As of yesterday, the University Registrar has made course evaluations pubic on Vergil. Vergil, the University’s official course planner, has offered a “Course Evaluations” tab since it’s launch, but this is the first time it has actually had course evaluations available for viewing.
The evaluations, pulled from student responses last semester, will allow students to have a better understanding of what a class is like and how the Professor presents the material. Before going live on the website, faculty review and filter out the comments as necessary (mostly for expletives).
To access the new feature, one can either use the Professor scroll down menu under the “Course Evaluations” tab or click the evaluations button when searching for a class. You will need to be logged in with your UNI for full access.
In an interview with The Lion, Barry Kane, the University Registrar noted that in this test phase of the program, academic departments cannot opt out of the public evaluations, but they can choose to reveal more data about classes under their purview if they so desire. He did note that individual faculty have the right to opt out for the next two years.
When asked about the future of CULPA, the unofficial Professor rating system, Kane noted that while the site was useful when there was no official service from the University, this new feature will allow students to get more recent information about classes and how they are taught. In particular, he noted that his system has been designed to focus on “making teaching better” and will not feature ratings systems such as CULPA’s. The Office of the University Registrar hopes to be able to help students make better course decisions and allow instructors to learn how to improve based on the feedback they receive.
In the future, Kane noted that his office is looking into pushing evaluation deadlines until after finals to increase the percentage of students who complete them. For this to happen though, faculty committees in the College of Arts and Science as well as in the Engineering school would need to agree on the policy change.
While several Professors are currently not listed in the new service, Kane noted that all evaluations should be live before the start of Fall 2016 class registration.