ASB passes resolution calling for class syllabi bank to be created

Posted on Apr 13 2018 - 5:59am by Taylor Vance

The Associated Student Body Senate passed a resolution requesting the university create an online syllabi bank allowing students to access past class syllabi. The bank was proposed to help students signing up for classes gain a better understanding of the courses before they start.

The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Catrina Curtis, chairwoman of the Academicis Committee, and passed the Senate unanimously. It is now waiting for approval from the university administration.

“I sponsored the resolution because I thought it was a really good idea,” Curtis said. “This is a service that I would want as a student and other schools in the (Southeastern Conference) have done this.”

Curtis said she talked to Provost Noel Wilkin about the resolution, and he liked it, but he wants the legislation to go through the faculty senate as well. Curtis also said if the legislation passes, Wilkin and his office would be responsible for leading the project and carrying out the specifics of the syllabi bank.

The current universities in the SEC that have syllabi banks are the University of Georgia, Auburn University, Louisiana State University, the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee, the University of Kentucky, Texas A&M University and the University of Missouri.

The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama, the University of South Carolina and Vanderbilt University currently do not have a syllabi bank.

Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Melinda Sutton Noss received the legislation and signed off on the resolution. She said her signature does not mean she approves or disapproves of the resolution, but that her office has read and recognized the resolution.

“It is not my place to say whether I approve of the legislation, but this is an interesting idea,” Sutton Noss said. “The reasons the senators say they support this bill are interesting reasons and I’m supportive of the senators.”

The resolution will now be passed on to Vice Chancellor for Student Services Brandi Hephner LaBanc. If Hephner LaBanc signs the resolution recognizing the legislation, the resolution will be sent to Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter for approval.

ASB President-elect Elam Miller said he thinks the resolution will be a beneficial way for students to see what they’re signing up for. Miller said he does not think the resolution would place a burden on professors or the university, but doesn’t know how the professors and deans would coordinate to get the syllabus bank accomplished.

“Professors are already required to turn (syllabi) in before classes start,” Miller said. “I’m not sure whether the syllabi bank would be made public through MyOleMiss or through a separate website.”

Integrated Marketing Communications instructor Debbie Hall has been advising students for more than a year and said she can view the legislation from three different angles: as an adviser, an instructor and a former student. Hall said she thought a syllabi bank could’ve been helpful to her choosing classes as an undergraduate student.

Hall also said she thinks the resolution will be beneficial to the students, but she can see the resolution making some professors uneasy.

“From an advising standpoint, I can see where (the resolution) would be beneficial,” Hall said. “It would allow students to see how the class is going to be taught and graded. From an instructor point of view, I can see some downfalls and I can see some professors not being happy their syllabi is public knowledge, even though a lot of professors share our syllabi with one another.”

Junior psychology major Aundrop Price said she thinks the resolution is a good idea, and if the resolution passes, it will help her in the future. She also said there are classes she would not have taken if she had viewed the syllabus before.

“I feel like this resolution will be a good way to help us know what we are getting into beforehand, and this will be a better way to prepare for classes,” Price said.