve had in 25 years,” Spain said.

The final form versions need to be completed by June.

The meeting ended with a discussion of possible shared authority of MU’s fiscal budget. In the past, council has played an advisory role, which Tyrer has said amounts to budget leaders briefing council on the budget. Some council members are clamoring for a larger role in budget decisions.

Sudarshan Loyalka, Curators Professor of Nuclear Engineering and chair of Fiscal Affairs, said members must create “a hybrid of advisory and shared authority” for the collected rules.

This proposal met with some pushback. Douglas Wakefield, director of the Center for Health Care Quality, said Loyalka’s hybrid is like saying “I’m pregnant, no I’m not pregnant.” You can’t have both advisory and shared authority, he said.

Rebecca Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, said council needs to agree on a definition of “shared authority.”

Some members wondered if council would need budget training to understand the fiscal issues before receiving shared authority.

Faculty Council’s next meeting is March 14.