Background

In spring 2013, UB's Faculty Senate and provost charged a committee to determine whether the campus should adopt a standard system for evaluating UB's academic courses in order to better assess student attitudes about teaching quality and to ensure consistency and comparability of information obtained across the university.

Faculty Senate Review

In spring 2012, the Faculty Senate formed the Committee for Universitywide Course Evaluations. Under the leadership of Peter Biehl, professor and chair of anthropology, the committee was comprised of two subcommittees with faculty and staff membership.

  • The Course Evaluation Subcommittee was charged with developing a course evaluation methodology, including the types of questions to be asked and how to appropriately structure the instrument.
  • The Implementation Subcommittee was charged with recommending an infrastructure to effectively administer and manage course evaluations on a universitywide scale.

After reviewing the subcommittees' recommendations, UB's Faculty Senate approved the adoption of a university-wide course evaluation system in April 2014.

Core and Custom Questions

UB's core questions were developed by the Committee for University-Wide Course Evaluations based on a two-year multi-disciplinary research effort.

In addition to the core questions, each academic unit/department/program may add custom questions and each instructor may submit up to three custom questions.

Administrators and instructors have access to the PICES Catalogue, a set of 600 Likert-scale assessment questions, as a resource for building their custom questions.

Original Implementation With Campus Labs Technology

In summer 2014, UB completed a successful pilot of the system in the College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Education, School of Nursing and UB's Singapore Institute of Management.

The resulting system and process were implemented in fall 2014. UB students began evaluating academic courses (traditional and online) at the end of the fall 2014 semester. Tutorials and select off-site courses were not evaluated.

Transition to SmartEvals

In spring 2017, the vendor for the course evaluations system changed from Campus Labs to SmartEvals, a Buffalo based company (info.smartevals.com).