Instructor-related course evaluations are regularly conducted at the Department of Veterinary Medicine by means of a questionnaire geared toward determining teaching expertise. This questionnaire is based on indicators of good academic teaching. It gives instructors feedback from the student’s viewpoint regarding individual courses, along with an individual overview of areas where further growth in their skills may be needed.
As a basic principle, instructors at the Department of Veterinary Medicine are free to evaluate any number of their own courses at any time and obtain individual feedback on them.
For the subjects in the fields listed in Annex 1 to the German Veterinary Medical Licensure Law (Verordnung zur Approbation von Tierärztinnen und Tierärzten – TAppV) and the courses involved in organ-centered block teaching, the department requires instructor-related course evaluations that are performed according to certain rules and at certain intervals stipulated in the evaluation plan. This internal departmental specification is to be understood as a minimum standard; it is up to the instructors if they wish to evaluate their courses repeatedly on a shorter schedule.
For newly appointed university instructors in the first year of their teaching activities at the Department of Veterinary Medicine of Freie Universität Berlin, the course evaluation takes place during that first year. Those reapplying to work at the department or applying to extend their positions are required to provide proof of participation in a course evaluation.
Registration for an instructor-related course evaluation takes place by way of a registration form. Instructors are asked to fill in the information regarding them personally and the course to which the evaluation refers. Registration for the evaluation takes place with the Dean’s Office Representative for Studies and Teaching, who prepares the evaluation in line with the information provided and then sends it to the instructor. The completed questionnaires – which must be accepted from students and placed inside an envelope for data protection and privacy reasons – are transmitted to the Office of the Dean inside a sealed, signed envelope.
If instructors identify areas where their skills require further development based on the course evaluation, the department and the university provide various options to help them.
The “SUPPORT für die Lehre” university teaching skills program offers instructors an opportunity to obtain individual continuing and professional education in line with their specific needs by selecting specific continuing education options in various skill areas relating to teaching at the higher education level. For junior instructors in particular, the university offers a modularized certificate program. Successful completion results in the Hochschuldidaktisches Zertifikat (Certificate in University Teaching) from Freie Universität Berlin.
All individuals involved in implementing evaluation processes are obligated to comply with the rules and regulations on data protection and privacy, especially pursuant to the Higher Education Act for the State of Berlin (Berliner Hochschulgesetz – BerlHG) and the Berlin Data Protection Act (Berliner Datenschutzgesetz – BlnDSG).
For further information on preparations for and implementation and analysis of the instructor-related course evaluations, please see the course evaluation process description (German version).
Instructors receive an individual analysis of their course evaluation. They are free to open a dialogue with students regarding the results of the evaluation.
The Office of the Dean receives an aggregate analysis and interpretation of the course evaluations for each semester. Pursuant to section 10 (3) of the evaluation guidelines of Freie Universität Berlin, the analyses are not used to implement negative measures having to do with HR or personnel rules.