UH reorganizes course feedback

The number of course evaluations available to students has increased, after large quantities were found missing in a Fall 2007 Daily Cougar investigation.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Foss appointed a staff member in late fall to be responsible for the evaluations.

"We have now asked Patrick Daniel to deposit the evaluations in the UH library. Previously this was done by the colleges, which sometimes led to delays," he said.

Patrick Daniel, executive director of Learning and Assessment Services and director of the Measurement and Evaluation Center, said that appointing one individual will yield a more timely submission of course evaluations.

"We’ve always been collecting the data for the University. It’s a logical next step to have (MEC) in charge of making sure the evaluations are sent the right place," Daniel said.

A Daily Cougar investigation in the fall found about 82 percent of evaluations from the last two years were missing. Daniel said human oversight was the probable reason.

Course evaluations, according to the Faculty Handbook, "will be compiled in a uniform format by the department/college and will be housed in a central location in the library for general public access."

Evaluations, housed on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library near the distance education videos, are available from 2003.

Last fall, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the largest UH college, only had a copy of philosophy course evaluations from Fall 2003. Evaluations from its departments are now available for Fall 2007.

Fall 2007 evaluations for the Bauer College of Business, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and the Cullen College of Engineering are available.

Evaluations from the College of Education, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Graduate School of Social Work for Fall 2007 are now in the library. Last fall’s investigation found there were no evaluations dated from fall 2005 or later.

Evaluations from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and the College of Technology, which were missing last semester, are present for Fall 2007.

The library did not have evaluations for The Honors College, the College of Optometry, the UH Law Center or the College of Pharmacy.

UH departments use MEC to collect, compile and bind course evaluation data. Unlike previous semesters when MEC would return the data to its respective UH departments, MEC is now responsible for handing data over to the library, Daniel said.

"(MEC) no longer plays an auxiliary role for the University," he said. "(It) is fully responsible and fully accountable for all the data that’s stored in the library."

Faculty members from the departments are still responsible for course evaluation questions, Daniel said. MEC helps with the wording and organization of the questions, but after evaluations are complete, copies are sent to the library and to their respective departments.

MEC also handles online evaluations, found at

Daniel said no plans are in place to replace missing evaluations, though MEC keeps evaluation data for "as long as possible."

"We’re looking forward now. The library now has data for Fall 2007 and Spring evaluations will soon be there," he said.

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