Spring course evaluations cut from faculty reviews

Course evaluations from last spring’s classes may not get used in coming faculty reviews.

The spring semester was plagued by the COVID-19 virus, which forced all courses regardless of initial design to be redesigned and delivered online with only a few days’ preparation time. Due to this, the Faculty Senate has passed a resolution allowing individual faculty members to decide whether course evaluations from the semester should be used.

Faculty supervisors and department heads typically use evaluation results to make decisions about faculty merit raises, retention, promotion and tenure.

However, because the spring semester was suddenly disrupted, faculty were forced to adapt to online classes with little advanced planning. The result was that some classes experience uncommon challenges and difficulties.

Faculty Senate Chair Libbie Pelter said the Senate’s resolution allows faculty members to decide whether or not they include their spring 2020 semester course evaluations in documentation used in determining merit raises, retention, promotion and tenure, as well as how much weight those evaluations play in that process.

“This does not mean that faculty will not use these evaluations to improve their teaching,” said Pelter. “But [it] can protect individual faculty from being overly penalized by circumstances that they could not control.”