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IMPORTANT CHANGES TO COURSE EVALUATIONS
CTE is consistently looking for ways to improve the faculty experience at SMU. In 2015, in conjunction with OIT, we migrated SMU’s course evaluation system to EvaluationKit in an effort to streamline reporting and increase the transparency of response rates.
SMU had almost forty course evaluation instruments with a variety of different questions and response scales. This makes it difficult to analyze and meaningfully report course evaluations across the university. At the request of Provost Currall, a group of students, faculty, and faculty administrators met to develop a university-wide course evaluation. This group considered research on bias of various questions, got feedback from students, Associate Deans, Deans and the Faculty Senate Academic Policies Committee, reviewed peer and aspirational course evaluations, and developed best practices for implementing the new set of questions.
During the committee’s yearlong deliberations, they considered research on course evaluations as well as the processes and policies of SMU’s peer and aspiration institutions. Further, the committee took into serious consideration the implications for faculty and the bias that occur on evaluations. The committee recommended the creation of a university-wide survey instrument. However, in recognition of the benefit of schools maintaining a level of autonomy, individual schools were also given the opportunity to include additional questions they would like to ask their students.
During the fall and spring semesters, course evaluations will be available for students to fill out for a two-week period that ends on the first day of final exams. The completed evaluations will be sent to instructors approximately one week after the last grades are due. For other terms (modules, Jan, May, etc.), the windows will be different. To increase the response rate, it is recommended that faculty provide 15 minutes during class for students to fill out the evaluations and give students advanced warning so that they can bring a laptop or smart phone to class. The faculty member should step out of the room when students are completing the evaluations.