Rant: Letter to Office of IR @ FSU

Dear Department of Institutional Research: 
    Your department implements holds on a students records in a most unethical way. It is not part of a students responsibility to conduct an assessment of your faculty and at no time between admissions and registration for classes is such a responsibility communicated. You describe the process of registering early and viewing grades as some type of privilege that is to be given for successfully completing your surveys. Those are privileges that students have already earned by completing enough credit hours and otherwise being in good standing with the university. Your planned usage of an email every 3 days in any other situation could be called abusive.
    I will complete the surveys this semester, as I do every semester, but it is not because of your holds nor the "prize" of being able to view the grades that I have earned. I complete the surveys because I feel that it is important for students to give feedback on their instructors and the material in courses, it is part of how a university grows. I do however, believe that such a contribution should be voluntary and any results that are obtained through the types of coercion that you employ are tainted. It is not good scientific process to utilize any type of negative sanction to encourage participation in a survey or study of any kind. If you are having difficulty getting responses without such coercion, perhaps it is time to adapt your methods or perhaps adapt your surveys. The surveys are too lengthy and do not inspire a response. The surveys are quite daunting, especially for students who are in the middle of completing final assignments for courses or are in final preparations for graduation. I have attended five schools, two community colleges and three universities. FSU is the only institution at which I have had to tolerate threats of registration and records holds if course evaluations were not completed. To the best of my knowledge, the other four institutions have had no problem in getting student response.

Curtis M. Kularski

In Reply To:

Dear Bronco:

FSU is conducting an electronic version of the course and faculty evaluations to obtain your impression of the courses and faculty in which you are enrolled. You will receive a separate email notice for each class in which you are enrolled for 16 and second eight week courses.  Click on the link that will be provided in the email to access the survey and complete it for the specific class. You will be sent reminders every 3 days requesting your response until you have completed a survey for each class in which you are enrolled. Surveys will be sent to your Bronco campus email addresses starting Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 8 a.m.  Those persons completing the survey early will be able to register early and to see their posted grades. Likewise those who do not complete the surveys will not be able to register early or see their posted grades.

The system design automatically assigns a password to ensure your response and comments are kept confidential. Your candid responses will be used to improve instruction at FSU. Thank you for your participation.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.

Thank you,