The Academic Affairs Committee is working on a revised draft of Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) forms that will be voted on by Academic Senate and faculty when complete.
The committee has drafted 12 new core questions and is currently working on perfecting each question. A complete draft is expected to be done by February after every member of the committee agrees on the draft.
Discussion about revising SEIs began after faculty members expressed their dissatisfaction with the forms, said student Sen. Ayanna Thomas, who is also a student representative on the Academic Affairs Committee.
Professor Pamela St. John said revisions of the SEI have not been done in “many, many years” although there have been reports from faculty that expressed recommendations on improving the survey.
“I think that the questions are very general and faculty is interested in getting some more specific feedback about their courses,” said St. John.
Since the process has just begun, St. John said the committee has only been working on rewriting some of the questions and decreasing the number of questions.
Thomas said that in order to get more feedback from students “we plan on having a listening session with faculty and students to hear their opinions on the new set of questions.”
Aside from revision of questions, the committee is also working on the possibility of moving the surveys online.
“Since it costs roughly $10,000 for paper SEIs, most likely, the SEIs are going to be administered online because it will only cost the college $3,000,” said Thomas.
Thomas said she thinks it’s important to revise the questions on the SEI form because the current questions do not sufficiently evaluate instructors.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Caitlin Ryan asked the student senate for suggestions on questions it would like to see on an SEI draft made by Academic Affairs.
Among many other suggestions, senators proposed that the final SEI draft include a question on a professor’s attendance, a question on whether or not a course’s syllabus informs the student of how they will be graded throughout a course, whether or not professors use textbooks adequately and a question on whether or not a professor uses any methods of interactive learning.
In order to provide feedback on the revision of SEIs, Thomas encourages students to go to the listening session once a date is established.
“In addition, students should attend Academic Senate meetings or join committees to get involved in student/faculty governance,” she said.
According to Thomas, a listing of all the committees that a student can join is listed on the New Paltz website underneath the “Faculty” tab. Students who want a seat on a committee, they must be nominated and appointed by the student senate.