Services for Individuals
Developed at Vanderbilt and Northwestern, this simple procedure provides instructors with early and extensive feedback from students, often including information and insights that do not emerge from end-of-term student ratings and comments.
SGAs typically take 20-25 minutes at the end of class. The instructor introduces the consultant to the class then excuses him/herself from the room. SGA requests must be submitted at least one week in advance of the first desired evaluation date. For more information about SGAs, consult our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
As a service to the University community, staff members at the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence will work with faculty who would like assistance in developing grants related to education and educational evaluation.
Grant-writing assistance: While we do not write the grants ourselves, there are several levels of help we can offer:
- If you come two months ahead, we will:
- Work with you to develop the grant, by helping you formulate learning objectives and educational activities, find supporting literature, and create guidelines for evaluation
- Offer extensive feedback on your grant (2-3 appointments)
- If you come two weeks ahead, we may:
- Consult with you (1 appointment)
- Offer follow-up feedback (via email or phone)
- If you come less than two weeks ahead, we may:
- Refer you to grantwriting resources on the Searle Center website
Letters of support: We are happy to discuss writing a letter of support for you; however, we cannot write such letters at short notice or without having reviewed and discussed the grant in detail.
Evaluation: In developing your grant, you must consider who is doing the evaluation. If you are doing the evaluation, then you will collect and analyze data, develop your own instruments, and we can provide feedback and suggest resources. If, however, you need a more sustained, formal evaluation (which may be done by available staff or outside staff hired by you), the appropriate funds must be allocated. Certain foundations and agencies, such as NSF, expect that you will allocate a substantive portion of the budget (10-15 percent) for evaluation of the education component.
Please note: the Searle Center is not funded to provide free evaluation, nor are we staffed to work on every grant for which we are initially consulted.
- What to consider in writing the education component of your grant:
- Clear specification of educational objectives
- Rationale for what you're doing (supported by literature)
- Supporting statements for why it might succeed (why you've chosen this particular approach)
- Link specific learning objectives (refer to Bloom's taxonomy, pedagogical methods, resources, etc) to evaluation
- Linking evaluation to learning objectives
- Link to NSF guidelines
Since the university does not administer Course and Teacher Evaluations to courses with fewer than 5 students, instructors may request a CTEC-style focus group from the Searle Center. A trained staff member will pose questions drawn from the university CTEC and from Searle's Small Group Analysis questionnaire, noting points of agreement and disagreement. After grades have been submitted, the staff member will share the student responses with the instructor. Contact Susanna Calkins to arrange a focus group.
Center staff are available in person, by phone or by e-mail to consult with faculty and graduate instructors and TAs on teaching and learning matters.