Asserting that there is a need to emphasize undergraduate teaching, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education's recently released White Paper calls on the University to restructure teacher evaluations and encourage professors to lead recitations. SCUE delivered their latest paper, focusing on excellence in undergraduate teaching, to each of the four undergraduate deans in hopes of having its proposals implemented, according to SCUE Chairperson David Kaufman. "We presented several concrete recommendations that, if instituted, would enhance the quality of undergraduate instruction at the University," Kaufman said. "We would hope the individual faculty members would see this as a message to them that undergraduate education needs to be improved." Past SCUE White Papers, Kaufman said, have addressed academic integrity, freshman seminars and advising. He added that they are typically well received by administrators. "Typically they take it as a basis for discussion," he said. "I think they respect our opinion. They won't take our recommendations and not discuss them." Engineering Undergraduate Dean John Keenan agreed, saying the University takes a thorough look at the documents produced by SCUE. "They're taking a very considered, scholarly approach to educational problems," Kennan said. "I think that goes over very well in a university setting. I think that's an ideal approach." The 1991 paper calls for a drastic restructuring of the current system by which faculty members are evaluated, pushing for an "Office of Teaching Evaluation" which would oversee the collection and distribution of a new, universal rating form which both current students and alumni would be invited to complete. "We would hope that there would be one form that would be used in all four schools," Kaufman said, adding that this would enable professors to be more efficiently and accurately rated. But he also added that departments would be encouraged to add questions to personalize the form for their area. "To use the form effectively," Kaufman explained, "you need to be flexible about it." The paper also suggests that lecturers and teaching assistants be rotated in recitation sections. This, SCUE says, would have benefits for all participants in the class. It would better acquaint students with their professors, enable teaching assistants to observe the professor leading a discussion and give professors more immediate feedback from their pupils. "We see no point in why the lecturer could not participate in at least one recitation a week," Kaufman said. "It would give him one-on-one interaction with students and could help clear up misinterpretations from lectures."Comments powered by Disqus
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