Student Teaching Evaluations Show UW Students Happy with Instruction in Arts and Sciences Courses

February 20, 2012
Teacher instructing students
Jennifer Turpen teaches a music concepts class, one of many courses taught in the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences. (UW Photo)

Students are overwhelmingly satisfied with the quality of instruction they receive in classes taught by faculty in the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences.

The university requires student teaching evaluations as major components of faculty evaluation. For the first time, the A&S College was able to use an online program that asked students in nearly all of its classes taught by faculty -- ranging from full professors to temporary academic professional instructors -- to evaluate their teachers. Students in nearly 1,000 A&S classes were asked to respond to the questionnaire. In all, there were slightly fewer than 16,000 evaluations.

"This is a significant component in how we assess our faculty members and is an important part of our tenure and promotion, and post-tenure review process," says Oliver Walter, dean of the college. "It is important to note that, because A&S teaches a number of courses taken by students outside of our college, the excellent teaching in the college is good for the university as a whole. We take the students' evaluations of their teachers very seriously, and I am delighted that the overwhelming percentage of our students rates their teachers positively."

Students were asked to rank, on a scale ranging from unsatisfactory to excellent, the instructor's teaching effectiveness, assignments, materials used in the course, and methods (what was done best, as well as what can be improved). Students also could provide written comments about any topic.

Among the findings:

-- Presentation of class materials: 44 percent ranked the presentations as excellent, 33 percent good, and only 5. 6 percent unsatisfactory or poor.

-- Instructors' interactions with students: 54 percent excellent, 25 percent good, and only 5.2 percent unsatisfactory or poor.

-- Courses intellectually stimulating: 46 percent excellent, 34 percent good, and only 3.5 percent unsatisfactory or poor.

-- Overall assessment of the course, 45 percent excellent, 32 percent good, and only 6.5 percent unsatisfactory or poor.

-- Would recommend the course: 48 percent most definitely, and 30 percent probably.

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