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In just a couple of weeks, students will be asked to evaluate their instructors for the spring semester. The online spring evaluation period will begin April 9 and run through April 30.

Fall 2011 marked the first time that all instructor evaluations were delivered to students electronically through the online Student Assessment Instruction System (SAIS).

The final response rate for fall was slightly more than 50 percent, meaning that a little more than half of all course evaluations sent to students were completed. The previous online pilot project generated a 38 percent response rate.

“The results in the fall were a good sign of progress,” Provost Susan Martin said. “The previous, all-paper system response rate was 80 to 90 percent overall, so there’s room for improvement. But we’re certainly headed in the right direction.”

Moving to an all-online process saves 1.25 tons of paper, countless man-hours, and about $30,000 each year, Martin said.

Students who completed all of their surveys were entered in a drawing to win one of three iPads. Three students claimed their prizes just after winter break. Prize drawings will be held again this semester.

A “Chill Out” study break is also planned for study day, from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 30, in the Library Commons.

“We want students to know that when they share their opinions with us, we take it seriously. Our faculty work hard to implement the good ideas shared by our students,” Martin said.

As much as 70 percent of all students completed at least one evaluation last fall. Martin said that faculty plays a large role in encouraging their students to participate in the process.

For more information about the SAIS evaluation process, e-mail or call 865-974-4373.