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End of semester evaluations

By Kyle Langhurst
On April 17, 2015

As the semester draws to a close instructor evaluations are being provided for students to assess their experience in the classroom. 

Emily Brown, English instructor, said the evaluations are distributed toward the end of every semester by the head of each department. These assessments allow students to rate their professors’ performance, including a comment box designated for any additional thoughts or observations. 

All adjunct instructors are required to distribute evaluations to their classes. As a fulltime employee, Brown explained that after this semester she would have the option to distribute the evaluation to her classes. This is true for other veteran, fulltime instructors at Kirkwood.

Before the evaluation is handed out, the instructor is required to leave the room to allow students to answer comfortably and honestly.

“Before the evaluation is handed out, I tell my classes I do look at the responses and that honesty is helpful,” Brown said.

Geospatial Technologies student Eric Knipper said he does put effort into the evaluations because he wants to help professors improve in the same ways students are expected to improve each semester. Knipper said, “The evaluations help instructors rethink and improve their lesson plans. It also let them know if certain things are working.”

Knipper offered the example of a previous instructor who he said would begin sentences loud and fade to a softer tone difficult to hear. He included this feedback in the semester evaluation and said the instructor utilized the critique accordingly.

Brown said the feedback is useful in deciding whether certain assignments “worked or didn’t work,” in a students understanding of the class. For example, in one of her classes, she said she utilizes one-on-one conferences to connect with students, something she said requires much additional time and effort as an instructor. 

However, she discovered while reviewing the evaluation results that the students deeply benefited from the one-on-one attention. As a result, she said this reinforced the importance of these individualized discussions in the classroom. 

 Brown said she urges all students to put effort into the surveys considering it is the one time they have the chance to give anonymous feedback about classroom experiences.

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