By Craig Vasey
As the new chair of the AAUP’s Committee on Teaching, Research, and Publications, I asked the committee members what we could do this year to be of service to the AAUP and to the profession. One theme that emerged was the impact that teaching evaluations can have on careers; we reviewed the AAUP’s 1975 Statement on Teaching Evaluation and 2005 observations on that statement, and found the principles continue to be sound. However, a lot has changed in the use of the web since 2005, and we thought it would be useful to get a sense of how faculty are feeling about how they are evaluated today, and what use is made of the data collected.
This theme also appealed to us because it affects contingent faculty as much as, and perhaps more than, full-time tenure-track faculty. We decided to develop a survey on practices and attitudes around the evaluation of teaching, hoping to get a conversation started nationally about this aspect of our working conditions. We hope the survey will motivate our colleagues to engage in the conversation—not just fill in the survey choices: we’re interested in the variety of experiences, situations, regulations, problems, solutions, etc., that faculty can tell us about. So we really invite your written comments and input, and hope that the survey questions will just be the beginning of the information we collect.
We hope everyone who reads this and who takes the survey will pass it on to another faculty member; this is not meant to be restricted to AAUP members, but to reach as wide an audience as is possible. If you know someone at another institution, send him or her an e-mail with the survey url, or repost it on Facebook or other social media to help spread it across the country.
The survey can be taken at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/teaching-evaluation.
Craig Vasey is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Mary Washington, a former AAUP Council member, and the webmaster for the Virginia Conference of the AAUP.