Agreement Holds Students, Faculty Accountable

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After the results of a May 2009 Student Experience Survey were released, one thing became obvious to the campus community — students at Georgia Tech felt like student-faculty interaction wasn’t a priority.  

To their credit, the students have taken a step toward improving the situation, with the creation of the Student-Faculty Expectations Agreement (SFEA), which was developed by the Student Government Association (SGA).

The document replaces the Student Bill of Academic Rights and goes into effect this summer.  

“As students, we must acknowledge our responsibility in building a positive classroom environment and promoting good stewardship of this duty,” said John Miller, chair of the student-faculty development committee. “Improving student-faculty relations has been an ongoing goal of SGA for more than two years, and we are finally seeing a lot of improvement.”

Miller and Austen Edwards, SGA’s vice president of academic affairs, have worked to build on efforts made last year to bring students and faculty members together by completing the agreement.   

“The Student Bill of Rights was one-way and the new document is two-way — it contains expectations for both students and faculty,” said Anderson Smith, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “There was no record that the original bill of rights had been vetted through the academic faculty senate, but this new document has been endorsed by the senate and the undergraduate and graduate student government.”

Donna Llewellyn, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), thinks the expectations emphasize the need to have mutual respect between students and instructors.

“We are all on the same team with the same goal — effective teaching that leads to excellent student learning,” she added.   

Vice Provost for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies Ray Vito also thinks that the new agreement is more balanced than the bill of rights.  

“I think the expectations are critical to creating the environment that we all want to see at Georgia Tech,” he added.   

In the months to come, SGA hopes to integrate the SFEA into course syllabi, CETL curricula, the Georgia Tech Catalog and the GT 1000 curriculum.

“As students, we hope this document will not be seen as a final arbiter in disputes but rather as a foundation of common understanding for ongoing discussions in the classroom,” Edwards said. “We must rely on individual students and faculty members to take the initiative and work together to redefine the classroom culture.”



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 04/01/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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