Below are some tips relating to Course Evaluations!

  1. Course evaluation materials are sent out to instructors by the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), usually two weeks before the end of classes.  Instructors are asked to select a student monitor to collect the forms and return them to the Office of Academic Affairs.  If a faculty member is being evaluated by the Rank and Tenure Committee for the tenure or promotion process, the course evaluation is handled by the Student Rank and Tenure Committee or by a staff member from the OAA.  Forms should be distributed at the beginning of the class period and faculty should leave the room during the evaluation process, usually 10 minutes or so.
  1. After grades have been submitted, the course evaluation data is sent to instructors by e-mail.  Chairs and Program Directors have a login name and password that allows them to go onto the Class Climate system and see the course evaluation data for any instructor in that specific program.  (Go to http://surveys.stmarys-ca.edu/classclimate where you will get a login page.) In addition, Chairs and Program Directors receive cumulative data for their respective programs and College-wide data, for comparison purposes.  Contact Dean Murray if you need your login or password information.
  1. Because most Saint Mary’s classes are small, Chairs and Program Directors should be careful about how they interpret results.  For example, if the College-wide norm for a particular question is 4.2, and an individual instructor scores 4.1, that is not a very significant difference.  The same is true for comparing an instructor’s scores in one class and another, or from one semester to another.  A difference of .1 or .2 is not significant enough to warrant attention whereas a difference of .4 or more might be. One helpful way to identify significant points of difference would be to ask Dean Murray for a “comparison profile line” report; in this format, an instructor’s scores are charted in comparison to the overall scores for the department and the College.  When there is a significant divergence, you can see it clearly because the colored line representing the instructor’s scores moves noticeably higher or lower than the differently colored lines representing the department and College scores.  Those divergences would indicate areas of strength or concern to address with the individual, or collectively with the department if the department results fall noticeably above or below the College norm.
  1. It is current practice to provide all faculty members with full information about their course evaluations, including access to the hardcopy if needed.  Hard copies are currently kept in the Office of Academic Affairs; sometimes these hard copies are needed to check/correct an anomaly in the electronic version that can occur during scanning.  Electronic or paper records should be kept departmentally as long as the instructor is actively involved in teaching, but especially throughout the Rank and Tenure process.  The Class Climate system will always be able to provide course evaluation information starting with the 2005 Spring semester for undergraduate faculty.
  1. Normally .25 courses are not evaluated unless a Chair/Program Director makes a request of the Office of Academic Affairs to provide forms for specific classes.  If there are .25 courses in your curriculum that should always be evaluated, let Dean Murray know so that they can be set up for regular evaluation.
  1. The system allows for individual faculty or departments/programs to ask a limited number of questions for their own informational purposes.  If you would like to take advantage of this component of the system, contact Dean Murray.
  1. Chairs or Program Directors should review the evaluations for all faculty members in the department – both the quantitative scores and written comments. It is helpful to let each instructor know through personal communication, telephone contact, e-mail or a written note that you have reviewed the evaluations. Depending on the evaluations, you could offer in your communication words of commendation, an offer (or request) to meet to discuss the evaluations, words of understanding and encouragement, and the like.
  1. On occasion, you may need to hold a performance counseling session with a faculty member who has been evaluated poorly by students over time. See the following handout entitled Performance Counseling for some tips on how to conduct the session and/or consult with the Human Resources department for assistance in conducting such sessions.

Revised on July 15, 2008

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