USAT information for DSCs and Students
Your opinion matters to the instructor(s) who is teaching your course and to the department head, Dean, and your fellow students. The Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA) Collective Agreement, Article 29.3.3 provides that, "The USAT shall be administered through the Office of the University Registrar, and in such a way as to afford all the students in a given course or class a reasonable chance to respond."
Please take the following precautions to make sure that your response counts:
- Red ink does not scan. Please use HB pencils or blue or black ink pens to complete your evaluation forms.
- Fill in the bubbles completely. Check marks will not scan properly.
- Make sure you understand the response scale. A "5" indicates strong agreement with an item and a "1" indicates strong disagreement.
- Enter a single response for each item. Multiple responses for the same item are ignored by the scanner.
- Please do not fold or crumple your form. Damaged forms do not scan properly.
- Don't forget your comments! Please complete the back of the form with specific comments regarding the course. Your form will go to your instructor after submission of final marks for the course. This is your opportunity to tell your instructor what you enjoyed about the course and what improvements you feel could be made.
Timing the Evaluation
The departmental office will inform student representatives in the AMS and faculty students' societies when the evaluation packages are available. Those student representatives will, in turn, inform departmental student representatives, year presidents, etc. if necessary. The departmental student representative, year president, or equivalent will tell the class student representatives that it is time to collect their evaluation packages from their departmental administrator.
Each package includes information regarding the dates within which the evaluation is to take place (in collaboration with the course instructor). This practice is in keeping with the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA) Collective Agreement, Article 29.3.4, which provides that, "The USAT shall be conducted within the last three (3) weeks of the course and announced at least one (1) class in advance on a date determined by the faculty member responsible for the course in consultation with the students."
USAT results are best obtained at the beginning of class and during the evaluation cycle when numbers attending class are likely to be high. A USAT study conducted in May 2001 indicated that response rates drop during the latter part of week 11, and throughout week 12 of a 12-week term (DU = date unknown). The best results are achieved during week 10 and the early part of the 11th week.
Getting the Best out of USAT
- Review the memo accompanying the evaluation package and go over the instructions on the back of the memo with the class. Simple mistakes, such as the use of red ink, can render an evaluation form unscanable. Please make sure that students understand the response scale: "5" for strong agreement with an item to "1" for strong disagreement with an item.
- Please do not make changes to the forms you receive. They are printed to the specifications necessary to give your instructor a proper evaluation. Each instructor must be evaluated on a form bearing his/her name, course number, and section. If you feel the forms do not have the correct information on them, consult your departmental administrator.
- Do not combine forms for courses with more than one instructor. As per the QUFA Collective Agreement, Article 29.3.4, "In courses with multiple instructors, a separate USAT survey shall be conducted for each instructor responsible for a major block of time."
- When conducting evaluations for more than one instructor, please return the forms to the correct envelope. Do not seal any of the envelopes until all forms have been returned. Ask for any outstanding forms to be turned in when the evaluation session has finished and before sealing the envelopes.
- Please make sure you pick up the correct envelope from the departmental office. This is especially important if an instructor is teaching more than one course or section.
- Before sealing the envelope at the end of the evaluation session, ask the class if there are any outstanding forms. All forms must be included in the envelope BEFORE it is sealed. Please be sure to seal the envelope before leaving the classroom. This ensures the confidentiality of the evaluation process, as indicated in the QUFA Collective Agreement, Article 29.3.4, which states, "The USAT form shall be distributed and collected and returned by someone other than the Member, who shall leave the room during the surveying process. After the surveys have been completed, they shall be placed in a sealed envelope. This envelope shall not be opened until the final marks for the class have been submitted to the appropriate administrative office."
- If you set up an evaluation time and due to circumstances cannot complete the evaluation as planned, please inform the departmental administrator and make new arrangements or have someone else conduct the evaluation. If you have already picked up your evaluation package, please arrange to return it to the departmental office if someone else is conducting the evaluation in your stead.
- If you have questions about the evaluation process, please consult your USAT Administrator available at USAT@queensu.ca or by phone at 533-6000 ext. 78031.