By JOHN KING
“College cannot afford to be Blockbuster in a Netflix world, and Amarillo College has had the vision of trying to be more like the Metaverse,” Renee Stovall, secretary of the AC faculty senate, said. According to Stovall, the college needs to keep moving ahead and keep making innovations. Faculty feedback is an integral part of that process, she said.
To thrive, every school needs faculty who can communicate their wants and needs, according to Don Abel, president of the faculty senate. The process for a faculty member to get an issue they have up the chain of command is complicated and difficult, he said.
For the people unhappy with that lengthy process, there is the COACHE survey, a faculty feedback survey created by and outsourced from Harvard. The survey, being sent out during spring semester, sets out to collect the thoughts and feelings of faculty members and use that information to adjust or make major changes to the college.
According to Abel, the survey solicits faculty members’ thoughts about how they are being cared for, how students are being taken care of, how well support departments are working and many other topics. The survey is sent out once every three years, and the questions in the survey are adjusted based on results from the previous one. This year marks the second time the AC has administered this survey.
Results are compiled and used to determine where and what changes need to be made. One of the groups that will analyze and use the survey results is the faculty senate, a group of instructors that represents the rest of the faculty and serves as a direct voice to the higher ups of the college.
According to Simone Buys, parliamentarian of the faculty senate, the senate has a strong voice and has made good on the past survey results. “The information we received was valuable in forming questions for discussion with the vice president of the college,” said Buys. She said that higher ups have been very receptive of the requests and communication from the senate and the COACHE survey task force, which has a similar goal with a narrower focus. Changes have been made because of both of the groups, “and we want a high rate of participation this time, especially so we can see how much has changed and has satisfied the faculty,” Buys said.
According to Abel, the senate still does not have as strong a voice as he would like, the faculty senate and the survey task force are the best way to create accountability and address issues.
Improved communication between faculty and college leaders is another important goal, according to Stovall. She said the senate recently created a way for faculty members to send in anonymous questions, which has led to better communication between the senate and higher ups. “A lot has changed in the classroom over the last 20-30 years, and we need to communicate that to leadership so they understand what is going on.”
Buys said the voices of the senate and task force are only getting stronger. While every issue may not be fixed, communication is improving, she said. “We try to problem solve everything brought up, but we can’t fix it if we don’t
know about it,” said Buys.
Corrected online April 18, 2022.