Lack of Student Participation at PACIE Open Forum

The Open Forum concerning the new Institutional Effectiveness plan this Thursday, Sept. 15, largely lacked the input and participation of the student body. Held by the President’s Advisory Council on Institutional Effectiveness (PACIE), the intention of the meeting was to gain feedback from students, staff, faculty, and others of the university in order to modify the plan to suit their concerns of the current draft. One student, FSU senior April Kinyua, was in attendance.

In response to the Middle States accreditation report, the new Institutional Effectiveness Plan’s purpose is to meet the assessment standards needed for the university to keep its accreditation.

Sara-Beth Bittinger, Director of Assessment and Institutional Research and leader of the discussion, assured that “[PACIE] will provide monthly updates on the status of meeting the institutional effectiveness assessment standard,” and that the “Implementation of the Institutional Effectiveness Plan will evaluate our overall effectiveness in achieving our mission and goals as well as our compliance with accreditation standards.”

Bittinger began the meeting stressing that all feedback was encouraged and that the representatives of PACIE present at the meeting were taking notes to then discuss the changes as a group later.

The Open Forum was aimed at providing the opportunity for campus feedback from all representatives of the university, as the plan will affect everyone. However, of the 18 attendees, none were students.

“We need input in the development and implementation of the plan, which must include the entire campus community to ensure success with implementation,” commented Bittinger.

Of those attending, the Open Forum was a great chance to give feedback pertaining to the plan. Some feedback included concerns such as the need for emphasis on decision-making resources and constructive criticism involving the metrics of the graphs used within the draft, as well as the need for more clarity and definition throughout the draft.

Dr. Doris Santamaria-Makang, Assistant Provost, reflected on the meeting, ”This kind of open discussion is a good thing; keeping it an open case. I just stress campus and especially student participation. It’s important to get student feedback in the process.”

PACIE is currently working to reach out and better engage the student body to come out to these discussions so that their voices can be represented in the final draft of the plan.

“This kind of feedback is critical,” reflected Dr. Benjamin Norris, Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department. He then continued commenting on the absence of the student body at the forum, “Think of it like a school project. Everybody is a group. Everybody needs to pull their own weight.”

Bittinger spoke on behalf of PACIE and the council’s implementation strategy, stating, “It is our hope that the plan will improve upon FSU’s commitment to continuous improvement.”

The next open forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. in room 155 of the Gira Center. The final draft of the plan is expected to be complete in October before undergoing a presentation to the Ad Hoc University Council for its approval and immediate implantation; however, even after the finalization, Bittinger announced PACIE would still be open to feedback.

Featured image by Madie Wilson.

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