The Local is concerned about equity issues with regards to the Student Feedback Questionnaires (SFQs), especially with SFQ having been moved online, and how they can have an impact on both hiring and retention of a diverse workforce.

For the last 2 terms, SFQs have been suspended. We think that this is a great opportunity for us to intervene and suggest a better way forward.

  1. There have been many studies showing (see OCUFA report for analysis) increased harassment of women, people of colour, and people with disabilities in SFQs, and that harassment is increased in online SFQs;
  2. The online distribution of SFQs not only increases harassment but also reduces their reliability and therefore usefulness as faculty feedback because of low turnout, lack of control over who is completing them and of the contextual factors influencing the answers;
  3. The Ryerson Kaplan arbitration (2018) makes it clear that because of this unequal harassment, SFQs must not be used in hiring, promotions, or discipline, and
  4. Despite this, results are shared at Humber with ADs who cannot “unsee” these unreliable and biased results, leading to unconscious biases in hiring and discipline.

Given the fact that as an institution, Humber has promoted its goal to:

  1. Provide faculty with accurate, reliable feedback that can be used for professional development
  2. Recruit more faculty who represent a diversity of experience
  3. Establish a work environment free from harassment

We’d like to see the College demonstrate leadership in our sector by creating alternate forms of SFQs that reflect best practices as outlined by the OCUFA report and other studies that show that SFQs are safe and effective when:

  1. Distribution and collection of data are not centralized but rather controlled by individual faculty
  2. Tools are created by faculty in consultation with other groups (Teaching and Learning, for example) to solicit specific feedback.

The employment equity piece revolves around the number of potential hires who have decided to opt out of teaching because of harassing comments, the number of potential hires who weren’t considered because of lower SFQ scores, and the number of potential hires who have not applied out of a lack of confidence because of harassing comments and consistently lower scores.

Update (Nov 16, 2020): Here are some alternative methods for collecting formative feedback from your students that we suggest.

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