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Student Evaluation of Teaching

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

In the Provost's Update in Winter 2014, I described the work of the Student Evaluation of Teaching Task Force which proposed a new instrument for the student evaluation of teaching (SET). The Task force had consulted widely, reviewed a substantial body of research, and considered and revised several drafts of proposed SET questions through an extensive feedback process.  In 2014 a pilot study was launched in which the proposed SET instrument was administered in 46 winter quarter courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and in 6 Law School spring semester classes. A total of 548 students from these classes completed the SET survey.

The Faculty Affairs committee, after reviewing data from the pilot studies and consulting broadly with faculty through a survey, has recommended approval of the new instrument. On their recommendation and the subsequent recommendation from the School of Law, I have approved the adoption of the new instrument for implementation this fall term.

The SET questions can be found on page 2 of the Final Report of the Task Force. More information about the SET Task Force and its work is available online. A set of responses to Frequently Asked Questions will be posted shortly.

The work of the 2013-14 SET Task Force resulted from a recommendation of the 2012-13 Task Force on the Evaluation of Teaching. The earlier task force had recommended not only a review of the University’s SET instrument, but also the use of multiple sources of evidence, including student evaluations, peer evaluations, and course materials, in evaluations of teaching.

I have asked Eileen Elrod, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development, to take the lead on behalf of the Faculty Development Program in providing support for schools, disciplines, and departments engaged in the development of strategies for incorporating multiple sources of evidence in teaching evaluations.

I want to thank the Faculty Affairs Committee, the SET Task Force, the faculty who participated in the SET pilot project, and the members of the Information Technology staff who are preparing the technological support for the new SET.  And I thank the University community for the strong commitment to excellent teaching and thoughtful evaluation of teaching effectiveness.