As required through the passage of House Bill 2504 (2009) and subsequent rules found in Texas Education Code, Section 51.974 (b) (f), Texas State University submits the following report to document compliance with all provisions of the legislation and rules related to “Public Access to Course Information.”
The university’s HB 2054 website is located at http://hb2504.txstate.edu/ and is accessible by one link from the university’s home page. The website provides useful information and demonstrates the university's commitment to accountability, transparency and open communication with students, parents, legislators, the public, and all stakeholders. On this site, users easily find:
For each undergraduate classroom course offered for credit by the institution, a syllabus and a curriculum vita for the instructor of record;
For each academic department, a departmental budget report;
For work-study employment opportunities, a link to current job openings; and
Summarized end-of-course student evaluations of faculty for each undergraduate classroom course.
The faculty and academic departments at Texas State are committed to the HB 2504 effort and take great strides to ensure 100 percent completion of the required materials. The university's compliance rate is 100 percent, as measured by the percentage of course syllabi and vitae available by the end of each semester. Student evaluations are posted to the website within four to six weeks after each semester.
Instructors of record are responsible for developing course syllabi. The university requires consistent elements in each syllabus, which mirrors the legislatively mandated information, including a brief description of each major course requirement, including each major assignment and examination, learning objectives, required/recommended reading, and a general description of the subject matter of each lecture or discussion. Syllabi are uploaded to the HB 2504 website through a simple file transfer protocol (FTP) process, typically managed by faculty members or administrative assistants. Syllabi must be uploaded by the seventh class day in a given semester. Public access is available at http://hb2504.txstate.edu/browseinstructors.html by clicking on the instructor’s last name (for example, click R for Professor Rodriguez’s course) or department/course prefix associated with the instructor’s course (for example, click MATH for Department of Mathematics). Course syllabi may also be accessed through http://hb2504.txstate.edu/browsecourses.html by clicking the appropriate prefix for the course or department of interest (for example, click ENG for English courses).
Texas State maintains curriculum vitae for faculty members as a part of the ongoing process for satisfying requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The university requires a consistent format for faculty vitae, which includes legislatively mandated information on the institutions of higher education attended and degrees earned, all previous teaching positions, and significant professional publications relevant to academic positions held. A database of faculty vitae is linked to the university’s HB 2504 website. Faculty members with undergraduate classroom courses receive annual notices to update vitae information. Vitae for newly hired instructors teaching undergraduate classroom courses are added at the beginning of the semester. Public access is available at http://hb2504.txstate.edu/browseinstructors.html by clicking on the instructor’s last name or department/course prefix associated with the instructor’s course(s). The curriculum vita of each instructor of record for an undergraduate classroom course is required to be posted each semester by the seventh class day of the term.
In addition to the evaluation measures already in place in departments and colleges, Texas State administers an end-of-course student evaluation system for all undergraduate classroom courses. Using a broad-based approach, a committee led by the Faculty Senate developed common end-of-course student evaluation items for all undergraduate courses. Following a review period that included two public forums, the committee finalized the following items for the Student Perceptions of Instruction (SPI) measure:
The instructor communicated effectively.
The course was organized effectively.
The course goals were made clear.
The instructor conducted class as scheduled.
The instructor provided opportunity to learn.
Historically, departments administered SPIs each semester in undergraduate classroom courses using a Scantron form provided by the university. Students in online courses received an electronic version of the SPI. The university’s Testing, Research Support and Evaluation Center (TREC) managed the scanning and data analysis process. A pilot of the SPI was implemented in July 2010 to ensure data consistency and correct process weaknesses. University-wide implementation occurred at the end of fall 2010 term and has continued in every fall, spring, and summer term since that time.
Dr. Debbie Thorne, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA), is the institution’s administrator responsible for implementing provisions of HB 2504. The AVPAA is responsible for continuing oversight of the reporting system, ensuring participation and support, and submitting a compliance report not later than January 1 of each odd-numbered year, with the fourth report due January 1, 2017. Information on deadlines, plans for modifications, and other updates originate from the AVPAA and are communicated to deans, department chairs, and faculty. Inquiries regarding Texas State’s HB 2504 website and compliance plans may be sent to email@example.com.
To meet this legislative requirement, between January 2015 and December 2016, Texas State faculty and staff uploaded nearly 16,000 syllabi and vita to the HB 2504 website. Despite the effort and cost, the website does not appear to generate significant traffic or interest. Details on costs and usage patterns are below.
IT programming support - $15,000/year
Administrative oversight and reporting - $18,000/year
Additional Scantron forms (to implement instructor evaluation) - $5,000/year (Spring & Summer 2015 only)
Overtime pay for increased scanning services - $1,000/year (Spring & Summer 2015 only)
Server hardware usage – $10,000/year
Faculty and staff time to manage and upload documents - $220,000/year
Between January 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015, Texas State’s HB 2504 website received a total of 55,085 visits. Of these visitors, approximately 43 percent were “new” to the site, indicating over 57 percent were repeat visitors. On average, users visited eight pages and stayed on the site for just over six minutes. Peak usage occurred on Monday, August 24, 2015. On this date the faculty received notification of the deadline for syllabi and vitae to be uploaded for the fall 2015 semester. Use during the summer months is as expected, given fewer number of courses.
Between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016, Texas State’s HB 2504 website received a total of 84,639 visits. Of these visitors, approximately 42 percent were “new” to the site, indicating over 58 percent were repeat visitors. On average, users visited seven pages and stayed on the site for just over six minutes. Peak usage occurred on Monday, August 29, 2016. On this date the faculty received notification of the deadline for syllabi and vitae to be uploaded for the fall 2016 semester.