Human Resources

Use of student feedback in probation, promotion and performance review processes

1. Purpose

The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that there is a consistent and appropriate use of student feedback in probation, promotion and performance review processes within the University. This guidance should always be read in conjunction with the University's guidance on the operation of Online Unit Evaluation at OUE.

2. The aims of using feedback

The use of appropriate student feedback allows an important perspective on performance to be taken into account in assessments of staff performance within probation, promotion and performance review processes for teaching fellow and academic staff and can help them to improve their performance.

3. The use of student feedback

Probation and promotion

Information from the relevant online unit evaluations is currently used in the formal probation and promotion processes as evidence for the required criteria as identified in i. and ii. below.

The requirements for the provision and use of this information are set out in the probationer’s letter on commencement from the Deputy Vice Chancellor and through the probation and promotion processes undertaken through Academic Staff Committee (ASC). The ASC processes ensure that there is a sufficiently rounded set of feedback in place in order to fairly assess performance.

i. For the probation of lecturers and teaching fellows the University sets the two following criteria for teaching as evidenced through unit evaluation (see Table 1 and Table 3 respectively from Appendix 1 in ‘Career progression in the Education & Research job family: principles & framework’):

  • Receipt of satisfactory student feedback on teaching as evidenced by the results from the standard University unit feedback process.
  • Evidence of on-going evaluation of teaching and student support, and of reflection and action on feedback.

ii. For the promotion of lecturers and teaching fellows the University sets the following criteria for teaching (see para 2.5 in Appendix 2 and para 4.1 of Appendix 4 respectively in ‘Career progression in the Education & Research job family: principles & framework’):

  • The candidate has an auditable record of very good teaching and/or supporting learning attested by: evidence from a teaching profile, peer observation and student feedback; or a prize for teaching, perhaps reinforced by significant professional development;

Performance review

It is advised that reviewers take an all-round approach to student feedback data wherever it is utilised to provide evidence of teaching performance for the SDPR (Staff Development & Performance Review) of academic and teaching fellow staff. This is necessary as single elements may potentially or on occasions give a misleading picture and within SDPR there is not the additional evidence to balance this such as is gathered through the ASC processes in probation and promotion.

Therefore wherever possible, full unit evaluations should be used for evidence to assist the assessment of performance against objectives and identification of development needs within SDPR processes for academic and teaching fellow staff. This may comprise the different components of student feedback: assessment results, staff evaluation of the unit and where possible feedback from the relevant Director of Studies. This will give the most rounded and balanced feedback picture.

The University expects teaching fellow and academic staff to view and consider the components of full unit evaluations that apply to them on an ongoing basis as part of their responsibility to review and improve their teaching practice.

Where it is to be used, full unit evaluation feedback should wherever possible be applied consistently across a group of teaching fellow and academic staff and staff should be informed prior to the start of the review period that this feedback will be utilised and considered as part of that review.

Department of Human Resources
April 2015