2006 Letter to Faculty

April 10, 2006

Dear Colleagues:

As we complete WEC Winter Trimester (54% response rate overall-moving in the right direction) and move to Spring terms, we offer this update and set of recommendations for conducting course evaluations this next round; the day term dates are from April 14 to April 28. Spring WEC dates will be advertised at the end of May.

First, we and some of the research suggest that a clear statement to students of the value and use of this information is critical. We believe such a uniform approach may bolster response rates and may provide a consistent campus-wide approach to prompting students to fill out the evaluation. If students begin to hear a shared sense of commitment to what we learn from their efforts, that common commitment can strengthen the project. Also, we encourage you to individualize your discussion with students by sharing with them how you use this information; you might perhaps indicate what you changed last time for this term and highlight any particular type of feedback that might be useful.

Thus, we strongly encourage you to engage the following practices to increase the chances of a good response rate.

  • Explain the shared rationale and then offer your individual comments. Be constructive and thank them for taking the time to do this.
    The statement below is a concise reminder for students of the value we place in their helpful and honest feedback. Please consider using it as a basis for your class conversation.

    • The faculty of Augsburg College value the opinions of the students who take our courses, and we try to improve our courses and our teaching in response to their thoughtful evaluations. Please take the time in the next two weeks to complete the on-line evaluation of your courses. Your response will be read by your professors and by college administrators. We appreciate your effort; it helps support the college’s dedication to and understanding of excellent and diverse teaching.
  • Remind students twice–once at the beginning of week one and again at the start of week two. Remind students about the multiple locations to access the form: email and on their Moodle site.

Other suggestions are:

  • Consider letting the class out 10-15 minutes early one day in exchange for the time you are asking them to put in completing the evaluation. This seemed to work incidentally and we are interested in seeing if it makes a difference.
  • Next term, put “course evaluation completion” on your syllabus as part of the last weeks of course work; this may help to send the message of importance and expectation.

The On-line Working Group continues to monitor the project and will be meeting in May to do more extensive data analysis and work on next steps in the pilot. If you have interest or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Diane (pike@augsburg.edu) or Scott (krajewsk@augsburg.edu) Any member of the committee is happy to talk with you.

You will have access to your evals right after your grades are turned in-there will be no delay as there was from Fall.

Finally, there is no single form that accomplishes what we should expect in terms of understanding how well we serve students. Please use paper and pencil in-class forms as needed to collect information about specialized questions regarding your course; this data can important information for you but need not be institutionally processed. Any time after about 2/3s of the way through course should get you much of what you need. We ask you not to do any sort of evaluation during final exam slots.

Thank you for your efforts in sustaining and improving teaching and learning at Augsburg College.

Scott Krajewski, Diane Pike, Stu Stoller, Pam Weiss,
Carol Knicker, Ken Erikson, Bob Cowgill