Faculty & Curriculum
GBC 2012
Faculty & Curriculum
Issues Overview
• Internship preparation and curriculum
• Administration is unreceptive to
• Faculty reviews
Issue 1 – Internship Preparation
and Curriculum Change
• Course content is not relevant for
selected concentration
– Unprepared for interviews
• Solution: Schedule Overhaul
– Rotman School of Management
• Solution: Club Preparation
– University of Michigan
Issue 2: Administration is
Unreceptive to Change
• Relatively little information flow
between administration and students
• Administration unwilling to change
• Solution:
– Volume
– Repetition
– Proximity
Issue 3: Faculty Reviews
• Student feedback isn’t taken seriously
– Student satisfaction plays little role in
• Solution: intensive course feedback
– Notre Dame: 50+ question forms
• Grade docking
– Harvard: “Rate My Professor”
• Publically available information
Visibility and Feedback
• Students don’t see feedback incorporated and “heard”
• Have an open forum where students can voice concerns to
faculty “blowing it out of the water” with 2nd year students
giving feedback
• Faculty evaluation forms: students feel they go into a black
box; encourage students communicating experiences in a
safe environment
• Evaluations influence tenure track and compensation
• When you sign up for a course, past evaluations are put up on
the website
• Differences between professor and academia; students don’t
take classes with faculty who have been evaluated poorly by
their peers. So this gives faculty incentive to “fix” the problem
– Are they getting the “right” information out of the rating system?
How do you actually frame the questions to give actionable
recommendations – subjectivity can be difficult
Meeting Expectations
• Discrepancy in what students want and what faculty think
students need
• Ex. Students want engaging lecture, prof saying they’re there
to teach concepts. Ops: they don’t want practice problems,
and students want applicable issues. Faculty: how do you
know what you need?
• Student curriculum review – what to do with the feedback
given? Ask: has the learning affected you? And alumnae fill
this out.
• Making sure organization is flexible enough to macro trends
• Informal settings may be beneficial – professors may not take
• Student reps on curriculum committee- every 2 years the MBA
program goes on review. If there are discrepancies on what’s
happening and the student needs/wants they approach the
faculty and they adjust accordingly
Continuous Changes
Curriculum review: how do you implement these changes “quickly”?
Establish continuous feedback loop
Faculty and staff are in “perfection mode” – any negative feedback they get are
instantaneous in fixing the problem. They are looking to build rankings back up
A huge problem is incentive differences between faculty and the school
Build a great curriculum and that’s a way to draw-in better students
What to do if school is not receptive to change and is timely to implement?
Need a huge initiative and overall focus of the school helps
Need faculty support and open forums to discuss in formal and informal settings
Different program and classes: students approached administration. At first they
tried to brush it under the rug, but approaching faculty.
Upsetting students because they were getting the same degree. The more people learned
the more upset they got
They approached the academic deans and head of the program
Volume, repetition and proximity.
Broader Pedagogical Goals
Promoting the broader “learning” initiative
Other programs: MS, part-time, evening:
Peer-to-peer learning model: students teach the 11th session (10 in normal session). Gives you a
different perspective in both teaching and experience from your peers.
Putting-in ISB wiki
Honor Code: how to implement this and deal with those issues
Speak up with honor code in front of the entire class – “peer pressure”
Clearly outline the consequences if honor code is broken
Judicial representatives: hear cases and sit on board with administration and faculty.
Faculty might find this annoying if they want to give everyone an “A”
Because it’s well-explained everyone is ok with it
They have already weeded-out all the candidates that they think would have failed
Understanding which students care and which students are there to free-ride
Bridging the gap between good professors, good teachers, and good business people
Research vs. Teaching
Profitable programs, whereas daytime MBA is drain on resources.
Getting Heard
• Getting faculty to listen
• Get faculty on committees with students and
confidentially discuss issues
• Faculty consensus on important issues
• Balance change vs continuity of curriculum
• Problems: Malin
• Implementing new ideas, esp new grading system
• To get your voice heard you have to do a lot of
• Teaching quality
• Speaking up—teachers don’t listen
• How to involve more business/get more real-world
• How to get relevant electives
• Feedback channels for faculty
• Harvard case studies for courses besides
econ./practicality of courses to real world
• Professor ratings/reviews numerical scale that
bonuses are based on
• Course mart: beginning of classes, professors
attend and “sell” their courses/electivesonly at
policy school tho not MBA
• Standardized courses
Problem: Benjamin Stewart
Professor ratings/reviews numerical scale that bonuses are based
Course mart: beginning of classes, professors attend and “sell” their
courses/electivesonly at policy school tho not MBA
Standardized courses
Problem: Gavin (Cambridge)
Poor presentations seemingly irrelevant topics that a taught poorly
Problem: Cara Weikel
Course duplication and poor course descriptions
Elective availability
Quality of discussion faculty prep or technological distractions?
Rigor inconsistent across courses
• Problem: Alonso Pombo
• Course contentnot appropriate for those who already
have a business background, only geared towards int’l
students with no biz background
• Promoting “outdoor educational events” company
• Electives a lot available but language barrier is
impossible (courses taught in Chinese not English)
• Problem: Robert Kerr
• Teaching quality
• Rating system for teachers are opaque students don’t
get to see it
• Students are merely observers of faculty/student
• Benjamin Stewart: comprehensive review of prof by students:
– Harvard: students rate professor via student newspapers so
everyone can see it profs took interest
– Michigan: qualitative measures not just numerical
– Good profs are teaching the electives and not the core
courses this is a problem
• Cara: like a wiki: students log on to grade electives and
recommend courses to others based on their experience and
who the course is geared towards
• Andrew: surveys after every course to get students to grade
their professor but students don’t get to see it b/c faculty
and admin are worried that it’ll become too public (negative
– At Darden, good teachers are teaching core courses
• Cara: working with admin and dean to fix poor electives and
duplicate electives tie electives with student inputs since
students are only here for two years
• Andrew Barrett: Darden doesn’t have a lot of elective
offerings theres a struggle between too little electives and
too many in order to get the deadwood out, have a
feedback loop for electives (students and admin sit together
and discuss…)
– Very difficult
Student/professor engagement?
Can’t be standardized across courses (ex. Finance vs STR)
Producing learning/prep for real world?
Are case-based prof better than lec based prof? how do you measure?
– CASE METHOD ALMOST ALWAYS WINS but teaching it well is difficult
Martha (Rotman)
Success: core curriculum change per student feedback
“extra” sessions RE: leadership, teams, feedback, etc.
Challenge: professor/teaching quality
Faculty inconsistent involvement
Problem: “We talk about integrative thinking but we don’t really practice it” (in regards to
students with offbeat interests/course focuses).
Solution entailed a political dealing, enacted a vote with the faculty council.
Result: quarters totally overhauled. Currently 250 students in cohort, growing to 400 soon.
Orientation + “precourses” (i.e. for someone that has never seen excel)
First three weeks: boot camp for modeling skills & integrative thinking
Foundation courses, have exams etc.
One week: career discovery week
9 weeks) core curriculum
ending with a capstone project
Feedback: Cambridge: one year program, six week break, this solution would never work for us.
Follow up Question: How did the appeal process work? Students can’t imagine such a sweeping
change at their school.
Answer: repeated attempts at discussion, task force formed between students and faculty.
• Tangent: Teaching Strategies
• IU: many professors co-teach (e.g.
strategy and econ), so students can see
where course materials overlap.
• Rotman: teachers meet biweekly to
discuss deliverables, doing their best to
minimize overlap and make it easier for
• - Gavin, Cambridge: would never
happen at my school, that blows my
• Idea, Rotman: all courses can teach the same case
once, so you can see the differences between
• -Most schools have used Zara as a case.
• Student: I wish my school had more specialized, basic
courses earlier on – many students unprepared for
interviews/ internships (Sounds like us.) Currently inbetween Deans, old Dean was “stuck in his ways.”
• Insight: many schools struggle with introductory first year
material and preparing students for internships.
• University of Michigan: Our clubs stepped in to fill the
void, prepping (e.g. Finance) members for interviews
and some basic knowledge.
• Student: Our new Dean is overwhelmed, won’t field any
student issue.
• Problem, Purdue: within our core classes
different professors haven’t different policies
as to what cheating means.
• Solution, Cambridge: chief librarian briefed us
all on what constitutes cheating. Professors
really weren’t looking.
• Solution: academic honor code repeatedly
drilled in. As a catholic school they lay on the
• Problem, Rotman: cheating happens;
students don’t always hold each other
accountable. Enforcement lax.
• Purdue: no uniform definition of
cheating (you can use groups, you
can’t use groups). The trouble is
getting all students and professors on
the same page.
• Desire: Standard ethical policies across
Problem, LSE: How should we institutionalize “rights” at the school?
Issue: qualitative methods course taught exceptionally poorly, student body has no voice and
has been totally helpless in making changes. No say in who becomes Dean. No information
flow, no channels for change.
We want a say in who is our Dean. Some courses are taught poorly, some teachers fail to
communicate – we were frustrated and upset and we have no idea what our solutions are.
U Michigan: similar problem – many irregularities exist, there was no process in place for
complaints – VOLUME of complaints was only solution. Be loud, often – get more and more
people angry, email academics/dean asking for answers.
LSE: there are forms for teacher evaluations, but we can’t see results. U Mich can.
Solution, U Mich: Professor bonus system – bonus is tied to student evaluations. Students can see
quantitative scores. Harvard’s system (a couple years ago) was pretty awful, now they’ve
created a publically internal “ratemyprofessor” system tied to their newspaper – all students can
see Professor rankings.
LSE: would never happen.
Solution, Notre D: 50-60 question long evaluation need to do it to get grades. Publically
reprimand of teacher following student feedback. Direct reporting system works very well.
Results aren’t public per se, but the results “get around.” Purely related to class/instructor.
Consensus: most student surveys are conducted prior to exams, which students don’t approve
Rotman: Student President (and several others) has course/curriculum veto/voting power.
LSE: Dean refuses to evaluate Professor “he’s too political”
Notre: Surprised by lack of respect from administration towards students at LSE.
Final agreed upon solution: Volume. Repetition. Proximity.
• Problem, Gavin Wedell, Cambridge:
• Patchy quality teaching
• School won’t take action based on
student feedback.
• “What would be the most effective ‘best
practice’ issue to look at?”
• My opinion: Professor Rankings
• Gavin: “student satisfaction” plays almost
no role in school rankings, so it’s not
surprising that they don’t listen.
• Question, LSE: Do your Professors teach other “schools” e.g.
• General consensus: yes – at Notre D. we have to fight for
attention with undergrads.
• Random Proposed Solutions for general problems:
• Professor Ratings
• Standard Curriculum => 3 programs
• Course materials
• 18 electives
• Problem: ND
• Faculty Support for curriculum change.
• Insight, Grades & Grading
• Michigan: It’s next to impossible to flunk. Same at Notre D.,
• Not the case at IU

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