Thursday, August 28, 2008
You can't expect the college to win against her foes
With no one in the office who can really tap her toes.
All joking aside, I wish her well.
Now to the business at hand. I wish to thank those who responded to my post about mid-term grades. I was unaware that the original movement came from the Faculty Senate and not the administration. While I will participate, I can't help but wonder that we are still playing at the margins when it comes to improving education. Many still look for a magic bullet that will make everything just fine. After twenty-nine years, I am pretty well convinced there is no magic bullet. There are, however, many magic moments. A colleague once said that education consists of "professors posing interesting questions to interested students." While we are pretty good at the first part, the problem is the second part.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
As to my comments on the CWA. The point was the administration said it would negotiate health care with all the unions at the same time. It did not. This is not a conspiracy. As to why CWA settled, I have no idea and I am not sure you would get an honest answer from anyone. They do not have tenure, I do. This puts their jobs in a much more precarious position than mine. Please note that CWA does not, as far as I know, have a blog. All one has to do is look at the Dixon case and understand that those of us with tenure have an obligation to speak out for those who cannot.
I was also accused in another blog of just wanting to keep the faculty angry. No. What I said was faculty should judge the administration by its actions not its words.
Finally, in that blog (utfacultyfirst) the blogger asked if I also drown kittens. No. I let the butcher take care of that. I merely grill them with a little butter and some garlic.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Senate minutes for 22 April (under the leadership of last year's executive) state, among other things:
The Core Curriculum Committee is recommending a hybrid of this mid-term grade, and early alert grade, and what we are recommending is that for the academic year 2008/09 we initiate a pilot project and invite faculty teaching general education courses to participate. What this would entail is between weeks 4 and 7 the Registrar’s Office would open up the grading system. Faculty teaching gen ed courses would be encouraged to give students who are earning a C+ or lower mid-term grades.
Senator Thompson-Casado: Are you envisioning this for summer courses as well or just Fall semester courses?
Marcia King-Blandford: We just talked about the new academic year.
Chair Floyd: We need to take a vote on whether to take the committee’s recommendation. The motion is to accept the committee’s report and forward this as a project next year. All those in favor please say “aye”. All those opposed, “nay”. The report has been accepted.
Therefore, it would appear that the Senate recommendation for midterm grading starts this fall with letter grades. In addition, it is entirely voluntary.
Now, quoting from the Provost's memo of 2008.08.21:
On April 22, 2008, the Main Campus Faculty Senate accepted a recommendation from the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee to encourage faculty who are teaching general education courses to assign a midterm grade to those students who are earning a C+ or lower. We know that each of you is committed to the success of your students, especially those first-year undergraduate students whose first semester is a critical time of transition. We are inviting you, therefore, to help us provide a safety net for these students not only by participating in the Faculty Senate recommended midterm grading project, but also by providing midterm grades to all first-year students in all classes.
Midterm grades can be posted between the 4th and 7th week of classes through the Web portal using the self-service for faculty. Self-service grading will open on September 15 and close on October 13. Midterm grades will not show on a student’s academic transcript or become part of their permanent academic record.
That sounds like an invitation to me, not a demand or a requirement. The language is essentially the same as that of the Senate.
We can argue endlessly about whether the Senate action is a resolution or merely an acceptance of a report. It does not matter. The Provost has acted upon a faculty recommendation. That sounds like a refreshing case of faculty governance to me.
We may not approve of the Provost's handling of the dean affair. However, we cannot let that carry over into other policy. Yes, it would have been better if her memo came out earlier. So what. It is voluntary. Besides, I am sure that most faculty will agree with me that final grades (+/- a letter grade) for 90% of our students can be determined within 2 weeks of class activity, given no intervention. Gadzooks! it is not a formal grade! Estimations are OK! There is no need to change syllabi- just tell the students that you are or are not participating in this exercise. Again, quoting from the Provost's memo:
Students should be informed on the syllabus or in another form of writing that midterm grades will be assigned for first-year students who are receiving a C+ or less in a class.
The memo says should, not must.
And finally, we will have many battles ahead, concerning the outcome of the Learning Alliance report, future faculty lines and other resources, more important curricular issues, etc, etc. If we stupidly fight the provost on this one, we REALLY lose our credibility.
Please attend Faculty Senate meetings and voice your concern there. That is where this suggestion came from. I was at that meeting.
Friday, August 22, 2008
1. The main problem of this poorly thought out idea is that it is too late to incorporate it into the syllabus of a course. I have arranged all my courses and coordinated dates for my own grading time and for the Fall break.
2. Apparently the Provost didn't get much practical advice from professors. The fourth week is too early for a student to have grasped the basic concepts, hence a grade is premature. The most that can happen is a few quizzes. The seventh week is more reasonable. The old drop date was the eighth week.
3. In order to assign any grade the professor needs to estimate a curve for all students. This means grading 100 percent.
4. The wording is slippery. It appears to say the Senate recommends grades for the weaker students, but then jumps to saying all students. We need to look at the exact Senate resolution.
5. This strikes me as a case where the Provost will whine that faculty are being uncooperative.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Number of votes cast: 88
Winner: Marietta Morrissey, 35 votes (39%)
Second: Patsy Komuniecki, 19 votes (21%)
Third: Carter Wilson, 13 votes (14%)
Fourth: Michael Dowd, 11 votes (12%)
Fifth: Constantine Theodosiu, 7 votes (7%)
Sixth: Charles Blatz, 3 votes (3%)
And as the Provost always says: Thank you for your input.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
We have been invited by Dr. Scarborough to review any budget information to our satisfaction. To this offer, we are requesting the following information:
-An itemized breakdown of the budget for the last five years for the College of Arts and Sciences, including items that are designated as "budgeted elsewhere,""designated revenue" and "expenditures" that originate in the Provost's office or else outside of the Board of Trustee's approved budget.
-The 2008-2009 departmental budget breakdown for all colleges in the university and the medical center.
-The ratio of designated budget per FTE student, budget per headcount of students, budget per faculty, expenditures per FTE student, expenditures per headcount of student, and expenditures per faculty for each college in the university.
-All types of revenue generated by each college and the medical center over the past five years. As well as transfers of monies into and out these areas.
-All communications-including presentations and emails-to the Governor, Board of Regents (including Chancellor Fingerhut), any elected official including state or national representatives and state or national senators, and the Board of Trustees by President Jacobs, Scott Scarborough, any Provost, or Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences under Jacobs' tenure discussing the the finances, revenue and budget of the University of Toledo or finances, revenue and budget of any part of the University of Toledo. Included in this request are any emails on the same topics between President Jacobs or Scott Scarborough and the main campus Provost.
Joe, you may see this part of the request as unnecessarily broad, but based on comments by high level administrators we have reason to believe that there may be significant differences in the amounts given for the budget and revenue for the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the university as a whole, depending on the audience. Because of this we feel we must make this request.
-The monetary amount of scholarships allocated to each college in the university, the monetary amount of scholarships per student in each college in the university, the number of tuition waivers given to students in each college of the university, and the percentage of students in each college who receive tuition waivers and any other financial aid besides student loans or federal grants.
This information will help us to see a clear picture of the state of the finances of the University of Toledo. We request the information be presented in electronic format, on disc; for ease of transportation, lowered environmental impact, and lowered cost. The student organizers can deliver the information to Mockensturm, Ltd. as part of this review, please contact Evan Morrison to clarify any points.
Evan Morrison, on behalf of SSAS