Annual Reviews of Doctoral Students and Graduate Teaching Assistants

 

Monitoring the academic progress of graduate students and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) on a regular basis is important to their success and to the success of Auburn’s graduate programs.

“Research suggests that formal annual evaluations tend to increase the number of students who complete, and are therefore preferable to sporadic and informal reviews. … Some form of progress-tracking, annually or each semester, allows the student and supervisor to meet and establish objectives for the year.  This ensures that both students and advisors be held accountable for timely progress and for constructive feedback.”  Council of Graduate Schools, “PhD Completion and Attrition.”

Benefits of Annual Reviews

  • Clarify expectations for academic and professional performance
  • Identify opportunities for improvement or development
  • Diagnose deficiencies at an early date
  • Prevent more serious problems from developing later
  • Provide regular feedback to students about academic expectations and performance
  • Assess qualifications for assistantships
  • Encourage students to monitor and self-assess their own academic progress
  • Keep resumes and curriculum vitae up to date
  • Provide letter writers with up-to-date information
  • Receive feedback (from students) about the quality of programs
  • Offer opportunities to discuss plans and set goals for the next academic year

Policy

Effective beginning Fall 2014, the Graduate School will require that each department conduct — at least on an annual basis — an evaluation of the progress of each Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and each graduate student enrolled in a doctoral program.

Reporting

Annually, each department will report to the Graduate School, confirming that the evaluation of all GTAs and doctoral students has been completed.  In addition, the department will provide the Graduate School with a summary report of all instances in which a GTA or doctoral student has received an unsatisfactory review.

The review period for 2016-2017 began on August 16, 2016 and concludes on August 15, 2017. Reports are due to the Graduate School by October 13, 2017.

The Graduate School provides a web application for reporting the evaluations.  It is located on AU Access, Faculty/Advisors tab, Graduate Evaluations.  A Department Password has been provided to each GPO.  Questions and requests should be directed to gradmst@auburn.edu.

Expectations

Each department will be responsible for developing procedures (if not already in place) for the annual evaluation of the progress of GTAs and doctoral students.  Following guidelines for best practices, the review should include at least the following:

  • A student self-report and assessment of academic progress; teaching (if applicable); and research (if applicable) [prepared in advance of the review conference];
  • A report prepared by the student’s advisor (and preferably at least one other faculty member, e.g., a member of the student’s advisory committee) that assesses the student’s academic progress; teaching (if applicable); and research (if applicable) that identifies strengths and weaknesses, and establishes expectations for the next year.  The report may be augmented by reports from teaching supervisors or other members of the student’s advisory committee.
  • An opportunity for the student to discuss the report in person.
  • A signed copy of the written assessment should be placed in the student’s file and a copy given to the student.

Sample Teaching Evaluation Forms

Appalachian State University

https://graduate.appstate.edu/sites/graduate.appstate.edu/files/ga_evaluation.pdf
https://graduate.appstate.edu/sites/graduate.appstate.edu/files/ga_teach_evaluation_.pdf

George Mason University

http://ctfe.gmu.edu/professional-development/succeeding-in-graduate-school/teaching/sample-gta-evaluation/

Middle Tennessee State University

http://www.mtsu.edu/graduate/pdf/GTA_Eval.pdf

University of Kansas (History of Art)

http://policy.ku.edu/human-resources/performance-evaluation-GTA 

University of Kentucky (class observation form)

http://www.research.uky.edu/gs/StudentDevelopment/Documents/TeachingAssistantObservationForm.pdf

University of South Alabama

http://www.southalabama.edu/graduateprograms/forms.html

Sample Academic Progress Evaluation Forms

Auburn University Department of Human Development & Family Studies

http://graduate.auburn.edu/wp-content/uploads/files/faculty/HDFS_annual evaluation (2).doc

Process

The student completes the form.  The major professor reviews and offers feedback.  The student revises and then submits the form to the GPO who makes the form available for all HDFS faculty to view.  The major professor and two other faculty members officially review the form and offer feedback for each student.  A faculty meeting is held to discuss each student and the feedback; additional faculty members who have worked with or taught the student can offer feedback.  The major professor summarizes all feedback and assessment of progress and provides a letter to the student; a copy of the letter is submitted to the GPO.  The major professor also meets with the student to discuss the faculty members’ assessment and discuss plans for the upcoming year.  Along with this document, the student submits a current CV, and can submit other supporting documentation such as GRA/GTA evaluations, poster or ppt presentations given at conferences, etc.

Michigan State University (Annual Progress Reports)

https://grad.msu.edu/sites/default/files/content/forms/progressreportphd.pdf

https://grad.msu.edu/sites/default/files/content/forms/progressreportmastersplana.pdf

https://grad.msu.edu/sites/default/files/content/forms/progressreportmastersplanb.pdf

University of Illinois (Annual Progress Review)

http://www.grad.illinois.edu/faculty-staff/toolkits/student-review

University of South Alabama

http://www.southalabama.edu/graduateprograms/forms.html

Last modified: December 18, 2017