Dr. Catherine Marrone teaches sociology to undergraduate students and serves as the director of undergraduate studies and as a faculty advisor in the multi-disciplinary studies major. Her goal is to broaden students’ perspective on understanding human behavior by using the social sciences while at the same time learning about and connecting to them as individuals. Below is a brief interview of her experiences with course evaluations at Stony Brook Univerisity.

1) How do you use the feedback you receive from your course evaluations?

Like all other faculty I look for those features of the course that the students seem to want to talk about; I am always looking for the concerns that might be repeated in the evaluations. However, I do take even the single [student] comments to heart. I suppose I tend to over-focus on the negative comments and will look for the kinds of responses that most trouble me regarding my own expectations for them.


2) What specific student feedback have you received that has been most helpful for you?

Like other faculty, I do like to compare evaluations over semesters, especially if and when I have made some content or timetable change. So, if I have changed readings or added some I really want to know if I will see more comments about the reading workload –or amount.


3) What advice would you give other faculty about incorporating student feedback in teaching?

I have listened to students "in evaluations" and in person who tell me the positive things other faculty are doing – I am impressed by how other faculty are so innovative.


4) What strategies have you used to increase response rates on the course evaluations?

I always tell my students that we in our department –and at the University– encourage students to see this opportunity (for course evaluations) as their right to express their ideas about their coursework here at Stony Brook. I let them know that their feedback can be so important and often so insightful.  


5) If you ask additional questions on your evaluations, what questions do you add that might be useful for other faculty?

I have not added questions to the evaluations up to this point. However, when I do –and I surely plan to– it will likely include getting their suggestions on how best to resource the teaching assistants.