Student Opinion Survey (SOS) Administration Guidelines 

1.0 Background & Purpose

1.1 The promotion of teaching and learning excellence is an important goal at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). The Student Opinion Survey (SOS) is currently the only official and mandatory  instrument used to assess teaching.

1.2 The result of the Student Opinion Surveys will be used by the University, as one indicator of teaching competence and one of the several sources of data,

            a. to help instructors improve their teaching effectiveness
            b. in the decision-making processes of the assessment committees on contract renewal, faculty tenure and promotion
            c. as a component of the teaching dossier; and
            d. to assist the Deans in making changes for curriculum and program improvement

The purpose of this guideline is to provide information regarding the rules, definitions, and implementation of this survey.

2.0 Applicability

2.1 This guideline applies to all surveyed courses at the University

3.0 Definitions

3.1 “Academic Unit” refers to Departments, Colleges, or in Faculties without Departments or Colleges, the Faculty;

3.2 “Academic Unit Head” refers to the Chair, or for Faculties without Departments or Colleges, the Dean;

3.3 “Instructor” refers to the instructor of record for the course;

3.4 “Standard Course” refers to courses with a start and last day of classes defined in the Calendar of Academic Dates

4.0 Scope

4.1 All courses must be surveyed with the following exemptions:

      4.1.1 Courses with fewer than four (4) enrolled students
      4.1.2 Courses defined by each academic unit as approved by the Dean

5.0 Content

5.1 The Student Opinion Survey Questionnaire shall consist of three groups of questions:

            a. Mandatory (Group 1: University-wide)
                     • Seven (7) core (rating) questions
                      Two (2) (open-ended) questions

            b. Variable (Group 2: Instructor-chosen)
                     • 6 (rating) questions: The instructor(s) may choose up to 6 questions from the pool of pre-determined questions in the question                             bank that he/she deemed useful to improve his/her teaching effectiveness.
                     • Should the Instructors opt to not select questions from the pool of pre-determined questions in the question bank, the default                               instructor-chosen questions will be applied to the questionnaire.

           c. Variable (Group 3: Academic Unit-chosen)
                      Four (4) (rating) questions: The Academic unit may choose up to four (4) questions from the pool of pre-determined questions                               in the question bank. Each academic unit would be responsible for creating and ensuring a process for choosing these questions.
                      The academic unit-chosen questions will appear on the questionnaires of all the courses offered by the academic unit
                      Prior to the start of the term, instructors must know the questions chosen by their academic unit.
                      Should the Academic Unit opt to not select questions from the pool of pre-determined questions in the question bank, the
                       default academic-unit chosen questions will be applied to the questionnaire.

5.2 All Student Opinion Survey Questionnaires shall begin with the following seven (7) core rating questions and two (2) open-ended questions.

RATING QUESTIONS:

1. PREPARATION The instructor was well-prepared to deliver the course
2. CLARITY OF PRESENTATION The instructor presented the course content clearly
3. STIMULATION The instructor stimulated my interest in the course content
4. APPROACHABILITY The instructor was approachable
5. AVAILABILITY The instructor provided opportunities for me to seek assistance
6. FEEDBACK FOR STUDENT WORK The instructor provided feedback that helped me learn
7. GLOBAL (OVERALL) The instructor is an effective teacher

OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS:

1. What aspects of the instructor’s teaching should stay the same?
2. What aspects of the instructor’s teaching should be changed?

5.3 All rating questions shall be answered on a Likert scale:
            • Strongly disagree
            • Disagree to some extent
            • Neutral
            • Agree to some extent
            • Strongly agree

5.4 The default instructor-chosen questions are the following:

RATING QUESTIONS:

1. INSTRUCTOR’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS STUDENTS The instructor created a positive class environment
2. INSTRUCTOR’S COMMUNICATION SKILLS The instructor was able to hold my attention in this course
3. INSTRUCTOR’S INTEREST IN TEACHING The instructor seemed genuinely interested in the course material
4. INSTRUCTOR’S EXPECTATIONS & OBJECTIVES The instructor clearly specified the course requirements
5. EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS The exams/tests gave students an opportunity to demonstrate what they had learned
6. ASSIGNMENTS The assignments helped me better understand the course material

5.5 The default academic-unit chosen questions are the following:

RATING QUESTIONS:

1. PACE, BREADTH AND DEPTH OF COVERAGE This course covered material at an appropriate level and pace.
2. STUDENT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT I have become more competent in this subject area as a result of this course
3. RELEVANCE OF COURSE The course has stimulated my interest in this area.
4. EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS Assessments were fair and matched the stated course goals.

6.0 Timing and Duration

6.1 For the standard Fall, Winter and Full Summer term (14-week session) courses, except anomalous courses, the survey period shall last for three (3) weeks, starting at midnight, three (3) weeks before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.

6.2 For the standard eight (8) and six (6) week session Summer courses, the survey period shall last for two (2) weeks, starting at midnight, two (2) weeks before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.

6.3 For the standard four (4) and three (3) week session Summer courses, the survey period shall last for 1 (one) week, starting at midnight, one (1) week before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.

6.4 For anomalous courses with a non-standard start and/or end dates, the survey duration and timing shall depend on the length and the last day of classes of the course.
            a. Courses running for Nine (9) to Fourteen (14) weeks- The survey period shall last for three (3) weeks, starting at midnight,
                three (3) weeks before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.
            b. Courses running for Six (6) to Eight (8) weeks - The survey period shall last for two (2) weeks, starting at midnight,
                two (2) weeks before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.
            c. Courses running for Three (3) to Five (5) weeks - The survey period shall last for one (1) week, starting at midnight,
                one (1) week before the last day of classes, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.
            d. Courses running for Two (2) weeks or less – The survey period shall open when the course is at 80% completion
                (with a minimum of two (2) days), starting at midnight, and ending at 11:59PM on the last day of classes.

6.5 Instructors may select a dedicated survey day (beginning at 12 midnight until 11:59PM) within the default survey period for their courses. Should the instructor opt not to choose a survey day, the default survey period will apply to their courses.

6.6 For courses with multiple instructors of record, each instructor shall be surveyed separately. The survey period and duration for each instructor shall depend on the length and last day of classes of the instructor’s segment of the course, following 6.4 a-d.

6.7 Results shall not be available to the Instructor, Dean, VP Academic or delegate before the final grades in the course have been posted.

7.0 Anonymity and Confidentiality

7.1 All course evaluation results shall be anonymous.

7.2 The written answers to the open-ended questions shall be confidential to the instructor only.

7.3 The numerical survey results shall be confidential to the Instructor, the Academic Unit Head, and the Dean of the Faculty or their delegates.

8.0 Distribution of Survey Results

8.1 The results of the Group 1 (University-wide) seven (7) core (rating) questions of each of the Instructor’s teaching during each academic year shall be automatically placed in the Instructor’s official file annually.

8.2 The Instructors shall receive the results of all groups of questions in the survey for their courses:
            a. Group 1 (University-wide)
                      Seven (7) core (rating) questions
                      Two (2) (open-ended) questions
            b. Group 2 (Instructor-chosen)
                      • Six (6) (rating) questions
            c. Group 3 (Academic unit-chosen)
                       Four (4) (rating) questions

8.3 The Deans shall receive the results of the following groups of questions for each course in their Faculty:
            a. Group 1 (University-wide)
                      Seven (7) core (rating) questions
            b. Group 3 (Academic-Unit chosen)
                      • Four (4) (rating) questions

The Deans can delegate access to survey results to their Chairs.

8.4 The VPs (Vice-President Academic and Associate Vice-President Academic - Learning Environment for Fredericton Campus and Vice-President Saint John for Saint John Campus) shall receive the results of the Group 1 (University-wide) seven (7) core (rating) questions only for each course in their Campus.

8.5 When Instructors teach courses in an Academic Unit that is outside of their home Faculty, the Dean will provide the results of the Group 1 University-wide core (rating) questions and Group 3 Academic Unit-chosen (rating questions) for those courses to the Dean of their home Faculty when requested.

9.0 Oversight

9.1 The Office of the Associate Vice President – Academic (Learning Environment) shall be responsible for overseeing the administration of the SOS and implementing the SOS guidelines.

9.2 The Office of Institutional Analysis shall be the owner of the survey application and shall be responsible for the administration of the SOS.

9.3 Each academic unit shall be responsible for the administration of the survey consistent with the procedures in these guidelines.