Last fall, the university converted the way students evaluate their instructors to a completely web-based, online system. This semester’s evaluation period opens this afternoon and runs through April 30.
The final response rate last fall was slightly more than 50 percent, meaning that a little more than half of all course evaluations sent to students were completed.
“The results in the fall were a good sign of progress,” Provost Susan Martin said. “The previous, all-paper system response rate was higher, so there’s room for improvement. But we’re certainly headed in the right direction.”
The all-online process saves 1.25 tons of paper, countless man-hours, and about $30,000 each year, Martin said.
“We are communicating with students in a variety of ways to emphasize the importance of evaluations and to encourage their participation,” Martin said. “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.”
The anonymous evaluations help professors improve course instruction and play an important role in faculty performance reviews. Evaluation data is also required by many colleges’ national accrediting agencies to ensure the quality of teaching in various programs.
“Faculty members should take a moment to let their students know that you take evaluations seriously. While the system is open, remind students that the surveys are anonymous and also that they can complete the evaluation online at any time,” Martin said. “If students hear that instructors value their feedback, and that they have an impact on tenure and promotion, they will respond and take time to share their views.”
Students who complete all of their surveys will be entered in a drawing to win one of three iPads. 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.
Faculty, staff, or students who have questions about the survey or the changes that have been made, can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (865) 974-4373. To learn more about instructor evaluations, visit oira.utk.edu/sais/.