Teacher/Course Evaluation Policy
In 1990, a University Senate explored the use of a uniform teaching evaluation form for the entire university. After piloting the form and studying its validity, the Senate Council approved use of the form for the 1992-93 academic year. Currently, the form has been adopted by most, but not all, of the colleges and departments in the Provost Area. In 1994, the Senate Council approved a recommendation to make the teaching and course evaluations available in electronic format. Consequently, summary data are now accessible to all students on the Office of Institutional Research’s website. However, written responses to open-ended questions are not posted on the website. Later in the year, the Senate Council acted to limit the release of results to full- and part-time faculty teaching lectures and seminars. Thus, the results on the Web exclude small, independent courses and discussion sections, as well as course sections with fewer than five students enrolled. The TCE results for teaching assistants also are not posted on the office website.
The integrity of the TCE process rests upon the confidentiality of students’ ratings. If the results are to be meaningful, students must be guaranteed that their assessments will not provoke reprisals from their instructors. To ensure that evaluations are not traced to a given individual, OIR has established three procedures that must be followed by participating instructors:
- Instructors are not permitted to be in the classroom or lab while students complete the evaluations.
- A designated student is responsible for taking the completed forms to the departmental office for further processing.
- Instructors are not permitted to examine either individual evaluation forms or summary evaluation results until after grades have been posted.
In addition, instructors are discouraged from evaluating their courses and teaching when fewer than five students are enrolled. Instructors who teach classes with fewer than five students must have the permission of their department chairs to participate in the TCE process.
Finally, to bolster the meaningfulness of the evaluations, instructors are asked to conduct their evaluations between middle of the term and the second to the last week of the semester. Instructors are prohibited from conducting the evaluations during dead week or the week when final exams are given.