Feedback from students, the administration, and teachers

            Feedback from students. The university conducts evaluations for each course at the end of each semester as part of its Faculty Development (FD) program. Teachers will be expected to have students fill in these surveys towards the end of each semester. The coordinators of the IEP have developed supplemental questions that are specific to the objectives in the IEP.

            However, the single most important part of the evaluation is the space for open-ended responses. This space is underutilized. Please encourage your students to write comments. You may even ask them to comment on a new activity you introduced in class. You might also ask them “What did you like best about the class?” or “What aspect(s) of the class would you change?”

            The surveys are reviewed by the university administration and by the IEP coordinators. Then the survey results are sent to teachers so they can review the students’ comments and use them to improve their teaching.

            Student evaluations are not used to decide whether to renew a teacher’s annual contract. However, in very rare cases—when there has been a consistent pattern of inadequate performance—they have been taken into consideration. Certainly, it is your responsibility to ensure that evaluations are done every semester and that you review them carefully.

            Feedback from the administration. If a problem is identified with the program itself or with how a teacher is presenting the course content, we will either revise the curriculum as necessary or the IEP coordinators will make suggestions intended to improve the teacher’s effectiveness. While there may be a need for individual guidance in some cases, what we really expect is that teachers will already have the requisite competence, dedication, enthusiasm, and professionalism to be able to offer effective classes so that guidance from the administration can be kept to a minimum.

            Feedback from teachers. Many of the best ideas in the IEP came from our teachers, or they were refinements of activities already in the curriculum guides. The Core Media Discussion task, for example, was steadily revised and improved over the years. We developed a grading scale, learned the value of repetition in carrying out the task (after filming Hamilton Armstrong’s classes), and Todd Rucynski produced an instructional DVD for students and teachers. This shows the benefits of working together and teaching a consistent curriculum.