CRLT Blog

As we approach the end of the term, students will be asked to provide feedback to instructors using U-M's course evaluation system. At CRLT, we often hear from faculty and GSIs who are discouraged about a number of issues related to student ratings, including the tone of some written comments, relatively low response rates, and uncertainty about how best to use the results productively. This post provides some resources for each of these concerns.

Screenshot of the evaluatee/instructor items section1) Minimizing Unhelpful Comments: Student ratings comments can be unhelpful when vague or irrelevant, whether positive ("Great course!") or negative (e.g., criticism of instructor attributes not linked to the learning environment). To encourage students to avoid rude or personally hurtful comments, CRLT worked closely with ADVANCE at U-M on a handout that instructors can give to students before they fill out their evaluations. The handout, Course Evaluations: Providing Helpful Feedback to Your Instructors, asks students to keep three key issues in mind when completing their ratings:

An apple on a deskGSIs across campus are being recognized for their excellent teaching. CRLT warmly congratulates winners of Rackham's Outstanding GSI Award and the College of Engineering's Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs. Selected from large pools of nominees, all of these instructors have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, creativity, and overall excellence in their teaching.

The four Towner awardees were honored at the College of Engineering's Student Leaders and Honors Brunch on Sunday, March 20. Rackham will be hosting a public awards ceremony to honor its twenty prize-winners, along with outstanding faculty mentors, on April 14. For more information, including the names and departments of all of the winners, see this Rackham page and this College of Engineering page

In October 2015, CRLT hosted a U-M faculty panel that addressed challenges and strategies for teaching about difference and privilege. In this post, we spotlight some key moments when faculty described tensions or difficulties, and we suggest strategies for leveraging these for student learning.Photo of the four panelists

The panel featured four LSA faculty members:

(Click on a panelist name to see a video of their talk, or see the embedded videos at the end of this post. Each video runs 8-9 minutes.)

"Several years ago, I was teaching a class on social identity and we were talking about whiteness. Actually, we weren't talking about whiteness. That was the problem." (Al Young)

What happens when discussions about race and privilege turn silent? Faced with the dynamic described above, Young asked students to turn their lens to analyzing the silence they were experiencing by writing a minute paper on the stalled conversation: "What's the problem right now with the conversation on white identity?" After writing for 3-5 minutes, he finds students are more likely to voice their thoughts out loud. For silent or superficial discussions, Helen Fox (2009) also recommends having students write on an index card, "One thing I've been reluctant to say....," which serves as a prompt for follow-up discussion.

“We’re teaching about privilege because privilege is pervasive but knowledge about it is not….Your students, they don’t come in getting it.” (Ruby Tapia)

Photo banner of the IPE Leadership Fellows

In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on education that crosses disciplinary boundaries and teaches students to work on teams. In the health sciences, this is due to an increased awareness that collaborative care is a reality for students after they graduate from any numer of health science programs. Interprofessional education (IPE)as defined by the World Health Organization and adopted by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative,

"occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes."

In January 2016, the University of Michigan’s Center for Interprofessional Education launched a new Interprofessional Leadership Fellows program. This program was developed so that health science professionals with a strong interest in interprofessional education and practice might become change agents for IPE efforts on campus and beyond.  The sixteen IPE fellows making up the inaugural cohort represent the following U-M health science schools: