Important Arbitration Decision Validates What Many of Us Already Know About Student Evaluations of Teaching

The following notice was widely distributed by Russell Janzen at OCUFA. The link provided includes not only a summary of William Kaplan’s arbitration decision, but also expert reports that were used to inform the decision. Student evaluations of our members’ work have frequently been a contentious topic at our WLUFA bargaining tables and the importance placed on evaluations is particularly threatening to our Contract Faculty, for whom student evaluations form a significant basis for allotting and/or withholding course contracts. The issue has become no less complicated by the growing reliance of our Administration on student questionnaires administered completely online.

WLUFA has always closely monitored the use of student evaluations at Laurier, as well as its effect on our members’ rights, and will continue to do so.

Russell Janzen’s notice follows below:

You doubtless will have received news of a recent arbitration award by William Kaplan regarding the use of student questionnaires for teaching evaluation of Ryerson Faculty Association members. A summary of the award and of the pivotal expert testimony was published in OCUFA Report and reproduced below. The expert reports of Richard Freishtat and Philip Stark were jointly commissioned by the Ryerson Faculty Association and OCUFA, and are now available through the OCUFA web-site with the kind permission of the authors.

OCUFA invites your association to link directly to the story, and thereby Freishtat’s and Stark’s reports, using the following link:

OCUFA hopes to add to the momentum later this fall, with the release of a report by the OCUFA Student Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching Working Group.

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