Office of the Provost

Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook
Chapter 7 -- Student Affairs

 

Evaluations of Faculty

Administration of Student Evaluations of Faculty Policy

Student evaluations of faculty are an important element in the evaluation of faculty for tenure, promotion, and merit, consequently, it is important that the evaluations be administered with reasonable uniformity throughout the University and that the procedures followed optimize the validity of the data collected, especially data regarding the instructional skills of the professor and the academic quality of the course. In that respect, the following guidelines are proposed for the administration of student evaluations of faculty.

1. The department chair or designee (other than the instructor of the course) will administer student evaluations of classes within the department. For courses taught at remote locations, e.g., continuing education classes, the area coordinator will administer the student evaluations of the classes and send the completed evaluation forms to the appropriate department at FHSU. In exceptional cases where the above requirements cannot be met, the chair will consult with the instructor and select another method for the administration of student evaluations that protects the anonymity of the students and preserves the validity of the data.

2. The faculty member (instructor) shall not have access to the student evaluations until the semester grades have been submitted to the registrar. At that time the faculty member will receive a summary of the statistical results of the objective questions and a typed copy of all student-written comments. When practical, the written comments will be typed by nonstudent employees of the University. The student evaluations shall be employed for tenure, promotion, and merit considerations and at the departmental level to enhance the professional development of the instructor. Instructors shall have the opportunity to respond to any student evaluations either in writing or verbally to the department chair, and at the request of the instructor, any written response shall become a part of the student evaluation file for that particular class and shall accompany the student evaluations in the instructor's tenure, promotion, or merit files.

3. It may not be possible or reasonable to have the students of every class evaluate their instructors (and classes) every semester, but such is the ideal. Student evaluations are an important element in the overall determination of tenure, promotion, and merit of faculty; and students, generally, prefer to have the opportunity to evaluate all of their classes every semester. Each department must decide the number and the pattern regarding such evaluation of classes, keeping in mind that the ideal will foster a more equitable and fair competition for tenure, promotion, and merit. The department chair must be prepared to justify any deviation from the ideal.

4. Student evaluations shall be completed in the last three (3) weeks of the class and prior to finals week. Exceptions to this requirement shall be negotiated with the department chair.

5. Departments will develop standard instructions to be read, or paraphrased, prior to the administration of student evaluations. These instructions should include, where appropriate, instructions concerning the manner in which the evaluations should be administered. The instructions should inform students that their thoughts and comments are important and useful and that steps will be taken to protect their anonymity. In order to establish uniformity, it is recommended that departments use the prototype instructions as a guide in developing standard departmental instructions. Instructions for the evaluation of summer courses shall reflect the summer session University policy regarding the limited use of student evaluations.

6. Statistical results from student evaluations for different classes cannot be treated as equal. Classes in the left column below will typically be rated higher by students than those in the right column in ways not dependent on the actual quality of instruction. Individuals that use student evaluations as an indication of instructional skill and quality of the learning experience should be aware of this anomaly.

     smaller classes v. larger classes
     classes in one's major v. general education classes
     upper-division classes v. lower-division classes

 Research on factors which affect results of student evaluations is an ongoing process; these factors may change over time. Accordingly, the above list of factors is illustrative only; the actual factors to be considered may need to be changed as applicable research indicates. To summarize, as culture changes, we need to adapt to that.

7. The original student evaluations shall be kept on file by the department for a period of five years.

Prototype Instructions for the Evaluation of Faculty and Courses-Regular

These are course and instructor evaluations. These evaluations are used by department chairs and upper-level administrators in the determination of tenure, promotion, and/or salary increases for both tenured and nontenured faculty, and the evaluations will be used by the instructor for improvement of the course and instructional skills. The forms should be completed in a thoughtful and honest manner, taking time and being thorough and accurate. Please note that the evaluation (objective and written parts) will NOT be made available to the instructor until after all grades have been submitted to the registrar. At that time the instructor will receive a typed summary of all comments and a statistical summary of all objective responses. Students do not have to complete an evaluation form if they so choose; in that case the student writes "no comment" on the form and turns it in. But comments are wanted and needed. Willingness to help with the evaluation is appreciated and anonymity is assured.

Prototype Instructions for the Evaluation of Faculty and Courses--Summer

These are course and instructor evaluations. These evaluations will be used by the instructor for improvement of the course and instructional skills, and they will also be used at the departmental level to determine if this course will be offered in future summer sessions. The forms should be completed in a thoughtful and honest manner, taking time and being thorough and accurate. Please note that the evaluation (objective and written parts) will NOT be made available to the instructor until after all grades have been submitted to the registrar. At that time the instructor will receive a typed summary of all comments and a statistical summary of all objective responses. Students do not have to complete an evaluation form if they so choose; in that case the student writes "no comment" on the form and turns it in. But comments are wanted and needed. Willingness to help with the evaluation is appreciated and anonymity is assured.

Approved by Faculty Senate (05-04-92). Approved by President Edward H. Hammond (03-10-93).

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