Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Student surveys affect tenure

Student input is greatly considered throughout the process of granting a teacher tenure at Augustana College.

A great majority of Augustana students take surveys at the end of courses which are taught by professors which have yet to receive their tenure. These surveys are then given to the Faculty Welfare Committee and used as references during the teacher evaluation process.

The Faculty Welfare Committee is made up of six subcommittees, with members of the faculty serving as committee chairs and members, as well as Dean Pareena Lawrence.

Chair of the Business and Education Committee, Dr. Deborah Bracke, takes pride in the tenure-granting system Augustana has developed.

“I have been on the committee for two years and I have come to really respect the tenure process here,” Bracke said.

There are many components which make up the tenure process; however, the student surveys serve as an important indicator of both students’ opinions and faculty members’ ability to assess professional development.

The Faculty Welfare Committee hopes the professors will use the students’ comments as tools to help them better their teaching ability.

“With tenure, we obviously want our faculty to stay,” Bracke said. “But we also want them to be the best teachers, scholars, and citizens of the college that they can be.”

Bracke shared the three qualities which an ideal faculty member at Augustana College possesses: Teaching, Service, and Scholarship. She emphasized that the teaching component is the piece which is seen to hold the most importance at Augustana.

Surveys based solely on students’ opinions allow the committee to obtain a better understanding of the teaching ability which a faculty member possesses; however, students comments do not solely control which professors teach at Augustana.

“The student surveys are important, but they’re not the only factor we consider,” Bracke said.

Faculty members are reviewed by the committee after their second, fourth, and sixth years of teaching at Augustana. After a faculty member’s sixth year, the committee decides whether or not to grant tenure.

Although the tenure process for faculty members at Augustana College is more complicated than evaluating one survey, the student surveys do play a crucial role in analyzing teachers at the college.

Sophomore Elizabeth Warkocki believes most students have, at least, a slight understanding of what the surveys they take are used for, herself included.

“I know professors use them to get feedback about and to improve their classes,” Warkocki said. “And for un-tenured professors, I think the evaluations play a part in whether or not the school keeps them.”

Therefore, students should value their own opinions and take the surveys seriously.

“I think most do take it very seriously. I know I do,” Warkocki said. “If students like the professor, they aren’t going to give them a bad review. And if they don’t like the professor, then this is their opportunity to show that.”

The survey includes many different topics for students to evaluate, including, but not limited to, their professor’s overall teaching effectiveness, how well they learned the material being covered, and how they felt about the teaching methods and styles used in that particular course.

According to Bracke, the survey is not solely administered by Augustana, as it is a used in colleges across the United States. Thus far, the Faculty Welfare Committee has found the surveys to assist greatly with the professional-review process at Augustana.

“We greatly value teaching and learning at Augustana,” Bracke said. “The surveys allow professors the opportunity to better their teaching ability and for us to ensure the school has the best faculty possible.”

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Student surveys affect tenure