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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Wallace T. Fowler (aerospace engineering), on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, has filed the recommendations set forth below concerning "The Report from the Faculty Council ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys: Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness and Excellence" (D 82-101).
The secretary has classified these recommendations as general legislation. Notice is hereby given that these recommendations will be presented to the Faculty Council for action at its meeting on May 8, 2000.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council
This legislation was posted on the Faculty Council web site (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on April 28, 2000. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500. This document was revised after the date of circulation as indicated in the footnotes.
REPORT FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE CONCERNING "THE REPORT OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL AD HOC COMMITTEE ON COURSE INSTRUCTOR SURVEYS: EVALUATING TEACHING EFFECTIVENESS AND EXCELLENCE" (D 82-101)
The topics addressed in the report of the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys have been discussed for many years. Specific reference is made to discussions on two occasions.
Thus, we note that there was consideration of student evaluations in 1986, followed by the enactment of legislation mandating student evaluations in 1991. The requirement became effective in spring 1992.
The report of the ad hoc Committee on Course Instructor Surveys (D 82-101) responded to seven charges. After study of the report, the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) recommends the following:
Recommendation 1: It is recommended that all classes be surveyed every semester, including summer, using either the Basic CIS Form or the Expanded CIS Form.1
Rationale: Teaching evaluations by students are required by all faculty at UT Austin and have been required since spring 1992. The only open issues are the form and frequency of these evaluations. This recommendation specifies the form and frequency of the required student evaluations.
For the results of student evaluations to be most useful, it is desirable that they have some items in common. Nine common items have been identified from earlier forms and have been used to create a Basic CIS Form.1
Recommendation 2: In addition to the Basic CIS Form, the Expanded CIS Form, and supplemental CIS forms designed for specific types of teaching methods, colleges and individual faculty are strongly encouraged to develop and use additional methods of evaluation.1
Rationale: The primary vehicles for collecting information about teaching are student surveys, alumni surveys, major retrospective surveys, peer review of materials, self-report in the form of portfolios, and mid-semester course adjustment data. To improve and maintain a high quality teaching program, colleges and individual faculty should seek feedback on teaching from many sources.
Recommendation 3: It is recommended that materials be prepared to assist students in understanding the importance of (1) giving helpful feedback and (2) understanding how to read the results of the surveys.
Rationale: The statistical data from the course instructor surveys is public information and will be released to the students. It is critical that the students understand the information provided to them.
Recommendation 4: In implementing the Basic CIS Form or the Expanded CIS Form, the privacy of both students and faculty must be respected and preserved.2
Rationale: Written comments on student evaluations are not governed by the Open Records Act that governs access to and release of answers to survey items. The written comments are offered and received as part of a private communication between student and faculty.
1 Corrections made at the request of the Educational Policy Committee on May 8, 2000.
2 Recommendation 4 was amended by the Faculty Council on May 8, 2000.
The EPC examined the ad hoc committee recommendation that information be made available to faculty concerning when and how to ask for feedback. Much information of this type is already available from the Center for Teaching Effectiveness. The EPC chooses not to act on this recommendation because it appears to be a work in progress.