April 15, 2013


Chair Martha Hilley called attention to a recent draft report from The University of Texas System regarding the Electronic Course Instructor Surveys (eCIS) and recommended that Council members take time to carefully review and comment on the eCIS documents that have been posted on the Council website. She said the system’s report had raised some concerns among faculty members, particularly because much of the content of the report did not appear to reflect the recommendations that had been made some time earlier in the recommendations issued by a task force that the UT System had itself established. Although Chair Hilley noted that use of the eCIS was not currently required according to the draft report, she thought this requirement could likely develop in the future. She said the draft report specified that all UT System campuses use five mandated questions with the same exact wording and order for submission of survey results to the UT System.

She reported that there was concern among some faculty, including herself, that the five questions did not include ones providing overall summary ratings regarding the course and the instructor, which were often used by administrators and faculty committees in evaluating course and instructor performance for merit increases and teaching awards. Although additional items, such as the overall summary ratings, could be added to the five mandatory ones, she expressed concern that the draft report included the following statement: “While campuses will likely report the responses to their own questions relevant to a particular program or college, the responses to the five required survey questions will be reported to UT System.” She noted her displeasure that the survey results will be made public for everybody to review and that, while student comments were not required and “should not be forwarded to the UT System,” the proposal did not say that they “will not” be reported to UT System. Furthermore, Professor Hilley objected to the suggestion that an instructor should receive continuous feedback from students in his or her classes, which she perceived as a daunting task, given the already overwhelming duties required of faculty members. In addition, she was concerned that the draft report stated specifically that MyEdu was in the process of developing the ability to accommodate the need for continuous student feedback. In closing, Chair Hilley again implored all Council members to carefully review the posted eCIS documents and provide thoughtful comments, suggestions, and questions regarding the content and recommendations.

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