By keeping the faculty involved in every step of the long process, the team was slowly able to change minds and get the majority of them on board. The new online, customized evaluations were finally launched in 2011.
That culture of involvement, Rhee said, has also been extended to the students who fill out the new evaluations. Faculty and administrators play up the importance of evaluations from the first day of class; the surveys aren’t relegated to a footnote in the last week.
“We ask faculty to put a statement in their syllabus saying how important evaluations are,” Rhee said. “They explain the difference between asking for feedback and valuing feedback.”
And that, combined with the ease of going online, has seemed to work. They surveys now have a response rate of 70 percent.
“We have a student code of conduct, and as a part of the discussions, we talked about the meaning of what it is to be a citizen of the university,” McCartney said. “We ask them to think about the long term-relationship with the university and what it means to be engaged here.”
But the TEEC’s work with evaluations isn’t done yet, Rhee said. Getting the surveys online and students and faculty to engage with them was just a 15-year first step.
“You cant just say we have evaluations online, the technical problems are solved, and we can wash our hands of it move on,” Rhee said. “We have to figure out who all should have access to this data. How is it going to be utilized? You have to monitor the nitty gritty. Should we do all of this in-house? Go to an outside company? Are their security issues there? To be effective, you need people minding the store.”
Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.