Course Evaluation Data and Information

for English 583: Writing Program Administration: Theory, Practice, and Research

Spring Semester, 2011

Prof. Chris M. Anson and Prof. Susan Miller-Cochran


Note: this was a team-taught course.

Before you begin: I strongly believe that teaching well is a lifelong pursuit--an art to be explored and developed, and a science that constantly presents new challenges and opportunities for analysis and growth. As a teacher, I am also a learner. I need to reflect on what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Student evaluations are one source of information for me to reflect and improve. As such, I use them formatively, as information helpful in the improvement of a significant part of my professional life: teaching students and teaching other teachers.

But student evaluations can also have a more public function, displaying areas of my teaching that students find to be strong, and areas they find to be in need of improvement. Below, you will see evaluation data from the course and term indicated above, along with a bit of reflection from me about what I see in these numbers and comments. Please use this information responsibly. If you're deciding whether to take a course from me, consider what you see here not only as evidence of ability, but as evidence of my willingness to listen to your peers and improve my teaching in ways that respond to their justified concerns and needs. If you're a fellow professional looking at these data because you want to learn about or evaluate my work, please consider them only as one part of an overall plan for teacher effectiveness and a lifelong pursuit of excellence.

In some cases, where appropriate, I have included anonymously written comments from the students in the course. If so, I have created a kind of "dialogue" from some of these comments by interspersing my own (italicized) thoughts and reflections on ways to address specific concerns the next time I teach the course. By working on areas of concern, I can then match student opinions in future courses against those here to see whether the changes are having a positive impact on the course and on students.

If you're interested in reading my scholarly perspective on making evaluation data public and reflecting on it, see Anson, Chris M. "Dis/Closure: Transparent Formativity in the Evaluation of Teaching." "Keep Doing What You Do": Assessing the Teaching of Writing. Ed. Amy Dayton-Wood and Karen Gardiner. Forthcoming.


The following chart shows each question on the NC State University-Wide Evaluation of Instruction form. In the first box after the question appears the weighted mean of the results for that question (based on a scale of 1-5, as shown below). 5.0 is the highest mean score possible (every student would give a score of 5 on that question).


Score of 5:
Strongly Agree
Score of 4:
Score of 3:
Score of 2:
Score of 1:
Strongly Disagree


Ave. Score
1. The instructor stated course objectives/outcomes.
2. The instructor was receptive to students outside the classroom.
3. The instructor explained difficult material well.
4. The instructor was enthusiastic about teaching the course.
5. The instructor was prepared for class.
6. The instructor gave prompt and useful feedback.
7. The instructor effectively used instructional technology.
8. The instructor consistently treated students with respect.
9. Overall, the instructor was an effective teacher.
10. The course readings were valuable aids to learning.
11. The course assignments were valuable aids to learning.
12. This course was intellectually challenging and stimluating.
13. This course improved my knowledge of the subject.
14. Overall, this course was excellent.

Average of all questions :



What these numbers are telling me: Overall, I'm happy with the results of the evaluation, considering this was a first-time, team-taught course. We will probably want to tweak the assignments a bit, especially the semester-long assignment involving weekly reports of an investigation of an actual program. Some of the contacts were less able to keep up with the information demands of the students, for example.


Anonymous Written Comments from Students (from the evaluations):

Chris was fantastic. Very interesting class.

Thoroughly knowledgeable on the subject and brings many years of experience and interesting stories to class. Always prepared.

The course is a great idea for graduate students - a really important topic. Weekly reports kept us engaged in the material every week. Having two major projects due at the end, though, is a difficult load for graduate students. This course is a much better co-teaching situation than my previous experience. The teachers communicated well about requirements and planned things together well. Their combined experience made this class very interesting and useful for learning about WPA work.

Dr. Anson is a valuable resource and is clearly knowledgeable. He is inventive when creating classroom activities and trusts students to reach meaningful findings. Great team of professors! This course is extremely relevant and will no doubt make a difference in my future. I would recommend this course!

This was an extremely valuable course, particularly for individuals who plan a future as Composition/Rhetoric professors and who will, therefore, likely be called on at some point to administer a program.

The instructor did a great job of balancing theoretical material with anecdotal material, something I think is very important in a course like this- students need both.The WPA exchange was difficult to arrange, and generally not as helpful as I had hoped. I think the project is an interesting idea, but one that is too tricky to successfully accomplish.

Chris is a wonderful and thoughtful instructor who really brought a lot of interesting materials to our attention. This professionalization opportunity is exactly what we need to prepare ourselves for work at a variety of universities. He promotes a fun and safe learning environment and is a wonderful teacher. Although I enjoyed the course very much, I felt like the amount of writing during the course and at the end of the course was too much for one semester. It's difficult to balance the two sets of writing: weekly writing on WPA contact, then a final report. Set two was a presentation, then a long final paper. I think the weekly writing, although a good way to disperse the knowledge we were learning from the WPAs, was just too much. I felt like I was overloading the WPA as well and noticed that a lot of of other students saw the same drop off rate as the end of the semester got closer. Overall, the course was excellent. I really enjoyed the hard work of both of the instructors and feel this course needs to either be offered again or placed as a requirement for those in rhet/comp who will most likely apply for a WPA role.

Lots of experience brought to the classroom; great ethos not very timely on weekly assignments. Great that it was team-taught; readings were highly relevant; enjoyed group discussion. would have liked more whole group discussions versus doing so much partner small-group work. felt the weekly program reports in conjunction with the final program report was redundant. hard to fill up 10 reports when WPA isn't very responsive and you can't cull enough info on your own. suggest reducing the number of reports while still maintaining weekly contact (if possible) w/ the WPA. i hope the course is offered again for other grad students interested in WPA work

This is the first course that I've had the privilege of taking with Dr. Anson. Initially, I was interested in this course because I have a passion for first year writing and composition studies and also plan to continue my career in this area. I have to admit that before the course, I was unsure of whether to pursue doctoral studies in the field of rhetoric and composition--especially at NCSU--but now feel compelled to do so, in spite of the competitiveness of the application process and rate of acceptance. Throughout this course with required readings (and other suggested resources), class discussions, shared experiences, and projects, Dr. Anson opened up a new world for me in the discipline. He showed that there is so much more to learn and contribute to the field. Dr. Anson builds a sense of belonging and confidence that we can and do make a contribution to the field. Hopefully, I will be able to study with Dr. Anson again in the future. Although I don't have the scrolled version of a c.v. filled with conference presentations or papers similar to most doctoral applicants, I do have a strong desire to learn and further my career in composition and rhetoric. I have decided to apply for the doctoral program, in spite of the competitiveness of the more marketable applicant candidates, and thank Dr. Anson for giving me the confidence and courage to do so. I really enjoyed that the course involved stepping outside of the university and working with my assigned WPA at another university. This component of the course helped not only to experience different perspectives within the discipline, it exposed us (students) to various scholarship and practice of those outside of our own campus. For me, it was a great reality check. Many times, grad students can get lost in the workload of teaching and individual coursework to the point of isolation. The WPA course and experience working with an outside individual was a kind of re-centering process for me. The realization that I was not the only person that felt unprepared or unknowledgeable about various aspects of my concentration was a huge eye opener for me. As trivial as that may appear, to have a sense of belonging is huge for a student that has felt like an outsider for most of their grad student career. The weaknesses involve revising the course as a two-semester course. There is so much information that one semester is not enough time to read, discuss, and apply relevant scholarship. I also feel it would have been more beneficial to work with our assigned WPAs for two semesters. I feel that we barely scratched the surface of WPA. I would like to learn and understand so much more.


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