School navigation

Teaching Excellence Program

How We Read and Use Our Course Evaluations

Date: 1:00pm - 1:50pm PDT April 18, 2017 Location: JR Howard Hall 302

JR Howard Hall 302

As the 2016-17 academic year comes to a close, we will be discussing how (and to what extent) to use the feedback we get from students in our end-of-semester course evaluations. 

To spark ideas about this topic, please take a look at the following piece by Steve Volk, Director of Oberlin’s Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence: Set for SETS? Student Evaluations of Teaching

As Dr. Volk describes, student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are not without controversy: “Research clearly demonstrates that SETs are significantly biased against many different subcategories of faculty: women (female faculty in physics in particular), faculty of color, Asian faculty, international faculty who speak ‘accented’ English, faculty who teach quantitative methods courses, and ‘less physically attractive’ faculty.” Clearly these data invite ongoing, college-wide conversations about best practices in student evaluations of teaching. 
But in the context of our current system, we are all about to give our students their course evaluations. And in a few short weeks, we will find ourselves experiencing the relief of turning in grades alongside the dread of clicking on the link that brings us to our course evaluation data. When, where, and how should we go about reading our course evaluations? Dr. Volk describes that he reads his evaluations with “a mixture of interest, confusion, skepticism, and wonder.” He also shares a number of tips for how to read evaluations in a way that “neither overestimate[s] their importance nor discount[s] what they may have to tell us.” We will share and discuss these and other ideas on Tuesday. 
Although an RSVP is not required, a rough ​headcount is always appreciated. If you plan to attend, please send a quick email to or RSVP below.
Please feel free to bring your own lunch. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided. 
Registration for this event is now closed.