Or Expectations Dashed

In preparing for the first Article Read of the semester on Student Evaluations and Teacher Performance, I made a room change, anticipating a robust turnout. The topic of SOQs perpetually seems to generate lively discussion amongst faculty privately and in small groups, and I presumed that momentum was building, gaging from the email responses I was receiving. Knowing that we are currently in contract negotiations and that the SOQ is on the table, I was looking forward to gathering information from faculty to get a sense of what their feelings and perceptions of SOQ are, how widespread the concerns are (if any) and who are those most concerned (Full Time, Adjunct, Part Time faculty) and share that with our union negotiators. I was hoping that we would vision what evaluations should include and how they would be utilized.

Alas, attendance was underwhelming. The FPD committee and two union representatives outnumbered other faculty. My initial reaction was one of dismay. “Where is everybody?” It was as disappointing as throwing backyard barbecue for 50 and only the elderly couple from across the street and their cat show up. Perhaps there was something more to it than indifference. Admittedly, there were a few faculty who did indicate their genuine interest and concern, but they had previous commitments and just couldn’t make it. Was that the case for many others? Or, I wondered, is discontent and fear of the dreaded SOQ a myth? An enigma? A figment of imagination? One simple fact revealed is that in the last ten years, only one Full Time faculty has been dismissed as a result of low SOQ scores. So why all the fear mongering and gnashing of teeth?

We few did have a good discussion, but it was hardly representative of the whole. Which is why I’m sending out a link to a Survey Monkey with 10 questions with regard to SOQ. I appreciate that we all have much to do, but your input on this is essential. Please take the time to give your feedback.

SOQ survey