Monday, April 23, 2012
"Hi there, Instructor,
You might not know me, but I'd like 45 minutes of your class time for a survey you probably don't know anything about. You couldn't plan for this when you were arranging your class sessions, so please just squeeze a few topics or rearrange things on the fly in order to fit the survey in. It's really cool, while your stuff is a bit expendable."
That was the essence of an email I had to send to over 50 faculty in February as part of Douglas College's participation in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, an academically-focused assessment of the college's teaching and learning environment. The request was a little audacious and one that I therefore made with some trepidation.
I needn't have worried - instructors were great. Not everyone could spare the time, but a great many did go out of their way to help. Those who didn't have their class do the survey nevertheless provided reasons, suggested alternatives and were just as gracious as those who did participate. Nobody replied with a loud, "You want me to do what? In your dreams!"
We all have times when the professionalism and commitment of our colleagues shine for us. This survey was one of those occasions for me, so I want to give a very explicit and public thanks.
The survey results will probably become available in early autumn and should lead to some very fruitful conversations throughout the College. There'll be the usual problems and ambiguities of any survey, of course, and the results will vary in their utility. Regardless of the findings, though, I'll view the project as a success because of the response and assistance I received from a wide variety of faculty.
Posted by editor at 11:31 AM