University of Iowa

Student Evaluation of Teaching

Under College policy, evaluations of teaching must be solicited from students at the end of every course.

For best practices and instructor resources, see this information provided by the Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology.

This includes courses taught by teaching assistants or adjunct instructors. It also includes Saturday and Evening courses, GIS courses, and courses taught in the summer and winter sessions.

Courses that are cross-listed are evaluated by the department or program that is the administrative home of the course.

Evaluations may take any form, with departments often developing specific evaluation policies. There is only one University-wide requirement: every evaluation must include a question on the oral communication competence of the instructor.

The University's Evaluation and Examination Service (EES) has developed (ACE) forms that may be used for the evaluation of teaching, if desired. Instructors may select elements from an item pool or may generate their own items; questions may be closed or open-ended. EES provides the forms, processes them, and summarizes the data at no charge. Visit the EES web site for more information on deadlines and procedures.

ACE Online

Beginning with the Fall 2015 semester, University College highly encourages the use of ACE online forms. 

University College requires that the following three questions be included in ACE online evaluation forms, when applicable:

  • The instructor was effective in teaching the course materials.
  • The work assigned by the instructor was worthwhile and helped me learn the course material.
  • The instructor supported student learning in this class

Departments and instructors may add additional questions, if desired.

ACE Online Procedures

  • ACE online forms for regularly scheduled courses will be available for students two weeks before the final examination week begins and will close at midnight on the Sunday before the start of the final exam week.
  • Students will receive an email informing them that the evaluations have been opened.
  • For regularly scheduled courses, forms are generally ready to be viewed by the instructor online by the fourth week of the semester. This time varies for off-cycle courses, depending on the course’s start and end dates.
  • Instructors teaching off-cycle courses should remind their students to complete the forms at the end of the course period.
  • Students and instructors may access the forms through ICON. Instructors do not need to have a course on ICON to access the evaluation forms. ICON simply provides a login portal to the evaluation site.
  • After logging into ICON, students and instructors will see the evaluation dashboard under "Student Tools."
  • Instructors wanting to add their own questions to a course evaluation form may do so at the evaluation dashboard but must add the questions before the forms open for students' use. Once opened for students, the evaluations forms cannot be changed.
  • Each instructor is able to access their course evaluation results around three days after grades are posted. At the same time that instructors can view the results of the evaluations, DEOs and key departmental administrators (or a delegate) may also review evaluation results.
  • All results from course evaluations are accessible to the instructor as long as the instructor has a valid HawkID and password, providing easy access to these materials online. 

Procedures for Student Evaluation of Teaching

Procedures for evaluation must ensure that student evaluations are anonymous and uninfluenced by the instructor. Instructors should follow these procedures:

  • Allow enough time for the evaluation.
  • Inform students that the process is important to the instructor for improving the course and teaching methods, and that constructive recommendations are taken seriously.
  • Remind students that the instructor does not have access to the evaluations until after final grades have been submitted.
  • If using paper forms, designate a student to deliver the forms (to the departmental office or to Evaluation and Examination Service) or to put them in campus mail in an envelope addressed to the department or to EES.
  • The instructor(s) must leave the room while students are completing the forms.

Optional Mid-term Evaluation of Teaching

Some instructors find it beneficial to have a mid-term or earlier evaluation for their own use. Instructors may devise their own evaluation instruments or they may work with EES. Instructors who choose to do such evaluations should assure students that these evaluations are optional and must develop ways to preserve the anonymity of the responses.

Keeping Student Evaluations on File

Student evaluations of teaching must be kept on file as evidence of teaching effectiveness and are included in all reviews of teaching assistants and of tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

For teaching assistants, all student evaluations of teaching must be kept on file from the initial appointment until the time the individual leaves the University.

For lecturers, visiting faculty, and adjunct faculty, the evaluations must be kept on file for five years.

For clinical-track faculty review, evaluations since the previous review for reappointment or promotion must be kept on file.