student evaluations of instructors

What Counts as Evidence of Effective Teaching?

Psychology programs at large, research-focused universities often ask me to provide an external evaluation for a faculty member on a teaching-track faculty who are being considered for tenure or promotion. I try to accept these invitations because I think it is vital that faculty who

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Course Evaluations as a Tool for Growth

I remember my first year as a tenure-track professor as a nightmare. For reasons I won’t belabor, my teaching stunk. During class, my face was red and hot with humiliation as I fumbled through the content. During lectures, I prayed that no one would ask

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Midcourse Feedback: A Great Idea

Most courses are reaching or have reached their midpoint. So how are they going? We have our opinions, and they do matter. But what would students say about their courses at this point? Midcourse feedback is a way to find out, and there are all

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College professor speaking with students

Benefits of Talking with Students about Mid-Course Evaluations

It takes a certain amount of courage to talk with students about course evaluation results. I’m thinking here more about formative feedback the teacher solicits during the course, as opposed to what’s officially collected when it ends. Despite how vulnerable revealing results can make a

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How to Get Better Feedback from Students

It’s that time of the year when end-of-course ratings and student comments are collected. When the feedback arrives, the quality often disappoints—and if the feedback is collected online, fewer students even bother to respond. Most of the comments are dashed off half thoughts, difficult to

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End-of-Course Evaluations: Making Sense of Student Comments

At most colleges, courses are starting to wind down and that means it’s course evaluation time. It’s an activity not always eagerly anticipated by faculty, largely because of those ambiguous comments students write. Just what are they trying to say?

I think part of the

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