Comments added to evaluations

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By Lisa Whitaker

Ryerson’s course evaluations could soon include an additional room for student comment on both their courses and professors, but students still won’t be able to see the results.

The new component of the instructor/course evaluations (ICE) being negotiated by Odelia Bay, the SAC’s v.p. Education, Michael Dewson, Ryerson’s associate v.p. Faculty affairs, and John Morgan, chair of the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA).

The goal is to create a survey that will improve courses through student comments, Bay said.

The current surveys allow students to rate statements about their course and instructor with a number between one and five. One is the best rating, five is the worst. There is no place for individual comments.

The proposed questionnaire will be in addition to the rating system and will let students record comments and concerns about the course and instructor after final grades have been submitted, but will still not be made public.

Ryerson’s contract with its faculty states the results of ICE surveys can only be used for evaluation purposes by Ryerson’s administration to review and promote faculty.

This secretive method of conducting the surveys varies greatly from other universities, such as the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, where results are published in a catalogue.

At the University of Western Ontario, results are posted on-line.

Western began posting the evaluation results on-line in 1995, although the handwritten comments about the instructor are not made public said Roma Harris, vice-provost and registrar at Western.

“The student course evaluations do have an impact, as it is very important to get feedback,” Harris said.

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