Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

E.1.e. Student Feedback on Teaching and Courses

The process of gathering student feedback of teaching aims to stimulate reflection about teaching and to encourage peer cooperation in the enhancement of teaching. Student feedback is useful in three distinct ways.
  • It can help improve teaching methods by understanding what is working and what is not, thus improving student learning.
  • It can aid in personnel decisions made by administrators and committees (e.g., promotion, merit increases, tenure).
  • It gives students a voice concerning their education.

These three goals provide the basis for the online student feedback questions.

Course feedback forms are administered for all courses with three or more students. Course feedback is administered using the online system. Professional development opportunities are available for training to use the online system and properly interpreting results. Professional development opportunities are also available for development of both qualitative and quantitative questions and the use of best practices.

Guidelines for various courses and classroom teachers are described below:

  • Student feedback conducted by Faculty becomes part of the ongoing evaluation of these faculty members as described in a later section of the Handbook. Faculty student feedback forms consist of the ten questions in Table 1 with up to ten additional questions determined by the Faculty member.
  • Student feedback conducted by adjunct teaching staff become part of the department chair’s review of the adjunct teaching staff with chairs receiving summary reports one week after the day grades are due. Summaries are available to the adjunct teaching staff the day after grades are due. The feedback forms consist of the ten questions in Table 1 with up to ten additional questions chosen in consultation with the department chair.   
  • For courses that are part of The Engaged Citizen or Explorations, and for activity courses, modifications to the ten questions may be approved by the Committee on Faculty and are coordinated by the committee or department responsible for these courses. Provided that a compelling rationale is articulated and that there is a clear departmental consensus, departments may petition the Committee on Faculty to allow modifications to the ten questions for departmental courses taught concurrently by multiple classroom teachers.

Protection of the anonymity of student feedback is integral to the process. In situations when classroom teachers provide time during class for students to complete the online feedback forms, the classroom teachers should leave the room while students are completing the forms.   In all cases, classroom teachers do not see student feedback for a particular course until after the deadline for submitting grades.

Table 1: Online Student Feedback Questions

Student course feedback forms will include these questions with a Likert scale and a box for open response comments for each question as shown in Table 2. The open response prompts can be reworded by Faculty to facilitate qualitative responses.

  1. The classroom teacher’s use of class time contributed to my learning of the course material.
  2. Assignments for this course contributed to my understanding of the course material.
  3. This course contributed to the development of my academic skills.
  4. The classroom teacher followed clearly explained grading procedures.
  5. The classroom teacher returned graded work in time to be useful to students.
  6. The classroom teacher was available to assist students outside of classes.
  7. The learning goals for this course were clearly articulated.
  8. The classroom teacher facilitated my progression toward the learning goals.
  9. Overall, this course contributed to my liberal arts experience.
  10. Overall, taking this course was a positive learning experience.
Table 2: Online Student Feedback Formats

Table 2 pic

The following guidelines apply to the online system:

  • Responses to the questions listed in Table 1 are not used to compare classroom teachers across disciplines or within departments.
  • Caution should be used when making generalizations.  Course feedback is meant to signal general trends and not definitive statements that can be proven statistically. Course feedback measures student beliefs about the quality of how a course was taught. Understanding the overall quality of the teaching of a course requires integrating this metric with the other types of evidence listed in Section D.3.a.
  • Faculty are encouraged to discuss their feedback summaries privately with a mentor or other Faculty member whom they respect.
  • Faculty are encouraged to innovate and experiment in the classroom. It is understood that innovation may result in less positive feedback. This feedback is not interpreted as a decline in performance, provided that in self-evaluation letters the Faculty articulate the relationship between the innovation and the feedback.
  • Individual students are not identified during the process of gathering student feedback.
  • Classroom teachers do not know whether or not a particular student has completed a feedback form unless the student volunteers that information. [Classroom teachers may ask students to forward to them the Certificate of Completion received after completing an online form.]
  • When a Faculty member submits the evaluation notebook for a formal evaluation, the notebook should contain the online student feedback summaries for courses taught during the evaluation period.  These summaries are not available electronically to the chairs.
  • If a Faculty member receives student feedback in the online system that the Faculty member views as containing harassing or demeaning statements about any personal characteristics outlined in the Hendrix Equal Opportunity Statement, the Faculty member should contact the campus Title IX Coordinator to request that the entire feedback forms from those students be removed from the online system and excluded from summary reports.  If the Title IX Coordinator agrees with the Faculty member’s assessment of these comments, the Coordinator will work with the IT staff administrator of the online system to have those particular feedback forms removed from the online system and excluded from summary reports.
  • Other than use during formal evaluations as described above, no member of the Committee on Faculty has access to Faculty feedback forms or summaries unless the following conditions are met:
    • student academic complaints are believed to be serious enough to warrant review of the Faculty member’s feedback outside the evaluation cycle;
    • it is determined that student feedback would be relevant to assessing the specific issues raised in the complaint.
  • The decision to request access to the course feedback has to be agreed to by the Committee on Faculty. In that event:
    • The Area Chair notifies the Faculty member of the request for copies of all online feedback summaries for a stated period. This request also includes copies of feedback forms from before the online system if those forms are within the stated period.  The Faculty member should provide the summaries to the Area Chair within one business day from the request notification.
    • The Area Chair reviews the feedback and a meeting is scheduled to discuss matters pertinent to the original student complaint(s).
    • The Faculty member may request that the department chair be present for the meeting.
    • In the case when a department chair or area chair was the Faculty member evaluated, the chairs assigned for the evaluation are the ones referred to in the previous points.