Faculty Senate passes Stu-Fac agreement

The Faculty Senate approved a measure to add a Student-Faculty Expectations Agreement to the Institute’s rules and regulations during its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Spearheaded by Austen Edwards, the Director of Academic Affairs for undergraduate Student Government and third-year INTA and PUBP major, the agreement will replace the Student Bill of Rights in the Institute catalog.
The Agreement contains many of the same provisions as the Student Bill of Rights but will have more legitimacy with the faculty than the previous document. Unlike the Bill of Rights, the Agreement was approved by the Faculty Senate, which has the authority to add new statutes to the Institute’s catalog. This document may be used in grievance hearings by students, and professors may enforce its requirements of students through their grading policies.
The largest difference between the Bill of Rights and the Expectations Agreement is the addition of a Faculty Expectations section. The ten-clause section includes statements that faculty may expect students to show up on time for classes and have read the necessary material, have meaningful discussions and be able to cancel classes in emergency situations.
During talks on the measure, several faculty members expressed concern over a clause in the document about the Honor Code. Faculty discussed the amount of detail regarding academic misconduct necessary in syllabi. Several said they did not wish to be required to spell out the Honor Code and all types of academic misconduct at the beginning of their courses.
The concerns were addressed by Edwards, however, and the measure passed unanimously. SGA has shown support through the Undergraduate House of Representatives, passing a resolution affirming the measure during its Nov. 16 meeting and Graduate Student Body President Anthony Baldridge expressing his approval in a written statement.
“I think that this is a very good document, and the purpose of it,…to create ongoing dialog between students and faculty, is an excellent goal,” said HTS Prof. Doug Flamming, chair of the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee.
As chair of the committee, students go to address academic disputes, Flamming saw the Bill of Rights being mentioned at nearly every meeting. “I think the new statement of expectations is a far more balanced and helpful document,” Flamming said.
“I’m very pleased,” Edwards said. “This has taken six to eight months of work in the background, and it’s great to see it come to fruition.”
The process began in May 2009 with the release of the Student Experience Survey. SGA noticed that there was a prevailing sentiment among the student body that professors are aloof and uncaring. The Academic Affairs committee at the time began work on improving the faculty student relationship, focusing on the Student Bill of Rights.
“The Student Bill of Rights was seen by the faculty as overly antagonistic. We began looking for ways to rebuild it as a thing of mutual respect,” Edwards said.

Edwards consulted several members of the faculty throughout the process including MGT Prof. Chuck Parsons, chair of the Student Regulation Commitee, Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, Dr. Ray Vito, Vice Provost for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies and Dr. Anderson Smith, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. According to Edwards, SGA conducted several focus groups with students and presented the Agreement to UHR for comment.
SGA will begin advertising the passage of the document over the coming months in preparation of it entering effect in July 2011 with the aim of “ingraining it in Georgia Tech culture.” SGA’s goal is to have the agreement publicized in GT 1000 classes and campus syllabi next year.


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