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Students, Administrators Meet To Discuss CEG's Shaky Future

By Timothy K Layman
Staff Reporter

In response to concerns about recent problems with the Course Evaluation Guide, several administrators and faculty met with CEG staff members last Friday to discuss the future of the guide.

There are no plans to produce a Spring 1997 edition of the CEG in any form, said Editor in Chief Heather M. Norton '96. The staff is still busy finishing the Fall 1996 guide for next semester, so there are no plans to collect and process evaluation forms this term for a Spring 1997 guide, she said.

The Fall 1996 CEG should be online in a week, Norton said. Hard copies will be available later, but there will only be enough for departments and living groups, she said.

In the meeting, the parties discussed a number of different options aimed at getting the guide back on track, Norton said.

The groups will "meet over the summer to re-engineer the guide so it doesn't overburden students who are putting it out," Norton said.

Loss of CEG would hurt faculty

A number of faculty members have expressed their concern that the CEG is not coming out next spring, said Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Margaret S. Enders, who called the meeting.

The CEG is "one, but not the only, source of data" for evaluating the quality of teaching, said John B. Vander Sande, associate dean of engineering and professor of materials science and engineering. "The CEG is important to us in the School of Engineering."

Departments have come to expect a lot out of the guide, Enders said. The work that is expected of editors is "out of proportion," Enders said. "Most students who get involved in doing CEG really have to cut back on schoolwork. It's a massive time demand."

People "expect far too much from editors," Norton said. "A good deal of faculty forget that the people producing the guide are just students. They expect perfection."

One of the ideas being discussed would have departments take on some of the work currently being done by CEG staffers.

"Most schools do it differently, so that the administration is doing the bulk of the paperwork - particularly getting the forms around to departments, collecting them, [and] analyzing them," Enders said.

"The important thing is that the students always feel their data is secure and uncensored," Enders said. "That would take some sort of student/faculty oversight group. All this needs to be worked out with the students."

Another idea involves looking for regular students to join a committee to redo the CEG, Norton said. The committee would work out something so the "faculty get what they want [and] students get what they want," she said.

While the CEG is not currently suffering from a lack of staff, many of the people working for the guide will be graduating, Norton said. The guide has "no new blood," and Norton said she is not sure where the guide is heading.

The CEG also is dealing with financial problems. After running deficits of several thousand dollars for the past few guides, the CEG was forced to move online for the Spring 1996 edition. "But money is the least of our worries," Norton said.

The CEG's financial problems will be fixed only if someone "bails them out," said Undergraduate Association Treasurer Russell S. Light '98. "But that's out of students' hands."

The goal is to get the guide back to hard copy, Norton said. There are no complaints about its being online, but people would like to have hard copies, she said.

Students would like to see the guide continue, preferably in hard copy. "I couldn't get access to it" online, said Karen W. Seto '98. "I'm definitely for it to go back to paper."