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University of Pittsburgh

March 17, 2011

Senate Matters: More from the newcomers

More from the newcomers

After the Feb. 22 Faculty Assembly meeting, we asked for reactions from the freshman representatives we are following this year. The meeting included a discussion of teaching outcomes measurement. (For coverage of the meeting, see March 3 University Times.)

From Colleen Culley, School of Pharmacy:

I enjoy the Faculty Assembly meetings. It is interesting to hear about what is going on more globally at the University. As Senate President Michael Pinsky commented, the University Club is a good setting for open discussion by the faculty. Additionally, he noted that Faculty Assembly recognizes how busy everyone’s schedules can be, particularly with teaching commitments. It is not a huge time commitment, but worthwhile to learn more about University leadership and faculty life.

The discussion on metrics and teaching evaluation was interesting, particularly the relationship to the Middle States Accreditation. The School of Pharmacy was recently accredited, so we have discussed a number of related issues. I’m looking forward to the provost’s upcoming presentation [on learning outcomes].

I am also looking forward to the April 14 plenary session on teaching excellence as a criterion for promotion and tenure. I have not attended a plenary before. As a recent appointee to the School of Pharmacy’s appointment, promotion and tenure committee, I think that this session will be helpful to me and my colleagues.

From Kevin Kearns, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs:

I was happy to see a spirited discussion of an important issue [teaching outcomes measurement] and happy to see that the assembly does not simply rubber stamp the recommendations of its president.  I look forward to the provost’s report as I am strongly in favor of the student learning outcomes initiative.

William Elliott, School of Social Work, has to miss Faculty Assembly meetings this semester because he is teaching a class at the same time. He also wrote to say that he recently accepted an offer from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, where he will continue his research on the relationship between student financial assets and educational disparities. We wish him well with his relocation.

Patricia Weiss is vice president of the University Senate.


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