Student - February 2, 2012

Open letter: Evaluate your courses!

Students seldom fill out evaluation questionnaires, although these are important for improving and appraising the education standard. Professor Marcel Zwietering of Food Microbiology calls on students in an open letter not to keep their feedback to themselves.

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Dear students,
I would like to appeal to all of you to fill out the EVASYS questionnaires.
I am a professor, lecturer and member of a programme committee. In these capacities, I often use the results of course evaluations. As a professor, I am responsible for the teaching quality of the chair group. I discuss every evaluation with the subject coordinator. I discuss the results of the course evaluations during the annual job performance appraisal of each lecturer. The course coordinators in my chair group also view the evaluations seriously and use these to make improvements. The results of these questionnaires are important in promoting lecturers (tenure track system). As a subject lecturer, I look at the results and the comments. My boss, the director of the sciences group, in his turn discusses with me the results of my own performance as lecturer and the subjects in my chair group. Within programme committees, subject evaluations are discussed and when needed, steps are taken to urge subject coordinators to take actions. Feedback is crucial to achieve quality. This feedback has of course to be acted upon, and I assure you that it is taken seriously. The response from students in some subjects is sometimes so miserably low that these results are viewed less seriously; that's not a good thing.
Education in Wageningen is considered as having a high standard; both lecturers and students want to keep it this way. I therefore appeal to all of you to give more thought to filling out the questionnaires. Really, we will listen to you. We might not be able to make changes to everything and sometimes, we have to look around for a good solution to a problem, but we are working in earnest and we need your feedback to do so.
Marcel Zwietering

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