Feedback from a New Faculty Member in Chemistry
The Assessment is a great opportunity for students to voice concerns via an anonymous, structured forum, and for a faculty member to receive feedback in a constructive, professional manner.
For me, the first class after the Assessment provides a chance to specifically point out the top student concerns and my own responses to them; I am able to point to two or three specific changes I’ll make moving forward, which the students appreciate.
Each year that I’ve done a Midterm Assessment, my end-of-term evaluations mention the changes made as a result of that assessment and the resulting improvements to class format.
I also can address student comments about more unavoidable challenges. For instance, in General Chemistry, the pace of the course is invariably a concern for several students. After the assessment, I am able to explain why we need to move at such a quick pace through the material; to sympathize that the class is indeed very fast (I tell them about my own impressions of Introductory Chemistry, when I was a first-year student!); and to point out some of the ways in which I attempt to address this challenge. I have found that students are similarly responsive to this discussion.
Overall, the Assessment provides a specific and obvious way to demonstrate my hope that the classroom learning environment will be as constructive as possible, along with a great way for students to recognize their own roles in the learning process.
--New faculty member, Chemistry