Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is ICES going away? If so, can I stop using it now for my courses?

Answer: Eventually we plan to have a new Student Feedback Survey. However, any new system will take some time to put in place. In the meanwhile we will still use the ICES system, but we encourage units not to use the low/high ratings for the global scores, since those compare instructors to one another on the basis of a numerical score that is likely to have some bias.

Q: Will student ratings given the same weight as the peer review when evaluating my dossier?

Answer: Students and peers are experts at different things. Student feedback will be most useful at capturing things like whether grading is fair, while peer review will be most useful for identifying whether the course materials like textbooks and homework assignments are appropriate for the topic and level of the course. Both kinds of feedback play important – but different – roles in the teaching evaluation system.

Q: How does the revised teaching evaluation guidelines address minority instructors, especially when there is hostility among the students towards the faculty member?

Answer: The new teaching evaluation system makes several changes to address problems faced by minority instructors. It phases out the global 1-5 ratings in ICES because research shows those can be biased against minority instructors. It elevates instructor self-evaluation to consideration alongside student and peer evaluations, so instructors can provide context for negative student ratings that might result from a hostile environment. The system provides a new structure to document and reward previously under-appreciated labor such as informal mentoring that often falls on the shoulders of minority instructors. Finally, units are directed to evaluate instructors on the basis of their growth and accomplishment of concrete standards rather than comparing them directly to other instructors on the basis of a potentially biased metric.