January 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 25°F


Ithaca College Faculty Council passes two academic policies

The Ithaca College Faculty Council passed two Academic Policy Committee (APC) proposals at its September meeting. One aims to ensure student anonymity in student evaluations, and the other attempts to quicken the approval process for APC policies.

The APC is in charge of creating and amending academic policies and curricula at the college. APC representative Laura Campbell Carapella, associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, presented both proposed policies to the Faculty Council on Sept. 6. The student evaluation policy prompted a half-hour discussion about how the APC would adjust the evaluations to better protect anonymity.

The student evaluation policy originated from a few concerned students who felt that student evaluations could potentially give away their identities, Campbell said. The proposed policy states that departments should use student evaluations that do not use student handwriting or ask for other potentially identifying information like gender and ethnicity.

However, she said the proposed policy is procedural, which means it would be up to the departments to enforce the policy by adjusting their evaluations.

Rebecca Lesses, associate professor and coordinator of the Jewish studies minor, said she thought the policy was “disingenuous” because it did not determine what departments would need to do to ensure the anonymity of students.

“As a faculty member, I don’t feel I have to do everything my students want me to do,” Lesses said. “And I don’t see why the APC should necessarily go ahead with this because students want to do it.”

Campbell said that even though it is a procedural policy, students can use it as a reference if they feel their identity has been compromised by a student evaluation and bring it up to department chairs.

Deborah Rifkin, associate professor in the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition, said she liked the idea of the proposed policy and thought that ensuring the protection of students’ identities, from a research perspective, is the best practice.

After the discussion, the council moved to approve the policy. Nineteen faculty members approved the policy, eight were against, and two abstained.

The other proposal presented by Campbell was created so all APC policies would go to the Faculty Council first for approval instead of the provost, which is the current practice. It is intended to quicken the approval process, according to the proposed policy. The council passed a motion to approve the policy unanimously.

Linda Petrosino, provost and vice president for educational affairs, also addressed the council about the death of Anthony Nazaire. She told faculty that transportation arrangements are being made to bring faculty, staff and students to services off campus this weekend.

“When this kind of tragedy hits a community like ours, many, many, many people are impacted in very different ways,” Petrosino said. “So I urge you, if you identify as someone who is in need, whether it’s a student, colleague, faculty member, help that individual get to where they need to get, to get some help, because we have all kinds of support on campus.”

Grace Elletson can be reached at gelletson@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @graceelletson