The end of a semester is always accompanied by the same emails from the Office of the Provost, in which the subject line reads: New College Instructional Evaluation for fill in the blank. In someone’s first semester on campus, it is very common for students to read the email, sigh, shrug it off and ignore it. It’s even more common for first-year students to not even read the email at all and dismiss it entirely. Although it may seem like something superfluous and optional, professor evaluations are a touchstone of the Novo connection between students and faculty.
Professor evaluations are the most direct way that a student can give feedback on their personal experience with a professor throughout a semester. With the evaluation forms, students are asked a simple four questions, which should take less than ten minutes to fill out. Within these four questions, students are asked about what they received or lacked from the instructor, the course itself and their own participation in it.
Additionally, the form does ask students for the number of terms spent at New College, transfer credits, attendance in the course and previous activities in the respective course’s field, as well as with the instructor in question. These supplementary questions are necessary in order for administration to be able to accurately analyze and act on the feedback the student body gives.
The weight of professor evaluations lies in three major categories: academic evaluations, self evaluations and being an active member of the New College community. In evaluating the relationship with a professor, a student can actively advocate for change in a course they might have wanted more out of, or share praise for an instructor they feel admiration for. Secondly, the forms also make a student ask themselves how they’ve interacted with the course and its material. It could and should function as a method of self-improvement for any student. Finally, completing these evaluation forms are pertinent for remaining an active participant in Novocollegian tradition. How could the campus possibly look the way students would like it to if no one voiced their opinion?
Keep an eye out for those emails from the Desk of the Provost, and make sure these evaluation forms land on the end-of-semester to-do list.