by Irma Pelt
Senior Staff Writer
In preparation for the end of the semester, faculty at Conrad College participated in a workshop this week focused on utilizing information provided by students’ course evaluations. The workshops were presented by consultants from Fake It To Make It, a firm specializing in the non-use of qualitative and quantitative assessment data.
“It’s always been a goal that students feel like their voices are heard at Conrad,” said Julia Spiegel, Conrad’s Provost. “The ideas shared with us this week make it look like we actually care about what students submit at the end of each semester.”
A variety of sessions were offered, targeted at individual faculty members’ specific needs.
“I went to this great session on how to use approachable lingo,” said Dr. Jules Mickelson, a biology professor. “We got talking points and everything. I can drop some buzz words that make it sound like I care about the students, and they’re none the wiser.”
The handout Mickelson received included key phrases such as “here to support you,” “available outside of office hours,” and “call me anytime.”
“This is ace,” Mickelson said. “I’m not even going to give out my phone number, but if I keep saying they can call, they’ll believe it.”
Conrad administration is implementing several suggestions from Fake It To Make It on a larger scale, including strategic timing of faculty sabbaticals.
“When a faculty member gets a really poor course evaluation, that’s when we know it’s time for sabbatical,” said Spiegel. “Students are then convinced the faculty member has been fired and feel validated.”
Long term plans also include online course evaluations that, when submitted by students, are actually deleted without being read.
“Think of the time it will save department chairs,” said Spiegel. “They won’t even have to pretend to read the evaluation comments anymore.”