The Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) further debated a proposal yesterday seeking to keep one library on campus open 24 hours, and also discussed details of a possible shift from paper to online CUE evaluations.
The library proposal, presented by Undergraduate Council (UC) President Matthew J. Glazer ’06, showed that 92 percent of 257 polled undergraduates favor the creation of a 24-hour library.
“This issue has been around for years and years,” Glazer said at the meeting. “Students stay up past 12:45 and their work doesn’t stop then....They need the healthy environment that a library provides.”
Larsen Librarian Nancy M. Cline noted at the meeting that recent budget cuts and belt-tightening across the University “put a pothole in the road” for plans to renovate Lamont Library, the building 76.7 percent of polled students said they would like to see offer 24-hour access.
Still, she emphasized her desire to find a solution for nocturnal students.
“One option is [keeping open] a limited number of floors, but it is an odd building,” Cline said. “There is a risk of putting some of the [building] systems at a premature failure point because it’s more people.”
Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 raised concerns about safety and transportation for students out studying late at night and whether longer library hours would require extended shuttle service as well.
Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences Peter E. Gordon speculated about the possible mental health repercussions that a 24-hour library might have.
“The college maybe shouldn’t move to a place that’s promoting over-performance,” Gordon said at the meeting.
“Having everything operating 24 hours a day, it’s like having your computer on all the time: you just keep checking the e-mail,” Gross added.
Cline nonetheless advocated further exploration of the proposal.
“The 24-hour model is the preferred model to look at,” she said at the meeting. “If we try it, we will have some information and it’s better than all the speculation.”
Gross, Cline, and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs Georgene B. Herschbach planned to meet to discuss the ideas further but have no stated deadline for a decision.
“This gives us a good start,” Gross said. “People on the library have been very receptive to student concerns.”
Members also watched a presentation about the effectiveness of online CUE course evaluations, which were piloted this fall in German and math classes, as well as Freshman Seminars.
Online evaluations in these subjects replaced the traditional paper forms and allowed students to respond when they had time, rather than in class. Students could also change their responses before submitting their evaluations.
Participating students were entered into a raffle for gift certificates to area businesses.
Fifty-nine percent of enrolled students submitted online evaluations, while 74 percent of enrolled students submitted paper evaluations.
Gross asserted that online responses for his math classes were more helpful than paper responses.
“The comments were long, detailed analyses rather than two sentences scrawled on an evaluation,” he said at the meeting. “I could read them, too.”
CUE members will meet with the Faculty Council to plan for expanding online evaluations next semester.
In response to what he termed “an alarming number of cases” of academic dishonesty last semester, Gross said he will also write a message to the community reminding them of College policies about plagiarism and academic dishonesty.
Gross also suggested that the publication “Writing with Sources,” which outlines proper methods of citation, be reviewed and updated if necessary.
—Staff writer Allison A. Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.