Subcommittee on Academic Affairs
Summary of Recommendations for "Student Commentaries on Teaching"
Form and Function
Approved for Forwarding to the Committee on Faculty
17 April 2000
The Subcommittee on Academic Affairs (SAA) of the Committee on Faculty (COF) has collected and studied any and all documents available pertaining to the form, function, and practice of the Student Commentary on Teaching (SCOT) now in use by the Office of the Academic Vice President. After two and a half years of discussion and research we are making the following recommendations concerning the present use of the SCOT and future use of teaching evaluations. We note that a previous committee, in 1973, made recommendations for, among other things, the establishment of a permanent committee to oversee the teaching evaluations and the publication of the practice of the teaching evaluation in the faculty handbook.
I. Recommendation: The establishment of a committee charged with supervision, revision, and oversight of any and all teaching evaluation methods to be used here at Marquette University.
In 1973 the second committee to review the SETE charged the Academic Senate to establish a permanent committee on teaching evaluation. The duties of this committee were to include: supervision and revision of the evaluation questionnaire, explore ways of encouraging other methods of evaluation, and review any proposals for the use of the evaluation data. This committee is not active today but should be. The SAA recommends the establishment of a committee charged with supervision and oversight of any and all student commentary forms. We recommend that the composition of this committee include, but not be limited to: one expert in education, one expert in survey/form writing, one expert in statistical analysis, and one expert in Jesuit/Ignation Education Ideals.
II. Recommendation: The SAA recommends the establishment of a center for faculty development.
This center will support faculty who wish to improve their teaching
effectiveness. One of its functions will be to ensure that the commentaries are used at Marquette for their intended purpose, follow the proper guidelines for usage, and other methods of evaluation in addition to the student commentaries are used for decisions concerning promotion, tenure, and salary. The committee established as per recommendation I above should be a
member of this center.
III. Recommendation: The SAA recommends the committee established per recommendation I undertake to determine the goal of the student commentary, or the goals of each student commentary if more than one is to be used.
Fundamental questions regarding the goals of the commentary remain unanswered. Namely: Is this a measure of teaching? Is this a measure of learning? Is this a measure for retention? Is this a measure of success in following Ignatian ideals? Is this a measure of student satisfaction?
IV. Recommendation: The SAA recommends the committee established per recommendation I undertake to determine how to make the student commentary unique to the Jesuit/Catholic heritage and mission of Marquette University.
We must determine what measures are important for distinguishing Marquette from other schools. What topics for measurement are unique to the character and enterprise of a Marquette Education. What teaching/learning/service nuances are important to know from the student perspective.
V. Recommendation: The SAA recommends the committee established per recommendation I undertake to determine the purpose of the student commentary.
If the teaching evaluation is to be used for faculty development and for
improved learning in the classroom then the evaluation process should:
1. consistently measure lifelong learning and growth; 2. assist the student to see that the faculty member is a part of their growth and development;
3. give the faculty member guideposts and provide opportunity for feedback; 4. give the faculty member a clear perspective on their student's characteristics; and, 5. develop the faculty member in a guided fashion.
VI. Recommendation: The SAA recommends the committee established per recommendation I also perform the following functions regarding any and all teaching evaluation forms.
1. Write the student commentary using proper and researched questioning
methods while including the goal, mission, and use of the questionnaire
2. Submit each questionnaire to detailed and proper reliability and validity
testing with respect to the model agreed upon for the goal.
3. Implement each fully developed student commentary.
4. Maintain and update on a routine basis each fully developed student
commentary as the perception of the student body changes, as the
perception of the faculty changes, as new programs, curricula, or core courses
are implemented, and to ensure continuation of the validity and reliability of
the commentaries over time.
The purposes and the function of the teaching evaluations should be clearly
explained. Evaluation of teaching effectiveness should not be limited to one method or by one set of persons. Evaluation of teaching effectiveness should be tuned to each type of academic exercise encountered, lecture, laboratory, discussion, science, art, engineering, etc. One measure will not be valid for all educational domains.
VII. Recommendation: The SCOT be removed from active use for promotion, tenure, and salary considerations until the reliability and validity of the SCOT is tested and verified. In the interim the form may be used by units not having alternate evaluation procedures, but it should not be accepted as a meaningful measure of teaching. Rather it should be used for the original purpose of feedback to the faculty member only.
There is no evidence that the SCOT has been tested for reliability or validity
with respect to a teaching model, therefore the use of the SCOT generated
scores for promotion, tenure, and salary decisions is without appropriate
basis. The committee that developed the original SETE (Student Evaluation
of Teaching Effectiveness) upon which the present SCOT is based
recommended that the SETE be used only for faculty development.