WASC 2005-04-13

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Present: Marianne, Niles, Csilla, Josephine, Andrea, Brad, Jean, Richard


  • Talk about things we would like to see improved at Caltech
  • Decide what to put forward for WASC proposal

Round Robin Discussion

  • Very hard to change the core
  • Zero in on a small number of things and do them really well
  • Worried about results from the Princeton Review
    • Why do students feel this way
    • Can we figure out more to do about it
  • Culture of going to classes can be obnoxious
    • Try to figure out why students aren't coming to class
    • Sometimes homework sets are due; causes problems with classes
  • Issue of the core could be tricky
  • Underuniting of courses
  • Focus on the classroom experience; do students ask a lot of questions, is it a valuable learning experience
  • Evenness of teaching quality
  • Teacher training
  • Incentives (salary, etc)
  • Grade inflation?
  • Gathering information for evaluation
    • Identify real problem areas
    • Salary incentives are probably not a great tool; rewards people who are doing well
  • How do we incentivize good teaching/"punish" bad teaching
  • How do we fit faculty to things they do well
  • Student health

Possible Report Topics (RMM)

Here is a first cut at collecting together topics (done in real-time, so not necessarily well thought out):

  • Quality of teaching
    • Feedback to faculty, including course evaluation (eg, how many hours do you spend)
    • Tools for faculty (best practices, new technology)
    • Orientation and mentoring for new teachers
    • Focus on what students learn?
    • Rewarding good teaching (incentives)
  • Student workload issues
    • Underuniting
    • Homework, labs, exams, etc
    • Some classes are overunited
    • Possible things related to student health
  • Overall undergraduate experience
    • Try to evaluate the quality of Caltech education (above just teaching)
    • Collect data about best practices in different divisions/options
    • Classroom experience (across the variety of courses that students teach)
    • Might touch on tools (eg, MATLAB), breadth of the core
    • Look into student health? Compare to other universities
    • Perhaps link to research and honor system topics
  • Course attendance, classroom experience and *learning*
    • Can we find out why students aren't coming to class
    • Focus on what students learn?
  • Content of the core
    • Might be a very tricky one