The Faculty Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution that encourages faculty to administer voluntary course evaluations to their students earlier in the semester, a measure designed to provide faculty with real-time feedback as students are still taking their courses.
The Faculty Development Committee presented the resolution after working with the Student Government Association. This early feedback would be in addition to—and not in place of—the end-of-the-semester Teacher Rating and Course Evaluation, or TRACE, that students complete.
“One of the biggest complaints we hear about TRACE is it happens at the end of the semester, so students don’t feel the feedback they are giving applies to them,” Eric Tyler, president of the Student Government Association, told the Senate on Wednesday.
Northeastern’s Center for Advancement of Teaching and Learning has created a website that explains why evaluations done early or in the middle of the semester are beneficial, and offers best practices for faculty on how to solicit student feedback. The faculty member would be the only person who sees the voluntary evaluations.
“We felt it was something that would be helpful to faculty to get feedback on what’s working and what’s not,” said Mary Jo Ondrechen, a professor in the College of Science and chair of the Faculty Development Committee. “We also felt faculty should choose the format and nature of the questions.”
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution to accept a report from the Faculty Development Committee that found faculty members should not be mandated to use Digital Measures, a faculty activity reporting platform, because faculty work and research is not one-size-fits-all.
The Senate also heard a presentation from Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Experiential Learning Susan Ambrose, who spoke about the Integrated Student Engagement Project. This innovative approach to understanding student learning would help the Northeastern community work together to leverage all the ways students learn and how those different experiences influence other facets of their lives.