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The student voice of Midwestern State University The Wichitan page 7 Pom-pom Fever page 8 Mustangs stumble CMT’s show ‘Making the Team’ demonstrates what it takes to be a Cowboys’s cheerleader. Women’s soccer suffers a heartbreaking loss WEDNESDAY, October 14, 2009 Lights, camera, theater festival Lauren Wood Entertainment Editor Students dedicate their summers to performing labor of love Chris Collins Managing Editor How do you enjoy spending your vacation time? Some students go to the beach, or to Vegas. Others tackle home projects they didn’t have time to complete during the semester. Others just sleep and chill. But Phillip Ray and Staci Byrd, both MSU seniors, have others plans for their time off: mission trips. Fun to these two is traveling to a far away, underprivileged country to perform free labor. Labor that they pay to do. Knowing that they’ve helped other people and proselytized on Christianity’s behalf is all they need, they both said. In the summer of 2008, Byrd traveled to Moldova, a poor European country tucked between Romania and the Ukraine. Her mission: to talk to and care for the kids at an orphanage. Byrd enlisted for mission work through the GoNOW organization, part of MSU’s Baptist Student Ministry. A straight eight-hour flight from Houston to Germany, a 12hour layover and another two- See MISSION page 4 MSU student Phillip Ray helps dig a water well in Guatemala during a mission trip. Photo Courtesy MSU will play host to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Thursday through Saturday, which invites other colleges to attend acting classes, receive critiques on their work and learn from some of the best in the business. The three-day festival includes workshops, critiques, forums and productions, all in hopes of improving the quality of college theater. The MSU Theater Department usually tries to attend the festival at the other schools every other year, or at least once every four years, but this year they volunteered to be a host. “The festival usually consists of many schools, but this year I think the economy has kept some schools from participating,” Brandon Smith, theater technical assistant/adjunct faculSee THEATERpage 4 Policies tweaked for H1N1 outbreak Donace Wilkinson For the Wichitan Due to H1N1, some Midwestern State University professors have relaxed their attendance policies this semester while others see no need to do so. According to Assistant Professor of Education and Reading Dr. John Schreiber, in the last two weeks he has had at least one student missing per session because of flu symptoms. Schreiber said he rarely ever has students not show up. “Once they say fever, I say stay home,” Schreiber said. “I have adjusted my attendance policy. I do not count for flu ab- sences.” Assistant Professor of Education and Reading Dr. Gayle Mullen said attendance in her classes has been off this semester; six students were absent Monday. “I’m hoping it’s illness,” Mullen said. She said she has thought about changing her attendance policy. Assistant Professor of Education Dr. SuHua Huang said attendance in her early classes has been worse. “Students cannot get up on time,” Huang said. She did say, however, that absences have increased due to the flu, because students or their See ATTENDANCE page 4 Faculty gets advice from student panel Chris Collins Managing Editor The Teaching and Learning Resource Center hosted a panel discussion Thursday for students to express what they want and what they expect from faculty. Seven students, one from each academic discipline and two from mass communication, served as the panel. Faculty from various disciplines attended to answer questions and listen to concerns. Dr. Jim Sernoe, chair of mass communication, presided. Some of the main topics discussed were qualities of good teachers, handing back assignments on time, clarity, communication and fairness. Teacher evaluations were also discussed in some detail. “I need to get assignments back in a timely manner,” Julia Graham, senior mass communication major said. “It drives me insane when it takes like a month to get it back, because I’m dying to know. “Communication is key,” she continued. “It’s frustrating when you have that one professor who seems unwilling to give explanation about something.” “My problem is teachers who See PANELpage 4 Due to disappointing response rate, evaluations back on paper Abbie Scott Hunt For the Wichitan Students will soon see a familiar packet appearing on their professors’ 
desks as the last week of the semester approaches, because MSU is reverting 
back to paper evaluations after the online system failed to produce 
satisfactory results. Dr. Russell Long, Interim Pro- vost for Midwestern State University who has 
been interim provost for the past two months, said that the university is 
planning to reinstate the in-class teacher evaluations, “because there was 
such a low response rate from students online.” The response rate was a 
whopping 10 percent – a disappointing turnout.  Long said it’s hard to get any 
kind of accurate reading of a professor’s performance from such a small 
sample. “(You can get) no meaningful data from a sample size that small,” Long said. Every department on campus used the online evaluation system, but Long said 
no one department stood out for having more feedback than another. “It 
varied a little but to be honest, I don’t remember which department was best 
and which was worst,” Long said. Long was unsure of the number of years MSU has had the online evaluation 
system in place, or whether or not it was part of an eco-friendly campus effort, but said he thought the reasoning behind its inception was to get 
more instantaneous feedback. “I don¹t know that it had anything to do with 
(green-ing) the campus,” Long said. “I think it was done because it was seen 
as a more efficient, immediate kind of evaluation.” Evaluations are important be- cause they play a role in the tenure and 
promotion process. “Certainly part of the tenure and promotion process is 
evaluation of teaching effectiveness and student evaluations can be an 
important part of that process,” Long said. “I taught for several years and 
I found that the comments were the single most important thing to me as an 
instructor.” He clarified that the most significant comments were 
made by students who put thought and effort into what they wrote rather than 
just making a generic statement of like or dislike. The cost of this venture? Long said, “It will not be a secret,” but that 
it’s “too early to tell” what the changeover will cost, if anything. We may 
already have the equipment in place that can “read” the evaluations, Long 
said. “People in IT are See EVALUATIONS page 4

Oct 14, 2009

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