Student Course Evaluations

Chris Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 4:15 p.m.
KU Lawrence Faculty KU Lawrence Unclassified Professional Staff KU Graduate Teaching Assistants

Sent on behalf of Chris Brown, Vice Provost for Faculty Development.

Dear Instructors,

I want to share with you several updates on the end-of-semester student survey of teaching and provide guidance on the inclusion of survey reports in all types of evaluations.

Online Administration of Student Course Surveys

Attached is the online survey for Spring 2021 that our central administration will send to your students, whether your class meets in-person or not. The survey is the new University Standard Student Survey of Teaching that was finalized during the current Spring semester.


  • Surveys for regular semester courses are open to students during the last two full weeks before final exams.
  • Surveys for courses scheduled to meet for a shorter or longer calendar than the standard semester are adjusted to ensure timing of the survey is open at a comparable point in the term.

Protecting student anonymity

University policy requires that instructors be evaluated each semester by students voluntarily in all courses with five or more students. Classes with fewer than five students may be surveyed but will only have a report produced if combined with another class to total at least five responses. Instructors will receive their survey results only after the semester ends and final grade submission deadlines have passed.

Instructor guidance: Optional inclusion of student survey reports in evaluation files

  • Spring and Summer 2021 - Supervisors will not receive the reports unless instructors forward them. Regular use of the survey reports for the purposes of evaluation will resume in Fall 2021. This decision was discussed with the Faculty Rights, Privileges, and Responsibilities Committee of Faculty Senate.
  • Instructors have the option to include their Spring and Summer 2021 student survey reports in the files they forward to supervisors for annual evaluation, PTTR, P&T, and PTR.
  • Our policies on evaluation and promotion and tenure require that multiple sources of information be used to evaluate teaching.
  • We extend these same principles and procedures of evaluation to Graduate Teaching Assistants.

How to evaluate teaching without student survey reports

CTE has developed resources for evaluating teaching effectiveness with or without student survey reports. Much of this guidance is based on the work of CTE's NSF-funded Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness Project:

  • Instructors are provided with guidance on how to document teaching effectiveness using multiple sources of information, including reflections on student survey reports.
  • Supervisors can use rubrics to make meaningful assessments of teaching effectiveness in a time-efficient way.
  • All resources are designed to be adaptable by departments, and CTE can consult with departments or instructors as needed.

Thanks to all who have helped provide input and expertise regarding the Student Survey of Teaching since we went remote in Spring 2020, including the Faculty Success Design Team, the ad hoc committee on the student survey of teaching, and the Faculty Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities Committee of faculty governance.

To all of our instructors, thank you for your commitment to student learning at KU!



J. Christopher Brown, Ph.D.
Geography and Atmospheric Science
Environmental Studies Program
Vice Provost for Faculty Development