Faculty pass SmartEvals to Provost for final approval

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A proposed online faculty evaluation software will be sent to Provost Nowell Donovan for final approval, Facualty Senate Chair Dan Williams said.

The Faculty Senate voted Thursday to endorse a new student perception of teaching (SPOT) format and a revision of the current teaching evaluation rubric.

Both recommendations were proposed when the Senate met Feb. 2.

SmartEvals, if approved by the provost, would replace Class Climate, a pilot program that has been used the past two semesters, Senate Chair Dan Williams said.

Last semester, 40 percent of departments went to the online format. All departments are using the system this semester. The new format, known as eSPOT, saw a 71 percent response rate from students in departments that used the system last fall, Cathy Coghlan, director of the Office of Institutional Research, said.

Judy Groulx, chair of the University Evaluation Committee, said the lower response rates of the online system compared to the traditional, in-class format was one of the main concerns among faculty. Coghlan said response rates from the in-class format are normally around 90 percent.

Groulx said the online system will have to rely on students to “change the culture on campus” so that the importance of feedback is emphasized.

SmartEvals would also ensure student confidentiality, Groulx said.

The move to an online format – whether it was to SmartEvals or another software – was imminent, Donovan said.                                                                      

Online evaluations, in addition to saving paper and increasing efficiency, also lend themselves to “more fuller participation,” Donovan said.

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