The professor evaluation responses from students at Castleton University have been decreasing significantly in recent semesters.
Professors and staff say they are not getting enough feedback from students to make any changes.
“We used to do all of our course evaluations in class. Students would do them in a class for that specific class,” Dean Peter Kimmel said. “They would get login information and a pin number and they had to complete them in class.”
However, the system has recently been changed to an online evaluation system. Students can complete them from the tenth week to the last week of the semester on their own time after receiving an email with a link.
“In theory, when we used this new online system, we were going to get a response rate that was as good or better because students could complete the evaluation anytime,” Kimmel said. “It hasn’t worked out that way because I guess we don’t have a captivated audience in class anymore, so the response rate is low.”
According to Kimmel, the response rate was around 40% for the Spring 2019 semester.
“I encourage professors to take time out of class to say ‘take out your phones, take out your tablets and let’s do the evaluations right now,’” Kimmel said.
However, the professor would have to leave the room during this allotted time.
The timing of the evaluations may also be an issue.
“Having them at the end of the semester doesn’t allow for any adjustments,” said Jill Markowski, a professor in the nursing department at.
Professors say they believe the feedback they are getting from the current evaluations is not enough to make changes in their teaching style or in the classroom in general.
“The evaluations are also important to the professor to help them improve their class,” Kimmel said. “Sometimes it’s a really simple suggestion like, you know, you talk too fast.”
Evaluations are available Nov. 4 this semester and can be found on the VSC portal.
“I just want to get the word out to students to make sure they do them and to realize how important they are, and write comments,” Kimmel said.