Course evals go viral
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 22:04
After months of debate, the Faculty Senate voted to shift from paper to online course evaluations for a two-year trial period at their meeting April 9.
Faculty and staff were initially concerned that switching to online evaluations would lower response rates, which are used to determine promotion, tenure and salary increases, SGA Sen. Kathrine Mansfield said.
“If we switch to online evaluations we, as students, all need to take part in the evaluations,” Mansfield said. “A low response rate could mean that professors aren't getting proper feedback, and so [they] are denied a position the next year, or lose their tenure.”
If the response rate online is not high enough after the two-year trial period, the University will switch back to paper evaluations, she said.
Despite the fact that a low response rate might be used against them, many faculty members still supported online evaluations, Mansfield said.
SGA and Mansfield approved of the resolution for a number of reasons:
1. Online evaluations are an efficient use of student tuition.
2. It is a more environmentally friendly means of collecting data.
3. It supports UVM faculty and staff.
“Going online is pretty important because it means that UVM is wasting less money,” Mansfield said. “My hope is that there isn't a low response rate.”
The information provided by the online evaluations will still be limited to specific personnel in the respective colleges to ensure complete anonymity, SGA Sen. Riker Pasterkiewicz said.
“I am pleased with the faculty’s decision to implement online course evaluations and look forward to students utilizing the improved method in the future,” Pasterkiewicz said.
President of the Faculty Senate Julie Roberts said she is happy to see online evaluations finally become a reality at UVM.
“I hope that the students will continue to support these evaluations when they begin by filling them out,” Roberts said. “A good response rate is critical to their success.”