Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anyone?




Not only is this almost too short to be a Thirsty, but I also suspect that no one will respond in the affirmative. Nevertheless....

Q. Have any proffies here ever gone for a whole year without having had students evaluate you?

27 comments:

  1. A tenured proffie at my institution could probably get a way with it, and, from the emails I get reminding me of the importance of student evaluations, and the required nature of the exercise, I'd guess that some do. But not I. I write half-apologetic/half-defensive little notes back to the powers that be when they point out that I missed a class (which only happens when the last day of class gets canceled due to weather -- a decision that is, of course, made by the same powers that be).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes. Tenured profs at my SLAC are evaluated every third semester.

    ReplyDelete
  3. No, but I've gone a whole year without actually reading my evaluations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hate when a really good post goes up and then gets slammed by a bunch of smaller, less important ones. Earlier today a really well written post went up and was buried by an article from Fox News, and some small and silly posts.

    There should be a better system for making sure important posts get to stay at the top and get the comments they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oftentimes I've gone a year without student evals, but usually in a tenured spot.

    It is nice, actually. It makes you feel that you are teaching NOT to please the snowflakes, but to make them better.

    When student evals are used and taken seriously by administrators (which varies widely), then the customer service model is hard to ignore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. They're mandatory in every class for me, but I never read them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I suspect that Angry Reader wrote an "interesting" post earlier today and got sad face emoticons when other posts passed it by. So sad that creating an anonymous handle and complaining seemed to be the only recourse.

    We read all the posts, dearie, we do. I'm sure I'm not the only one who scrolls down the page reading everything until I see something I already read the day before. Sometimes posts just don't get a lot of comments, friend. It's a free bitchfest about the academy. Who are you to try to make it all complicated?

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Monkey: I'd be surprised if Angry Reader is R and/or G (the author of the substantive post immediately before the Fox News article), who has struck me as having a good sense of humor and community spirit. It seems far more likely that our troll has returned in yet another guise, trying to stir up trouble (maybe even by sending in the Conan article, which was posted by the moderator, which often means the posting was by request, then complaining about it).

    So let's go back to ignoring him/her/it (and, yes, using the various methods of scrolling available on our computers as we see fit; mine has at least 3).

    ReplyDelete
  9. My institution only requires evaluations every third year for tenured professors. I still do them for every class for my own knowledge. The official ones are done by the department secretary and they only have ten questions. My personal ones have more questions and lots of room for written responses.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My school has gone to a five year evaluation schedule for tenured proffies. Which is dandy with me since we don't have an instrument that is really a valid measure. Students who bother to fill them out rather than Christmas-treeing them either looooooooove you or think you're Beelzebub.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And here I was assuming that Angry Reader was joking, riffing on Standard Real Goddam Email #27. Actually I'm still assuming that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fugno. Never, never, never will that happen at my university. Last semester, the pea-brained student I trusted to take the evals to the office never did deliver them, and I was beaten mercilessly for it. OK, I admit I exaggerate, but only slightly.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Evals are mandatory in all classes where I teach. No escape. I actually read them and look for constructive critique or praise. I try to ignore the quantitative section where students evaluate on a scale of 1-5 a bunch of measures. It is a bit stupid because often they fill in numbers - which then affect my average "score" - even where "does not apply" clearly applies. I pay more attention to classroom visits by colleagues.

    @Angry - I have been mildly frustrated by that at times in the past, but I suspect that Academic Monkey is right. Many readers scroll down and read and even comment on stories that are not at the top. I know I do. It's part of the price of a group blog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really take issue with the whole electronic eval thing going on at my school. Also, I have tenure and all my promotions. So I just don't remind them about it. Ever.

    Therefore, yes, I often don't get evaluated at all. The background to this story is that they started the whole electronic evaluation thing just before my last promotion, and I was told I needed such and such a percentage to fill them out, as well as a certain score. I did such a dance for them to try to get them to fill out those suckers. I took them down to the computer lab, commandeered the place and demonstrated how to log in to the evals, then sat there up front while they took the last 15 minutes of class to do them. Then I went back to my office to check how many did them (we can see how many---just not who). 1. 1 student had done the eval. The rest were just laughing to themselves while they checked their Facebook accounts I guess. Thus began a daily routine, not of taking them to the computer lab, but of asking asking asking. I never did get the high percentage they were looking for, but because I started my campaign early (as soon as the evals are made available), I did come close.

    And I got my promotion and vowed never to spend time begging those kids to evaluate me again!

    And I never did.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I posted yesterday....but it's not me who is concerned about having her entry get buried. It got comments so people scrolled. I was just happy to see so many posts!

    Back to the topic at hand...I get evaluated like everyone else here, and like some, I may or may not read them. They always say the same thing...and its always a mix of wow great course and some whining about things being too hard. There was a great post on RYS about someone who very boldly dropped his/her evals into the recycling before even opening the envelope.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh God, no. Nobody around here would play the victim card.

    ReplyDelete
  17. They are mandatory for every class, every semester. I try to use the comments as something to improve my teaching. Some terms I actually get good ideas from my students and make changes as a result. The numbers are stupid and meaningless and therefore what administration cares about. Many of the questions are poorly worded so that the students don't even know exactly what they're answering or why.

    We're going with all online evaluations starting this term. I have no doubt this will end up being like our own version of Berate My Professor as there's no incentive for filling them out or punishment for not doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, and I forgot the best part: students who have dropped the class will also be able to evaluate us. Yes, given that all the questions are based on total class performance, that's a brilliant idea so we can "capture" the reasons they dropped somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Can't happen here. We can pick our semesters and classes, but it happens at least once per year here.

    No one, however, can make me read them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. every class.
    via the school's lms.
    return percentage vanishingly low, even with prizes offered to students by admin.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yes. Three-year cycle, and we are required to write comments about them in a self-evaluation. I also usually have the Little Dears write a bit halfway through the semester about my pace (re: ease of note-taking) and what they appreciate or wish would change.

    Some people discount the so-called objective parts, and I understand why, but I look for consistent patterns. If everyone in most classes rates me low on one of the "objective" items, I know that's an area I should work on. I don't pay attention to the occasional individual who rates me low in all categories.

    The comments are wonderful and uplifting, except when they're spiteful and petty. I try to be amused by the spelling and (lack of) punctuation in the latter, but they still affect my mood more than the former.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Englishdoc: it is such a farce, the online eval thing. We are also evaluated by those who have dropped. It sounds bad in theory, but actually, no one evaluates you much. Like every semester (remember, I don't remind them) I get MAYBE two evaluations total. And I am not unique. None of us spend much time begging them. Dean Dad (anyone here follow him) has written about the whole prize thing, where the professor is supposed to give the class some kind of extra credit on a test, or something, if they get to a certain percentage. He thinks its a dumb idea, but apparently it is something admins are floating as the electronic evaluation thing has resulted in extremely low participation in almost every institution in which it is used.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @EnglishDoc: I wouldn't worry (though I continue to be horrified that you're somehow supposed to be responsible for keeping them from dropping). My experience with online evals (to which my institution is slowly transitioning; at the moment courses with an online component -- hybrid or online -- have online evals; f2f courses still have paper ones) is similar to Faris': the return rates are even lower than with the paper evals. In some ways, that strikes me as to the good: if the students really don't care about evals, they shouldn't be filling them out in the first place. Of course, the problem is that some of the students who do care are those who are very unhappy for some reason (usually grades), and the cutoff below which the administration discounts the whole data set is, in my opinion, way too low (I think it's somewhere around a 20-30% response rate).

    ReplyDelete
  24. We've had electronic evals in place for online classes for many years. We were lucky if we got 5 evals per class, and many had none. When my tenure packet went up, my chairperson actually had to put a memo in with it stating that no, I didn't have a retention rate of only 2-25% in my online classes, but that was just how many evals I got due to the system. I know the same thing is going to happen with this new system.

    The technique I had the best luck with was making it an actual survey within the LMS. Once I started doing that, an idea I came up with on my own, my rates went up to 50% or higher. Students get turned off the minute they have to go outside if it requires a separate login. But the admins don't like that technique because it takes the evaluation process out of their direct control (as if the paper surveys were ever in their control really--I actually had senior colleagues advise me to administer them myself, read through them, and toss the bad ones out before the packet got turned into the office by someone from the next class, something I could never do as much as I think the student eval process is BS).

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.