NOW: Senate to meet today at 3PM on IHP, teaching evaluations, diff tuition

Update: Teaching evaluation and improvement motion passes. Hannah Kanik has a report in the Emerald here.

Senate website here.

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake Rooms)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair [Today will be Chris’s last Senate meeting as President, as he’ll miss the June 6th meeting for a conference.]

Chris gives an excellent speech.

Institutional Hiring Plan; Jayanth Banavar

Not sure if diff tuition motion is needed. Admin is committed to consultation.

See for info on how many new slots went to law and the business school.

Jayanth thanks Chris for helping him get hired as Provost, and says many kind and true things about his excellent character, his excellent work for shared governance, and his excellent paper on “A Solvable Two Charge Ensemble on a circle.”

3:30 P.M. Approval of Minutes, May 9, 2018

3:35 P.M.   Business

Consent Calendar (Policies)

Vote: US17/18-19: Implementing A System For The Continuous Improvement And Evaluation Of Teaching, Bill Harbaugh, Sierra Dawson

Also see and a news report on the USC and UO plans at

After a discussion of the implications of anonymity and bias, the motion passed with many ayes and two nays.

Vote: US17/18-20: Process For The Determination Of Implementation Of Differential Tuition, ASUO President Amy Schenk

When a college implements differential tuition it means that, given the effective overall cap from the HECC, there’s less money for other colleges.

Passes unanimously.

4:30 P.M.   Open Discussion
4:30 P.M.   Reports
4:30 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:30 P.M.   Other Business
4:40 P.M. Executive Session


5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

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5 Responses to NOW: Senate to meet today at 3PM on IHP, teaching evaluations, diff tuition

  1. teaching reform says:

    I hope you don’t end up regretting these changes, Bill, which you seem to have been heavily responsible for pushing through. As an instructor, I get a lot of value out of my evaluations and have found my quantitative scores to reflect my personal assessment of my performance. I also believe scores within our department have reflected anecdotal and qualitative evidence with respect to teaching quality. The benefit of having numerical scores, of course, is that it provides a more precise and observable measure of performance. You seem to have leaned heavily on the Uttl et al. meta-analysis for your claims of ineffectiveness of evaluations. I am wary of most meta-analyses and Uttl et al. is no different. Read this for some valid criticism: Given that you presently seem to be occupying the role of faculty voice, a dose of humility would be appreciated, along with some attempt to reach out to UO faculty members. While most faculty that I have talked with have complaints about student evaluations, few wanted them to be thrown out entirely and none liked a system based on mandating “personal reflection” and heavy-handed formulaic peer reviews.

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks for these anonymous comments, but could you please just summarize your opinion of the Senate’s plan on a 1-5 Likert scale, for the benefit of our busy readers?

      Also, the link you posted goes to a an “editorial note” posted on the website of a nonprofit that brings in $3M a year selling its own teaching evaluation system to universities. They paid the first author $206K last year, and the second author $140K (including benefits).

    • cdsinclair says:

      Likert = 5 for the new policy.

      “numerical scores … provides … a more precise and observable measure of performance”

      The idea that we can map teaching performance onto a small set of numbers, and that these numbers are somehow ‘precise’ is simply wrong.

      There is no doubt that there is correlation between the numbers currently collected and anecdotal evidence of instructor effectiveness. However, the problem is that there is bias in these numbers. Thus they should not be used in a comparative manner, and in particular not for evaluative purposes. This counters the raison d’être for mapping onto real numbers: the real numbers are totally ordered and can be used for comparisons.

      If we agree that bias is a good reason to not use the current numeric scores for comparison, I would argue that they should not be visible to those evaluating faculty. It is too easy to look at a number, comparison to the mean, etc, and then jump to a conclusion without taking the time to do a holistic account of evidence of good teaching.

  2. Dog says:

    Likert = 3

    there now too many facets which will take sometime to properly calibrate – also, as said earlier, class size will now make a larger
    difference, I believe

  3. Heraclitus says:

    Likert = 5

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