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Operating Processes and Guidelines

Services from the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET) are provided by the Office of the Provost to assist schools and departments with the mission of conducting student opinion of teaching surveys. If a school or department chooses to use OMET to fulfill its evaluation of teaching mission, then it must adhere to the guidelines of the office. OMET’s processes are in place for purposes of maintaining confidentiality and effective systematic practices.

Requesting a student opinion of teaching survey:

  • Surveys will be automatically activated for all classes except those within the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. Decisions about whether a course or instructor* can be opted-out of the survey process are made at the administrative level in some schools. In others, instructors will be granted access to opt-out of the survey process. More information can be found on our faculty information page.
  • Requests for surveys will not be honored after the term is finished.

Survey Content:

  • Standard survey questionnaires are used for each school or department.  The current forms have been approved by the school or department and cannot be altered without the permission of the school or department and its administration. (Process varies based on governance policies of each school.) Changes to questionnaires will be honored the following term (deadlines for submission of new questions/questionnaires apply, contact omet@pitt.edu for details).
  • Instructors may select questions from a question library and/or add custom questions.

Teaching Center Resources:

Survey Administration:

  • All surveys are administered online. Students receive emails to their Pitt email address with a link to the survey. Survey links are also accessible through My Pitt and Canvas.
  • Surveys take place during the last three weeks of classes during fall and spring terms.  Summer surveys are administered based on summer term/session schedules.** Schools are able to set their own survey period dates.
  • Only results from OMET administered surveys will be reported to instructors and administrators by OMET.

 Encouraging participation from students

  • Automated emails are sent to faculty and students throughout the term with information about the survey process.
  • Instructors are encouraged to discuss with students the survey process, the importance of student participation and how the responses are used.
  • Instructors may allow class time for students to complete the survey on a mobile device.
  • Instructors may not try to influence the content of students’ responses.

Teaching Center Resources:

Confidentiality:

  • Student responses are confidential. Instructors and administrators receive anonymous response data.
  • To protect student confidentiality, OMET does not release information on who did or did not complete the survey. Please note that responses deemed as indicative of harm to oneself, or another person will be shared with the appropriate University contact for follow up.
  • Instructors should not request proof from students that they have completed their surveys. Students should be encouraged to respond but participation is voluntary.

Results and Reporting:

  • The complete results (numerical and comments) of the survey are available to the individual instructor, beginning the day after the grades due date for the term (final grades must be submitted).
  • Results of surveys with fewer than five responses are not automatically released. Instructors may contact OMET for further information.
  • Provost Ann Cudd has provided guidelines for student opinion of teaching report distribution for spring and summer 2020.
  • All deans and campus presidents will be given access to their school or campus survey results (administered through the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET) for all instructors of all ranks. Further, deans and campus presidents, in conjunction with their faculty and in accordance with each unit’s governance practices, will determine how the data are shared within their unit. These determinations should be conveyed to the Teaching Center on a regular basis (annually or upon personnel changes) so that system access can be granted to the appropriate individuals. For details see Provost Cudd’s memo on assessment of teaching.
  • Survey results data may not be altered in any way. Student responses cannot be eliminated or modified.
  • Data Retention
    • Electronic copies of results and summaries will be retained for 10 years.

Teaching Center Resources:

Teaching Survey Notifications and Announcements:

  • Announcements are posted on several University channels and refer to standard survey period dates. Announcements are universal and cannot be changed or eliminated at an individual or course level.
  • Email notifications and reminders are automatically sent to instructors and students enrolled in the teaching survey process. Emails are sent to official University of Pittsburgh email addresses . Make sure you are receiving our emails.
  • Emails are sent for the following tasks:
    • Students
      • Request to complete surveys – Once surveys are completed and submitted; email notifications will cease unless new courses have been added to the survey process.
    • Instructors
      • Adding Questions to your survey – Instructors can submit the form without adding questions to avoid receiving reminders.
      • Monitoring Response Rates – Instructors receive an initial notification on the day surveys begin. Reminders are sent periodically throughout the survey period to remind instructors that they may check response rates and encourage students to participate.
      • Results/Reports – Instructors will receive an email notification informing them that reports are accessible along with instructions for viewing and downloading reports.
      • Opting out of the Survey Process – Instructors in the Schools of Social Work, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, UPB, and UPJ will receive a notification and reminders about opting out of the survey process. Reminders will continue up until the deadline to opt-out.

These guidelines apply to end-of-term student opinion of teaching surveys. For information about OMET administered midterm course surveys, please visit our midterm course survey page.

*Instructor is used to denote anyone teaching at the University of Pittsburgh, i.e. Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, part-time instructors, lecturers, teaching assistants, etc.

**Some features and practices apply only to regular term classes.

Updated February 2021

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