Academic Affairs Update

Hello Everyone,

My name is Stephen Slade, and I am a senior biology (PreMed) major. I have been involved with Student Senate since my first year. This year, I have the pleasure of serving as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC for short, since the ‘AA Committee’ did not sound appropriate!). It is composed of the academic senators, and so far we have had quite a busy semester. Listed are a few things we have done so far, what projects we have going on right now and others that we are moving toward in the future semester. Enjoy!

Accomplished:

  • Investigated the ± grading issue (goes to Faculty Senate for further discussion this week)
  • Helped coordinate the Town Hall meeting and meetings with Faculty Senate members
  • Surveyed students
  • Perused literature from other institutions and its effects
  • Found data regarding the effects of a potential switch based on numbers within the university
  • Held an Academic Affairs Dinner was a chance for members of Student Senate, Faculty Senate, Deans, Associate Deans, and administrators to discuss academic issues face-to-face
  • Compiled a template for advisors and students to use during their initial meetings to learn what resources are available and foster closer relationships with advisors

Current:

  • Seek better incorporation of advising principles into the first-year experience
  • Compile requirements and four-year plans from each major into a central location for students and advisors to easily access
  • Propose a resolution to make it easier for music students to waive course overload fees for participation in ensembles
  • Improve potentially deceptive information about how additive and non-additive scholarships work, along with easier access from a central financial aid page for prospective students
  • Identify Task Implementation Groups for the University Strategic Plan, Goal 1 about improving Drake academics
  • Check with OIT (Office of Information Technology) about the presence of Moodle instead of Blackboard in use by faculty
  • Work with the Office of Student Records and college offices to improve the degree audit function on blueView to let students and advisors better view progress on graduation requirements
  • Find location online for professors to provide their office hours to students and advisees
  • Raise student awareness of the gravity of course evaluations on professors and classes (they go to a Promotion and Tenure committee for at least all assistant professors)
  • Suggest that evaluations be provided at the beginning of the hour rather than at the end where it competes with students being first in line for lunch

Future:

  • Make a resolution to suggest that Faculty Senate make midterm grades mandatory for all classes
  • Midterm course evaluations
  • Push for increased digital assignment submission
  • jTerm evaluation
  • Determine the best jTerm registration solution for the future
  • Look into the “XX” that is placed on transcripts for courses that are retaken
  • Investigate ways to encourage first-years, in particular, to approach professors more openly
  • Increase Blackboard usage among faculty for better access to grades and course documents
  • Push to go more paperless
  • Recommend what types of technology should be added to classrooms
  • Look into the possibility of a university-wide calendar for academic and organization events with the option to filter and subscribe to particular items
  • Streamline blueView to distill the most pertinent information to a single page

The future list is always growing, and we would love to hear what items you would like to see us accomplish! Please contact me with ideas, grievances, or if you want to know how you can get involved!

Good luck with the end of the semester!

Stephen Slade
stephen.slade@drake.edu
Student Senator at Large
Academic Affairs Chair

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