Letter from the 2011-2012 Faculty Senate TRACE Implementation Committee

Dear Members of the Northeastern Faculty,

As you know, the University has fully made the transition from the TCEP course evaluation to the online TRACE (Teacher Rating and Course Evaluation) instrument. Not only does TRACE solicit a wider array of information, but the turnaround on results is virtually immediate.

We, as a group, share the desire to maximize the extent of student participation in TRACE assessments. To this end, it is critical that faculty encourage their students to submit their evaluations. Included with this email are template TRACE directions that faculty could read to their classes when they are encouraging TRACE participation. Other universities that converted to online evaluation systems have found that faculty encouragement is the most important factor for increased student participation. We are also aware that there are some misconceptions among students and faculty about TRACE. In fact:

  • Students will never see their course grades while they complete TRACE evaluations, even if faculty submit their grade sheets early. The TRACE evaluations may be completed by students during a two-week window, beginning at the start of the last week of classes and lasting until the close of final exams. This evaluation period ends before the posting of any grades by the registrar.
  • Student responses are completely anonymous. Students enter the system via their MyNEU logons and the system can track overall participation, but the individual responses remain anonymous.
  • There is currently no penalty for students who fail to complete their TRACE assessments.
  • Faculty will have access to their own evaluation reports, including student comments, one day after grades are due through MyTRACE on their MyNEU portals. This web application allows faculty to customize, export and/or print their reports.
  • TRACE data will be available to the University community. After a period of time (several weeks) for processing, students will have access to numerical summaries and comments for all classes through their MyNEU portals. Faculty will have access to the numerical summaries (but not comments) for all classes through their MyNEU portals (under SGA Teacher Course Evaluation Results).
  • For those faculty who have not yet participated in TRACE, a sample questionnaire is available Sample_TRACE_survey.pdf.

We are committed to continued improvement in participation rates. By encouraging students to participate and reflecting on your own TRACE data, you are critical in making TRACE an integral part of our campus culture.

Committee Members: Jamie Fox, Kostia Bergman, Susan Powers-Lee, and Dan Quinn