The LSA Student Government unanimously passed a resolution yesterday supporting the standardization of instruction for different sections of the same course.
Students taking certain courses have complained that workloads vary from section to section depending on the graduate student instructor teaching the section.
LSA-SG Counsel Joanna Slott and LSA-SG Vice President Paige Butler, the co-sponsors of the resolution, said standardizing discussion sections has been a perennial issue, and that while work has been done in the past, not much progress has been made until now.
According to Butler, the issue had been approached broadly in the past, but no specific departments were addressed. However, this resolution specifically targets introductory courses in chemistry and political science — two subjects about which Slott and Butler said students voiced the most concern.
Slott said the resolution is a step in the right direction. “Bringing the issue to the attention of the administration is an important step,” she said.
According to an LSA-SG survey of 527 LSA students, 42 percent of students said their class sections did not have a similar workload to other sections of the same course. Fifty percent said their graduate student instructors did not grade using standards that were comparable to those of other GSIs who led different sections of the same course.
Both sponsors stressed that their intention was not to criticize certain GSIs, classes or professors. “We fully appreciate the work that (GSIs) do, and we hope to improve upon the work that they are doing,” Butler said.
LSA-SG President Andrew Yahkind said he was pleased with the progress made toward section standardization at the meeting.
“I think the resolution is a good example of recognizing an issue that has been brought to LSA-SG by students and has been talked about and acted upon by elected officials,” Yahkind said.
LSA-SG passed three additional resolutions in its meeting last night, including one that called for the creation of a Homecoming Task Force to aid in organizing student events to coincide with the Homecoming football game in the fall.
Yahkind and Slott said they hope to meet with representatives from the chemistry and political science departments to discuss ways to implement the resolution in the fall.