Regents heard student concerns, too

Student representatives attended the Student Advisory Board meeting at the Texas State University System Board of Regents meeting last week in Beaumont to discuss campus-wide issues.

SAB is held quarterly as a chance for student representatives from universities in the Texas State University System such as SHSU, Lamar University and Texas State University, to discuss problems occurring on all campuses in pursuit of state-wide solutions.

“We compile a report about what we think needs to be improved in our system and how we should go about it, as well as any other [initiatives] that we’re taking as a student government across the system,” Spencer Copeland, student body president, said.

At this most recent meeting, representatives discussed issues such as their preferences on tenure versus adjunct track professors, the structures of university committees and the process of instructor evaluation.

“We talked a little bit about the post-course evaluation forms,” Copeland said. “We saw an issue that these forms really are too generalized to be effective. Whenever you’re inside of a biology class, you don’t need to be asked if we learn and appreciate the arts more, because it’s not applicable. We’re looking to see if we can have some more specialized forms to help evaluate the professor’s performance and the class’ performance.”

According to Copeland, the meetings are both constructive and effective in solving problems and applying solutions after the student representatives return to their respective campuses.

“Last SAB we talked about the online student waivers, and right now that policy is about to change,” Copeland said. “In just two SABs, in less than six months, we’re about to have a whole new policy that hasn’t changed since 2001. These are very productive meetings, what we talk about isn’t just ignored.”

Copeland was referencing a recent initiative inside the SHSU administration to change the way certain fee waivers are assessed to online-only students.

Regents Chancellor Brian McCall, Ph.D., responded to the SAB’s concern over online student waivers by saying universities needed to be as transparent as possible when it comes to how they are spending the money obtained by these fees.

“A review of component institution websites found that all TSUS institutions provide some information about student fees, and most institutions provide detailed information about the expenditure of these fees,” McCall said in his response. “The system’s vice chancellor for finance will work with component institutions going forward to insure that all institutions update their websites annually to show how student fee revenue is being spent.”

The next SAB will be during the quarterly Board of Regents meeting Feb. 19-20, 2015 in Austin.

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