I received the written comments submitted by my students in FYSM 1506 Topics in the Study of Societies–”Power and Violence,” which is a two-semester long seminar for first year students. Carleton University uses what is perhaps the crudest of all forms of teaching evaluations: students are asked to answer thirteen questions on a scale of one to five, or they can answer “Not Applicable.” The thirteen questions are not especially helpful; for instance, “How do you assess your instructor’s performance in speaking audibly and clearly?” and “How do you assess your instructor’s performance in beginning and ending classes promptly?” Considering that I am a sessional lecturer–and all that implies–my evaluations tend to be surprisingly good: my numbers usually put me in the ranks of the highest evaluated instructors in the department and the faculty. In addition to answering the questions, students are also invited to submit free-form written comments on the back of the evaluations. The written comments are not looked at by anyone other than the instructor: that is, even if all the students write something like “Give this sessional a tenure-track position because they are, by far, the best professor we’ve ever had” (never happened to me, of course!), no one will actually see it. Chairs don’t read them, Deans don’t read them, and Vice-Presidents don’t read them.
My average score for questions 1-12 (the “how do you assess…?” questions) was 4.75. In comparison, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences average was 4.50; the sociology faculty in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology average was 4.43; and the average for instructors teaching first year seminars (such as myself) was 4.53. My score for question 13 (“How do you evaluate the instructor?”) was 4.80. The Faculty score was 4.47; the departmental score was 4.38 and the first year seminar score was 4.57. In all cases, I was rated significantly higher than average.
Because it was a small class (ostensibly a seminar, although I did most of the talking) and because it was a full-year course, the written comments are bit more friendly than the norm.
Awesome course with a great final assignment. Could use more videos and more legible handwriting but these things happen.
Thank you Craig for the best FYSM class that I could have hoped to imagine! All the other students in our classes bitch + complain about how much they hate their FYSMs. Sucks to be them! I thought this would be boring + dragged out but your [sic] made this class awesome, especially the vampire/zombie readings. I suggest more of those for your future classes because everyone would actually read them! All the readings had something interesting in their own way except a few of them were too long so its no wonder some people lost interest. On the whole thanks so much! I hope that I can find another class with you as the instructor in the future!!!
Dear Mr. MacFarlane [sic], Great course! You have some awesome antics! I will be looking for your classes in the future so I can harass you all semester once again. Thanks!
Craig was very good teacher. He was very knowledgable and good at making sometimes tedious material interesting.
Great work. Your snide sense of humour made my thursdays. [I don't think "snide" means what the student thinks it means.]
Good course if you enjoy abstract sociological writings from dead guys. Course was pretty easy though, also Craig is hilariously cynical and this lightens up an otherwise somewhat monstrous class. Laptop ban sucked, don’t do that again. Second semester better than first. [I don't think "cynical" means what the student thinks it means.]