Six resolutions. Five amendments. Four hours. Three justice appointments.
The Student Senate’s Tuesday meeting fell 13 minutes short of the longest in UTA history at an almost four-hour meeting. Nearly 21 senators presented adopted six resolutions, confirmed three supreme court justices and packed constitution amendments into its last meeting of the semester.
In a 12-5-2 vote, the senate adopted a resolution requesting student feedback surveys for classes be available through the last day of final exams.
The survey is currently available about two weeks before the end of a 15-week term until two days before the official course end date, according to the resolution. For classes with a term less than 15 weeks, the survey is available one week before the last day of each class, according to the resolution.
Student Government adviser Jennifer Taylor said the surveys serve to help faculty members adjust their courses. They also are given to supervisors to help determine if tenure-track professors will get tenure or if nontenure-track professors will be rehired. Taylor said it would take seeing many consistent complaints in surveys for faculty to receive concern about their course.
Jackson Airhart, student affairs committee chairman, said the most positive aspect of the resolution would be allowing students to include their impression of the final exam in the review. He said the committee decided the impact of a final exam experience on the review might also be a negative.
“It’s kind of a con, but it’s also the point of the resolution,” Airhart said.
The resolution asks for a time cap at 11:59 p.m. the last day of final exams so that a student’s final grade will not impact their review, Airhart said.
“A final is a crucial part of your semester,” engineering senator Yash Singh said. “Some finals are worth 30 or 40 percent at times.”
Business senator Garret Martin said he spoke with students and faculty who were concerned students would forget about the survey given an extended deadline.
Teik Lim, provost and vice president for academic affairs, directed Student Government to the Faculty Senate, which considered the Student Senate’s proposal, according to the resolution. Faculty Senate chairman David Coursey said the senate did not vote on the resolution but will add the proposal to a task force comprising faculty and student representatives.
“It’s supposed to look at how we measure and award quality teaching in all its aspects in a more holistic manner at UTA,” Coursey said.
He said the task force’s purpose was not solely for looking at the survey, but the resolution is a draft charge of what the task force will consider.
With a 16-0-2 vote, the senate adopted a resolution requesting a drop survey for students to express why they dropped a class.
“I feel like no matter if it’s just one person dropping the class or 10 people dropping the class, this is necessary information,” said Alexandra Koke, Nursing and Health Innovation senator.
Lim supported the idea of creating the survey, according to the resolution.
“We would welcome a partnership with UTA Student Government to develop a process for this proposal. That may include developing an appropriate survey instrument, engaging the academic departments and advisers and determining the appropriate ways of disseminating such a survey so that we have a representative sample of responses from the undergraduates across majors and teaching platforms,” Lim said in an email to Student Government, according to the resolution.
The senate approved three appointments to the Supreme Court, creating a new quorum. Starting Nov. 1, the court comprised four justices and had no quorum until Tuesday.
Sally Alvarenga, current election supervisory board chairwoman, was approved for a two-year term as a justice.
“I first joined Student Government specifically as part of the judicial branch because I saw the potential and the opportunity to make a real difference,” Alvarenga said. “Because this is the first year of having a judicial branch, I know that whatever we decide will be reviewed time and time again.”
She said the length of her term will allow for ideas to carry over multiple semesters.
“We see this problem a lot in real government,” Alvarenga said. “If there’s too many changes within a certain committee, a lot of ideas can be lost.”
The senate approved five amendments to the Student Government constitution. The amendments included raising the number of signatures required on a petition for a referendum from 1,000 to 1,500 and policy for resignation from Student Government.
Senate speaker Julianne Kirby thanked senators for their work in the semester.
“You guys have been an awesome group,” Kirby said. “I couldn’t have asked for any better group of senators to lead my first semester.”