Staff Student Liaison Committee - Meeting Notes
Notes from School of Civil Engineering Student Staff Liaison Committee Meeting Monday 28 April 2008 1 pm
Afida Md Yusof
Prof Kim Ramussen
Dr Tim Wilkinson
Dr Li Liu
Dr Abbas El-zein
A/Prof David Airey
1. Welcome: TW was acting chair in place of DA and welcomed all members. Mention of the lack of first year reps. There was an attempt to ask for 1st year reps, but it was acknowledged this was hard when they dont do any devoted "civil" courses.
2. Matters arising from last meeting in 2007
No key issues
2. Student evaluations
TW explained the different surveys (USE - unit of study evaluation, SCEQ - student course evaluation questionnaire (from Sydney University), & CEQ - course evaluation questionnaire (from Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations)) and the significance of them.
The questionnaires, and in particular the written comments, are taken seriously. If lecturers get bad scores they are asked to explain what the issues are and what plans there are in place to fix them.
The latest SCEQ summary showed that engineering (both at USyd and Australia wide) generally get worse scores in "good teaching" and better scores in "generic skills" than other degrees. The Faculty and the School are addressing the issue.
One key comment that came out in the last SCEQ series was relating to lecturers with poor English skills.
3. Student-raised issues
Students brought up issues related to specific units.
Environmental Fluids: There was a need for more details on content, syllabus & expectations, including a course outline. More worked examples would be welcome. There appeared to be a disconnect between lectures, the text book and assignments, which made it difficult for students to direct their study. It was recognised that some students had approached the lecturer about some issues and several of them had been addressed. Workload issues related to fortnightly assignments were raised. Tutors needed to be better briefed.
Materials: Students expressed difficulty in seeing the relevance of some of the topics, content and equations in the course specifically to civil engineering. More examples of engineering use of Materials contents would be welcome.
Engineering Construction & Surveying: The lecturer was experiencing some "technology issues' with PDFs and webCT.
Benchmarking lecturer performance: It was asked how did the uni differentiate between "good" and "bad" lecturers and what mechanisms were in place for improvement. TW referred to the Graduate Certificate that all new staff attend. KR mentioned the USEs, but that there were also less formal procedures in place for new staff.
WebCT: NB asked if it was possible to access archived versions of WebCT units from previous years. TW to investigate.
Workload: There was discussion on workload. The comment was the 3rd year appeared to have a high workload, though some courses had made efforts to address this. There were different points on view about having many small regular assignments, or a lower number of big assignments worth a large percentage. Assignments in the various units of study could be better coordinated.
Student feedback: The online form on the website was discussed and there would be removal of the comment about anonymous submissions. It appeared students were not widey aware of it.
Upgrades: TW mentioned the AV upgrades in various rooms in Civil and PNR.
Meeting closed at 2.10 pm