Faculty Senate Adoption: First Read Feb. 2, 2016, Second Read April 5, 2016
Whereas, The UB Course Evaluations Advisory Committee reaffirms the University at Buffalo’s recognition of the importance of quality teaching to the university’s overall mission; and
Whereas, In the Fall of 2014 UB introduced a new campus-wide course evaluation system; and
Whereas, the UB Faculty Senate approved the use of this new evaluation system;
Resolved, That the statement below replace Item III.F. of the Faculty Handbook on Teaching Assessment and Improvement.
Beginning in the summer 2015 administration, the overall course and overall instructor items will be reworded for clarity and to correspond more closely to the PICES item set.
The former item 6, “Overall, this was an excellent course” will become item 1 in the following format:
1. Overall, this course was:
The former item 15, “Overall, this was an excellent instructor” will become item 11 in the following format:
11. Overall, this instructor was:
Beginning in the spring 2015 administration, the core course and instructor items will revert to a five-point scale:
The instructor items will also include a not applicable option.
Beginning in the spring 2015 administration, existing item 7 regarding reasons for enrolling in the course will become two separate questions:
For what primary reason did you enroll in this course?
If they respond “Required,” they will see a follow-up question:
This course is required for:
During fall and spring semesters the evaluation administration period will last three weeks (i.e. weeks 13, 14 and 15) and include stipulated reading days; administration will end just prior to the start of the final exam period to avoid any real or perceived skewing effect of finals on student evaluations.
Summer session administrations will last for a period of two weeks, ending prior to the last few days of the session to avoid overlap with days when final exams are given. The winter session administration will last one week, beginning half-way through the second week of the session and ending prior to the last two days of the session.
Any units that need to extend course evaluations through the final exam and/or grading period for accreditation purposes may petition to extend the administration dates by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The UBCE Advisory Committee must approve these requests before any adjustments to evaluation periods can be made.
Custom questions should be kept to a minimum and should not replicate existing core questions. As the number of items increase, students are more likely to drop out of the evaluation or simply respond with the same rating for every item. In addition, if they feel evaluations are too burdensome, they may not participate at all in subsequent terms.
Given its positive effect on response rates, the subcommittee recommends conducting evaluations in class whenever this is possible. For many smaller classes (50 or fewer students), issues of bandwidth typically do not prevent an entire class from using Wi-Fi to complete their evaluations during class. For larger classes, where bandwidth is a problem, it is recommended that recitation sections—typically 15-30 students—be used whenever possible for in-class evaluations of both the large class and the recitation.