The Faculty of Arts and Sciences oversees a process of course evaluation of undergraduate and graduate courses each term. This evaluation process serves several purposes. It provides feedback from students to the head of a course about course structure, the quality of the instruction, and the nature of assignments. It also provides important feedback for instructional support staff, many of whom are in their early years of teaching and benefit from the comments of students. Participation in the course evaluation process is required of all faculty in courses with 5 or more students. The course evaluation process itself takes place online.
Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College. Students who have been found responsible for any violation of these standards will not be permitted to submit a Q evaluation of the course in which the infraction occurred.
Summary statistics and comments submitted by students are accessed electronically by the course heads, instructors, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and course assistants of evaluated courses after final grades for the term have been submitted (Q.fas.harvard.edu). Course evaluation results are also made available to the chair of the department or committee offering the course. Both faculty and instructional support staff, particularly teaching fellows, should keep this information as it will be useful later as an input for promotion decisions and as part of consideration for other teaching positions. These evaluations will be part of the graduate student’s electronic teaching record and will be the basis for the Bok teaching awards. Finally, aggregate numerical data and limited text results are also made available to students, providing them with additional information for use in their course selection process. Students can access the course evaluation results through the online course selection tool at my.harvard.edu.
The Office of Undergraduate Education reviews the forms for any member of the instructional support staff whose average "overall" rating raises concerns about the quality of instruction. In these very few cases, the Dean of Undergraduate Education may send a letter to that instructor, copied to the course head(s), urging him or her to seek appropriate advice on how to improve his or her teaching. If members of the instructional support staff receive such cautionary letters a second time, they may be prohibited from further teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.