In the fall semester of 2017 a new instrument was approved for use by General Faculties Council to replace the previous Student Evaluation of Instruction. The Student Perception of Teaching (SPoT) instrument represents a much-improved method for students to provide their opinions on the level of instruction they receive at Mount Royal University. The new instrument focuses more on items that students are qualified to respond to and items that align with the Mount Royal University Institutional Criteria for Tenure and Promotion
The SPoT instrument itsef is broken into four sections: Section A is summative with the results going to the faculty member, the Chair, and the Dean; Section B asks information about the course itself, however, in recognizing that Instructors of multi-section courses do not always make the decision regarding text books, and assignments, this section is strictly formative in that the results are provided only to the faculty member. Section C is also strictly formative and allows Instructors to choose five questions they would like to ask from a question bank found on the myMRU website (Faculty tab – Student Evaluation of Instruction – SpoT Question Bank). The final Section D provides some basic demographic information on the student including whether the course being evaluated is a core course, a GNED requirement, or an elective; the student’s attendance in the course, expected grade, and how many courses they have taken previously. A copy of the SPoT Instrument can be found at (insert link).
Student Evaluation of Instruction was included for the first time in Article 28 of the July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018 Collective Agreement. Section 28.4.1 clearly outlines the number of SPoTs a faculty member must have completed depending on their academic rank. That being said, a faculty member may have as many courses evaluated as they wish in any given semester. The additional evaluations will become part of your personnel file by default unless you indicate otherwise. This can be done by retaining the signed copies of the extra evaluations rather than returning them to the Chair, or by setting up an appointment to go through your personnel file and remove any evaluations that you do not wish to have included. Of course, you must always have the required number of student evaluations remaining in your file for each semester. For Limited-Term faculty at least three (3) Student Perception of Teaching (SPoT) must be completed per year, representing an array of courses where possible.
Mount Royal University currently uses an on-line system (the Blue System) for students to complete the SPoT. OIAP suggests that faculty provide students with an opportunity to complete the SPoT instrument, however, it is not required. If you do decide to have the SPoTs completed in the classroom, at present there is no invigilation available. That being said, you are welcome to ask another faculty member to come in and invigilate the administration of SPoT. Whether you decide to administer them in the classroom yourself or have another faculty member do it, there are written instructions and an instructional video available to set up the administration of the SPoT on the myMRU website. You can find both of these by clicking on the faculty tab and then going to the Student Evaluation of Instruction section.
Article 28.4.2 gives faculty some flexibility as to when their SPoTs will be done and how long they will be left up for students to complete. It states, “Employees in consultation with the Chair and the Office of Institutional Analysis and Planning (OIAP) will choose the timing of the student evaluation of instruction with a view to afford students in a course scheduled for evaluation with a reasonable opportunity to respond within pre-set windows of opportunity.” The Blue System administered by OIAP allows faculty to choose dates and times within the final 20 business days of the semester to have students complete the SPoT. The specific dates and times are decided at your discretion. You can set these dates and times by following the link provided by OIAP each semester. This is also the time that you would choose your optional additional questions to include in the instrument itself.
After the final grades are submitted, you will receive an e-mail from OIAP advising you that your SPoT results have been released. A link will be provided to you, but you may also go to the myMRU website, Faculty Tab, Student Evaluation of Instruction, Blue Dashboard to find your results.
It is important to remember that no single evaluation should be used to determine tenure, promotion, or reappointment. The Mount Royal University Institutional Tenure and Promotion Criteria (page 6) clearly states “Evaluation of teaching should be holistic and not rely solely on student evaluations of instruction. Evaluation documents should be read for trends, patterns, and comments both positive and negative.” All methods of evaluation are to be considered from both a summative and formative perspective.
The OIAP completes an initial scanning of SPoTs for discriminatory comments. That being said, students sometimes will make comments that are inappropriate. If these comments are particularly vexatious, Article 28.4.4 of the Collective Agreement allows you to make a request through the Chair to request these comments be deleted. All such requests must be approved by the Dean. In most cases, when you receive comments that you feel are unfair, you might choose to complete Form 508 (located on the P drive under “Forms”). Article 28.4.3 provides you with a window of ten (10) days after receiving the results to complete this form and provide written responses to the student evaluation of instructions. You might find that leaving those negative comments in the dossier, but qualifying them with context on Form 508, provides a better explanation of the scores than having them removed.