Approved by the:
Administrative Response:
Student Senate December 4, 2014
The administration appreciates the letter from the Student Senate and the Minnesota Student Association regarding the implementation of midterm course evaluations. We support the use of early- and mid-semester evaluations because research shows that it has tremendous benefits to instructors and students inasmuch as it allows teachers to make "course corrections" during the semester and get valuable feed-back about the course while it is still going on.

From a technological standpoint, we have worked with the Office of Informational Technology to incorporate some standardized early/mid-semester surveys into Moodle. This implementation is still a work in progress.

The administrative policy on Evaluation of Teaching contains a reference encouraging teachers to use early semester evaluations. The language reads: "Instructors are encouraged to conduct early- and mid-semester course assessments for the purpose of receiving feedback about student learning during the term. Instructors may ask students to answer supplemental questions in the open-ended section of the standard rating form, on a separate sheet, or online. See http://z.umn.edu/earlyterm for more information about early- and mid-semester course assessments." In addition, the New Faculty Orientation program includes an introduction to the benefits of early term assessments.

Letter to Faculty and University Leadership regarding Midterm Evaluations

Dear Professor/Dean,

On behalf of the Minnesota Student Association and the Student Senate, we write to you today and ask you to consider implementing midterm course evaluations.

Midterm evaluations have been implemented at other institutions. George Mason University requires midterm course evaluations for all 100 and 200 level courses. The University of Chicago, Princeton University, Florida State University, and Washington University in St. Louis strongly recommend course evaluations and encourage professors to administer them between the fourth and eighth weeks of class. [1]

We support the implementation of midterm course evaluations at the University of Minnesota for several reasons. These evaluations would allow students to provide feedback to their instructor regarding their strengths and weaknesses. This would give faculty a unique opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of their curriculum and teaching style and give students a chance to reflect on how their own strategies in class have affected their learning successes. Ideally, by incorporating feedback provided by midterm evaluations, professors can raise their end-of-year evaluation scores and provide more impactful instruction to students.

To help support you in making this a reality, we request that deans and administrators do all in their power to facilitate these evaluations. We recommend that administrators create example evaluations to distribute to faculty. Additionally, we support and want to work collaboratively to create a system that compiles this information, similar to the College of Veterinary Medicine's model. [2]

Because of the positive impact midterm evaluation can have on student outcomes and quality of instruction, we of the Minnesota Student Association strongly encourage University of Minnesota administrators, deans and faculty to begin implementation and promotion of midterm evaluations.

We look forward to collaborating on this further,

Joelle Stangler, Student Body President, and the members of the Minnesota Student Association
Valkyrie Jensen, Student Senate Chair, and the members of the University Student Senate

[1] http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/strategies/Pages/midterm-evaluations.aspx#.VGKMXPnF-Sp
[2] http://www.cvm.umn.edu/facstaff/resources/CVMTeachingAcademy/home.html

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