CTECs to be mandatory

Tina Peng

All CTEC evaluations will be collected electronically beginningFall Quarter 2005, and students who do not fill out CTEC surveysfor all of their classes will not be able to read evaluations onthe CTEC Web site in the following quarter, University ProvostLawrence Dumas told faculty in a May 14 e-mail.

Senior Assistant University Registrar Nedra Hardy, the Courseand Teacher Evaluation Council director, said these changes willmake the survey system more efficient and allow professors to seethe results of their evaluations much sooner than the old system’squarter-long wait.

“With online submission we can open the site to them, and theycan see their results as soon as all grades have been submitted,”Hardy said. “A lot of them were pushing for that, the main thingbeing that they wanted their results faster.”

Currently professors may choose to use online or paperevaluations. Hardy estimated that more that two-thirds ofprofessors select to use the online version.

If students do not fill out surveys for all their classes FallQuarter, Hardy said they will be blocked from accessing the CTECWeb site during Winter Quarter. Students will again be able to readevaluations if they fill out Winter Quarter CTEC surveys.

Hardy said this change should increase participation. Currently,the response rate for paper evaluations is 75 percent, while onlinesurveys have a 50 percent response rate.

Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Stephen Fisher, amember of the CTEC advisory board, said the evaluations firstbecame available online in 2000, but the board waited a few yearsbefore recommending a full switch to mandatory use of onlineevaluations.

“We had to sort of test the validity of the responses and theresponse rate,” Fisher said.

Although students will have to submit their netIDs beforefilling out CTEC evaluations for each class, Hardy said the netIDwill not be attached to the response and only will be used to showthat the student completed it. Hardy said the system will ensureanonymity for students.

“With the paper, of course, the students are writing, and if aprofessor recognizes handwriting he’s going to know who wrotecomments,” Hardy said.

The new system would also allow students to complete evaluationsat their leisure, Hardy said, and make sure professors do notviolate CTEC collection procedures by personally collecting theevaluations or remaining in the room while the forms are beingfilled out.

Psychology Prof. J. Michael Bailey, who also is chairman of hisdepartment, conducted a study to compare online and paperevaluations. Bailey said professors had slightly lower ratingsonline, but he supports the switch to a completely electronicsystem.

“Some people have this feeling that paper evaluations are morefavorable so they do that,” he said. “There’s just no comparison ofthe efficiency of doing that online in terms of getting feedbackand everything.”

Prof. Paul Goerss, chairman of the mathematics department, saidhe was glad CTEC evaluations will be more mandatory. Goerss saidjunior math department faculty are required to use paperevaluations due to low online response rates.

“With a 40 to 50 percent participation rate, there’s just notenough data to effectively evaluate junior faculty up forpromotion,” Goerss said.

But history Prof. John McLane, director of undergraduate studiesin the history department, said some of his colleagues wereconcerned about the new system’s logistics and thought studentsmight be afraid of their netID being linked to their surveys.

“People are skeptical that students will trust such a system andtherefore faculty fear it won’t work,” he said.

Weinberg freshman Lauren Weinstein said she supported the newsystem.

“I use the CTECs a lot when deciding which classes to take, andI think that when people don’t fill out the CTECs it hurts peoplewho are registering,” Weinstein said.

But Weinberg senior Lisa Bruggeman said blocking old CTECevaluations isn’t fair.

“It’s not like it matters to the university whether you fill itout or not,” she said. “You shouldn’t be punished for not fillingit out.”