Arreola at Great Basin College, August, 2007
The GBC Administrative and Faculty Evaluation Committee have worked together for the
past two years to determine the best approach for developing a valid, reliable and consistent
faculty evaluation system. Three recurring questions were the focus of continuing discussion:
- Does our system acknowledge the vast range and full complexity of the duties and
responsibilities of the college instructor?
- Should faculty evaluation be integrated
with a professional enrichment program? How can we change the view of the evaluation
process from a negative perspective to a positive experience where faculty are acknowledged
for their vast array of skills and supported in enriching needed areas of improvement?
- Is our present GBC Student Rating Form valid and/or reliable?
With these and other questions left unanswered, the committee recommended that a representative
from the Evaluation Committee and the Vice President of Academic Affairs attend an evaluation
conference to learn more about the process. In March of 2007, Dr. Mike McFarlane and Lynette
Macfarlan, Committee Co-Chair, flew to Florida to attend Dr. Raoul Arreola's Evaluation
Conference entitled, Developing a Comprehensive Faculty Evaluation
System. An eight-step
system was introduced as a guide for designing, building and operating a successful faculty
evaluation system. With full administrative support, Dr. Arreola was brought to Great
Basin College to present an in-service training. Based on the level of research supporting
Dr. Arreola's presentation content, the entire faculty agreed to move forward with the
monumental task of restructuring the present GBC Evaluation system. Dr. Arreola's extensive
knowledge-based research, coupled with his expert delivery of information, assisted our
committee in answering our own questions.
- Our present system did not adequately acknowledge the vast range and complexity
of the duties and responsibilities of the college instructor. Our present system lacked
a shared value system and full faculty involvement in the development of the evaluation
Faculty engage in a variety of activities necessary for the successful achievement
of the mission and goals of their department and institution as well as their personal
professional goals and objectives. These activities may require not only expertise
in a given content area but also skills and expertise in a host of other sophisticated
psychological, technical, organization, and group processes that are not necessarily
related to their content field. Thus, the profession of college teacher or college
profession is seen as a meta-profession: a profession that assumes content expertise
as a foundation but requires professional-level performance in areas outside a faculty
member's recognized area of expertise. In short, college faculty are expected to
assume a variety of roles and to perform at a high professional level in each role.
- It is imperative that the faculty evaluation system be linked to Faculty Enrichment.
should be noted that faculty evaluation and professional enrichment are really two sides
of the same coin. Ideally, faculty evaluation programs and professional enrichment programs
should work hand-in-hand. If some aspect of faculty performance is to be evaluated,
then there should exist resources or opportunities that enable faculty to gain or enhance
their skills necessary for that performance. For maximal self-improvement effect, faculty
evaluation systems must be linked to professional enrichment programs. A successful
faculty evaluation system must provide 1) meaningful feedback information to guide professional
growth and enrichment and 2) evaluative information on which to base personnel decisions.
- In order for the GBC Student Rating Form to be considered an integral component
of the overall evaluation system, it must be reliable and valid.
Easily the largest and most visible component of a faculty evaluation system is the
student rating form and its computerized output. Over the years, for good or ill, student
ratings have come to be the single most heavily weighted component of faculty evaluation
systems. In response, many institutions have developed their own student rating forms,
generally designed either by faculty, students, administrators, or a committee made
up of some combination of these. Experience has shown that in the majority of cases
these student rating forms have not been constructed in accordance with professional
psychometric principles and standards. Thus, the forms may be of inadequate, or at least
indeterminate, reliability and/or validity. The use of these forms may pose a legal
liability for the institution. (Arreola 110)
The design and development of a valid, reliable form intended to measure the teaching
performance of an instructor and/or the perceived effectiveness of a course, is a technical
task requiring professional expertise in statistics and psychological measurement. (Arreola
The GBC Administration and the Evaluation Committee researched two professionally
developed student rating forms. After several conversations with the agency representatives
and a detailed comparison conducted by the Evaluation Committee, it was decided to pilot
the IDEA student rating form campus-wide for the fall 2007 semester. The on-line version
will be piloted by 10 instructors until the process has been solidified. Click here for additional information regarding the IDEA student rating form, professional enrichment
papers and information regarding nationally normed/statistical reports.