As the Spring 2021 semester draws to an end at AUN, instructors and professors alike are on the examinations hot seat. At AUN, faculty evaluation is an opportunity for university administration to examine campus teaching methods and learning outcomes.
The Academic Planning & Quality Assurance (APQA) Department uses a specialized computer-based method to collate data from students about instructor performance and teaching methods. While the students give candid opinions about their professors, the tables are turned into what some students may consider poetic justice. The evaluation is an opportunity for students to grade their professors' performance. It is a unique feature of the American education system.
Academic evaluation of faculty performance is done twice every semester, mid-semester and at the end of the semester. This exercise assesses the quality of staff and student performance. An academic evaluation is a resource that identifies all met and unmet requirements for a specific program and also serves as a performance review.
The Coordinator, Accreditation, Academic Planning & Quality Assurance, Dr. Nasiru Yakubu, said the Department is tasked with evaluating faculty and courses, among other responsibilities. "The process gives students a chance to appraise the content of the course that is being taught as well as evaluate the instructors at the end, and an individual report is generated for every course in every semester. The reports are sent to the instructors, and a copy is also sent to the Dean."
The process is a feedback mechanism that enables instructors to work on weaknesses and challenges regarding how well they teach and the quality of course content. Evaluations are guided by the department chairs and deans of respective schools.
The report also serves as an additional recommendation for the instructors, especially in academic circles. "The evaluation process this time has slightly changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic because the nature of teaching has changed. We had to deploy more technology to facilitate the online classes and alter some of the questions.
"As the world changes, students also evolve especially in terms of learning processes, so their needs and requirements change. Therefore, we need to take into account the changing needs of the industry. For example, in the area of computer science, the educational requirement will be completely different in the next ten years," Dr. Nasiru said.
During evaluations, the identity of students is usually kept confidential to ensure the students do not feel the instructors might victimize them or influence their grades.
The Department of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance also ensures that comments are anonymous and then circulates the information to the faculty to let them know how they can improve their methods. This evaluation is a vital tool in determining a student's progress in fulfilling the requirements to complete their degree.
A Natural & Environmental Science (NES) student Onyinye John-Obute described the process as a very convenient exercise. "We can communicate easily with the instructors to let them know how we feel and how we are coping with the course. It is quite efficient," she said.
"This process is basically giving our feedback to the instructor, giving the school what to work on, and then communicating it to the instructor. This helps students a lot," said another Natural & Environmental Science student, Obijuru Francis Awamekue.
The Spring 2021 faculty course evaluation exercise began on Monday, June 7 2021, and will run through Saturday, June 19 2021. During this period, assessors visit each class once for a maximum of 10 minutes before, in the middle, or towards the end of the course.
Reported by Gabriel Blessing