The Associated Students, Inc. Senate passed a resolution on Wednesday for a first reading that would encourage evaluations of professors to be conducted throughout the entire semester.
The resolution states that in order to address conflicts with students during the semester, the professor would have the option of using a third party program to be evaluated throughout the whole semester.
“The purpose of a formative evaluation, rather than at the end [of the semester], is to provide ongoing feedback and a process can be improved along the way rather than looking at a process after it is over,” Assistant Dean of Students Dr. Jeane Caveness said.
Summative evaluations are given at the end of a semester and the proposed evaluation would be formative, providing ongoing feedback.
“Students felt that the summative evaluations don’t necessarily help them with in class concerns,” ASI Sen. Joanna Yan said.
The evaluations in place today are Student Perceptions of Teaching, or SPOT, and are a tool that California State University, Long Beach uses to provide student feedback on faculty teaching.
Using SPOT, CSULB administrators can ensure that professors are providing teaching effectiveness.
According to CSULB’s Faculty Affairs website, “teaching effectiveness includes characteristics that will influence a student’s attitudes and behaviors in the learning environment.”
The resolution is encouraging CSULB professors to incorporate an anonymous online evaluation program in order to increase student success. Professors would not be forced to use the program, but would be encouraged.
“It is not a replacement for the current system,” Yan said.
The evaluations would be anonymous and professors would be asked to acknowledge student concerns and inform students of the evaluation results.
“I think majority of professors are interested in the learning experience students have and I think this benefits them,” ASI Sen. Joshua Wong said.
According to the resolution, CSULB students lack the motivation to fill out SPOT because it is distributed at the end of the semester.
“This is a more formative form of evaluations because you can access it anytime,” Yan said. “A professor can [receive the evaluations] throughout the course and then the course can be changed and improved.”
Jeff Jarvis, a CSULB faculty representative, said that he does not use BeachBoard because his students do not like using a third party site. He said that he feels that formative evaluations would be useful.
“I would rather make adjustments to my courses during the year rather than find out later it wasn’t working,” Jarvis said. “A lot of students are reluctant to make comments because we will recognize their hand writing so having a way to do this anonymously is absolutely terrific.”
The resolution argues that there is a power dynamic between professors and students, which may cause students to feel daunted by their professors.
The evaluations aim to reduce, “the inherent power dynamic and the fear of students going to professors and talking about concerns because they may feel like it might affect them somehow,” Yan said.
The ASI senate will move forward with this resolution for a second reading during next week’s meeting.