Faculty Senate discusses peer review program, issues and concerns for new semester


Brian Speice Photography

Sarah Kate Purnell
  Staff Writer

On August 31, 2016 the UNCG Faculty Senate kicked off their first semester meeting with discussions of the coming academic year.

The meeting opened with a speech from UNCG Chancellor Franklin D Gilliam Jr.

Gilliam allotted 15-20 minutes for the senate members to express questions and concerns openly. Questions pertaining to budget and change within the new academic year were raised.

As the meeting returned to agenda, Dr. David Teachout and Laura Pipe presented their researched and proposed program for Voluntary Peer Review Processing for Online Learning (VPRPOL).

The VPRPOL program has three main goals, as shown in its handout: “To share expertise and teaching experiences among faculty members for the purpose of course improvement and professional development, to identify the effective practices that might be shared with the campus, and to identify any recurring challenges that the UTLC could address through programs, services, and/or informational materials posted on UTLC website.”

The two levels of the VPRPOL program include Standard Peer Review (SPR) and Advanced Peer Review (APR). SPR serves faculty members lacking extensive experience in online course teaching, whereas APR is for advanced faculty members in online course teaching.

The VPRPOL program is a way for faculty members to receive constructive feedback in a process separate from the formal evaluation process conducted at the end of each course. The program plans to develop training deeper over the course of the next three years. “How do we maximize the resources we already have in existence?” Laura Pipe asked during her presentation on VPRPOL faculty resources.

To quick-start the VPRPOL, the program includes a number of faculty resources for online learning.  Faculty members will be able to better network with peers, undergo training sessions and access boot camp opportunities.

The pilot program for APR Voluntary Peer Review Processing for Online Learning will start as soon as mid-way through Fall 2016 with no limitation on the number of faculty members involved.

The SPR Voluntary Peer Review Processing for Online Learning will start with a pilot program in Spring 2017, limited to about 15 courses.

Anne Wallace continued the meeting by first introducing some new senate members to the meeting, some old and some returning, and proceeded to address the role of the UNCG Faculty Senate.

Anne Wallace asked the members before her to think about and examine themselves as senate members. She asked questions such as, how is it working and are what changes need to be made? Are those changes big or small?

The committee then had 30 minutes to chat at their tables about adjustments and concerns to be addressed in the Fall 2016 / Spring 2017 year.

Questions the members considered were some of the following – ‘What issues or tasks should take top priority for the Senate this year? What should the Senate consider its primary goals overall, that is, in any year? Do our three types of faculty governance meetings- General Faculty, Senate and Forums- offer opportunities to address the various priorities and goals you’ve identified?’ – among many others.

Anne Wallace opened the floor again for discussion and to hear from each table about the product they had arrived at.

Some topics mentioned were how faculty members can be better dynamically connected to one another, allowing more discussion during meetings, forums, proposing agenda items, sticking to the agenda in a timely manner, and more preparation for meetings by sending presentation materials in advance.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 3 p.m. in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room and is open to the public.

vThere will also be a General Faculty Meeting and Convocation on September 16 at 3:00 p.m. to welcome and recognize new staff members. The meeting will also be in the Virginia Dare Room and will host a reception afterwards.

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