Faculty & Curriculum Issues Overview Internship preparation and curriculum change Administration is unreceptive to change Faculty reviews
Issue 1 – Internship Preparation and Curriculum Change Course content is not relevant for selected concentration – Unprepared for interviews Solution: Schedule Overhaul – Rotman School of Management Solution: Club Preparation – University of Michigan
Issue 2: Administration is Unreceptive to Change Relatively little information flow between administration and students Administration unwilling to change Solution : – Volume – Repetition – Proximity
Issue 3: Faculty Reviews Student feedback isn’t taken seriously – Student satisfaction plays little role in rankings Solution: intensive course feedback questionnaires – Notre Dame: 50+ question forms Grade docking – Harvard: “Rate My Professor” Publically available information
Visibility and Feedback Students don’t see feedback incorporated and “heard” Have an open forum where students can voice concerns to faculty “blowing it out of the water” with 2 nd year students giving feedback Faculty evaluation forms: students feel they go into a black box; encourage students communicating experiences in a safe environment Evaluations influence tenure track and compensation When you sign up for a course, past evaluations are put up on the website Differences between professor and academia; students don’t take classes with faculty who have been evaluated poorly by their peers. So this gives faculty incentive to “fix” the problem – Are they getting the “right” information out of the rating system? How do you actually frame the questions to give actionable recommendations – subjectivity can be difficult
Meeting Expectations Discrepancy in what students want and what faculty think students need Ex. Students want engaging lecture, prof saying they’re there to teach concepts. Ops: they don’t want practice problems, and students want applicable issues. Faculty: how do you know what you need? Student curriculum review – what to do with the feedback given? Ask: has the learning affected you? And alumnae fill this out. Making sure organization is flexible enough to macro trends Informal settings may be beneficial – professors may not take criticism Student reps on curriculum committee- every 2 years the MBA program goes on review. If there are discrepancies on what’s happening and the student needs/wants they approach the faculty and they adjust accordingly
Continuous Changes Curriculum review: how do you implement these changes “quickly”? Establish continuous feedback loop Faculty and staff are in “perfection mode” – any negative feedback they get are instantaneous in fixing the problem. They are looking to build rankings back up A huge problem is incentive differences between faculty and the school Build a great curriculum and that’s a way to draw-in better students What to do if school is not receptive to change and is timely to implement? Need a huge initiative and overall focus of the school helps Need faculty support and open forums to discuss in formal and informal settings Different program and classes: students approached administration. At first they tried to brush it under the rug, but approaching faculty. – Upsetting students because they were getting the same degree. The more people learned the more upset they got – They approached the academic deans and head of the program – Volume, repetition and proximity.
Broader Pedagogical Goals Promoting the broader “learning” initiative Other programs: MS, part-time, evening: – Profitable programs, whereas daytime MBA is drain on resources. Peer-to-peer learning model: students teach the 11 th session (10 in normal session). Gives you a different perspective in both teaching and experience from your peers. Putting-in ISB wiki Honor Code: how to implement this and deal with those issues Speak up with honor code in front of the entire class – “peer pressure” Clearly outline the consequences if honor code is broken Judicial representatives: hear cases and sit on board with administration and faculty. Curve: Faculty might find this annoying if they want to give everyone an “A” Because it’s well-explained everyone is ok with it They have already weeded-out all the candidates that they think would have failed Understanding which students care and which students are there to free-ride Bridging the gap between good professors, good teachers, and good business people Research vs. Teaching
Getting Heard Getting faculty to listen Get faculty on committees with students and confidentially discuss issues Faculty consensus on important issues Balance change vs continuity of curriculum Problems: Malin Implementing new ideas, esp new grading system To get your voice heard you have to do a lot of lobbying Teaching quality Speaking up—teachers don’t listen
How to involve more business/get more real-world projects How to get relevant electives Feedback channels for faculty Harvard case studies for courses besides econ./practicality of courses to real world Professor ratings/reviews numerical scale that bonuses are based on Course mart: beginning of classes, professors attend and “sell” their courses/electives only at policy school tho not MBA Standardized courses
Problem: Benjamin Stewart Professor ratings/reviews numerical scale that bonuses are based on Course mart: beginning of classes, professors attend and “sell” their courses/electives only at policy school tho not MBA Standardized courses Problem: Gavin (Cambridge) Poor presentations seemingly irrelevant topics that a taught poorly Problem: Cara Weikel Course duplication and poor course descriptions Elective availability Quality of discussion faculty prep or technological distractions? Rigor inconsistent across courses
Problem: Alonso Pombo Course content not appropriate for those who already have a business background, only geared towards int’l students with no biz background Promoting “outdoor educational events” company tours… Electives a lot available but language barrier is impossible (courses taught in Chinese not English) Problem: Robert Kerr Teaching quality Rating system for teachers are opaque students don’t get to see it Students are merely observers of faculty/student
TEACHER RATINGS: Benjamin Stewart: comprehensive review of prof by students: – Harvard: students rate professor via student newspapers so everyone can see it profs took interest – Michigan: qualitative measures not just numerical – Good profs are teaching the electives and not the core courses this is a problem Cara: like a wiki: students log on to grade electives and recommend courses to others based on their experience and who the course is geared towards Andrew: surveys after every course to get students to grade their professor but students don’t get to see it b/c faculty and admin are worried that it’ll become too public (negative feedback) – At Darden, good teachers are teaching core courses
ELECTIVES: Cara: working with admin and dean to fix poor electives and duplicate electives tie electives with student inputs since students are only here for two years Andrew Barrett: Darden doesn’t have a lot of elective offerings theres a struggle between too little electives and too many in order to get the deadwood out, have a feedback loop for electives (students and admin sit together and discuss…) TEACHER QUALITY: HOW TO MEASURE: – Very difficult Student/professor engagement? Can’t be standardized across courses (ex. Finance vs STR) Producing learning/prep for real world? Are case-based prof better than lec based prof? how do you measure? – CASE METHOD ALMOST ALWAYS WINS but teaching it well is difficult
Martha (Rotman) Success: core curriculum change per student feedback “extra” sessions RE: leadership, teams, feedback, etc. Challenge: professor/teaching quality Faculty inconsistent involvement Problem: “We talk about integrative thinking but we don’t really practice it” (in regards to students with offbeat interests/course focuses). Solution entailed a political dealing, enacted a vote with the faculty council. Result : quarters totally overhauled. Currently 250 students in cohort, growing to 400 soon. Orientation + “precourses” (i.e. for someone that has never seen excel) First three weeks: boot camp for modeling skills & integrative thinking – Foundation courses, have exams etc. One week: career discovery week 9 weeks) core curriculum ending with a capstone project Feedback : Cambridge: one year program, six week break, this solution would never work for us. Follow up Question : How did the appeal process work? Students can’t imagine such a sweeping change at their school. Answer : repeated attempts at discussion, task force formed between students and faculty.
Tangent: Teaching Strategies IU: many professors co-teach (e.g. strategy and econ), so students can see where course materials overlap. Rotman: teachers meet biweekly to discuss deliverables, doing their best to minimize overlap and make it easier for students. -Gavin, Cambridge: would never happen at my school, that blows my mind
Idea, Rotman: all courses can teach the same case once, so you can see the differences between disciplines. -Most schools have used Zara as a case. Student: I wish my school had more specialized, basic courses earlier on – many students unprepared for interviews/ internships (Sounds like us.) Currently in- between Deans, old Dean was “stuck in his ways.” Insight : many schools struggle with introductory first year material and preparing students for internships. University of Michigan: Our clubs stepped in to fill the void, prepping (e.g. Finance) members for interviews and some basic knowledge. Student: Our new Dean is overwhelmed, won’t field any student issue.
Problem, Purdue : within our core classes different professors haven’t different policies as to what cheating means. Solution, Cambridge: chief librarian briefed us all on what constitutes cheating. Professors really weren’t looking. Solution : academic honor code repeatedly drilled in. As a catholic school they lay on the guilt. Problem, Rotman: cheating happens; students don’t always hold each other accountable. Enforcement lax.
Purdue: no uniform definition of cheating (you can use groups, you can’t use groups). The trouble is getting all students and professors on the same page. Desire: Standard ethical policies across courses
Problem, LSE: How should we institutionalize “rights” at the school? Issue : qualitative methods course taught exceptionally poorly, student body has no voice and has been totally helpless in making changes. No say in who becomes Dean. No information flow, no channels for change. We want a say in who is our Dean. Some courses are taught poorly, some teachers fail to communicate – we were frustrated and upset and we have no idea what our solutions are. U Michigan: similar problem – many irregularities exist, there was no process in place for complaints – VOLUME of complaints was only solution. Be loud, often – get more and more people angry, email academics/dean asking for answers. LSE: there are forms for teacher evaluations, but we can’t see results. U Mich can. Solution, U Mich: Professor bonus system – bonus is tied to student evaluations. Students can see quantitative scores. Harvard’s system (a couple years ago) was pretty awful, now they’ve created a publically internal “ratemyprofessor” system tied to their newspaper – all students can see Professor rankings. LSE: would never happen. Solution, Notre D: 50-60 question long evaluation need to do it to get grades. Publically reprimand of teacher following student feedback. Direct reporting system works very well. Results aren’t public per se, but the results “get around.” Purely related to class/instructor. Consensus: most student surveys are conducted prior to exams, which students don’t approve of. Rotman: Student President (and several others) has course/curriculum veto/voting power. LSE: Dean refuses to evaluate Professor “he’s too political” Notre: Surprised by lack of respect from administration towards students at LSE. Final agreed upon solution: Volume. Repetition. Proximity.
Problem, Gavin Wedell, Cambridge: Patchy quality teaching School won’t take action based on student feedback. “What would be the most effective ‘best practice’ issue to look at?” My opinion: Professor Rankings Gavin: “student satisfaction” plays almost no role in school rankings, so it’s not surprising that they don’t listen.
Question, LSE: Do your Professors teach other “schools” e.g. undergrad. General consensus: yes – at Notre D. we have to fight for attention with undergrads. Random Proposed Solutions for general problems : Professor Ratings Standard Curriculum => 3 programs Course materials 18 electives Problem : ND Faculty Support for curriculum change. Insight, Grades & Grading Michigan: It’s next to impossible to flunk. Same at Notre D., Harvard. Not the case at IU