At the end of each semester, students have the opportunity to assess their courses and professors.
At Keene State College, these evaluations take place in an optional online questionnaire on the Canvas website.
Interim President Melinda Treadwell said course evaluations are important for all professors.
“Course evaluations are the biggest and most important tool for students to evaluate the performance of our staff. They are used extensively,” said Treadwell.
Each semester the evaluations go into each professor’s profile and are things that need to be reported in order for staff members to be promoted in tenure, Treadwell added.
The results of the evaluations are looked at by the professor to see what students thought worked well and what did not in the course.
Treadwell said the results of the evaluations go to the promotional team here at KSC and are one of the aspects the team looks at when deciding to give a promotion.
Treadwell said students should be candid in their course evaluations since they are a way to gain information objectively.
Treadwell said she worried that when the evaluation moved to an online format, students would not do it; that is why she encourages professors to allow class time for students to complete the evaluation.
Treadwell said the provost is currently trying to gather information regarding the number of students who complete the course evaluation.
Leaf Seligman is an adjunct instructor for Thinking and Writing (ITW) and she said in her classes she has students turn in a portfolio at the end of the semester to evaluate themselves and tell the good and bad about the semester.
Seligman said while course evaluations can be useful, sometimes students who did poorly in the course will give a negative evaluation just because they did not like the professor or the grade they got.
“They evaluate me, but I’m not the course…There is no question that asks how well the student prepared. All the questions start with ‘was the professor’ or ‘how did the professor,’” Seligman said.
She said a more authentic evaluation would be a face-to-face interaction.
Seligman said she cares about the evaluation and feedback her students give and it makes her sad that she may have tenured colleagues who do not read or care about the evaluations.
Department Chair of the Chemistry Department Jim Kraly is a tenured professor and said that student course evaluations are an important way to get positive and negative feedback.
Kraly said that teaching is an art and the evaluations help faculty to improve. “Evaluations are scores and comments. If a student takes the time to write then we take the time to read them,” said Kraly who added that professors continually evaluate what they do as teachers.
Senior Mary Gilbar said she likes doing the course evaluations each semester because it is helpful for professors to have feedback.
“I like how it would pop up to remind you because I want to do it.” Gilbar said because she has had several professors only once she has not seen any effects of the course evaluations.
Sophomore Jessica Zumbo said she likes how the course evaluations are a way to give feedback but at the same time it is optional and encourages students to complete it if they want.
Treadwell said while some institutions lock students out of receiving their grades or class registration, she does not want to put it onto the students as a requirement.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org