Staff Student Liaison Committee - Meeting Notes
Notes from Department of Civil Engineering Student Staff Liaison Committee Meeting Tuesday 18 May 2004 1 pm
Adam Patterson BE 4th year
Mark West BE 4th year
Patrick Bilan BE 3rd Year:
Michelle Englert BE 3rd Year:
Ralph Goninan BE 2nd Year:
Adonis Moujalli BE 2nd Year:
Sean Porter BE 1st Year:
Rob Wheen 1st advisor & HOD
David Airey 3rd Year Advisor
Kim Rasmussen 4th Year Advisor
Tim Wilkinson 2nd Year Advisor
George Slack Civil Engineering Foundation Officer
1. Welcome: The Head of Department, Rob Wheen, welcomed all members - particularly the new members, Sean Porter from 1st year. Rob Wheen also mention new staff roles, David Airey was also now Combined Degree Advisor, and Tim Wilkinson 2nd Year Advisor.
2. Matters arising from last meeting August 2003
David Airey referred to the new Special Consideration Policy. Students should be aware that there is a new form and special doctor certificate to use. The policy is designed to apply to more serious cases. Tim Wilkinson will ensure this is updated on the web site - See Special Consideration Policy.
3. SCEQ (Student Course Evaluation Questionnaire)
David Airey spoke of the SCEQ (http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/sceq/). Engineering in general was performing reasonably poorly on the "good teaching scale", and that this affects the faculty's funding. Despite significant efforts in the faculty to improve teaching, the student assessments have not changed notably. It was asked if students were aware of changes that had been made, and why werent our rates improving ? Some of the following issues were raised:
Does the staff take the comments on the student reviews seriously? As an example, a student repeating a course this year felt there was little change in one course where there had been a large number of student comments. Rob Wheen mentioned that all comments are considered.
A discussion on the quality of tutorials was discussed. Some felt the larger tutorials in early years were not as useful, due to the large number of students, having to wait for a tutor, noise etc. The small tutorials instituted in Soil Mechanics were favourably viewed.
This would involve changing all courses to 6 CP, and give more options for electivity starting from Sem 2 in 3rd year. There would be some transitional arrangements, and there should be no change for current 3rd year students (4th year 2004 unchanged). The department would be producing documentation later to help students with preenrolment for 2004. It was generally agreed that this was a positive step.
4. Issues Relating to the New Course Structure
The first part of the course restructure was implemented this semester. Feedback was requested.
In general, the 6 Credit Point (CP) structure seemed good, but with some issues.
Workload. It was asked whether the changes were designed to change the student workload (more or less). As an example it was felt that in Concrete Structures 8 CP worth of work was being squeezed into 6 CP. It was noted that last year there was 8 CP of concrete, but some of this was materials, which was being moved to 2nd year. The syllabus for concrete is almost the same as for 2001, when it was only 6 CP.
There was some concern the two elements of Concrete Structures (Design and Behaviour) was not integrated. This was acknowledged, but it was a transitional arrangement to cope with the students repeating 3 or 4 CP components from previous years.
Was the new structure designed to help have a more coordinated approach to assignments - so that not all would be due in one go? It was mentioned that this is always considered by staff, and attempts have been made to do something in the past, but that it is extremely difficult to coordinate. Students did acknowledge that assignments are given out well in advance by staff, which could help them to plan their workload.
Considerable concern was raised over Materials, with some mention of unclear expectations, unclear overhead transparencies, and difficulties in hearing the lecturer, need to pay extremely close attention in lectures. There was also concern raised the recent mid-semester quiz and the poor marks in that quiz. Rob Wheen undertook to bring the issue up with the lecturer concerned, and report back.
It was mentioned that Thesis topic allocation was a little disorganised this year, and students would benefit to have at least the topics published prior to the end of the previous year.
Could commercial FEM software be available in the Hawkins Lab as part of the FEM course (eg Strand). Options could be investigated, but they needed to have a reasonable cost.
Due to lack of time, the election of new student representatives could not be discussed, but could perhaps be arranged via email.
George Slack mentioned the Jobs Vacant noticed board outside his office - particularly for final year and 3rd year students seeking work experience.
Rob Wheen referred to the very dirty state that some of the lecture rooms had been left in, and reiterated that eating and drinking in the rooms was not permitted.
Meeting closed at 2 pm