Dear Faculty and Instructors,
We hope this message finds you well.
Over the past year, you may have learned from your department chairs and deans that our university has been diligently working towards refining the system for student evaluations of courses. While we recognize that student evaluations provide imperfect snapshots of teaching effectiveness, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Code mandates their use in evaluating instructional faculty. We are keenly aware that the most effective means to enhance the validity of these evaluations is by increasing the rate of student responses. A broader base of feedback not only represents a more diverse array of student experiences but also dilutes the impact of potentially biased or extreme viewpoints.
In response to these concerns, we have initiated several improvements to the student evaluation process. Our goal is simple: to capture a more complete and equitable picture of our classroom and online teaching environments. To this end, course evaluations are now required for all non-professional schools through the Blue platform—a system already familiar to most of you through its use at UNLV over the past few years.
This comprehensive approach encompasses all forms of organized instruction, including lectures, labs, and online classes. In alignment with this, we introduced universal questions to all evaluation forms in spring 2023 to standardize feedback across the campus. During summer, we debuted a seamless integration between WebCampus (Canvas) and Blue to streamline the process for both students and faculty. These enhancements include timely pop-up reminders, announcements, and calendar prompts to ensure that open evaluations do not go unnoticed by students.
In an effort to encourage greater participation, we have extended the course evaluation period for most classes from two weeks to three. We believe that providing students with additional time to reflect and respond will lead to more thoughtful and comprehensive feedback. However, during the final week of this period, access to course content on WebCampus (Canvas) will be blocked until the student completes their corresponding evaluation. This measure is designed to underscore the importance of student participation in the evaluation process. It has been used successfully at other universities like ours and typically has increased student participation rates to more than 80 percent.
To mitigate any potential inconvenience this may pose to students, we encourage you to allocate class time during the first two weeks of the evaluation period for this purpose. Please leave the classroom while students are completing their evaluations to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of student responses.
The evaluation window for the current semester is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 10. Please read all emails from the Course Evaluation Team, which are sent from email@example.com. These messages will provide essential updates and guidance throughout the evaluation period. If you have any questions, please contact the Course Evaluation Team in the Office of Decision Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support of our new student evaluation processes. We wish you the best with the rest of the fall semester!
Chris L. Heavey, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Professor of Psychology
John (Skip) R. Crooker, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Decision Support