New Teacher Evaluation Site by Student Government
by Valerie A Horn | published Oct. 30th, 2015
A site by Student Government (SG) is in progress, and is currently planned to be fully implemented in time for course enrollment for the 2016-2017 academic year. The site’s goal is to evaluate professors as a strategy to be more open to students. The issue emerged last year when students wanted to have a site where they could assess their professors and have the ability to be able to discern which professor is compatible to their learning abilities. The issue was brought to SG in the form of a PawPrints petition. Students wanted RIT to embrace transparency, since some schools make some course evaluation information public. RIT students wanted the right to know the quality of professors.
As the issue has been an idea through the years, SG decided to work on their own course evaluations that was separate from SmartEvals. The SG opened evaluations and began working with Academic Affairs to see whether there were any possible avenues into setting up a system for evaluating professors. During this previous summer, the President of Student Government, Nick Giordano, and the Director of Services, Nathan Castle, worked with professors, faculty and staff and formed a committee to draft some of the policy involved, and technical implementation. SG also worked closely with the Registrar, Provost and Dr. James Naveda on the project.
“The hope is that making evaluation data available to students will both improve their ability to select appropriate classes and improve the response rate for the university," explained Castle. "The premise is that open evaluations will improve the value proposition and incentivize the students to respond.” Students will be able to see quantitative review data for courses and professors. The focus is to allow students to use it during the course selection process.
Giordano stated, “I believe as we move forward in creating this process, it is up to the students to use the course evaluation system as a tool for improvement for the professors and instructors at RIT. The comments and ratings put through the system should be fair and constructive, because faculty work to improve their courses every day for students, and the best way we, as students, can help that process is by fairly evaluating them and giving them our feedback regularly throughout the semester.” Giordano also said, “the student participation rate in the evaluations will be higher because the students will have access.”
The process first began before spring break 2015 and is currently an ongoing project. The project will likely take a year before it is finalized.