Questions about the SOTEs

  • Why are courses evaluated?

SOTEs are designed for two purposes:  (1) to give individual faculty information about the effectiveness of their instruction so that they can continue to improve their teaching and (2) to give information to evaluators about faculty performance in the area of teaching.

  • Which classes are evaluated?

All classes taught by a faculty member will be evaluated -- with the exception of classes with less than 5 students, team-taught courses and other courses such as field experiences, thesis, independent projects, etc. See FAM 652.4 pages 9-10. 

Note, however, that tenured faculty may choose to exclude a percentage of their evaluated courses:

  • Tenured assistant and associate professors may exclude evaluation froms from up to 20% of the classes SOTEd per academic year.   Tenured professors may exclude up to 30% of the classes SOTEd per academic year.
  • The choice of which course evaluations will be included is jointly determined by the Chair and Faculty member.  In the case of a dispute, 50% of the classes will be chosen by the Chair and the other 50% chosen by the Faculty member will be included.  The choice shall be representative of the faculty member's teaching assignment.


  • There was a problem in my class that I think might affect my SOTEs.  What do I do?

SOTE Form B is designed for these circumstances.  When there is something unusual that occurred in a class that might affect the SOTEs and the faculty member wishes to alert evaluation committees of those circumstances, the faculty member should complete and submit Form B no later than the last scheduled class session.  Form B will then be attached to the SOTEs.

  • Can I include additional questions in my SOTE?

Yes, you can.  Form C can be used to add additional questions to the SOTE.  Faculty must ask the standard questions but may add additional questions.  Data will be collected and reported in the same manner as the standard SOTE form.  The Instructional Quality committee has suggested questions listed in the Suggested Questions Bank.  There are also additional questions available on the ClassClimate server.

  • I'm teaching online.  Will that class be SOTE'd?

Yes, it will.  Students in online courses will be contacted via email.  A link will be provided to a web-based form that each student can complete only once during a specified time period.  Note that the return rate for SOTEs in online classes is exceptionally low so you might want to alert students to the forthcoming email and encourage them to complete the form.  Make sure to keep the language referring to the SOTE form neutral, however, and remind students that their feedback will be anonymous.

  • Why do I get the paper copies of the SOTEs sent back to me along with the electronic copies?

When the ClassClimate server was introduced, numerous faculty had concerns that their evaluations would be lost.  Therefore each faculty member has their paper copies returned to them.  You will also receive an electronic copy of each class set of SOTEs after the evaluations have been processed.  Finally, you can access each class set of SOTEs on the ClassClimate server (which is backed up regularly). 

[Last updated May 2019]