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Scoring student satisfaction

The university is seeking faculty to participate in a pilot of a new student survey this fall.

[Queen's Common Ground students]
A new digital survey will be piloted this fall to gauge student feedback on their courses. (Photo by Garrett Elliot)

Students in dozens of courses could be providing their feedback in a new way this fall.

The University will be piloting new questions for the University Student Assessment of Teaching survey (USAT) this fall to gauge the effectiveness of the proposed questions and eventually decide on a future survey tool. The joint faculty and administration committee which oversees the survey renewal process is seeking faculty to participate in the pilot. 

“We know there are many different models for this type of survey, and each has its own benefits and challenges. This pilot will be important in giving us information to plan our next steps,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “These surveys are important, as they help us hear from students about their experience at Queen’s and allow faculty to review the feedback to revise their courses. We encourage all students to participate in their surveys this fall.”

The pilot will include a wide variety of courses, including lecture, lab, tutorial, and seminar from a broad range of disciplines. An exciting feature of the new survey tool will be the inclusion of both online courses and graduate courses, which will be an opportunity to hear student voices and provide valuable feedback to instructors.

The questions in the new survey, tentatively called Queen’s Survey of Student Experience of Teaching (QSSET), are divided into four categories: one section about the student’s experience, another about the instructor, a third section about the course itself, and a final category about course infrastructure.

“Revising student surveys of teaching is enormously complex, but extremely important, as the environment for teaching and learning changes at a rapid pace,” says John Pierce, Co-Chair of the Teaching Assessment Implementation Committee. “This process has included many different individuals and groups since 2016, and the level of commitment to improving teaching evaluation at Queen’s has been impressive.”

Changes to the survey are being overseen by a six-person subcommittee of the Joint Committee to Administer the Agreement (JCAA). This subcommittee is comprised of representatives of the faculty association and administration along with an undergraduate and graduate student.

Once the pilot survey process is complete, the results will be analyzed and university-wide consultations will be held to examine the evaluation process went and measure the effectiveness of the questions.

Faculty in tenured and continuing appointments who wish to participate in the pilot project should complete the JCAA’s survey.

To learn more about teaching assessment at Queen’s, visit the Office of the University Registrar website or read Appendix E and Article 29 of the most recent Queen’s University Faculty Association Collective Agreement. 

Questions about the pilot or the process should be directed to QSSET@queensu.ca