The semester is coming to a close, which means finals, all-nighters, and instructor evaluations.
At the end of every semester, students are requested to fill out forms that evaluate their instructors. These evaluations ask students questions based on a Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree criteria.
This is the one time in the semester where students can truly, and anonymously, verbalize their opinion about the instruction they received over the sixteen week course.
Although these evaluations are valuable to the instructors, some students do not think they are worth the time.
“I personally think that they are a waste of time,” student Ryan Ericson said. “I doubt the teachers even look at them, and if they do, they probably don’t care about what we have to say.”
However, other students think that they are a valuable part of the learning process.
“I like filling them out, it gives us a chance to voice our opinion, and give feedback to the teachers,” student Shelby Baker said. “Whether they agree with what we have to say or not, they still have to read it.”
Faculty and administrators agree that the evaluations are valuable and taken seriously.
William McCloskey, professor of English, said he likes reading them.
“I enjoy seeing what the students have to say,” he said.
After students fill out the evaluations, they are turned into the division offices. They are reviewed by the deans, then handed out to the professors after the semester is over and grades are turned in.
Vinnie Maltese, dean of the Science/Mathematics Division, said every evaluation that is placed in the sealed envelopes is reviewed by him before being given to the professors.
If students make an issue with a professor or instructor known on their evaluation, it does not go unnoticed.
“I look them over, if there is anything that is of any kind of concern, I will meet with the faculty member to address the issue,” Maltese said.
Comments that students make on the evaluations also do not go under the radar, Maltese said. These comments and suggestions are what makes the evaluations so valuable and important to the instructors.
McCloskey even keeps them for reference.
“I have every evaluation I have received since the winter of 1994,” McCloskey said. “I think students have a right to their opinion, and sometimes these evaluations are the only voice they have.”
Comments from students help instructors make necessary changes to the course curriculum, McCloskey said. If students continuously complain about a certain assignment, or trait of the instructor, they will make a conscious effort to address and fix the issue.
“I have changed things that I’ve read, plays that I’ve read, stories and novels, as long as I know that I can get the same point across with others,” McCloskey said.
According to Maltese, there is no system to quantify the information. Although the college has considered using an online system, that would have its faults, too.
“We have discussed doing them electronically, but when you do it that way a lot of them don’t get done. The way we do them now, we are sure to capture the students who are present in class that day,” Maltese said.
Maltese emphasized the importance and value of students’ opinions and feedback.
“We have made a lot of changes based on input from the students. It’s a very valuable tool. It’s valuable for me as a dean, and just as or maybe even more valuable for faculty to get that feedback,” said Matlese, “I think that the evaluations are essential.”