By Elizabeth H. Simmons, February 1, 2017
Dear LBC Students,
On behalf of the faculty and administration of the College, I am writing to express our appreciation for the time and effort you put into writing detailed, nuanced comments on the SALG course evaluation forms at the end of the semester.
Your faculty read the comments carefully over the break, while preparing for the new semester's semester courses. Indeed, your notes about what helped your learning and what could still be improved are taken as significant formative feedback.
When you write using clear, professional language and provide evidence to support the broad picture you are painting about the course (whether that picture is complementary or critical or a mix of both) we pay close attention. We change our teaching methods. We brainstorm potential improvements with our mentors. And we alter how we communicate the goals and methods of the course to students in future semesters.
Your feedback also impacts faculty evaluation processes. As part of their annual review, each faculty member reflects on their teaching over the last year—including what was learned from the students' written commentary about the learning experience—and creates a plan for how to do better. Your comments, the faculty member's reflection and their future plans are all reviewed by the faculty on the Briggs Advisory Committee and the dean. Moreover, your comments are read by the evaluation committee when a faculty member is considered for reappointment and promotion.
As your teachers, we try to engage seriously with your ideas during the semester, to help you express them and refine them into more accurate and powerful expressions of what you are learning. Thank you for returning the favor at the semester's end by giving us clear feedback about our teaching. We appreciate it greatly.
Dean, Lyman Briggs College
University Distinguished Professor of Physics
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