Ask TRUFA: Student Evaluations

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Ask TRUFA: Student Evaluations

Ask TRUFA is a venue for members to ask questions anonymously and receive answers from TRUFA Stewards or Executive. Submit your question at Ask TRUFA.


I had an extremely low response rate for my student evaluations. I am worried that this will have ramifications in terms of my Performance Review and also my Tenure and Promotion package. What should I do?
–Concerned Faculty Member


Dear Concerned Faculty Member,

One way of getting most students to answer the questionnaire in a class is to ask a colleague to administrate it for you and for this colleague to stay in the room with the students in order to make sure the students are doing this for those 10-15 minutes that you take off class. If you tell the students to complete the evaluation and then leave the room, then they may just take those 10-15 minutes off. The colleague needs to explain to them that this is important information that they are providing. After this, follow up by sending an email to the whole class to let them know that the questionnaire is open and ask if they can complete it within the next 48 hours (also, provide them with the password and clear instructions, see the information provided for instructors by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching here). If the class is very small, then you need to let CELT know that you need the results even though the numbers are low, and inform them about how many students are enrolled in the class normally.

The important thing for someone going to Tenure & Promotion is to make sure your next courses are evaluated by following the instructions above. You cannot apply until the fall 2017, so there is one winter semester and, in some departments, one summer semester to make sure you get enough evaluations. You need at least 3 student evaluations for a Tenure & Promotion package (within the last 3 academic years). On a side note, if you are going for Tenure & Promotion, make sure you organize and complete at least 3 classroom visitations (peer evaluations) also from courses taught in the previous 3 years of applying.

In any case, I would need to have more details on the specific case to give a better answer, so if you have further questions contact me directly at

Answer provided by Monica Sanchez-Flores.

Thanks for asking TRUFA.