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Sustainable course evaluation proposal approved for third reading

Associated Students Inc. Senate approved a resolution to create online teacher evaluations Wednesday.

Author Sen. Robert Martinez elaborated on the updates made for resolution #2019-7, stressing again that the purpose of the resolution is not to change the evaluations themselves but to change the way they are administered.

The two major additions made to the resolution strictly pertained to keeping physical copies available for students with accessibility issues and making the evaluations a requirement for all faculty, regardless of tenure.

Sen. Aaron Jordan provided the senate with updates on how online evaluations will work.

“For online classes, they actually have online course evaluations through email,” Jordan said. “However, it is not required. As a student, you can easily miss the email or the link, so I wouldn’t say it’s as effective as the ones that are passed out during class.”

He went on to say that the evaluations would have to be made mandatory for students to complete them.

Multiple senators voiced concerns over students who might be without electronic devices on the day of the evaluations, forcing them to leave the classroom to utilize campus resources. Potential solutions were tossed around the senate floor, such as requiring instructors to bring in computer carts on the day of evaluations.

“That’s not our decision to make,” Martinez responded. “It’s up to the university to make these decisions.”

ASI Executive Director Richard Haller cited the collective bargaining agreement dictated in articles 15.15 and 15.17 of the California Faculty Association, citing that it is not required for professors to prepare and administer the course evaluations during class sessions.

“If you were to do an electronic version, then the student could do it at their convenience rather than do it during that particular class session, which would make a lot more sense,” Haller said.

Members of the senate continued to cite past personal conversations with faculty and professors, and said that most were either indifferent or mostly supportive of the change.

However, Sen. Imani McDonald cited a specific conversation between herself and a professor, who feared online course evaluations would not accurately reflect the class or instructor.

“[The professor] would rather the students that are actually in class do it because he fears [evaluations] becoming another Rate My Professor,” McDonald said. “It’s a very slippery slope.”

Sen. Melissa Mejia added that no one can ultimately enforce the student evaluations, regardless of what form they come in. She also cited that the collective bargaining agreement obsoleted two of the resolution’s resolve clauses regarding students without personal electronic devices.

A motion was made to approve resolution #2019-07 with amendments regarding the fifth and sixth resolve clauses. It was approved by the senate for a third reading.A motion approved a resolution to make teacher evaluations digital, given two amendments are made.

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