University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Evaluation of Teaching: Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester

Policy Statement

Evaluation of teaching provides information (1) to help improve teaching, (2) to be used for faculty tenure decisions and salary and promotion decisions based on merit, and (3) to assist students in course selection. The methods used are:

  • Peer evaluations
  • Student ratings of teaching

A. General Provisions for Evaluation of Teaching

  • All instructors, regardless of their academic rank or tenure status, will have their teaching performance evaluated.
  • The process for evaluating teaching used in tenure and promotion decisions must follow Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure (PDF).

B. Peer Evaluation of Teaching

Peer review should include assessment of the instructor's knowledge of the subject matter, general contributions to departmental teaching efforts, and any other teaching contributions. (see Appendix for best practice guidelines.)

  1. Peer review process
    1. Every academic unit should have a documented process for peer review of every instructor’s teaching efforts and contributions to teaching, both for purposes of promotion decisions and for teaching-based salary increases. The academic unit should evaluate instructors in ways appropriate to the discipline and include consideration of activities outside the classroom such as facilitating student research, advising students, and other activities related to students' educational programs.
    2. The peer review process must include consideration of any additional materials identified by the instructor as relevant to the evaluation. Instructors are encouraged to prepare and regularly update a teaching portfolio that contains materials that will be considered during their evaluation.
  2. Faculty peer review.
    1. Faculty peers are responsible for evaluating teaching conducted by tenured and tenure-track faculty as outlined in Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, Administrative Policy: Faculty Compensation, and Administrative Procedure: Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty.
    2. Both faculty and instructional staff may participate in the evaluation of instructors who are not tenure-track or tenured faculty.

C. Student Rating of Teaching Form Provisions and Requirements

  1. Student rating data are used in personnel decisions for faculty and instructional staff whose salary is fully or partially based on teaching, (e.g., merit and salary reviews, promotion, tenure for tenure-track faculty).
    1. The results must be shared with the instructor being reviewed.
    2. Only those individuals who are responsible for decisions on reappointment, promotion, tenure, and salary adjustments may have access to information about a specific instructor.
    3. Instructors are allowed to respond to student rating results by adding written comments to their files that are communicated to individuals responsible for personnel decisions.
  2. When used for salary, promotion, and tenure decisions, information from student ratings must be used in conjunction with other relevant material to assess instructional effectiveness.
  3. The academic unit must maintain a record of the instructor's contributions to teaching, including cumulative summaries of student ratings of the instructor’s courses. Units must protect the materials as private data.
  4. To assist students in course selection, students may view Student Rating of Teaching responses that pertain to a course and not to a specific individual. (This provision does not apply to the Crookston campus)
  5. Student rating data should be used with other types of information to identify instructors who deserve rewards as well as instructors who may need assistance in improving their classroom effectiveness.
  6. Custom Items
    Colleges and departments may, after consultation with and approval from, the vice provost for faculty and academic affairs, add custom items to the Student Rating of Teaching form. If custom items are added by a department or college, that unit will make available to instructors a written policy that defines which data from the custom items will be used (1) for improvement of teaching, (2) for personnel decisions, and (3) for improving courses or programs.
    1. Data used solely for teaching improvement will be provided only to the instructor.
    2. Data to be used for personnel decisions will be available to individuals charged with reviewing instructor performance.
    3. Data to be used for course and program improvement will be available to curriculum committees and similar bodies only in aggregated form and will not be identified with individual instructors. In all instances, the data will be provided to the instructor.
  7. Every course with a University course number will be rated by the use of student rating forms every time it is offered, except that thesis-only credits, directed or independent study, and internships will not be rated using such forms. For courses with one instructor but multiple components (e.g., lab, lecture, recitation), departments have the discretion to evaluate the components separately. For courses with multiple components, each taught by a different instructor, each component should be evaluated separately.
  8. The standard student rating form (see Forms/Instructions) will be used except that:
    1. In courses with more than two instructors, departments and/or colleges that wish to use alternative evaluation procedures must seek written approval from the Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP).
    2. Academic units in which student evaluation procedures must meet national accreditation standards may use alternative evaluation procedures with written approval from SCEP.
    3. A department that wishes to use an alternative form for a course must receive written approval from SCEP.
  9. All students enrolled in a course must be provided the opportunity to complete the student rating form. If online SRTs are being used, all enrolled students will receive system-generated email invitations and reminders. Paper forms must be distributed to all students present on the day that ratings are administered. Students who have withdrawn from the course may not participate in the rating of that course. Enrolled students, regardless of the rating protocol or method used, have the option to:
    1. Opt out of responding to one or more questions on the form; or
    2. Opt out of completing the entire student rating form.Instructors may not be present in the classroom when the evaluations are completed and collected. SRT results are not provided to the instructor until after grades have been posted.
  10. The dean or chancellor of each college or campus, in consultation with the faculty, will determine whether and how written comments on student evaluation forms may be used in personnel decisions. In units where all written comments on students' ratings of teaching are sent to the chair and/or to reviewing-bodies and are included in the file, unfairly prejudicial comments will be withheld from the file upon request of the instructor concerned and accordingly will not be part of annual or other reviews. The decision whether particular comments are unfairly prejudicial will be made by the chair, a senior faculty member designated through a process determined by the department, or a standing or ad-hoc committee. This provision is intended to cover offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic, and other personal comments, and is not intended to exclude from the file negative comments directly related to the course.
  11. Student rating results will be available to instructors online. For online-administered SRTs, instructor reports will include open-ended comments. For paper-administered SRTs, only the multiple-choice item results are reported online. Comments will be available through the return of the original, completed paper forms to the instructor with any student demographic information removed.


This policy is not applicable to the Duluth campus.

Course-related SRT results from the Crookston campus will not be released to students.

Reason for Policy

This policy establishes standards and processes for evaluating teaching: peer review and student rating of teaching for the campuses of Crookston, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities.

It is essential to ensuring quality of instruction and providing feedback to instructors and supervisors.



Original forms (not photocopies) are required for processing. Please see your department contact or the Office of Measurement Services for forms.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there costs associated with administering custom items on a form?

    Units should consult the Office of Measurement Services to inquire about costs associated with administering a custom form or adding custom items on the Student Rating of Teaching form.

  2. Can instructors administer additional evaluation items?

    Instructors are encouraged to conduct early- and mid-semester course assessments for the purpose of receiving feedback about student learning during the term. Instructors may ask students to answer supplemental questions in the open-ended section of the standard rating form, on a separate sheet, or online. See Early Term Feedback on Teaching for more information about early- and mid-semester course assessments.

  3. Some research has suggested that the results from student evaluations of teaching can be biased against women, instructors of color, and other groups of instructors. Why are we still asking students to rate instructors?

    The University’s policy emphasizes that evaluation of teaching must rely on multiple measures in order to gain a comprehensive assessment of teaching effectiveness. The Student Rating of Teaching survey provides valuable information about students’ impression of their learning experience. The SRT instrument does not ask students to evaluate instructors’ subject matter knowledge and is instead limited to providing feedback to instructors and reviewers about students’ perception of their learning. Most assessment techniques such as peer observations of teaching and student surveys are all prone to errors in judgment (bias). In order to mitigate bias in evaluation practices, information from many sources must be included in evaluations of teaching. Reviewers are provided with specific guidance about how to mitigate bias in the interpretation of statistical data. See appendices to this policy for further information.


Primary Contact(s)Ole Gram612-624-5082[email protected]
Twin Cities CampusOle Gram612-624-5082[email protected]
Crookston CampusJohn Hoffman218-281-8341[email protected]
Morris CampusPeh Ng320-589-6015[email protected]
Rochester CampusVice Chancellor for Academic Affairs [email protected]

For information about the administration of student ratings of teaching, please see the Office of Measurement Services - Student Rating of Teaching website. Inquiries may be directed to [email protected] or 612-626-0006

Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
  • Ole Gram


There are no definitions associated with this policy.


Executive Vice President and Provost

  • Convey to colleges the importance of teaching in decisions regarding promotion, tenure, and merit-pay increases.
  • Consult with colleges regarding custom items and exceptions to the policy.


  • Convey the importance of teaching in decisions regarding promotion, tenure, and merit-pay increases.
  • Consult with college governing bodies regarding the use of written comments in personnel decisions.

Department Heads

  • Convey to instructors the importance of teaching in decisions regarding promotion, tenure, and merit-pay increases.
  • Ensure that evaluation of teaching takes place in the unit.
  • Decide whether particular written comments are unfairly prejudicial.

Related Information



June 2021 - Comprehensive Review.

  1. Minor edits and reorganization of sections to improve readability.
  2. Updated appendices with improved guidance for peer evaluation of teaching and review of SRT results
  3. Clarification that peer evaluation of teaching is a requirement.
  4. Updated FAQ.


March 2019 – Minor Revision. Revision of language detailing use of both online and paper forms. Minor editing.


November 2015 - Policy now applies to Crookston - with minor exception: Course-related SRT results from the Crookston campus will not be released to students.


January 2015 - Comprehensive Review. Minor Revision. Key policy changes: 1. Meets the student requests for information that may aid in course selection by releasing course related information from the Student Rating Tool that does not violate Minnesota State Data Privacy law. 2. Eliminates unnecessary language related to policy compliance. 3. Revises the language regarding the authority to decide whether written comments may be used for personnel decisions.


December 2014 - 1. Meets the student requests for information that may aid in course selection by releasing course related information from the Student Rating Tool that does not violate Minnesota State Data Privacy law. 2. Eliminates unnecessary language related to policy compliance. 3. Revises the language regarding the authority to decide whether written comments may be used for personnel decisions.


April 2009