Revamping Course Evaluations – Your Input Needed

(Email: 18 November 23)

Hope you are doing well! 

During the summer, a team got together to start the process of reexamining our student evaluations – with a focus on redesigning a system that works to eliminate known bias, inappropriate use of course evaluation data and adverse impacts on faculty. The Office of Academic Affairs fully supports this work and the creation of new system for gathering meaningful data.  

I’d like to ask that you help the team gather data for this work by taking a few minutes to read their message below and complete this survey with your feedback about student course evaluations by Wednesday, November 25

Class Evaluations Revision Survey 

My thanks to the team – including Ariane (Ann) Hayes, Caroline Leffall, Ellen Nichols, Jennie Mayer, Lindsay Haney, Tonya Estes, and Aron Segal – for their initiative on this project.  Please do not hesitate to contact them if you would like further information. 

Thanks for your help in this important endeavor! 


Class Evaluation Revision Survey 

The American Sociological Association released a statement last fall that said class evaluation processes, as they are typically employed, are flawed.  They amplify student biases and are harmful to the retention and growth of faculty.  Receiving constructive feedback from students is important nonetheless.   

In concert with the College’s efforts to address anti-Blackness, a mixed group of faculty and an exempt employee began meeting over the summer to brainstorm how the institution might respond to the litany of issues that exist with our current evaluation process.  Concerns were raised regarding not only anti-Black, misogynistic, and other biases, but also other aspects of the evaluation process itself.  Concerns regarding how the evaluations are used, whether alternative mechanisms might be better used to gain certain types of information, and whether it is appropriate for faculty to be responsible for soliciting the feedback all arose.   

Recognizing that evaluations completed by students are but one part of the instructor evaluation structure that also includes peer evaluations and a self-evaluation, the team has been exploring alternative processes advocated by researchers and those that other institutions have begun using.  To guide us in the first phase of a process of reviewing current practices and developing suggestions for alternatives, we would appreciate your responses to the questions in the linked survey regarding student class evaluations. 

We know that the current system is critically flawed.  Please help us to build one that will better serve faculty, administrators, and our students by responding to this survey by Wednesday November 25th, 2020.