Instructor and Course Evaluations

Dear Colleagues,

Course and instructor evaluation data for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters are currently available in ESTHER.

Due to concerns that scores might differ because of the highly irregular circumstances of the past academic year, the Office of the Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate reviewed the average evaluation scores across all schools and compared them to the last pre-pandemic semesters — fall 2018 and spring 2019. The results show Rice’s campuswide average course and instructor evaluation scores were slightly better for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. This suggests that across campus, students on average felt that Rice’s teaching and learning held strong.

Nonetheless, we have allowed faculty to opt out of showing their evaluations to students. However, the summary quantitative data for evaluations will be accessible to faculty and staff at as it has been for the past several years. Students will not have access to the summary data. They will only be able to access evaluations that are made available through ESTHER if an instructor has not opted out. The Office of the Registrar will email all instructors no later than Aug. 6 with directions on how to opt out of having an evaluation displayed in ESTHER to students.

We remain extraordinarily grateful to all of you and recognize your work to maintain a high-quality educational experience for our students. In some cases, many of you improved the teaching and learning experiences of our students, which makes us especially proud. Just like last year when so many of our courses shifted to online or hybrid formats, we also want to reiterate our gratitude to the offices of Information Technology, Global and Digital Strategy and the Center for Teaching Excellence for helping us navigate the evolving new normal. A big thanks also goes out to the offices of the Registrar and Institutional Research for ensuring that the appropriate evaluation data was collected and provided as needed.

We believe that despite the challenges we faced during the past academic year, our faculty continued to push all bounds to bring the best and most creative learning experiences to our students in both on-campus and online formats. We look forward to the next Rice chapter, the 2021-2022 academic year, during which the vast majority of Rice classes are scheduled to be held in person, yet many will be newly animated by tried and now-proven-true online pedagogical practices learned from our creative efforts over the past year.

Warmest regards,

Reginald DesRoches, Provost

C. Fred Higgs, III, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Chris Johns-Krull, Faculty Senate Speaker