So you’ve collected your mid-semester feedback data. What do you do next? Select a method for sharing and responding to student feedback that works for you. Will you share a summary in D2L? Maybe you’ll provide an overview with a few slides at the next synchronous class. No matter what mode you choose, identify some patterns and touch base with your students promptly! Be sure to thank students for their comments. According to Cornell’s Center for Teaching Excellence (2012) your learners appreciate knowing you care what they have to say.
Critically reflect on the student's comments. Some feedback you get may be positive, while other feedback could be negative. In fact, almost all instructors receive negative feedback at some point in their careers. Give yourself space to acknowledge the hurt or anger you may feel. Then think about how you could continue to grow and develop your educator practice. You can also check out “How to make the best of bad course evaluations” in The Chronicle.
If you’ve identified the trends and utilized the articles in the other sections of this playlist but are still not sure about what changes to make, start by talking with a mentor and/or a peer group. MSU Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development and facilitator of the Academic Advancement Network, Dr. Marilyn Amey, shared “If I know someone is a good teacher, I might just reach out to them directly.” When prompted, “what if an instructor doesn’t know who has been successful at teaching in the past”, Dr. Amey brought up two of MSU’s educator cohort programs as resources for “people connections”.
Lilly Fellows: The Lilly Teaching Fellows Program began in 1991 and has served as “an opportunity to engage in a year-long exploration of the robust scholarship on effective practices in University teaching.” The Lilly Fellows Program has supported Fellows to become future faculty leaders and to inspire a broad range of faculty to pursue excellence in teaching. After two years of redesigns of the original Lilly Program, the 2020-2021 version of the program will focus explicitly on leadership development for those educators who see teaching and learning as core to their path toward leadership.
See if any of the past Lilly Fellows are in your network!
Adams Academy: The program brings together a cross-disciplinary group of faculty and academic staff for a year-long fellowship focused on teaching and learning. Adams Academy Fellows explore the literature on effective university teaching and learning practices and consider how this robust body of research can be used to guide instructional decisions in the courses they teach. Participants learn from and contribute to a community of teacher-scholars committed to excellence in teaching and learning.
See if any of the past Adams Academy Fellows are in your network!
According to Dr. Ellie Louson, Instructor in Lyman Briggs College and Learning Experience Designer at the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, in this Medium Article on Mentorship, “The university is a setting for many types of mentorship. A more senior student can mentor someone more junior, faculty or staff members mentor students, and colleagues mentor each other (near-peers with different skills to teach and learn, or a more senior person to someone more junior).”
You can plug into existing groups and ask questions. If you don’t know of a group, check in with the units you identify with. For example, the Academic Advancement Network is hosting a regular gathering of new educators in “Starting an Academic Career in Unusual Times” community discussions. MSU’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) hosts a regular writing group and monthly orientations. The Academic Specialist Advisory Committee (ASAC) provides the governance structure for the academic specialist community providing advice to university leaders and offering Table Talks and community gatherings throughout the year.
Ultimately, don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Research has shown that reviewing student feedback in consultation with someone else is more likely to result in positive modifications in teaching/course design which can later influence future evaluations.
Source: Murray, H. (1997). Does evaluation of teaching lead to improvement of teaching? International Journal for Academic Development, 2(1), 8-23