University Senate                                                                  

Proposed: April 27, 2012

Adopted: April 27, 2012, 44 in favor, 12 opposed, no abstentions


Resolution Encouraging Columbia University Schools
to Implement Open Course Evaluations

WHEREAS      the release of selected results of course evaluations to the University community (“open course evaluations”) promotes a culture of transparency, accountability, and self-examination consistent with the highest ideals of scholarship; and

WHEREAS      open course evaluations provide students with critical academic guidance not easily obtained elsewhere; and

WHEREAS      a policy of open course evaluations, being a testament to the importance of students’ opinions, encourages students to submit more thoughtful evaluations of greater benefit to instructors and departments; and

WHEREAS      a closed course evaluation system reinforces the status quo, namely, widespread use of unofficial third-party evaluation websites exhibiting polarized and unfiltered reviews; and

WHEREAS      implementation of an open system affords an opportunity to reexamine and optimize existing course evaluations, to foster University-wide dialogue about the latest pedagogical ideas and techniques, and to encourage improved methods for informing students about courses, such as departmental open houses; and

WHEREAS      Columbia's peer schools, and several of Columbia’s graduate schools, have successfully implemented open course evaluations to the benefit of both students and faculty,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT          all Columbia University schools work to implement an open course evaluation system during the 2012-2013 academic year, with due consideration to the specific needs and limitations of each academic program, in close consultation with the faculty and the expectation that open course evaluations should become the norm; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT  the implementation of open course evaluations be done with consideration to the Report on Open Course Evaluations published by the Student Affairs Committee and its recommendations, including recommendations that


Proponent: Student Affairs Committee