Academic Senate discusses end of course surveys, student mental health


Faculty senators hold a discussion during the Nov. 29 Academic Senate meeting. 

At its last meeting of the Fall 2022 semester, the Academic Senate passed the first change to SOS surveys in 20 years and discussed campus preparedness for active shooter threats.

End of Course survey approved

Student opinion surveys, or SOS, became End of Course surveys because of the the first change to the feedback system in 20 years. 

The new revised questions are intended to provide survey results that better reflect the diversity of students on campus at Central Michigan University. 

“As a reminder, these questions will not go into effect until next year, but they will take the place of the current SOS,” said Senate Chair Tracy Davis following the senate’s vote of approval. 

This new round of questions are years in the making. The relief of senate members who worked to write, analyze and defend their changes was clear with high-fives and heavy sighs throughout the French Auditorium. 

This new version of the survey is also intended to be more accessible for future changes and adjustments, Davis said.  

Campus preparedness for active shooter threats

During his report to the senate, President Bob Davies brought up faculty concerns about campus safety and emergency preparedness. 

In the wake of a shooting at Florida A&M University that left one person dead and four others injured, several senators had approached Davies about student mental health. 

“I’m still concerned about the Counseling Center having what it needs,” said Senator Amanda Garrison. “I heard recently that there’s a three-week wait on services from them and I’m just kind of hoping that we can be prepared for what might happen.”

Davies said that the first step for students who want help managing worries about potential violence on campus should still call the Counseling Center as their first step. 

“There are also other sorts of resources on campus, and they would be able to help direct those individuals to those resources,'' said Davies. 

Gen-ed survey results

Two weeks ago, CMU faculty were sent a survey to gauge their opinions on general education requirements and their effectiveness.

Most were moderately satisfied with the current system and requirements, but over 90% of the survey respondents said they would support a faculty-led revision of the gen-ed program. 

There were approximately 270 people who took the survey, most of them professors or instructors, out of about 850 who were invited.

“The next steps in this project is for the ad hoc committee that has since been formed to look carefully at the survey results and generate some models,” said Joshua Smith, interim coordinator for the general education program. “It looks like we need to do some work revising the standard program.”

Changes to academic discipline policies

The senate passed a motion to change two parts of the probation, suspension, dismissal and reinstatement policies and procedures. 

The first part puts evaluations of academic performance at the end of every spring semester, rather than after every semester. The intent is to give first year and transfer students more of a buffer to adjust to college life, Davis said.

Students with below a 2.00 grade-point average at the end of each spring semester will face either "academic probation, academic suspension or academic dismissal," the new policy states.

“It also makes the life of the staff who have to run these numbers a little bit easier in December since grades are due right before the end of the semester and the grades need to be done and reported before people can go home for Christmas,” Davis said. 

The second policy change was to make the language of the policy itself more transparent, making it more "student focused," Davis said.

"For example, instead of saying your admission is cancelled--which is kind of an odd thing to say to a student--it's talking about dismissal instead of being cancelled academically," Davis said.    

The Academic Senate meets bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the French Auditorium. Livestreams and recordings of each meeting are available on the senate website.