Academic Senate discusses plans for new major, course evaluations

The Academic Senate met Monday at 3 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union Ballrooms and discussed the Marquette Online Course Evaluation System’s decline in numbers. Provost John Pauly also gave a report on gender equity in salaries.

Course evaluation responses from students have declined since the system was moved online. While the number of responses is still statistically significant, Pauly said the university hopes to increase participation in any way it can.

Pauly said Vice Provost Gary Meyer is working with faculty to try to allot time to work on the course evaluations in class.

“This doesn’t mean that students would have to do this in class,” Pauly said.

The course evaluations are compatible with certain smartphones and mobile devices.

Cheryl Maranto, chair and associate professor of management, said it is not unusual for classes in her department to have response rates near 30 percent.

Pauly also gave a gender equity salary report.

In a new procedure, he said a subcommittee would flag salaries in the fall and then Pauly would meet with the deans to ask for an explanation of salary discrepancies. Then Pauly would report back to his subcommittee. 

Pauly said last year he saw 29 out of 484 salary discrepancy cases at the university that he would flag for a short conversation. 

“I think there are still some gender issues in front of us that we are working on,” Pauly said.

Pauly said some areas may have skewed numbers because they are male-dominated fields, such as engineering. He said other areas, such as social sciences and humanities, have more balanced numbers.

Pauly then gave a report on the actions by the Academic Senate from May 2010 to May 2011, summarizing the results of last year’s meetings and giving updates on those endeavors. 

“The idea of this exercise was that these are not things that have floated off,” Pauly said.

He said these actions still have importance in the university.

Robert Deahl, dean of the College of Professional Studies, said he hoped the senate could engage in more reflective conversation like it did last year to discuss major issues.

“I’ve been thinking about this since the inauguration,” Deahl said. “This is a year of a call to service.”

James South, chair and professor of philosophy and Academic Senate chair, said University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz was to attend the next Academic Senate meeting, on Dec. 12. He said he wished Pilarz could have met with the Senate earlier in the year.

“It’s understandable given his schedule, but regrettable,” South said.

Scott Mandernack, associate dean for scholarly resources and collections, gave a presentation on open access and e-Publications@Marquette, the university’s collection of electronic publications.

E-Publications@Marquette has over 250 participating scholars and researchers and nearly 1100 publications. However, about 20 percent of those publications are citation only.

“We have to start shifting the balance more,” Mandernack said.

Janice Welburn, dean of the university libraries, said this movement is important at Marquette.

“It’s open to the public so anyone can Google and see what kind of research is going on at Marquette,” Welburn said.

The senate concluded its meeting by unanimously passing a motion to approve an interdisciplinary major in peace studies in the College of Arts & Sciences in the theology department.